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The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying
 9781138852075, 9781315723747

Table of contents :
List of contributors xi
Introduction 1
CHRISTOPHER M. MOREMAN
PART 1
Religious approaches to death and afterlife 3
1 Catholic views of the afterlife 5
DIANA WALSH PASULKA
2 Protestant views of the afterlife 14
MARK S. SWEETNAM
3 Mormon afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 25
DANIEL BELNAP
4 Christian funerary traditions 35
THOMAS G. LONG
5 Jewish views of the afterlife 45
DAN COHN-SHERBOK
6 Jewish funeral and mourning practices 55
VANESSA L. OCHS
7 Muslim views of the afterlife 66
DAVID COOK
8 Funerary culture in Islam 74
AMILA BUTUROVIC
9 Zoroastrian afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 86
ALMUT HINTZE
10 Sikh afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 98
ARVIND-PAL S. MANDAIR
11 Hindu afterlife beliefs and funerary practice 110
T. S. RUKMANI
12 Jaina afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 119
PETER FLÜGEL
13 Theravāda Buddhist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 133
RACHELLE M. SCOTT
14 Tibetan Buddhist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 143
MATTHEW T. KAPSTEIN
15 Shinto and death: From cultural roots to contemporary thought 153
STUART D. B. PICKEN
16 Early Chinese afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 163
MU-CHOU POO
17 Contemporary Daoist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices 173
ADELINE HERROU
18 North American indigenous afterlife beliefs 184
JOSEPH A. P. WILSON
19 African afterlife beliefs 194
ZAYIN CABOT
20 Overcoming death in new religious movements 206
SUSAN J. PALMER
21 Afterlife beliefs in the Spiritualist movement 218
WALTER MEYER ZU ERPEN
22 Death and the afterlife in the Raëlian religion 230
ERIK A. W. ÖSTLING & JAMES R. LEWIS
PART 2
General beliefs and practices 243
23 Heavens and hells 245
EILEEN GARDINER
24 Reincarnation 256
JAMES A. SANTUCCI
25 Mysticism 267
THOMAS QUARTIER
26 The American cemetery 277
ALBERT N. HAMSCHER
27 Cremation 287
DOUGLAS J. DAVIES
28 Mummification 295
HEATHER GILL-FRERKING
29 Digital memorials 307
CANDI K. CANN
PART 3
Liminal states and liminal beings 317
30 Near-death experiences 319
GREGORY SHUSHAN
31 Past-life memories 333
JIM B. TUCKER
32 Ghosts 343
OWEN DAVIES
33 Angels 352
JOHN CHARLES ARNOLD & TONY WALTER
34 The undead: Vampires and zombies 362
JOHN EDGAR BROWNING
35 Animals 371
BARBARA R. AMBROS & LAURA HOBGOOD
36 The talking dead in organ donation and spirit possession 385
LESLEY A. SHARP
PART 4
On dying 397
37 Defining death 399
JAMES L. BERNAT
38 The Death Awareness Movement 411
LUCY BREGMAN
39 Conceptual approaches to understanding the dying process 420
KENNETH J. DOKA
40 The cross-cultural study of grief 432
DENNIS KLASS
41 A “good death” in hospice palliative care 442
HAROLD COWARD & ELIZABETH CAUSTON
42 Assisted Dying 455
PAUL BADHAM
PART 5
Additional ethical considerations 465
43 Suicide: Psychopathology, existential choice, or religious/cultural influences 467
MARK M. LEACH & FREDERICK T. L. LEONG
44 Martyrdom 477
PAUL MIDDLETON
45 The psychology of mass murder and serial killing 490
KATHERINE RAMSLAND
46 Abortion 501
DANIEL C. MAGUIRE
47 Intellectual disability and the end of life 511
LAURA A. KICKLIGHTER
48 Epidemic 521
JOSEPH P. BYRNE
PART 6
Additional scholarly perspectives 531
49 Philosophical perspectives 533
STEVEN LUPER
50 Anthropology and death 543
DOUGLAS J. DAVIES
51 Mortuary archaeology 548
ZOË CROSSLAND & J. SUZI WILSON
52 Death in Western art and literature 558
CHRISTINA STAUDT
Index 571

Citation preview

THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO DEATH AND DYING

Few issues apply universally to people as poignantly as death and dying. All religions address concerns with death from the handling of human remains, to defining death, to suggesting what happens after life. The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying provides readers with an overview of the study of death and dying. Questions of death, mortality, and more recently of end-of-life care, have long been important ones, and scholars from a range of fields have approached the topic in a number of ways. Comprising over fifty-two chapters from a team of international contributors, the companion covers: • • • • • •

funerary and mourning practices; concepts of the afterlife; psychical issues associated with death and dying; clinical and ethical issues; philosophical issues; death and dying as represented in popular culture.

This comprehensive collection of essays will bring together perspectives from fields as diverse as history, philosophy, literature, psychology, archaeology, and religious studies, while including various religious traditions, including established religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism as well as new or less widely known traditions such as the Spiritualist Movement, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and Raëlianism. The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying is essential reading for students and researchers in religious studies, philosophy, and literature. Christopher M. Moreman is Associate Professor and Department Chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies at California State University, East Bay, USA.

ROUTLEDGE RELIGION COMPANIONS

Available The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, 2nd Edition Edited by John Hinnells The Routledge Companion to Early Christian Thought Edited by D. Jeffrey Bingham The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church Edited by Gerard Mannion and Lewis S. Mudge The Routledge Companion to Religion and Film Edited by John Lyden The Routledge Companion to Theism Edited by Charles Taliaferro, Victoria S. Harrison, and Stewart Goetz The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought Edited by Chad Meister and James Beilby Forthcoming The Routledge Companion to the Qur’an Edited by Daniel A. Madigan and Maria M. Dakake

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Science Edited by James W. Haag, Gregory R. Peterson, and Michael L. Spezio The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture Edited by John C. Lyden and Eric M. Mazur The Routledge Companion to the Practice of Christian Theology Edited by Mike Higton and Jim Fodor The Routledge Companion to Christianity in Africa Edited by Elias Bongmba The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying Edited by Christopher Moreman

THE ROUTLEDGE COMPANION TO DEATH AND DYING

Edited by Christopher M. Moreman

First published 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 selection and editorial matter, Christopher M. Moreman; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Christopher M. Moreman to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this title has been requested ISBN: 978-1-138-85207-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-72374-7 (ebk) Typeset in Goudy by Apex CoVantage, LLC

In memoriam Stuart D. B. Picken

CONTENTS

List of contributors

xi

Introduction

1

CHRISTOPHER M. MOREMAN PART 1 Religious approaches to death and afterlife 1 Catholic views of the afterlife

3 5

DIANA WALSH PASULKA 2 Protestant views of the afterlife

14

MARK S. SWEETNAM 3 Mormon afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

25

DANIEL BELNAP 4 Christian funerary traditions

35

THOMAS G. LONG 5 Jewish views of the afterlife

45

DAN COHN-SHERBOK 6 Jewish funeral and mourning practices

55

VANESSA L. OCHS 7 Muslim views of the afterlife

66

DAVID COOK 8 Funerary culture in Islam

74

AMILA BUTUROVIC 9 Zoroastrian afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

ALMUT HINTZE

vii

86

CONTENTS

10 Sikh afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

98

ARVIND-PAL S. MANDAIR 11 Hindu afterlife beliefs and funerary practice

110

T. S. RUKMANI 12 Jaina afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

119

PETER FLÜGEL 13 Theravāda Buddhist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

133

RACHELLE M. SCOTT 14 Tibetan Buddhist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

143

MATTHEW T. KAPSTEIN 15 Shinto and death: From cultural roots to contemporary thought

153

STUART D. B. PICKEN 16 Early Chinese afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

163

MU-CHOU POO 17 Contemporary Daoist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices

173

ADELINE HERROU 18 North American indigenous afterlife beliefs

184

JOSEPH A. P. WILSON 19 African afterlife beliefs

194

ZAYIN CABOT 20 Overcoming death in new religious movements

206

SUSAN J. PALMER 21 Afterlife beliefs in the Spiritualist movement

218

WALTER MEYER ZU ERPEN 22 Death and the afterlife in the Raëlian religion

230

ERIK A. W. ÖSTLING & JAMES R. LEWIS PART 2 General beliefs and practices

243

23 Heavens and hells

245

EILEEN GARDINER 24 Reincarnation

256

JAMES A. SANTUCCI 25 Mysticism

267

THOMAS QUARTIER

viii

CONTENTS

26 The American cemetery

277

ALBERT N. HAMSCHER 27 Cremation

287

DOUGLAS J. DAVIES 28 Mummification

295

HEATHER GILL-FRERKING 29 Digital memorials

307

CANDI K. CANN PART 3 Liminal states and liminal beings

317

30 Near-death experiences

319

GREGORY SHUSHAN 31 Past-life memories

333

JIM B. TUCKER 32 Ghosts

343

OWEN DAVIES 33 Angels

352

JOHN CHARLES ARNOLD & TONY WALTER 34 The undead: Vampires and zombies

362

JOHN EDGAR BROWNING 35 Animals

371

BARBARA R. AMBROS & LAURA HOBGOOD 36 The talking dead in organ donation and spirit possession

385

LESLEY A. SHARP PART 4 On dying

397

37 Defining death

399

JAMES L. BERNAT 38 The Death Awareness Movement

411

LUCY BREGMAN 39 Conceptual approaches to understanding the dying process

KENNETH J. DOKA

ix

420

CONTENTS

40 The cross-cultural study of grief

432

DENNIS KLASS 41 A “good death” in hospice palliative care

442

HAROLD COWARD & ELIZABETH CAUSTON 42 Assisted Dying

455

PAUL BADHAM PART 5 Additional ethical considerations

465

43 Suicide: Psychopathology, existential choice, or religious/cultural influences

467

MARK M. LEACH & FREDERICK T. L. LEONG 44 Martyrdom

477

PAUL MIDDLETON 45 The psychology of mass murder and serial killing

490

KATHERINE RAMSLAND 46 Abortion

501

DANIEL C. MAGUIRE 47 Intellectual disability and the end of life

511

LAURA A. KICKLIGHTER 48 Epidemic

521

JOSEPH P. BYRNE PART 6 Additional scholarly perspectives

531

49 Philosophical perspectives

533

STEVEN LUPER 50 Anthropology and death

543

DOUGLAS J. DAVIES 51 Mortuary archaeology

548

ZOË CROSSLAND & J. SUZI WILSON 52 Death in Western art and literature

558

CHRISTINA STAUDT Index

571

x

CONTRIBUTORS

Barbara R. Ambros is a Professor in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Recent publications include Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2012) and Women in Japanese Religions (New York University Press, 2015). She currently co-chairs the Animals and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion. John Charles Arnold is an Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Fredonia. His research on angel veneration in medieval Christianity has resulted in the monograph The Footprints of Michael the Archangel: The Formation and Diffusion of a saintly Cult c. 300-c. 800 (Palgrave, 2013). Rev. Dr. Paul Badham is Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. He is a Patron of Dignity in Dying, a Vice-President of Modern Church, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Daniel Belnap is Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. Recent books include Fillets of Fatling and Goblets of God: The Use of Meal Events in the Ritual Imagery in the Ugaritic Mythological and Epic Texts (Gorgias, 2008) and By Our Rites of Worship: Latter-Day Saint Views on Ritual in Scripture, History, and Practice (Deseret, 2014). James L. Bernat, M.D., is the Louis and Ruth Frank Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Neurology and Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and is a neurologist at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Lucy Bregman is Professor of Religion at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. She is the author of Beyond Silence and Denial: Death and Dying Reconsidered and several other books on the meanings of death and religion in contemporary America. John Edgar Browning is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on horror and vampire scholarship, with over fifteen published or forthcoming books as well as over sixty-five published or forthcoming shorter works.

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CONTRIBUTORS

Amila Buturovic is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Humanities at York University, Toronto, specializing in Islamic Studies. Her books include Stone Speaker: Medieval Tombs, Landscape, and Bosnian Identity in the Poetry of Mak Dizdar (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) and Carved in Stone, Etched in Memory: Death, Tombstones, and Commemoration in Bosnian Islam (Routledge, 2015). Joseph P. Byrne is a medieval and Renaissance-era historian and Professor of Honors at Nashville’s Belmont University. Recent books include Daily Life during the Black Death (Greenwood, 2006), Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Plagues, and Pandemics (Greenwood, 2008), and Encyclopedia of the Black Death (ABC-CLIO, 2012). Zayin Cabot is a Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion at California State University, East Bay. His first book, Planetary Philosophia: Ecologizing in Between Shamans, Mystics, and Diviners, is forthcoming. He has published on Process Thought, Africana Traditions, and Ecology and Religion, focusing on the need for comparative, decolonial approaches to the history and philosophy of religions. Candi K. Cann is an Associate Professor at Baylor University, examining death from a comparative perspective. She is interested in the way death, grief, and culture intersect in new technologies both off and online. Among her publications are Virtual Afterlives (University Press of Kentucky, 2014) and an edited collection, Dying to Eat (University Press of Kentucky, 2018). Elizabeth Causton has a master’s degree in Social Work and has worked for fourteen years at the Victoria Hospice in Victoria, BC, on the Palliative Care Response Team. Now retired, she teaches workshops for health care professionals across Canada and online on topics related to psychosocial and communication issues. Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wales. He gained a PhD from Cambridge University and an Honorary DD from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He is the author and editor of over eighty books. David Cook is Associate Professor of Religion at Rice University, specializing in Islam. His books include Understanding Jihad (University of California Press, 2005), Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature (Syracuse University Press, 2005), and Martyrdom in Islam (Cambridge University Press 2007). Cook is co-editor for Edinburgh University Press’s series on Islamic Apocalyptic and Eschatology. Harold Coward is Founding Director of The Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. A Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada, Coward specializes in Comparative Religion and Health Care Ethics. His recent book, Religious Understandings of a Good Death (State University of New York Press, 2012), won “Book of the Year” from the American Journal of Nursing. Zoë Crossland is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. She writes on forensic anthropology and archaeological practice around human remains,

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CONTRIBUTORS

as well as the historical archaeology of Madagascar and semeiotic approaches to material culture studies. Douglas J. Davies is Professor in the Study of Religion and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies at Durham University, UK; an Oxford Doctor of Letters; and Fellow of both The UK Academy of Social Sciences and The Learned Society of Wales. Owen Davies is Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire. He has published widely on the history of ghosts, magic, witchcraft, and popular medicine, including The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Kenneth J. Doka is Professor of Gerontology at the Graduate School of The College of New Rochelle and Senior Consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America. He has published dozens of books and over one hundred articles and book chapters on death, dying, bereavement, and grief. Doka is editor of both Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying and Journeys: A Newsletter to Help in Bereavement. He has an ongoing blog for Psychology Today entitled Good Mourning. Peter Flügel is Reader in the Study of Religions and Chair of the Centre for Jaina Studies at SOAS, University of London. He is the editor of the International Journal of Jain Studies, co-editor of Jaina Studies – Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies, and series editor of Routledge Advances in Jaina Studies, and Jaina Studies. Eileen Gardiner is author of Visions of Heaven and Hell Before Dante (Italica, 1989) and Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell (Routledge, 1993). She is co-publisher of Italica Press, former co-director of ACLS Humanities E-Book and the Medieval Academy, and former co-editor of Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies. Heather Gill-Frerking has been researching mummies for over twenty years, specializing in Iron Age bog bodies and in the study of taphonomy – the processes of decomposition and preservation in various environments. Gill-Frerking has a doctorate in anthropology (University of Manitoba), a master’s in archaeology (York, UK), and post-graduate certification in forensic archaeology. Albert N. Hamscher is Kenneth S. Davis Professor of history at Kansas State University and author of three books as well as scholarly articles and book chapters on early modern France. He is also the author of scholarly and pedagogical articles concerning the cultural history of American cemeteries and editor of a collection of articles, Kansas Cemeteries in History (KS Publishing, 2005). Adeline Herrou is a social anthropologist and sinologist at France’s National Center for Scientific Research. She approaches the study of contemporary Chinese society through research on Daoist monasticism in south Shaanxi, central China. She is the author of A World of Their Own: Daoist Monks and Their Community in Contemporary China (Three Pines Press, 2013).

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CONTRIBUTORS

Almut Hintze is Zartoshty Brothers Professor of Zoroastrianism at SOAS, University of London, and Fellow of the British Academy. Working on Zoroastrianism and ancient and middle Iranian languages, she is currently directing a project on the Multimedia Yasna funded by the European Research Council. Laura Hobgood is Professor and Holder of the Paden Chair in Religion and Environmental Studies at Southwestern University where she joined the faculty in 1998. She is author of several books including A Dog’s History of the World (Baylor University Press, 2014), The Friends We Keep (Baylor University Press, 2010), and Holy Dogs and Asses (University of Illinois Press, 2008). Matthew T. Kapstein is Director of Tibetan Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, and Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Chicago. Publications include Reason’s Traces: Identity and Interpretation in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Thought (Wisdom, 2001), The Tibetans (Wiley-Blackwell, 2006), and Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2013). Laura A. Kicklighter is Associate Professor in the Westover Honors Program at Lynchburg College in Virginia. She holds a PhD in Medical Humanities from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and a MTS from Emory University. Dennis Klass has written over seventy articles or book chapters on grief and bereavement. Publications include The Spiritual Lives of Bereaved Parents (Routledge, 1999), Parental Grief: Resolution and Solace (Springer, 1988), and the co-edited volumes Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief (Taylor & Francis, 1996) and Continuing Bonds in Bereavement: New Directions for Research and Practice (Routledge, 2017). Mark M. Leach is Professor and Director of Training in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville. He has authored or co-authored over one hundred journal articles and book chapters, and written or co-edited seven books. Frederick T. L. Leong is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Michigan State University and directs the MSU Consortium for Multicultural Psychology Research. He has authored or co-authored over 280 journal articles and book chapters, and edited or co-edited fourteen books. James R. Lewis is a specialist in the fields of New Religious Movements and Religion and Violence, and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø (Norway). He is extensively published and currently edits or co-edits four book series. Thomas G. Long is Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Director of the Early Career Pastoral Leadership Program at Emory University. His books include Accompany Them with Singing (Westminster John Knox Press, 2013) and The Good Funeral (Westminster John Knox Press, 2013). His textbook, The Witness of Preaching

xiv

CONTRIBUTORS

(Westminster John Knox Press, 2016; 3rd ed.), was named one of the twenty-five most influential books in preaching for the last twenty-five years by Preaching Magazine. Steven Luper is the Murchison Professor of Philosophy, and Department Chair, at Trinity University. He writes about epistemology and about the philosophy of death. Two recent publications are Philosophy of Death (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and the Cambridge Companion to Life and Death (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Daniel C. Maguire is the author of fourteen books and editor of three anthologies, as well as 250 articles published in various journals. His most recent book is Christianity without God: Moving Beyond the Dogmas and Retrieving the Epic Moral Narrative (SUNY Press, 2014). He is the past president of The Society of Christian Ethics and The Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health, and Ethics. Arvind-Pal S. Mandair is Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures and SBSC Endowed Chair in Sikh Studies at the University of Michigan. His books include Religion and the Specter of the West: Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality, and the Politics of Translation (Columbia University Press, 2009), Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury, 2013), and Teachings of the Sikh Gurus (Routledge, 2005). Walter Meyer zu Erpen, MAS (University of British Columbia), is a self-employed archives consultant following a career with the British Columbia Archives. He founded the Survival Research Institute of Canada in 1991. For twenty-five years, he has sought to preserve the records of Spiritualism and psychical research, and has written and lectured extensively about significant Canadian cases. Paul Middleton is Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Chester, UK. His publications include Radical Martyrdom and Cosmic Conflict in Early Christianity (T & T Clark, 2006) and Martyrdom: A Guide for the Perplexed (T & T Clark, 2011). Christopher M. Moreman is Associate Professor and Department Chair of Philosophy at California State University, East Bay. His books include Beyond the Threshold: Afterlife Beliefs and Experiences in World Religions (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), Teaching Death & Dying (Oxford, 2008), The Spiritualist Movement (Praeger, 2013), and Digital Death (Praeger, 2014), which was awarded the Ray and Pat Brown Award for Best Edited Collection. Rabbi Vanessa L. Ochs is Professor of Religious Studies and member of the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Virginia. Her books include Inventing Jewish Ritual (Jewish Publication Society, 2007), Sarah Laughed (Jewish Publication Society, 2011), The Jewish Dream Book (Jewish Lights, 2007), The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices (Jewish Lights, 2001), Safe and Sound (Penguin, 1995), and Words on Fire (Westview, 1999).

xv

CONTRIBUTORS

Erik A. W. Östling is a study adviser and academic administrator at the Department for Ethnology, History of Religions, and Gender Studies at Stockholm University. Recent publications include “What Does God Need with a Starship? UFOs and Extraterrestrials in the Contemporary Religious Landscape,” in The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements (vol. II, 2016). Susan J. Palmer teaches at Concordia University as an Affiliate Professor in the Religion Department and is a Member of the Religious Studies Faculty at McGill University. Her books include Moon Sisters, Krishna Mother, Rajneesh Lovers: Women’s Roles in New Religions (Syracuse University Press, 1994), Children in New Religions (Rutgers University Press, 1998), New Heretics of France (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Aliens Adored: Rael’s New Religion (Rutgers University Press, 2004). Diana Walsh Pasulka, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, is the author of numerous publications about the Christian afterlife, including Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014). Rev. Professor Stuart D. B. Picken was a renowned expert in Shinto; in 2007 he was recognised with the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Japanese Emperor. He was founding chairman of the Japan-based International Academic Forum (IAFOR). His works include Essentials of Shinto: An Analytical Guide to Principal Teachings (Greenwood, 1994) and Death in the Japanese Tradition (IAFOR, 2016). He passed away shortly after contributing to the current collection. Mu-chou Poo is Professor of History at Chinese University of Hong Kong. Publications include Wine and Wine Offering in the Religion of Ancient Egypt (Routledge, 2014), In Search of Personal Welfare: A View of Ancient Chinese Religion (SUNY Press, 1998), and Rethinking Ghosts in World Religions (Brill, 2009). Prof. Dr. Thomas Quartier, OSB, teaches Ritual Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen (NL) and holds the chair of Monastic Spirituality at the Catholic University of Leuven (BE). He is research fellow at the Titus Brandsma Institute and is a member of the monastic community of St. Willibrord Abbey Doetinchem (NL). Katherine Ramsland teaches forensic psychology and directs the Criminal Justice Master’s Program at DeSales University. With extensive knowledge about extreme offenders, she has published fifty-nine books, including Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer (University Press of New England, 2016). T. S. Rukmani is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Concordia University, where she was formerly Chair in Hindu Studies. She has written and edited twelve books, including the four-volume critically annotated English translation of the Yogavārttika of Vijñānabhikṣu and the two-volume critically annotated translation of Śaṅkara’s Yogasūtrabhāṣyavivaraṇa.

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CONTRIBUTORS

James A. Santucci is Professor of Comparative Religion at California State University, Fullerton, and editor of Theosophical History. He was awarded a PhD in Asian Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra and has contributed articles and books on Hinduism, Theosophy, and Buddhism. Rachelle M. Scott is Associate Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she studies the history of Theravada Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on contemporary Buddhism in Thailand. She is author of Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple (State University of New York, 2009). Lesley A. Sharp’s ethnographic engagement with death and dying spans religious realms in Madagascar and medicine and science in the U.S. Sharp is the Barbara Chamberlain and Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College, and Senior Research Scientist in Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University. Gregory Shushan is currently Honorary Research Fellow at University of Wales Trinity St. David. His scholarship has earned him numerous scholarly awards, including from the Perrott-Warrick Fund, Trinity College Cambridge. He is the author of Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations (Continuum, 2009), and Near-Death Experience, Shamanism, and Afterlife Beliefs in Indigenous Religions (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Christina Staudt, PhD, is Chair, Columbia University Seminar on Death and Advisor, Columbia University DeathLab. An art historian and community activist for end-oflife causes, she co-edited Our Changing Journey to the End – Reshaping Death, Dying, and Grief in America (Praeger, 2014). Mark S. Sweetnam is Assistant Professor of English with Digital Humanities in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on literature and theology, particularly that of the reformation, evangelical millennialism, and popular culture. He has written and edited a number of books, including John Donne and Religious Authority in the Reformed English Church (Four Courts, 2014). Jim B. Tucker, MD, is Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is Director of the Division of Perceptual Studies there and former Medical Director of the Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic. Tony Walter is Honorary Professor of Death Studies, University of Bath, UK. His interests include: comparative sociology, funerals, and how communication media afford new relationships between the living and the dead. J. Suzi Wilson is a doctoral student at Durham University. Her PhD focuses on the cognitive development and abilities of early humans based on both the paleoneurology

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CONTRIBUTORS

of endocast studies as well as the behavioral indicators of advancement, such as tool kits and mortuary practices. Joseph A. P. Wilson is an instructor in Anthropology at Fairfield University and an instructor in Religious Studies at Sacred Heart University. He is the Editor at UMass Archaeological Services, and Book Review Editor for The Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. He earned his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida in 2011.

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Introduction Christopher M. Moreman

For a project of this size, I have chosen to keep my introductory remarks brief. A volume such as this one strives to provide as wide a coverage of its topic as possible, and with fifty-two chapters, a lot of ground is indeed covered. Still, there is always much more to be said, especially on a topic as profound and universal as death and dying. With my own background in the study of comparative religion, a core focus of the current companion is on the situating of death in the contexts of religions. Certainly, the history of religion is also a history of ways of understanding death and of meaning-making in the face of human mortality. While the first section of essays are explicit in their outlining of specific religious beliefs and practices relating to death, dying, and the afterlife, many, if not all, of the rest of the essays in this book must address religious and spiritual issues as well, such as the matter of death itself. Of course, however broad a spectrum I have aimed to cover, it is impossible to ensure that every aspect of death can be discussed and every scholarly perspective provided voice. I have strived to be not only inter-religious but also inter-disciplinary, selecting experts across a range of disciplines and with an array of perspectives both academic and personal. Each author is here being permitted to speak in their own individual voice, while the collection as a whole can stand as testament to possibilities for conversations across ideologies and methodologies both religious and academic. In the first section, I have tried to bring as many religious traditions into the arena as possible. Several large traditions have been broken into separate chapters discussing specific denominations or sets thereof, and many of the traditions also receive separate attention to afterlife beliefs and funerary practice. In attempting to cover as broad a field as possible, I have also ensured that several perspectives from new religions are also represented, particularly two (the Spiritualist and Raëlian Movements) with especially unique views. In all cases, authors provide an overview of the beliefs and/or practices. Part two continues the coverage of beliefs and practice, but moves from the context of specific religious traditions to more general discussion of the concepts themselves. These chapters illustrate many of the ways that certain beliefs, categories of belief, or certain practices share common elements across religious traditions. Sometimes such similarities can be attributed to shared geography or religious history, but often they also point to the reality of shared humanity.

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The third section covers phenomena often experienced by individuals across cultures that claim to report details of the afterlife or of the survival of human consciousness beyond death. Some of these phenomena have received limited attention by the academy at large, but have been intensely scrutinized by psychical researchers and scholars of folklore and belief. Importantly, all such experiences relate to personal experience often operating despite orthodox religious and cultural frameworks that discourage them. Part four further discusses the phenomenology of death through experiences of the dying process, both from the perspectives of the dying and of the bereaved. Here, authors cover issues of definitions of a “good death,” and of death itself, and discuss the still-young field of death awareness and the practical study of grief and bereavement. While the previous section touches on some ethical concerns, including that of assisted suicide, part five moves into other specific areas of ethical concern, including those of abortion; martyrdom and suicide; and broader issues of murder, plague, illness, and disability in the context of death and dying. Finally, the last section offers some additional scholarly perspectives on the subject, ranging from the anthropological and archaeological, to the philosophical, existential, and representational. These final chapters offer an opportunity to reflect upon the previous ones in light of the history of human cultural articulation being that death is a constant thread through human experience and expression. In editing this large volume, I am especially indebted to all of the contributors without whose work this collection would truly not have been possible. The authors herein represent some of the very greatest minds to lend themselves to the study of death and dying. I must also thank the editors at Routledge for proposing this Companion and for all the work throughout to see it through to completion. I’m also grateful for the students in my Views of the Afterlife class for helping us to select the cover for the volume.

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Part 1

RELIGIOUS APPROACHES TO DEATH AND AFTERLIFE

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Catholic views of the afterlife Diana Walsh Pasulka

An important focus, if not the very heart, of Catholicism is eschatology, or the study of final things. Traditionally, there have been four “final things” pertaining to human lives: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in its universal form, is an authoritative document that clarifies the Church’s teachings regarding these matters. Beyond that, literature, poetry, theology, and private revelation have historically provided images and insights into these realms that, even as they remain mysterious, compel reflection and consideration.

Death For Catholics, death is a gateway to other abodes, an entry to heaven, hell, or purgatory. During the medieval era, European Catholics hoped to achieve a good death, that is, a death consciously sustained with hope that one’s soul would endure a judgment that rendered it either fit for purgatory or heaven. Death, often personified in medieval chronicles and illustrations as a skeleton, was responsible for escorting a soul to its particular judgment. This process was complicated, and medieval Catholics had recourse to guides, or books of the dead, that prescribed prayers and supplications in order to help souls on their journey, as demons and angels lay in wait for the soul recently liberated from its body. More recently, advances in medical technology and research have impacted the Catholic understanding of death. End-of-life issues, including the use of ordinary or extraordinary procedures to either extend or end life, continue to be important areas of consideration for all Catholics. In particular, euthanasia, or the assisted suicide of people who are deemed to be suffering too much, or are terminally ill, has been condemned on multiple occasions by the Catholic Church and its governing bodies. The Second Vatican Council, convened in the 1960s, declared that euthanasia was a crime against life as the Catholic faith maintains the belief that life is a gift from God. In 1980, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, a governing body of the Roman Catholic Church, issued a statement on euthanasia that reaffirmed the declaration of the Vatican Council that it was a crime against life. The Catechism of the Catholic

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Church also condemns euthanasia: “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable” (CCC: 2277.) The Declaration on Euthanasia also demarcates the terms for assessing end-of-life care. It describes ordinary means of extending and abetting life when issues of death arise, and also extraordinary or heroic means, and recommends that families make endof-life decisions with full knowledge of Catholic teaching on the subject in addition to current medical research. The statement ends with clarification that death is a gateway to other realms of existence. “It is true that death marks the end of our earthly existence, but at the same time it opens the door to immortal life” (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Declaration on Euthanasia). Although medieval books of the dead are no longer used to assist a person who is at the end of life, last rites, or a series of sacraments known as the last rites including the Viaticum – or the last administration of the body of Christ, the Eucharist – are an important means to assist the dying Catholic. Catholic faith maintains that the soul separates from the body at the moment of death. Although this seems to imply a dualism (that is, that the soul conceived as spirit is separate from the body, which is matter), the Church clarifies that this is not so, as the human being “made of body and soul, is a unity” (CCC: 364.) The soul will leave the body at the time of death, but will be reunited with the body at the end of time for the final resurrection. Despite official assertions that affirm the unity of spirit and matter, devotional literature and even scriptural references seem to imply a separation of matter from spirit. St. Paul (in I Thessalonians 5:23) demarcates soul from body and spirit, and medieval scholastic theologians such as William of Auvergne and Thomas Aquinas addressed the nature of spirit and matter and its apparent separation. This abstract matter was brought to a practical head in 1963 when the Church lifted a ban on the cremation of the dead. Prior to this, the body of a deceased Catholic was to be present at the funeral mass and buried in the earth, in order to preserve the dignity of the body for the final resurrection and to affirm the unity of soul and body. Even as the ban was lifted, the ashes of the cremated remains of a loved one could not be present in proxy for the real body at the funeral mass. This was changed in 1997 and the cremated remains of a loved one can now be present at their funeral mass.

Judgment The Catholic tradition has always maintained two judgments after death: a particular judgment of the individual soul based on its merits, and a universal, or last judgment, after the dead have been resurrected. At the last judgment the soul will be reunited with its body, and Catholics believe that Jesus will return to the world accompanied by angels. As depicted in the New Testament (Matthew 24) and professed by practitioners in the Apostles’ Creed, Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead. The last judgment has had a rich tradition of artistic expression. It has been painted by

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Michelangelo, William Blake, and other artists attracted to the drama, violence, and triumph of the last scene of human history. The last judgment is also the interface between mortality and immortality, the end of history and the beginning of a new world, and as such it marks the beginning of a sacred era. It is simultaneously cosmological and subjective, as it not only depicts the end of universal time and space, but also reveals what was previously hidden within the individual psyches of all people – the evil and faults of individual human natures, which will be exposed to the light of day. At the end of human life, when the individual soul is separated from its body, it undergoes a particular judgment. The Catechism states that the individual soul will be judged according to its faith and works. The devotional tradition has represented this moment in various ways, with artists and authors often preferring to depict the horror of the soul condemned to everlasting punishment instead of the soul destined for everlasting joy. Part of the reason for this is purely didactic, as representations of souls reaping the negative consequences of their actions in life were used as teaching tools by clergy and as warnings to practitioners. Scholastics like theologian William of Auvergne determined that God, in special cases, allowed souls from hell or purgatory to return to earth so that they could serve as warnings to the living (de Mayo 2006: 140–141). Much devotional literature from the medieval time period until the nineteenth century contains narratives of this sort. A detail from Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel depicts a soul facing its fate, which in this case is hell. Regret permeates the features of the soul, which is depicted as a man. These anecdotes and illustrations, horrible as they were, were a persuasive means to encourage practitioners to refrain from sin.

Hell Hell is the abode or destination of souls who have rejected, of their own free will, God’s love and will suffer eternal punishment. The Church affirms that the main punishment in hell is separation from God, but it is also depicted as an “unquenchable fire” and as a “furnace of fire” (CCC: 1034). Beyond this description, representations of hell have changed through time. Scholastic theologian and Doctor of the Church, Thomas Aquinas, described hell as a having four abodes of suffering with a lower level devoted entirely to the punishment of souls (Aquinas, Supplement: Question 69). The other levels consist of two limbos, or borders of hell, one for unbaptized infants and another for the saints of the Old Testament, and another level reserved for purifying sinners who are destined for heaven (purgatory) (Ansgar Kelly 2010: 121). Not long after Aquinas wrote about hell, Dante Alighieri, in his famous poem the Divine Comedy, portrayed hell in the first part, called Inferno. Few texts have had more influence on Western conceptions of hell than the Inferno. Dante describes nine rings, or circles, of hell beginning with a version of limbo, reserved for unbaptized infants and for non-Christians who were good but did not hear the Gospel and were therefore also unbaptized. This circle is garden-like and, although it is a

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part of hell, the punishment is benign – its inhabitants cannot enjoy the beatific vision of God that is reserved for those in heaven. In a sense, Dante’s limbo is a less perfect version of heaven. This is not the case for the other eight circles of hell, however. Each sin is punished in a way suited to its nature. For example, gluttons must wallow in a rainy slush that represents the putrefied food and drink that they consumed in abundance in life. They are so focused on their own pain that they cannot recognize that they are suffering alongside others who suffer the same fate. After the nineteenth century, hell and the idea of eternal punishment diminished in theological speculations regarding the afterlife. Although the Catholic faith still maintains that the final destination of unrepentant sinners is hell, emphasis on its tortures and punishments has waned. Popular representations of hell continue to dominate mass culture, however, and it is interesting that several of the most popular horror films feature hell and themes of hell, such as The Exorcist (1973). But, what of the reality of hell? On this topic, Pope Benedict XVI was very clear: hell exists. In 2007 he told a gathering of Catholics and bishops that hell “really exists and is eternal” (The Times: 14).

Purgatory In addition to hell, purgatory is a destination for souls that are marked by sin and therefore are not pure enough to enter heaven upon their separation from the body at the time of death. Purgatory is a precursor to heaven, reserved for souls who are ultimately destined for heaven. It is a place of purification, where souls are purified of their sins so that they may enter heaven. Purgatory was not defined as an afterlife destination until the thirteenth century, yet its existence was supported by practices of praying for the dead, stories and anecdotes, and theological speculation. The official recognition of purgatory would seem to come late in Catholic history, yet, as Isabel Moreira notes, “before these conciliar pronouncements, purgatory’s existence was hardly doubted. For centuries purgatory’s features and purpose were fleshed out by religious groups, political players, writers, poets, visionaries, and by clerics and ordinary people telling ghost stories” (Moreira 2011: 5). What, exactly, is purgatory? It has been defined in various ways. Until the nineteenth century, it was defined as a place of purification distinguished by physical fire. Moreira writes that purgatory was “a place for the purification of the elect; the fire cleanses (spiritual) pollution from the soul; additionally, the fire chastises so that purification is accomplished through the punishment of Christian bodies” (Moreira 2011: 17). Moreover, the punishment can continue until the last judgment “unless the sinner is absolved from punishment through the intercession of friends” (Moreira 2011: 17). Therefore, living persons are able to ameliorate or even lessen the pains of those suffering in purgatory through various means – by praying, through alms-giving, and by attending a Catholic mass or service dedicated to a particular soul, or for souls in general. For hundreds of years Catholics of means dedicated funds, as specified in their

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wills, to cover the costs of having masses performed for the benefit of easing the sufferings of their souls in purgatory. In the medieval era, purgatory’s physical place was the subject of much speculation. Popular texts such as the Treatise of Saint Patrick’s Purgatory (c. 1180) contributed to the belief that purgatory was on earth and might even have been located in Ireland. The hero of the Treatise, a knight of the crusades named Owen, journeys through the portal of purgatory, located in Northern Ireland. There, the text indicates that he encounters demons, angels, and souls from purgatory. He escapes death and the mouth of hell and emerges from purgatory free from sin. A Cistercian monk named H. recounted Owen’s tale for an enthusiastic audience, and the Treatise rose in prominence to become the medieval equivalent of a best-selling novel. It also inspired many pilgrimages to the purgatory portal in Ireland, which was a cave traditionally located on Station Island, by European Catholics, spanning the ranks of elite to peasantry, who endured its torments in hopes of either meeting their deceased relatives or purging their sins. The idea that purgatory was a place on earth, however, did present some theological and philosophical problems. William of Auvergne and Thomas Aquinas debated the physicality of purgatory, where it was, the nature of its punishments, and whether or not souls from purgatory could visit the living. This was against the backdrop of a worldview where visits from souls in purgatory to the living were thought possible and were frequently represented in popular culture as anecdotes and stories. Stories circulated in written and oral discourse that depicted souls, in chains or on fire, appearing to friends and family and requesting masses and prayers to lessen their torments (The Treatise of St. Patrick’s Purgatory). While some of these stories no doubt emerged spontaneously among believers, they were often utilized by clergy to motivate practitioners to avoid sin and to have masses performed and prayers said for their deceased relatives. The doctrine of purgatory was linked to the popular Catholic practice of the selling of indulgences. An indulgence is a certificate or grant from the pope that remits the temporal punishment of a sin that has been forgiven but would normally incur punishment for a soul in purgatory. During the medieval and early modern eras, indulgences came under attack from Catholics who believed that the economy of buying and selling indulgences was being abused. In 1517, on the night of All Hallows’ Eve, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his now famous ninety-five theses, or points of critique, to a Catholic Church. This act instigated a series of developments that contributed to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century (Walsh Pasulka 2014: 88). In the nineteenth century, Catholic doctrine was subject to attacks by Protestant polemicists and by the secularizing influences of the French Enlightenment. The empirical sciences as well as exploration by mariners suggested that finding purgatory or any other afterlife destination on earth was ultimately futile. But where was purgatory? This question continued to vex Catholic theologians as depictions of purgatory on earth or in the middle of the earth figured in many popular magazines and provided fodder for those quick to point out the folly of placing purgatory near, on, or in the earth. Catholic convert and priest Frederick William Faber (1814–1863) was instrumental in identifying two versions of purgatory: one version was beholden to an older

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tradition of torments, visceral punishments, and a physical location; another focused on purgatory as a state or condition of the soul and focused not so much on punishment as on a process of purification. The punishment of the latter version of purgatory wasn’t physical but consisted of the soul experiencing separation from God. In this way representations of purgatory paralleled those of hell, which underwent a gradual reconceptualization that took the form of a place of rehabilitation, rather than as a place of punishment and torment. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, belief in and knowledge about purgatory has waned. What was once a central Catholic devotional practice and belief has almost disappeared. The factors that contributed to this include the secularizing influences stemming from the French Enlightenment and the gradual emphasis on envisioning hell as less of a place of punishment and more as a state of separation from God. Purgatory, which had long been associated with hell and in many ways was considered to be located within or next to hell, was subject to the same influences. After the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the focus of the curriculum within seminaries – the places where priests were trained – shifted to ending poverty rather than on saving souls from eternal damnation and the pains of purgatory. Clergy, including sisters, were not trained to pass on the tradition of purgatory, so naturally practitioners born after Vatican II did not have the opportunity to learn about it.

Limbo Limbo is a term that derives from the Latin word limbus, which means border, or edge. Traditionally, limbo refers to either the edge of hell or the edge of heaven. Although limbo has never been a doctrine of the Catholic Church, it has certainly been referenced enough by theologians of the Church and in catechisms to warrant confusion about its status as a belief and an afterlife abode (whether conceived of as a state of mind or a physical place). Traditionally, limbo has been defined in various ways, but it has most often been thought to be a place where the souls of babies born without the benefit of baptism languished. It is not heaven. In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI, in consultation with bishops charged with considering the afterlife fate of unbaptized babies who die, suggested that the traditional understanding of limbo as a place where the souls of these infants do not share in heaven was to be reconsidered and possibly rejected. The document that outlines this new theology regarding limbo is The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized (International Theological Commission 2007). This was confusing to many Catholics who had been taught about, and believed in, an afterlife destination called limbo. If one searches the authoritative documents of the Church, beginning with the Catechism, one finds references to limbo. The first universal catechism of the Church, the Catechism of Trent, or the Roman Catechism, was the universal catechism used by clergy from 1566 until the publication of the new Catechism, in 1992. In the Roman Catechism limbo is not referenced by name, but as the “bosom of Abraham.” Patristic,

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medieval, and early modern theologians referenced the “limbo of the fathers” or the “bosom of Abraham” as the afterlife destination for the souls of the elect who died before Jesus’s resurrection, and also as the possible place for the souls of unbaptized infants. Thomas Aquinas, in his book the Summa Theologica, speculated that there were two limbos, each designated for these two sets of souls. The Roman Catechism states that within hell, there are “different abodes.” There is hell proper, for the damnation of unrepentant sinners. There is purgatory, a place for the purification of repentant sinners. Finally, there is the “bosom of Abraham” where the souls of the righteous reside, and who Jesus liberated when he descended into hell. In the Baltimore Catechism, which was widely used by English-speaking Catholics and derived from the Roman Catechism, limbo is mentioned by name. It states that “Persons, such as infants, who have not committed actual sin and who, through no fault of theirs, die without baptism, cannot enter heaven; but it is the common belief they will go to some place similar to Limbo, where they will be free from suffering, though deprived of the happiness of heaven” (Baltimore Catechism: q. 632). Statements like these caused no small amount of suffering for those whose infants had passed away and for various reasons were not baptized. The current Catechism of the Catholic Church does not mention limbo. Ultimately, Church theologians admit that they do not know what the afterlife destination of unbaptized infants will be, and to this effect they state that “as regards to children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only trust them to the mercy of God” (The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized: 101).

Heaven According to Catholic tradition and doctrine, all of human history and individual human lives are directed toward the culminating experience of eternal union with God in heaven. The Catechism notes that “At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed” (CCC: 1042). This is an event that is hoped for and anticipated by Catholics. As such, Catholics believe that they are stewards of their lives, as their lives are given as gifts from God, and they direct their actions and their hopes toward the goal of heaven. Injustice, pain, and suffering will all be ameliorated, and God will dwell with humans in a new heaven and earth: “In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (CCC: 1044). Beyond official doctrine, heaven, as the culminating sacred event of human history, has been amply represented in literary, popular, and material culture. Historians have noted that perceptions of heaven, just as in the case of hell and purgatory, have shifted significantly over time. Dante’s Paradiso, or Paradise, depicts

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nine circles of heaven, from the moon and outward encompassing planets, and finally, beyond the stars and the abode of angels, to the empyrean, where Dante is transformed beyond his physical or spiritual body into light so that he can commune with God. Dante’s rendering of heaven as the beatific vision of God is an almost canonical version of heaven. Here, God is light and love, adored and worshipped by angels, and the elect, in their vision of God, are transported into ecstatic states. This theocentric version of heaven was uncontroversial, according to scholars Colleen McDannell and Bernhard Lang. In their history of heaven, they note that this version, in which saints do nothing but contemplate the vision of God, “eliminates the possible extravagances caused by human imagination” (McDannell and Lang 2001: 180). Still, there have been other ways to envision heaven beyond the theocentric version. Mary, the mother of God, has been depicted in icons, paintings, and in literature as the queen of heaven. As early as the sixth century, Mary is shown in icons holding the infant Jesus, crowned and flanked by saints. Later, her status as the queen of heaven is more evident, as paintings from the 1300s and beyond reveal her coronation, and in some cases she is crowned by the Trinity of Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. Spanish painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez depicted this scene in a painting called The Coronation of Mary, which he painted in the 1640s. Devotional literature, hymns, and homilies also pay tribute to Mary as the queen of heaven. Frederick William Faber, nineteenth-century Catholic convert and priest, compiled popular hymns that are still in use, and many of them refer to Mary as queen of heaven. Ideas of heaven shifted in the modern era, when images and depictions of heaven began to reflect earthly concerns. Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic, hoped to meet their family members in heaven, and when people considered an eternity of contemplation of the divine, they also began to wonder what type of activities, if any, they would be engaged in. The modern image of heaven became an extension of modern life – filled with neighbors, friends, and family where people were engaged in God’s work. These images had an impact on Catholic views of heaven. Conservative theologians, however, were highly skeptical of this development, and continued to assert that the safest image of heaven was a theocentric model. Just as in the case of purgatory, the “place” model of heaven has also endured revision. Heaven as a place within the clouds is discouraged as clergy assert that heaven should be more formally understood as a relationship with God, and might be a state or condition of soul. Another cultural development that has impacted popular Catholic views of heaven are near death experiences, or NDEs. For reasons that might be cultural or due to advances in medical technology, or most likely both, there has been a rise in reports of “near death” experiences, or reports of experiences by people who have clinically died or were near death. These reports have been the subject of popular books and movies, like Heaven Is For Real (2014), which details the experience of a boy who died and returned to life, and was both a best-selling book and popular movie. Due to the “first hand” nature of the reports, they have had a powerful and persuasive impact on ideas of heaven. People who have experienced an NDE often report a “life review” and then

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the prospect of either a reward or punishment for their actions in life, which confirms for many people traditional ideas of heaven. When one goes beyond the popular tales and examines the variety of reports, it becomes clear that there are many versions of post-death and many theories as to what these experiences are and mean, from scientific explanations that have nothing to do with an afterlife, to other theories that argue for more research. Finally, an historical overview of images of heaven suggests that cultural tastes and themes have always figured and continue to play an important role in how Catholics view heaven and the afterlife.

References Ansgar Kelly, Henry. (2010) “Hell with Purgatory and Two Limbos: The Geography and Theology of the Underworld.” In Isabel Moreira and Merrill Toscano (eds.) Hell and Its Afterlife: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Burlington: Ashgate. 121–136. Aquinas, Thomas. (1920) Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Online: . Accessed Feb. 24, 2017. Catholic Church. (2012) Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. International Theological Commission. (2007) The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized. Online: . Accessed Feb. 20, 2017. McDannell, Colleen and Bernhard Lang. (2001) Heaven: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. de Mayo, Thomas Benjamin. (2006). The Demonology of William of Auvergne. Doctoral Dissertation. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. Moreira, Isabel. (2011) Heaven’s Purge: Purgatory in Late Antiquity, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Owen, Richard. (2007) “The Fires of Hell are Real and Eternal, Pope Warns.” The Times, March 27: p. 14. Picard, Jean-Michel, and Yolande de Pontfarcy. (1985) Saint Patrick’s Purgatory: A Twelfth Century Tale of a Journey to the Other World, Dublin: Four Courts Press. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. (1980) Declaration on Euthanasia. Vatican. Walsh Pasulka, Diana. (2014) Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Protestant views of the afterlife Mark S. Sweetnam

Death, dying, and the afterlife were issues of central importance from the very beginning of the protestant Reformation. Indeed, debate about the destiny of the soul after death was one of the most significant triggers of the Reformation. This debate did not primarily concern those at either extreme of the eschatological spectrum – protestants agreed (and, for the most part, continue to agree) that heaven would be the eternal abode of the righteous, and hell the ultimate destination of the unrighteous. Rather, the debate centered on the existence of a middle location – or locations – and the experiences and prospects of those who might find themselves there. Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, which had a seminal importance in initiating the European reformation, were directly energized by concerns about the legitimacy of selling indulgences – of urging Catholics to pay money or undertaking strenuous or unusual efforts in exchange for the partial remission of the sufferings of Purgatory. Purgatory and indulgences had been elements of Catholic teaching from the twelfth century onward, but throughout the Middle Ages, the selling of indulgences increased in popularity, and a growing commercialism led to abuses, which had already caused concern to the Roman Church in the centuries before the Reformation (MacCulloch 2004: 12–28). In the early sixteenth century, these abuses came to a head as a result of Leo X’s promise of indulgences to those who gave alms to support the rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was this campaign, and especially the forceful salesmanship of Johann Tetzel, the Commissioner of Indulgences for Germany, that led to Luther’s public opposition to the Church’s teaching and practice, and thus to the Reformation (MacCulloch 2004: 119–122; MacCulloch 2010: 609). While Luther’s Theses were critical of the trade in indulgences, and questioned the basis in Scripture or the teachings of the Church for the claims made by those who sold them, they did not question the existence of Purgatory. As the Reformation progressed, however, the existence of Purgatory, or a purgatorial state, came to be regarded with increasing skepticism. This was largely the result of the questionable scriptural status of the doctrine. Catholic interpreters typically appealed to the teaching of the Fathers, and to the reference to praying for the dead in 2 Maccabees 12:42–46, to defend the idea

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of Purgatory. However, the protestant insistence on sola scriptura (Scripture alone), and their rejection of the apocryphal books as sources of authoritative teaching, resulted in a rejection of any concept of Purgatory, of prayers for the dead, and of the possibility of any indulgence obtaining the extenuation or diminution of eternal punishment. So, for example, in The Confession of Wirtemberg (1552), the Lutherian Brentius expressed skepticism about Purgatory on the basis that it lacked scriptural support: [I]t is not without cause doubted, whether after this life there be such a Purgatory, as the common sort of men do think there is: wherein souls be so long tormented, till either by their punishment they do satisfy for their sins, or be redeemed by indulgences. For if Purgatory be such a thing, it is much to be marvelled at, that neither the Prophets nor the Apostles have in their writings delivered unto us any thing thereof certainly and plainly; but rather do teach, and that not obscurely, the clear contrary. (Hall 1842: 409) The French confession of faith (1559) was even more categorical, stating: Finally, we consider Purgatory as an illusion proceeding from the same shop, from which have also sprung monastic vows, pilgrimages, the prohibition of marriage, and of eating meat, the ceremonial observance of days, auricular confession, indulgences, and all such things by which they hope to merit forgiveness and salvation. These things we reject, not only for the false idea of merit which is attached to them, but also because they are human inventions imposing a yoke upon the conscience. (Hall 1842: 390) Similarly, the Church of England’s Thirty-Nine Articles (1571) dispatched with the doctrine in a terse paragraph: The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration, as well of Images as of Reliques, and also invocation of Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God. (Article 22) The view of Purgatory expressed in these confessions was echoed and expanded by protestant theologians, preachers, and polemicists throughout the Reformation and beyond. Anti-Purgatory satire and invective, which often focused on the relative novelty of the doctrine, became something of a protestant staple. So, for example, in John Donne’s Ignatius, his conclave (1611), a satire first published in Latin, which imagined a visit to the throne room of hell (and a coup d’état whereby Satan would be displaced as

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ruler of the infernal regions by the Jesuit founder Ignatius Loyola), the narrator found Purgatory and Limbo alike to be noticeable by their absence: As for the Suburbs of Hel (I meane both Limbo and Purgatory) I must confesse I passed them over so negligently, that I saw them not: and I was hungerly caned, to find new places, never discovered before. For Purgatory did not seeme worthy to me of much diligence, because it may seeme already to have beene beleeved by some persons, in some corners of the Romane Church, for about 50 yeares; that is, ever since the Councell of Trent had a minde to fulfill the prophecies of Homer, Virgil, and the other Patriarkes of the Papists; and beeing not satisfied with making one Transubstantiation, purposed to bring in another: which is, to change fables into Articles of faith. (Donne and Healey 1969: 9) It is telling that the protestant confessions, for the most part, do not explicitly outline a position on heaven and hell – protestant teaching on these issues was in accord with what the Catholic Church had historically taught, and there was, therefore, no need to redefine it. Protestants continued to believe that the souls of the righteous would be in heaven immediately after death, where they would exist in an “intermediate state,” the precise nature of which remained the subject of debate, but which was clearly a blessed existence, “with Christ, which is far better” (Phil 1:23). The bodies of these Christians would be raised at the general resurrection at the end of time to enjoy eternal blessing in the presence of Christ. By contrast, those who died in their sins would find themselves immediately and irretrievably in hell, until resurrected to “stand before God,” before being finally banished to “the lake of fire” (Rev 20). Eternal destinies were decided before death – there could be no posthumous passage from one heaven to hell, or from hell to heaven.

The Reformation art of dying This shift in belief had profound implications for the way in which the moment of death was understood. In the decades following the Reformation, the deathbed became, in Peter Marshall’s words, “a seminal site of cultural and religious change” (Marshall 2006: 83). And amongst the clearest helpful indices of that change are the changes that occurred in ars moriendi literature, as “the theology of death underwent its protestant makeover” (Marshall, 2006: 84). There had been a well-established tradition of Catholic ars moriendi literature that stressed the importance of “making a good death.” Erasmus outlined the importance of this climactic moment in very clear terms: For this is of mans lyfe the last parte (as it were) of the playe wherof hangeth eyther euerlastynge blysse of man, or euerlastynge damnation. This is the laste

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fyghte with the enemy, wherby the souldier of Christe loketh for eternall triumphe, yf he ouercome: and euerlastynge shame, if he be ouercome. (Erasmus, 1538: Sig. A2r) The concept of “a final wrestling match with the devil” (Poole 2011: 74) had little to offer protestant theologians – for the eternal destiny of the soul had been decided long before. Just how long depended on the precise theology of the protestant in question, but for Calvinists it had been decided in eternity by the Divine decree of election. But while this altered the importance of the deathbed, it did not obviate it, for one could never be entirely sure whether one’s assurance of election, and therefore salvation, was genuine, or a feigned substitute given by Satan, more effectively to damn one. This uncertainty resulted in a whole body of literature on how individuals were to scrutinize their lives for signs of salvation, and led to a renewed popularity in the keeping of diaries as a means to more carefully track and review the tenor of one’s life. But this emphasis also made the moment of death a point of enormous revelatory significance for the individual and for the families that they left behind. Indeed, as Andrew Cambers has pointed out, we have a record of a number of individuals who, while on their deathbeds, asked for their diaries to be brought to them, presumably with the intent of scrutinizing the record of their thoughts and deeds, in order to “make their calling and election sure” (2 Pet 1:10; Cambers 2011: 69). In response to this shift in significance, the tradition of ars moriendi literature not only survived – it blossomed. And there was a strong audience for this material – one of the best-known ars moriendi texts, The Sick Mannes Salue (1561), written by Thomas Becon, the chaplain to Thomas Cranmer, went through twenty-five editions by 1632. Similarly, Philip Stubbe’s, A cristal glasse for Christian women (1591), had appeared in thirty-four editions by the end of the seventeenth century (Marshall 2006: 98). And, while the tenets of Calvinism may have raised the stakes of the deathbed in a particularly marked way, ars moriendi texts appeared across the spectrum of protestantism – in the English context, a range extending from William Perkins (Salve for a sick man, 1595) at the Calvinist extreme, to Laud’s protégé, Jeremy Taylor (Holy Dying, 1651) at the Arminian other. The body of ars moriendi literature provides an invaluable insight on how death was understood and, to some extent, how it was experienced. It allows us to grasp some of the cultural, social, and individual impact of the reorganization of eternity that had taken place in the aftermath of the Reformation. One belief that emerges very clearly from that literature is that death, dying, and the afterlife are proper – not to say essential – subjects for Christians to meditate upon. Works in the protestant ars moriendi tradition were not just – and not primarily – to be read on one’s deathbed. Rather, their purpose was to enable the individual to live life in the light of death. After all, the Biblical preacher had advised, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart” (Ecc 7:2). The certainty and starkness of death were to inform the priorities, attitudes, and the decisions of the protestant believer.

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Evangelicalism’s angry god But death was also a proper subject for the unbeliever to think about. The emergence of evangelicalism nuanced earlier understandings of conversion and belief in subtle and significant ways. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the first “Great Awakening” swept through American and English society (Tracy 1842; Bebbington 1989; Noll 2010). This fervent evangelical awakening was linked with the ministry of men like George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, and Jonathan Edwards, and primarily with their preaching. Evangelicalism had, under the influence of German pietism, developed a stress on faith as a pervasive personal experience, rather than merely mental assent to a formulation of doctrine. And this stress had a deep impact on their preaching. The awakening saw the emergence of a new style of preaching, which abandoned dense theological discussion and debate, and favored, instead, an affective approach, which sought a strong emotional response from listeners, and which was explicitly aimed at their conversion to evangelical Christianity. The most famous – and the most studied – example of this new approach to preaching is Jonathan Edwards’s Sinners in the hands of an angry God (1741) (Marsden\ 2003: 214–228). Edwards first preached this sermon to his own congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts, but it was at its second preaching, on July 8, 1741, in Enfield, Connecticut, that the sermon’s most extraordinary effects were seen, as members of the crowd moaned, cried, and called out, “What must I do to be saved?” It was reported that five hundred conversions took place in the immediate aftermath of the sermon, and many more were to follow as Edwards’s words took on a life of their own. The sermon took as its text Deuteronomy 32:35: “Their foot shall slide in due time,” and sounded repeated warnings about the inevitability – and the justice – of the unconverted soul finding itself in hell, and the immediacy with which this event might happen: So that thus it is, that natural Men are held in the Hand of God over the Pit of Hell; they have deserved the fiery Pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his Anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the Executions of the fierceness of his Wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that Anger, neither is God in the least bound by any Promise to hold ‘em up one mo-ment; the Devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the Flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the Fire pent up in their own Hearts is struggling to break out; and they have no Interest in any Mediator, there are no Means within Reach that can be any Security to them. In short, they have no Refuge, nothing to take hold of, all that preserves them every Moment is the meer arbitrary Will, and uncovenanted unobliged Forbearance of an incensed God. (Edwards 1741: 11–12)

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This prolonged meditation on hell, and the sinner’s peril arriving there suddenly and irretrievably, leads to the appeal with which Edwards closes his sermon: Therefore let everyone that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation: let everyone fly out of Sodom. Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed (Genesis 19:17). (Edwards 1741: 25) News of the effects of Edwards’s sermon spread rapidly, and the text was quickly published, and preached by other preachers. Right down to the present day, it continues to be reproduced, reapproached, and recorded as an evangelistic tool. Edwards was not the inventor of “hell fire preaching,” but the impact of Sinners in the hand of an angry God was undoubtedly a factor in the growing popularity of an approach to preaching that emphasized the imminence of death and the unimaginable awfulness of an eternity in hell. This sort of preaching became a hallmark of evangelical revivalism right through the Victorian period. The sermons preached were largely ephemeral, and few survive, but the popularity of this approach can be traced in protestant – and especially evangelical – hymnody. Evangelical hymnals abound in hymns that urge the sinner’s repentance by highlighting death, hell, and the day of judgment, when the sinner would be called to account for their sin. So, for example, Philip Dodderidge’s well-known, and widely anthologized, hymn “And must the Judge descend” (Dodderidge 1755) vividly evoked scenes of eschatological judgment: And will the judge descend? And must the dead arise? And not a single soul escape His all discerning eyes? And from His righteous lips Shall such a sentence sound? And through the millions of the damned Spread black despair around? Depart from Me, accursed, To everlasting flame, For rebel angels first prepared, Where mercy never came. How will my heart endure The terrors of that day, When earth and Heav’n before His face Astonished, shrink away?

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Published a century and a half later, Bertram H. Shadduck’s, “I dreamed that the great judgment morning” (Shadduck 1894), is a particularly good example of the tropes of this sort of hymnody, which also embodies some of the classical Victorian social concerns: I dreamed that the great judgment morning Had dawned, and the trumpet had blown; I dreamed that the nations had gathered To judgment before the white throne [. . .] The widow was there with the orphans, God heard and remembered their cries; No sorrow in heaven forever, God wiped all the tears from their eyes; The gambler was there and the drunkard, And the man that had sold them the drink, With the people who gave him the license, Together in hell they did sink. The moral man came to the judgment, But self righteous rags would not do; The men who had crucified Jesus Had passed off as moral men, too; The soul that had put off salvation, Not tonight; I’ll get saved by and by, No time now to think of religion! At last they had found time to die. The tradition of revivalist evangelicalism that emerged in the aftermath of the first Great Awakening, and that is represented in these hymns, became an important element of evangelicalism on both parts of the Atlantic. In the United States, in particular, it was linked with the emergence of the first celebrity evangelists. Perhaps most notable was Billy Sunday, a baseball player turned peripatetic evangelist, whose colloquial sermons urged his listeners to “hit the trail” to conversion, and who felt it his responsibility (in a telling echo of Edwards) to “dangle [sinners] over hell fire and brimstone” (Betts 1916: 36). Sunday’s approach, and that of other preachers like him, lent itself well to criticism and caricature – the uncouth revivalist evangelist preaching lurid sermons about the fate of the lost soul became something of a stock figure throughout the Victorian period. An awareness of death and eternity, then, had an important role to play in evangelical conversion. But following conversion, this awareness continued to play a central role in evangelical life. Evangelical believers, “view[ed] death not as a threat but rather as the gateway into promised eternal life. [. . .] Death was thus the object of Evangelical hope. If sinners could be warned of dying and entering eternity without Christ, the corollary was that believers could be consoled with the hope of dying as a Christian”

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(Spence 2015: 16). And, initially at least, evangelicals followed the mainstream of protestant thought by stressing the immateriality of heaven as a place of spiritual blessedness, in which the physical had little or no place. To be sure, Scripture did speak of a coming resurrection, and the concomitant transformation of the believer’s “vile body, that it [might] be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (Phil 2:21; cf. 1 Cor 15; 1 Jn 3:1–3). However, both in protestant thought generally, and in evangelical thought more particularly, a future, glorious, physical existence did not feature largely.

Vile bodies changed: the premillennial hope Martin Spence (2015) has argued convincingly that the resurgence of premillennialism within evangelicalism at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century resulted in a distinct shift in the way in which time and eternity were understood by evangelicals. Premillennialism stands in contrast to amillennialism (which argues that there will be no literal Millennium and suggests that millennial prophecies are being fulfilled spiritually in this age) and postmillennialism (which suggests that the world will incrementally improve through the preaching of the gospel and social progress until eventually the Millennium will be inaugurated, at the end of which Christ will return). Instead, premillennialists expect the deterioration and decline of human society, to be dramatically interrupted by the return of Christ and the commencement of the Millennium, which will then see the restoration of earth to Edenic perfection, and the reign of saints with Christ for a thousand years. Crucially, the bodies of believers would be resurrected at the beginning of the Millennium, in the “first resurrection,” a resurrection of the blessed, distinct from the resurrection of the damned, which would occur at the end of the Millennium, as time itself was brought to an end (Spence 2015: 134). This expectation stressed future, earthly, physical blessing, and reoriented the focus of Christian expectation away from death and towards the return of Christ. The British evangelical Edward Bickersteth outlined the implications of this in a distinctly forceful way: “REGARD THE LORD’S COMING RATHER THAN DEATH AS THE GREAT EVENT FOR WHICH YOU ARE TO PREPARE” (quoted in Spence 2015: 138). The nature of the resurrection, and the relationship of time to eternity, was further modified by the futurist millennialism associated with John Nelson Darby (Stunt 2000; Sweetnam and Gribben 2009; Spence 2015). Darby was an Irish clergyman, turned seceder, who was largely responsible for developing the theological system known as dispensationalism, which came to displace historicist premillennialism, and which further complicated the contours of evangelical eternity. Central to Danby’s theology was a radical distinction between Jews and gentiles. The Jews, for Darby, were God’s earthly people. As such, they were the subject of Old Testament prophecy, and would experience its literal fulfillment. By contrast, the church was not merely a continuation of or a replacement for Israel in the plans of God. Rather, it was a distinct entity, which was not revealed in the Old Testament, and which had a heavenly, and not an earthly,

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hope. Darby spent his life traveling and preaching, and his ideas found a ready audience in the United States. After his death, they were widely disseminated by means of the Bible Conference movement and by a number of prominent Bible teachers, including, perhaps most famously, C. I. Scofield, whose Scofield Reference Bible (published by Oxford University Press in 1909) played a central role in ensuring dispensationalism’s dominance of American evangelicalism (Mangum and Sweetnam 2009). This foundational tenet of Darby’s theology had important implications for how the resurrection of the blessed and their future state would be understood. Darby and later dispensationalists divide the first resurrection into two – or sometimes three – parts. The first of these stages is the Rapture, a concept that has recently gained considerable notoriety as a result of the astounding commercial success of the Left Behind novels and their related franchise. The Rapture will take place secretly. Christ will return to the air, unseen and unsuspected by the majority on earth, and, in fulfillment of 1 Thess 4:16–17, will summon to himself all the saved of the Church age. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor 15:52), the dead will be raised and changed, and those believers who are still alive will be raptured – snatched away – “to meet the Lord in the air.” The rapture will be followed by a seven-year period of natural and supernatural catastrophe known as the Tribulation, and at the end of this period, Christ will return to subdue all rebellion, and to establish his kingdom. And at that point, Old Testament saints, along with those believers who have died during the Tribulation, will be resurrected, entering the kingdom with Christ, and sharing in his thousand-year, glorious reign. This two-stage view of the resurrection maintained the distinction between Israel and the church through the Millennium and into eternity. In contrast to the teachings of historicist premillennialism, and their expectation of future earthly bliss, dispensationalism tended – to a greater or lesser degree – to lay emphasis on the heavenly aspect of the church’s hope and, in particular, on her expectation of unity with Christ throughout eternity (Sweetnam 2006). As a result, dispensational commentators were inclined to downplay the relevance of the Millennium and the Church’s involvement in it. This emphasis has varied, and more recently there has, perhaps, been a tendency to stress the earthly, as well as the heavenly, aspects of the dispensational hope. The story of the protestant view of death, dying, and the afterlife, then, is one of continuity and change. Heaven and hell, the two dipoles of eternal existence, continue to dominate, but the ways in which the significance of these eternal destinies for the present have been understood have been subject to considerable changes of emphasis. A more fundamental challenge to the orthodox, protestant position on these issues has taken place in recent decades, as the “doctrine of hell has fallen on hard times, and [. . .] has become a scandal or embarrassment to a large number of Christians” (Moore 2006: 301). In liberal Protestantism, hell has been pushed to the margins by either a universalism that posits that all will be saved, or by a non-literal approach to Scripture, which interprets allegorically those passages that speak of eternal torment. Even within evangelicalism, where a literal approach to the interpretation of Scripture continues to be the norm, there have been a number of significant challenges to the doctrine of

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eternal punishment. Perhaps the most significant of these is annihilationism (or conditional immortality). Annihilationism denies the reality of eternal punishment, positing, instead, a period of judgment after which the soul ceases to exist. Thus, only those who are saved are immortal; those who are damned will cease to exist at some point in the future (there is no consensus on the exact location of this point). Universalism has also increased in popularity, in part, perhaps, as a result of its popularity within the emergent church movement (McLaren 2008; Bell 2011; see also McCauley 2013). These theories enjoyed some currency in evangelicalism in the nineteenth century, and they have enjoyed a new popularity – and provoked much vigorous debate – in recent decades (Packer 1997; McCauley 2013; Blanchard 2014).

References Bebbington, D. W. (1989) Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s, London: Routledge. Bell, R. (2011) Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, New York: HarperOne. Betts, F. W. (1916) Billy Sunday, the Man and Method, Boston, MA: Murray Press. Blanchard, J. (2014) Whatever Happened to Hell?, Darlington: Evangelical Press. Cambers, A. (2011) Godly Reading: Print, Manuscript and Puritanism in England, 1580–1720, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dodderidge, P. (1755) “And Will the Judge Descend?” Hymnary.org. Online: . [Accessed 28 January 2016]. Donne, J., and T. Healy (eds.) (1969) Ignatius His Conclave, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edwards, J., & Smolinski, R. (eds.) (1741) Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God: A Sermon Preached at Enfield, July 8th, 1741. Electronic Texts in American Studies. Paper 54. Available at: [Accessed 4 October 2016]. Erasmus, D. (1538) Preparation to Deathe A Booke as Deuout as Eloquent, Compiled by Erasmus Roterodame, London: In aedibus Thomae Bertheleti regii impressoris. excus. Hall, P. (1842) The Harmony of Protestant Confessions: Exhibiting the Faith of the Churches of Christ, Reformed after the Pure and Holy Doctrine of the Gospel throughout Europe, London: John F. Shaw. McCauley, P. (2013) He That Believeth Not. . . The Errors of Universalism and Annihilationism Explored, Kilmarnock: John Ritchie. MacCulloch, D. (2004) Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490–1700, London: Viking. MacCulloch, D. (2010) A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, London: Viking. Mangum, R. T., & Sweetnam, M. S. (2009) The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church, Colorado Springs: Paternoster Publishing. Marsden, G. M. (2003) Jonathan Edwards: A Life, Yale: Yale University Press. Marshall, P. (2006) “Angels around the Deathbed: Variations on a Theme in the English Art of Dying,” in Marshall, Peter, and Walsham, Alexandra (eds.), Angels in the Early Modern World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 83–103. Moore, E. (2006) “Hell,” in Campbell-Jack, C., and McGrath, G. (eds.), New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics, Leicester: InterVarsity Press, pp. 301–304. Noll, M. (2010) The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys, Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. Packer, J. I. (1997) “Evangelical Annihilationism in Review,” Reformation & Revival, 6:2: 37–51.

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Poole, K. (2011) Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare’s England: Spaces of Demonism, Divinity, and Drama, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shadduck, B. H. (1894) “I Dreamed That the Great Judgment Morning,” Hymnary.org. Available at: [Accessed 28 January 2016]. Spence, M. (2015) Heaven on Earth: Reimagining Time and Eternity in Nineteenth-Century British Evangelicalism, Cambridge: James Clarke and Co. Stunt, T. C. F. (2000) From Awakening to Secession, Edinburgh: T&T Clark. Sweetnam, M. S. (2006) “Tensions in Dispensational Eschatology,” in Newport, K. G. C., and Gribben, C. (eds.), Expecting the End: Millennialism in Social and Historical Context, Waco, TX: Baylor Univ Press, 173–192. Sweetnam, M. S., & Gribben, C. (2009) “J. N. Darby and the Irish Origins of Dispensationalism,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 52:3, 569–577. Tracy, J. (1842) The Great Awakening: A History of the Revival of Religion in the Time of Edwards and Whitefield, New York: Tappen and Dennett.

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Mormon afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Daniel Belnap Like other Christian denominations, Latter-Day Saints have a rich tradition regarding the afterlife. Yet the Latter-Day Saint conception is tied directly to the unique doctrinal understanding found within the faith, particularly the role of an embodied eternal existence as a requisite of salvation. This role manifests itself physically in the Latter-Day Saint temples, in which the living church members recognize their ongoing relationships between the dead, the divine, and themselves. Thus, to understand the significance of the afterlife in Latter-Day Saint practice requires one to understand the Latter-Day Saint cosmology.

Cosmology and role of afterlife Latter-Day Saint salvation hinges on an ontological understanding in which the nature of God is the same nature as that of humankind. In other words, Latter-Day Saints understand God to be the same type of being as man is, but in a higher, greater state (www.lds.org/topics/God-the-Father).1 This ontology has ramifications concerning the purpose of existence, the most important for this chapter being that all states of existence prior to judgment are meant to prepare and develop man to not only return to the presence of God, but to, in fact, become like God, even attain the same state in which God now exists (www.lds.org/topics/becoming-like-god). Thus the divine intention of God is likened to that of a father seeking to provide his children with all the advantages that he himself has. The church’s doctrines and practices are aimed at bringing about that fulfillment. With this foundational doctrine, Latter-Day Saints understand that there are stages of existence, beginning in pre-mortality, including mortality, continuing into post-mortality, and culminating in a physically resurrected eternal state. Fundamental in this is the recognition that individuals retain self-identity and agency to make decisions concerning their salvation as they progress from state to state in a process referred to as “the plan of salvation” (lds.org/topics/plan-of-salvation). The traditional

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Christian states of heaven and hell are present in this cosmology, but their nature and purpose differ. In the most general sense, for the Latter-Day Saint, heaven is “the place where God lives” and the ultimate “home of the faithful.” Yet this basic answer does not fully encompass Latter-Day Saint understanding, which includes multiple localities of eternal “glory” based on the individual’s moral and ethical state. This belief is understood to have been present in New Testament Christianity with Christ himself stating that “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2) as well as Paul’s experience of being “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). This concept was expanded by Joseph Smith in his vision experienced on February 16, 1832, subsequently recorded as section 76 of The Doctrine and Covenants, a book of LDS scripture that contains revelations received by Joseph Smith and part of the LDS canon. Likewise, hell is understood to be a term for both a temporary state following death but prior to resurrection to which those who have not had the opportunity to hear the fullness of the gospel (i.e., the revealed truth held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) or who were disobedient to that fullness while in mortality, as well as the term designating the final, eternal state for Satan and his followers. In the case of the latter, Satan and those who follow him all the way to judgment are to experience the “second death,” a term denoting one who chooses not to be redeemed via Christ and his atonement and therefore cannot enter into the presence of God. More pertinent to this volume is the Latter-Day Saint conception of the afterlife, which precedes judgment, commonly referred to as the “spirit world.” This state is further divided into two categories. The first of these is referred to as paradise, the place where the righteous go to await the resurrection and is noted by being a place of peace and happiness. The second is termed “spirit prison,” derived from 1 Peter 3:19–20, which describes Christ preaching to the spirits in prison following his death but prior to his resurrection (an event more commonly known in Christianity as the “Harrowing of Hell”). As noted above, this particular state may also be designated as hell, but because it includes individuals who have not accepted the gospel and are awaiting the opportunity to be taught, it may be best understood as a state similar to sheol or hades, the Hebrew and Greek localities wherein the dead resided. If those who reside in spirit prison accept the gospel taught to them, then they are ushered into paradise to await judgment (www.lds.org/topics/hell; see also www.lds. org/topics/paradise). As noted above, LDS doctrine recognizes that those in the spirit world still retain moral agency to make decisions, particularly about their own salvific state. Those who are interested may be taught by others who have already accepted the gospel of Christ in mortality and who died firm in the faith, or by those who were converted while in spirit form following death. In either case, missionary outreach is a primary responsibility for the Latter-Day Saints after they have died. In fact, the faith makes the bold claim that all who have ever existed on this earth will hear the gospel message in its entirety and be able to choose or reject it with a full understanding of this choice and its outcomes.

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Coinciding with this doctrine are the rituals, or ordinances, that define the Latter-Day Saint experience. Like Catholicism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints affirms that ordinances are not just symbols of faith, but necessary for salvation. The ordinances themselves include: baptism, ordination to the priesthood for worthy males, the endowment (more on this below), and sealings, most often experienced in the form of marriage. The last type of ordinance “seals,” or binds, the individual to a family unit. In the case of marriage, the husband and wife are sealed together; in the case of children, they are sealed to parents. When these sealings are performed by one holding the proper authority, the relationships are recognized as eternal, thus providing a family structure that is understood to be necessary for exaltation, or the divine state that one may obtain. While the church emphasizes the importance of marriage, with its attendant sealing, because of its necessity in the attaining of the highest exalted state following judgment, it also recognizes that this arrangement is not achieved by all who experience mortality. In these cases, again because of the importance placed on the agency of the individual, it is believed that those who desire to enter into a marriage relationship will be able to do so prior to judgment. The specifics as to how this happens is unclear, though it appears that such relationships may be initiated in the spirit world (Handbook 2, 1.3.2: www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/ families-and-the-church-in-gods-plan). The same holds true for all who have not had the opportunity to participate in the salvific ordinances while alive. To resolve this problem, members of the church perform these ordinances on behalf of deceased individuals, though it is understood that these are not binding on a deceased individual unless he or she decides to recognize their validity as noted above. These are performed in buildings specifically designated to do so, termed “temples,” along with marriages for the living as well as the sealing of children to parents for families that convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The actual practice will be discussed below.

Historical development Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was officially organized on April 6, 1830, many of the founding principles had been established years earlier. In the early spring of 1820, Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, while praying in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York, experienced a theophany in which God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, as two separate entities, appeared in answer to Joseph’s prayers. On this event, the unique ontology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints rests, as Joseph was led to understand that the two beings were not different in type from himself, but in state, being glorified, resurrected beings as opposed to his mortal self. Though only fifteen at the time, Joseph was led to understand that he had been chosen to be a prophet similar to individuals called in the Bible. This narrative, commonly known among the membership of the church as the First

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Vision, is canonized in The Pearl of Great Price, one of the volumes of scripture that make up the standard works, or officially recognized books of scripture, in a section known as the Joseph Smith-History. During the next ten years until the official organization of the church, Joseph went through an intense training period, including the reception and translation of The Book of Mormon and other heavenly visitations. One series of visitations is of particular importance to the subject of this volume. During the night of September 21, 1823, Joseph was visited three times by Moroni, a physically resurrected individual who was the last prophet and recorder of The Book of Mormon. Though the primary purpose of the visits was to prepare Joseph to receive the original plates from which The Book of Mormon was translated, according to Joseph, Moroni placed the reception of the plates within a larger set of biblical prophecies concerning the last days. Among the prophecies was Moroni’s version of Malachi 4:5–6: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith-History, 28–47). The text spoken by Moroni differs from the original KJV text emphasizing the bestowal of the priesthood, God’s authority to man on earth, as well as the significance of covenants, or promises, in the future church. It is not clear as to how the church interpreted this prophecy at its organization. Though the priesthood was restored to Joseph through visitations by John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, the last official holders of the priesthood prior to Joseph Smith, it was not until April 1836 that the promised visitation of Elijah occurred. Prior to 1836, it appears that the prophecy was understood to refer to missionary work in general. For instance, in August 1833, a revelation to the church exhorted the saints to: “renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children; and again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh is consumed before me” (The Doctrine and Covenants 98:16). The establishment of the temple and its rituals was intimated early on in the church, but it wasn’t until 1836 that the church was able to build the first temple in Kirtland, Ohio. These buildings were, and still are, differentiated from regular meeting houses. Highlighting this new form of worship, the dedication of the Kirtland Temple was characterized by a pentecostal experience similar to the one recorded in Acts 2 (Harper, 2005). The dedicatory events culminated in the manifestation of Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the temple itself on April 3, 1836. After officially accepting the dedication of the temple, Jesus Christ left and three other beings appeared, giving priesthood responsibilities, known as keys, to Joseph Smith. Among the three was Elijah, who said: “Behold the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi-testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come – to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and

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the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse – therefore the keys of this dispensation [period of time in which the proper ecclesiastical organization is formed on the earth] are committed into your hands” (The Doctrine and Covenants 110:14–16). Coinciding with the building of the temple, records show that Joseph and other early members had begun to contemplate the nature of the dead. In January of 1836, while in the yet-to-be-dedicated temple, Joseph was shown a vision of heaven, therein which were a number of individuals, including his deceased older brother, Alvin. According to the text describing the vision, Joseph was surprised to see his brother: “[I] marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins” (Doctrine and Covenants 137:6). As evidenced by this statement, it appears that prior to this time, the early saints believed that those who were not baptized while living did not experience salvation, i.e., worthiness to dwell in the presence of God. In response to his statement, Joseph recorded the Lord as saying: “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs in the celestial kingdom of God. Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom. For I the Lord will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts” (Doctrine and Covenants 137:7–9). This is the first official indication that the church would recognize the continuity of agency as well as that of self beyond death. Though it does not explicitly state that one could still act in regards to one’s salvation after death, it does imply that one’s desires were recognized and taken into account. This revelation, coupled with Elijah’s declaration, led Joseph to consider the relationship of the living with the dead in ways he had not done prior. Though no official statements were made immediately following Joseph’s vision, in 1838 in a Mormon periodical, Elder’s Journal, Joseph, responding to a question concerning those who had died without the gospel following the death of the New Testament apostles, stated: “All those who have not had an opportunity of hearing the gospel, and being administered to by an inspired man in the flesh, must have it hereafter before they can be finally judged” (Elder’s Journal, 1838: 43). His answer suggests that while in the interim period since the vision of his older brother, Joseph had been thinking about and developing further his understanding of the relationship between the living and the dead. Though the answer does not mention any specific practices, it does suggest that by 1838 Joseph had recognized the necessity of vicarious work on behalf of the dead. It would be another two years before Joseph declared that such work could be done. At the funeral of a Seymour Brunson in August of 1840, Joseph mentioned the possibility of baptisms performed by the living on behalf of the dead. Basing part of his sermon off of 1 Corinthians 15:29, which appears to reference the performance of such baptisms by early Christians, Joseph declared that further revelation was coming

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on the subject, but that it was now possible for living family members to be baptized on behalf of their own deceased (Baugh, 2015). Still, it wasn’t until September 1842 that the doctrine was made official as currently recorded in the 128th section of The Doctrine and Covenants. The revelation begins with instruction concerning the proper keeping of records and the role of record-keeping to establish the validity of one’s participation in the ordinances necessary for salvation. The importance of these records is particularly stressed in relation to the dead “for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their own works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents” (v. 8). The “ordinances” referred to was specifically baptism, which the church states must be performed for salvation, following Christ’s instructions in John 3, that all men must be baptized to enter into the kingdom of God. Noting that Paul alluded to baptisms for the dead in 1 Corinthians 15:29, Joseph then tied the Malachi prophecy to the new work for the dead: “I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other – and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead” (The Doctrine and Covenants 128:18). This marked the first time that the prophecy was formally recognized as referring to the ongoing relationships between the living and the dead. Not only did the revelation provide the saints the opportunity to save their dead, but it also highlighted the importance of the work in their own salvation. In fact, Joseph made clear that “we [the living] without them [the dead] cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect,” suggesting that this new work was going to be an essential part of the Latter-Day Saint worship. Intriguingly, this dyadic relationship is made triadic by Joseph in the next sentence: “Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also” (The Doctrine and Covenants 128:18). How exactly this group interacts with the two other groups is not clear from the text. It appears that it refers to righteous individuals who had died in earlier dispensations, but there is no elaboration on the specifics as to how they are significant. Yet reference to this group continued the ongoing and developing understanding that individuals following mortality retained not only their sense of self, but also the ability to act as independent agents. This pivotal revelation ends with Joseph’s invitation to the membership of the church: “Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-Day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation” (The Doctrine and Covenants 128:18, v. 24). The saints took up the challenge, and baptisms for the dead commenced in Nauvoo even before the completion of the temple. Seventy-five years later, during the ministry of the sixth prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, further revelation was received concerning the state of the dead and the continuity of agency. According to church history, while

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contemplating 1 Peter 3:18–20 and 4:6, and the state of those to whom Christ preached during his interment, the prophet Joseph F. Smith was shown Christ instructing the righteous dead, the same individuals as Joseph Smith’s third group, concerning their ministry to the remainder of the dead: 30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed in power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men and thus was the gospel preached to the dead. 31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel. 32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets. 33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying of hands, 34 and all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross. (The Doctrine and Covenants 138:30–35) With this revelation, the continuity of agency was established as official doctrine and has remained as such since. Joseph F. Smith’s revelation also harmonized the work for the dead with the missionary work performed by members while living. 57 I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead. 58 The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God [the temple], 59 and after they have paid the penalty of their transgressions, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heirs of salvation. (The Doctrine and Covenants 138:57–59) Thus, the righteous dead now included not only those who were deceased from earlier dispensations, but also those who died within this dispensation. Moreover, it highlighted the continuity between the growing emphasis of missionary work among the living and the increased role of work of the dead in church practice.

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Finally, the revelation also confirmed the current interpretation of the Malachi prophecy. In a section mentioning notable members of the righteous dead chosen to perform the missionary work in the spirit world, both Malachi and Elijah were included: “And Malachi, the prophet who testified of the coming of Elijah – of whom also Moroni spake to the Prophet Joseph Smith, declaring that he should come before the ushering in of the great and dreadful day of the Lord – were also there. The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord . . . for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming” (Doctrine and Covenants 138, vs. 46–48). Since the official recognition of both revelations by the church body, Latter-Day Saints have engaged in work for the dead by emphasizing the importance of establishing one’s own family history/genealogy and performing the salvific ordinances on their behalf in temples specifically built for this purpose. As of this writing, there are 143 temples in operation with another fifteen under construction and twelve more announced although construction has not begun. Though entrance is restricted to those who are practicing members of the church, prior to the dedication all are invited in to see the temple. Practice As noted above, the beliefs of the church are reflected in the performance of ordinances, rituals that highlight the nature of the relationship between God and man and that prepare one to attain one’s full potential as a divine being, one of the more striking being the endowment. This ordinance includes covenants made by the participants concerning moral and ethical behavior that harmonizes with those taught by Christ as found in the scriptures as well as investiture in clothing symbolizing this spiritual transformation. The entire ceremony is considered sacred and is not shared outside of the temple building in order to retain the sacred nature, but the rites themselves reflect and enhance the intended spiritual transformation made by those agreeing to live according to the covenants. While these ordinances are performed by the living for themselves, they are also performed vicariously for the dead. The temple work for the dead itself consists of three elements echoing the same order as that performed for the living: the rites associated with baptism, the individual’s endowment, and the sealing (if possible) of the individual to members of their immediate family (i.e., spouse and children). Regarding the first, each temple is equipped with a baptismal font situated underground to emphasize that the baptisms performed there are for the dead. The font itself rests on the back of twelve carved oxen, similar to the brazen sea in Solomon’s temple (see 1 Kings 7:23–26), which suggests that baptism for the dead, like baptism for the living, adopts one into the house of Israel. Having been baptized, if the deceased individual is male, then the representative is ordained to the priesthood on his behalf. The deceased individual now has their endowment performed on their behalf. Like an endowment for a living individual, the

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deceased is given the opportunity via vicarious participants to accept and enter into a covenant relationship with God emphasizing the high moral and ethical standards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints espouses. This is understood to coincide with the missionary work performed in the spiritual world. The final element is that of sealing. In this rite, individuals representing the deceased are “sealed” to each other, meaning that the relationships between the represented persons, either as married or as sons or daughters to a married couple, are recognized by the priesthood and thus made eternally binding and to be recognized by God, thus highlighting again the role of the family in LDS salvation, as noted above. Again, it should be stressed, that while these ordinances are performed for the deceased, the ordinances are not considered efficacious unless the individual for whom they are performed accepts them. Though not a part of the work for the dead, the church also has formal funerary practices. Unlike the deceased who are not members of the church, deceased members have already performed these necessary salvific ordinances, thus the temple performances described above are not necessary. A typical Latter-Day Saint funeral consists of the services, usually held at the local church building, and the dedication of the gravesite itself. Because the funeral is held at the church building, the event is considered to be a church meeting. It is presided over by the highest-ranking church authority present and is conducted by the local church leader (the bishop). Talks are delivered by members of the immediate family, church leaders, or others specifically requested by the family. Participants are encouraged to keep the proceedings within a manageable time frame (an hour to an hour and a half), to avoid lengthy sermons, and to emphasize the doctrines of Christ’s atonement and the resurrection. In fact, the church’s official instruction is that discussion of these principles are the “essential purpose” of these services. Family is encouraged to avoid excessiveness in all aspects: food, clothing, and music, but instead to recognize the sacred nature of the meeting. As for the burial itself, while cremation is not encouraged, it is not mandatory to be buried. What is expected is that if the deceased is a member in full standing who had attended the temple he or she is to be buried in their temple clothing. If they cannot be buried in the clothing for whatever reason, the clothing should be folded neatly and placed near the body in the coffin. In the case of cremation, they are still to be dressed in the temple clothing. The reason for this is not provided, but it is possibly to signify that the blessings of the temple continued beyond mortality, as well as signifying the true divine nature of all mankind. An important rite associated with the burial is the dedicating of the grave. It is performed by one holding the priesthood who consecrates the plot as a “resting place for the body of the deceased, prays that the place will be hallowed and protected until the Resurrection,” and “asks the Lord to comfort the family” (Handbook 2.20.9: www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/priesthood-ordinancesand-blessings). While this rite is not necessary for salvation, it is one of many other ordinances (such as the naming of a child, the blessing of the sick, and the dedication of church buildings and homes) whose primary function is to comfort the living by

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revealing God’s will or creating an environment that may become, if an individual is worthy, conducive to the feeling of God’s love. Both ritual practices, those associated with the actual burial and those performed in the temple for the deceased, emphasize the ontological understanding of the LDS faith. Indeed, while these ritual processes are performed on behalf of the dead, they provide meaning and a sense of purpose for those performing them as well. Thus the rites and doctrines serve to link both living and dead to an eternal family headed by God the Father, and in so doing, provide the means for all humankind to achieve the true divine potential that defines us all.

Note 1 Though there is a rich bibliography both within and without Latter-Day Saint scholarship concerning LDS cosmology and the afterlife, there is no catechism or encyclopedia of belief that represents the official doctrine. With that said there are three sources that are understood to represent the official status of any given doctrine: 1) the canon of scripture, which includes the Doctrine and Covenants, a set of texts providing revelation given to the early prophets of the church; 2) the General Handbook of Instructions, which is an online resource to church laymembers and church leadership concerning administrative responsibilities (www.lds.org/handbook/handbook2-administering-the-church); and 3) www.mormonnewsroom.org and www.lds.org/topics. In the case of the latter, these two online resources are reviewed and approved by the current church leadership and represent the general Latter-Day Saint belief in continuing divine revelation.

References Baugh, Alexander L. (2015) “‘For Their Salvation Is Necessary and Essential to Our Salvation’: Joseph Smith and the Practice of Baptism and Confirmation For the Dead.” In Kenneth L. Alford and Richard E. Bennett, Eds., An Eye of Faith. Salt Lake City, UT: Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, pp. 113–138. The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1981) Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Harper, Steven C. (2005) “‘A Pentacostal and Endowment Indeed’: Six Eyewitness Accounts of the Kirtland Temple Experience,” In Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820– 1844, ed. by John W. Welch, pp. 327–72. Provo, Salt Lake City, Utah: Brigham Young University Press and Deseret Book. Smith, Joseph (1838) Elder’s Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 1, no. 3: 43.

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Christian funerary traditions Thomas G. Long

A Christian funeral is essentially understood today to be a service of worship, conducted on the occasion of a person’s death, in which customarily praise and prayers are offered to God, the hope of resurrection inaugurated by Jesus Christ is proclaimed, words of comfort and consolation are offered to the mourners, and the life of the deceased is remembered. Historically, Christian funerals, like human death rituals more generally, were formed around a basic necessity prompted by death, namely that the body of the person who has died must be taken from the place of death to a place of proper disposition. The earliest human funeral practices were built on this necessity. Every human society has recognized that the bodies of the dead cannot be left among the living but are necessarily removed in a timely manner and taken to a pit, a pyre, a cave, a mountain, the sea, or to another place where the natural decomposition of the body can take place without contaminating the living. But this is no merely perfunctory action. Virtually every human society has performed this necessary task with ceremonies infused with symbolic and religious meanings. Even Neanderthal graves five hundred centuries old show evidence of being decorated with flowers and objects of art, signs that these earliest humans sought to invest the burial of the dead with beauty, tenderness, and sacred significance. Originally what we now call a “funeral” (including a Christian funeral) consisted of the actions, words, and gestures performed and spoken as the body was being prepared, transported, and disposed. The funeral, through both what was said and how the actions were performed, stood as a dramatic expression of society’s understanding of and convictions about the meanings inherent in this series of events. Since the nineteenth century, however, especially in Europe and North America, funeral ceremonies, while still prompted by an occasion of death, have nevertheless often become disconnected from the actual preparation and disposition of the body and have, thus, become somewhat free-standing rituals.

The early development of Christian funeral rites What can be broadly termed a “Christian funeral rite,” that is, one in which the actions and words of the funeral are distinctly shaped by Christian liturgy and belief, developed

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slowly over the first centuries of the church’s history. Sources from the very earliest period of church history are few and scattered, but we can discern at least the broad outlines of this development. In the earliest days of the Christian movement, Christians continued to bury their dead according to the customs they had inherited from their contexts, mainly Roman and Jewish practices, but they gradually modified those practices according to their new faith. For example, Roman custom called for a meal to be shared among the relatives of the deceased and other mourners as a part of the funeral, with food symbolically provided for the deceased, and wealthy Romans often transformed this meal tradition into lavish and expensive feasts. The third-century Latin churchman Tertullian railed out against this practice on two grounds: cost and nonsensical theology. Not only were these mortuary banquets wasteful displays of wealth, Tertullian said, they contradicted the common Roman view that nothing of the person survives after death. “And yet they do honor to their dead,” Tertullian quipped sarcastically, [. . .] and that too in the most expensive way according to their bequest, and with the daintiest banquets which the seasons can produce, on the presumption that those whom they declare to be incapable of all perception still retain an appetite. (Tertullian, 1995a, ch. 1) Even as their theologians mocked the Roman funerary meal, Christians nevertheless adapted the practice and developed a funeral meal of their own, frequently observing the Eucharist at graveside. Likewise, Christians inherited and adapted Jewish funeral practices (Rowell, 1977: 4). The earliest Christians maintained Jewish convictions about the sacredness of the body of the deceased. Like Jews, early Christians understood the human body as a gift from the Creator, in New Testament terms “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:9). This view prompted them to prepare the bodies of the dead lovingly for burial. Early Christians cared not only for the bodies of their own dead but also for the bodies of the indigent, a practice that shocked polite Roman society, which considered a corpse to be “a bag of dung.” But Christians not only adopted Jewish regard for the body, they also adapted it by intensifying it. Even for Jews, the dead human body, while treated with continued respect, was nevertheless a source of ritual uncleanness, and those who handled the corpse were, as the Torah indicated, in need of purification (see Numbers 19:11–13). But Christians believed Jesus had changed the purity laws, and the bodies of their dead were holy vessels, the bodies of saints. The early church historian Eusebius quotes a pastoral letter that describes how Christians treated those who had died in a plague: “With willing hands they raised the bodies of the saints to their bosoms; they closed their eyes and mouths, carried them on their shoulders, and laid them out; they clung to them, embraced them, and wrapped them in grave clothes” (Eusebius, 1995, 7.22). By means of these borrowings and adaptations, Christians gradually made their way toward distinctive funeral rites that intentionally expressed the gospel. As early as the

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third century, Tertullian described the case of the funeral of a devout young woman, noting that “the priest began the appointed office,” implying that there was some kind of standard funeral liturgy in use (Tertullian, 1995b, 51). What this “appointed office” was we do not know, and it is another two centuries before documents begin to reveal more fully the shape and content of Christian funerals. Even then, the evidence is sparse and practices no doubt displayed considerable variety among dispersed Christian communities. Indeed, no one fixed pattern for Christian funerals has ever prevailed across the churches. On the other hand, amid this multiplicity of customs, the narrative of Jesus’s own death and burial, plus shared convictions about baptism, the Christian life, and resurrection, formed an imprint on Christian funeral practices everywhere and created marked “family resemblances” among Christians in all places. By the fifth century, we can see the outlines of a basic Christian funeral custom: when a Christian lay dying, loved ones gathered around, praying and offering comfort. When death occurred, the body would be tenderly and reverently washed (a female by women, a male by men) and wrapped in a simple shroud. Unlike Roman practices, no final kiss was given to catch the fleeting immortal soul (Christians believed that God had created humanity from the “dust of the ground” by breathing “into his nostrils the breath of life,” thus forging a unity of body and soul – see Genesis 2:7), no Roman coin was placed in the mouth of the corpse to pay for transit to the next life (Christ had already paid the price), and (if the best ethical instruction of the church was followed) the body, even of a wealthy Christian, was not given worldly status by being vested in a toga. Usually within a day, the body would be carried on a bier in broad daylight (not at night, which was the Roman practice) to the graveside by the mourners, all wearing white baptismal robes (no red and black, the mourning colors of Romans), and singing psalms and hymns as they traveled. At the graveside, a Eucharist would be celebrated, and the community would, as was the custom, greet each other with a kiss, including the deceased, who was still among the faithful by virtue of being joined into the communion of the saints. And then, with tears, songs, affirmations of hope in the resurrection, and prayers of thanksgiving, the body would be buried and the deceased entrusted to the care of God. Christians thus laid to rest were sometimes described as “sleeping in Christ.” The word “cemetery” (= “sleeping place”) originated because of this image of the dead as asleep in Christ. However, early Christians (as do Christians today) debated whether those who were “asleep in Christ” were already raised and in the presence of God or whether they lay dormant, awaiting the general resurrection of the dead at the end of all things. This early Christian funeral, then, was formed around the great human necessity at death – the movement of the dead body to the place of disposition – but it performed that necessity in ways that publicly proclaimed the hope of the resurrection, the character of the Christian life, and the identity of the deceased as a baptized saint. The Christian who had died was washed in baptism at the beginning of her Christian life, and her body was now washed again at the end. She had put on the clothes of baptism at the beginning, and she was now shrouded in a baptismal garment at the end. She had journeyed through the Christian life with her brothers and sisters in

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Christ, worshipping together and bearing one another’s burdens along the way, and now she was borne by them to the place of farewell, as they sang psalms and hymns. The Christian funeral was now more than an accomplishment of a human necessity; it was, in their minds, a form of proclamation that announced that, just as she had been plunged into the waters of baptism and buried with Christ in a death like his, now, at the grave, she was on the threshold of the promise of participation in a resurrection like his (Romans 6:3–4). Some expressions of these practices and convictions can be observed in the funeral instructions given in the fourth-century church manual that has come to be called the Apostolic Constitutions: [You shall] assemble in the cemeteries, reading the holy books, and singing for the martyrs who are fallen asleep in the Lord, and for all the saints from the beginning of the world, and for your brethren that are asleep in the Lord; and offer the acceptable Eucharist, the representation of the royal body of Christ, both in your churches and in the cemeteries; and, at the funerals of the departed, accompany them forth with songs if they were faithful in Christ. For, Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Apostolic Constitutions 6:30) In this same document, we can see that early Christian funeral practices, which began with care of the dying and proceeded through the burial of the dead, also continued into a period of mourning afterward: Let the third day of the departed be celebrated with psalms, and lessons, and prayers, on account of Him who arose within the space of three days; and let the ninth day be celebrated in remembrance of the living, and of the departed; and the fortieth day according to the ancient pattern: for so did the people lament Moses, and the anniversary day in memory of him. And let alms be given to the poor out of his goods for a memorial of him. (Apostolic Constitutions 8:42) Several forces are in play, giving shape to the period of mourning. First, there is the life of Christ (thus the celebration after three days), Jewish and Roman antecedents (the ninth-day “remembrance of the living”), biblical precedent (the fortieth-day lamentation), and the wider culture (the anniversary day memorial).

Later developments in Christian funerals By the fifth century, then, the basic pattern for the Christian funeral liturgy had been established, even as the actual performance of it certainly varied somewhat from locale to locale. This basic pattern remained essentially intact until the late nineteenth

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century, but it was consistently modified in various ways because of theological changes, cultural shifts, and practical and technological considerations. For example, in terms of theological changes, the development of the doctrine of purgatory in the medieval period in the West funded elaborations in Christian mourning practices, especially the addition of “votive masses” conducted on behalf of the dead. The monastic movement and the increasing tendency to demarcate differences between lay and clergy resulted in the creation of different funeral liturgies for laypeople and the various ranks of clergy. Gradually, the specialized commemorations developed for monks and other clergy doubled back and were made available to ordinary Christians (Paxton, 1990: 199). Or again, the theological conviction that every act of worship should be performed strictly according to the biblical Word of God, led the early leaders of the Reformed tradition, who were repulsed by what they deemed to be the excesses of Catholic and Anglican funerals, to dictate that the dead be buried “without any ceremony” whatsoever. In terms of cultural shifts, examples would include an increasing emphasis on the nature of the “self” and on personal identity in the modern period, which influenced Christian funerals by elaborating and underscoring the eulogizing aspects of the liturgy. Advances in medicine and the commensurate decrease in infant mortality rendered infant deaths all the more unusual and tragic, which resulted in the addition of special prayers for the death of a child and sometimes the creation of funeral liturgies exclusively for infants or children. Examples of practical and technological considerations include the development in the nineteenth century of easily applied chemical embalming methods, which had the effect of lengthening the average time between death and burial; the increasing acceptance in some regions of cremation as a means of bodily disposition; and the rise, beginning in the nineteenth century, of “funeral parlors” or “funeral homes,” which tended to transfer responsibility for the care of the dead from families to professionals. But even as these theological, cultural, and practical forces rose and fell, increased and diminished, established themselves and then transformed into different versions of themselves, the central features of the Christian funeral were maintained.

The form of the Christian funeral The basic Christian funeral rite is a drama with five sequential “acts”: 1) gathering, 2) procession, 3) service of prayer and word, 4) Holy Communion, and 5) sending (Long, 2009: 154), usually conducted in three separate locations: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the cemetery (Bradshaw, 2002: 215; see also Long, Rowell, and Rutherford, 1990). 1

The Gathering – At the appointed hour, the community gathers, just as they would assemble for any other service of worship, from their homes or places of work to the place of the funeral service – often the church building, but sometimes the

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2

3

4

graveside, the crematory, the funeral home chapel, or other place. Until recent times, the body of the deceased would normally have been prepared for burial at home and would be a part of this gathering as pallbearers carried the body to the place of worship. The Processional – Christians believe that death has changed, but not entirely destroyed, the relationship to the one who has died. The deceased has entered into what is often called “the church triumphant,” into the company of the saints, and the funeral is a ritual representation of that journey. In this sense, the funeral symbolically takes place in two “time zones,” the temporal and the eternal. When the body of the deceased arrives at the place of worship, in some ways this is simply the arrival of another worshipper as the community gathers. In another sense, however, the arrival of the deceased is understood to be, for this saint, the “last mile of the way” on the heavenly pilgrimage. Therefore, the arrival of the body of the deceased is treated in two ways in the funeral. In one regard, the body arrives at the place of worship just as every other member of the assembly arrives – as a part of the gathering. In another regard, though, the arrival of the deceased is seen as part of a transfiguration from this world to the next, and is treated ritually as a processional. Sometimes this procession takes place in silence, as the coffin is put into position in the place of worship, and sometimes this procession is accompanied by significant words (“We greet our brother/sister, a sheep of God’s own fold, a lamb of God’s own flock, a sinner of God’s own redeeming”), or by music of gradually increasing tempo signifying the movement that is taking place (for example, in a jazz funeral). Service of Prayer and Word – This part of the funeral consists of several elements, most often prayers for the deceased and for the mourners, readings from the scriptures, a homily or sermon, and often remembrances of the life of the deceased. The Service of Prayer and Word customarily takes place inside a building – a church, a funeral home chapel, a crematorium, or other – for reasons both theological and practical. On the theological side, when this part of the service occurs in the church, it becomes symbolically connected to the larger worship life of the assembly, particularly to baptism and other pivotal liturgical events in the Christian life that have occurred in this place. On the practical side, a building simply is a matter of convenience, a place with shelter and seating for this portion of the funeral. The rubrics in early editions of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer indicate that the procession bearing the body of the deceased would be met by the priest at the churchyard gate, and that priest and procession would proceed directly to the gravesite, bypassing the church building altogether. So, the church or chapel building is simply a “way-station,” a convenient and symbolically rich place for the procession to pause as it moves along its way to the grave. Holy Communion – Not all Christian groups today continue the ancient custom of observing a Eucharist at a funeral. When a Eucharist is observed, however, it is considered to be an eschatological banquet in which those present and those who have died are gathered with Christ at the table. While the communion elements

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5

are usually not placed next to the body of the deceased, nevertheless, theologically the deceased is viewed as a participant in the meal, “feasting in glory” as the assembly partakes of the Eucharistic meal. Sending – In Christian liturgy generally, each major ritual contains a central act that forms the focal point of that ritual (e.g., the imposition of water in baptism, the exchanging of vows in a wedding). In a Christian funeral, the Sending, the symbolic handing over of the deceased into the hand of God, forms this central act. The whole funeral symbolically enacts the movement from baptism to eternal life, and the act of Sending forms the essence of the whole drama. In many funerals, the Sending consists of two parts: the commendation and the committal. The commendation is modeled on Jesus’s last words on the cross: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46, in which Jesus is reciting Psalm 31:5). An example of a prayer of commendation in current use can be found in The Book of Common Prayer: Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant N. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer 2007: 499)

The committal consists of prayers and pronouncements made as the body of the deceased is entrusted to the place of disposition – the grave, the fire, the sea, etc. An example of a current committal pronouncement is as follows: Eternal rest grant unto him/her, O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him/her. May he/she rest in peace. Amen. May his/her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. (Order of Christian Funeral: Rite of Committal 1989: 36)

Current issues Because of the rise of secularism in society generally and because of changing theological and cultural attitudes among Christians more particularly, funeral practices have undergone dramatic changes over the last century, especially in Europe and North America (see Bowman 1959). Among these changes are the following: 1

A shift toward the mourner and “grief management” – Historically, as seen above, Christian funeral rites focused upon the preparation and transit of the body of the

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2

3

4

deceased and were an expression of a basic theological image, namely that the deceased is a baptized saint traveling toward God and accompanied by the faithful in Christ. The weakening of traditional views of eschatology, the loss of currency in concepts of “heaven” and “hell” among many Christians, changing understandings of the self, and a rise in awareness of the psychological dynamics of mourning all combined to encourage a new focus for funerals, namely the mourner and the emotional process of grief. Many recent Christian death practices have been detached from the physical necessity of preparing and burying the dead and have become instead more free-standing ceremonies focused on the need for meaning and consolation in the time of loss. If the Christian funeral once dramatized the movement of the deceased from this life to the next, more recently funerals have focused on the movement of the mourners from grief to comfort and restoration. This shift in emphasis has led, curiously, to the rise of so-called “memorial services” in which the body of the deceased is absent altogether. The bodies of the deceased must still be attended to, of course, but now this is often done impersonally by morticians or cremation companies, or privately by families, and the funeral service itself is performed after the bodily disposition. An accompanying shift of emphasis has been away from traditional funeral liturgies and toward what are termed “celebrations of life,” ceremonies in which positive aspects of the life of the deceased are emphasized, often through storytelling and humor. Ironically, in a “celebration of life,” grief is addressed by minimizing aspects of lament and mourning. Increase in personalization – While it would never have occurred to Christians in previous centuries to “plan my funeral,” current practices are often motivated by a desire to render each funeral as a unique expression of the personality and wishes of the deceased. Sometimes the living are inventoried about what preferences they have regarding hymns, readings, and the other aspects of their funerals. Traditional “prayer book” funeral liturgies are either customized or abandoned in favor of stylized services expressive of the personality of the deceased. Sometimes photographs and other objects related to the person’s life are displayed, and videos related to the person are often shown, either before or as a part of the service. Decrease in attendance at funerals – The emphases on grief management and on personalization, joined with changing work patterns in society, have contributed to a decrease in community attendance at funerals. Except for the funerals of those who are public celebrities or for those whose deaths are particularly dramatic and tragic, most people, Christians included, attend only the funerals of relatives and very close friends. The decline in funeral attendance is matched, however, by an increase in attendance at wakes and visitations, at which personal consolation to the mourners can be more readily given and which are scheduled at more convenient times. The rise in cremation – At the beginning of the Christian movement, there was, as was the case also with Judaism, a strong preference for earth burial. This was because cremation was associated with paganism and because the burning of the human body seemed symbolically at odds with a reverence for the body as the gift

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5

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of God. Since the middle of the nineteenth century, however, the bias against cremation has been rapidly diminishing. In the United States, the cremation rate is moving rapidly toward 50% of all deaths, and it is well over 50% in Canada and much of Europe. The main reasons given for the choice of cremation are the lack of availability of cemetery space, ecology, economics, and convenience. This rise of preference for cremation, combined with the increasing cost of land and maintenance for traditional cemeteries, have spurred a rise in churches providing columbariums or “memorial gardens” where cremated remains can be placed. Digitalization – Partially connected to the rise in cremation and to the decline in the availability of traditional cemeteries is the rise in the digitalization of death rites. Even when the cremated remains of the deceased have been scattered on a lake or in a forest, there is the need to have a more focalized location to remember the dead. Therefore, online “cemeteries” have been developed with photographs and obituaries of the deceased, sometimes also including video and audio recordings of the deceased. Some funeral homes are providing streaming video of funerals and memorial services, allowing viewers to observe these services without being physically present. Interest in “green burials” – Some Christians extend their general ecological commitments and concern to care for the earth into the area of death. Since earth burial often involves the use of chemical embalming and cremation produces carbon emissions and sometimes also requires the use of chemicals, these Christians seek more environmentally friendly burial practices. These involve such customs as home preparation of the dead, burial soon after death with no embalming, and the development of so-called “green cemeteries,” burial grounds accepting only non-embalmed bodies wrapped in burial shrouds or in biodegradable coffins. Other “green” practices include the incorporation of cremated remains into artificial ocean reefs and other ecologically sensitive uses. A rise in “no service desired” – Especially in Western societies, a growing portion of the population is rejecting funeral services altogether. If the purpose of a funeral or memorial service is to manage grief, and if grief is construed as a highly personal experience, then the necessity for a public death ritual is minimized. Some Christians, feeling alienated from the conventional liturgies and practices of the institutional church, or even finding them destructive (Bowman, 1959: 157), have chosen to forego any public marking of a death in favor of private commemorations or simply personal reflection.

The future of the Christian funeral As is the case with marriage and weddings, Christian funeral practices are in a season of significant change, even radical redefinition. Some of the recent trends, such as the rise in cremation and the increased personalization of death rituals, seem to be firmly rooted now and almost surely will continue. Other changes seem more in flux and

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unpredictable. But, as is also the case with Christian weddings, the overriding impulse of the church will continue to be to engage in funeral practices that are not largely coopted by cultural norms but are shaped by the narrative of Jesus Christ and are faithfully shaped by the values of the gospel.

References The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (2007), New York: Church Publishing. Bowman, L. (1959), The American Funeral: A Study in Guilt, Extravagance, and Sublimity, Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press. Bradshaw, P., ed. (2002) “Funerals.” The New SCM Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, London: SCM. 214–227. Donaldson, James, ed. (2013) Constitution of the Holy Apostles or Apostolic Constitutions. Independently published. Eusebius (1995) “Church History.” In Alexander Roberts, Philip Schaff, James Donaldson, and Henry Wace, eds. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, vol. 1. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Long, T. (2009), Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral, Louisville: Westminster John Knox. Order of Christian Funeral: Rite of Committal (1989), Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. Paxton, F. S. (1990), Christianizing Death: The Creation of a Ritual Process in Early Medieval Europe, Ithica, NY: Cornell University Press. Rowell, G. (1977), The Liturgy of Christian Burial, London: SPCK. Rutherford, H. Richard (1990), The Death of a Christian: The Order of Christian Funerals, Collegeville, MN: Order of St. Benedict. Tertullian (1995a). “On the Resurrection of the Flesh.” In A. Cleveland Coxe, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, Philip Scaff, and Henry Wace, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. 545–594. ———. (1995b) “A Treatise on the Soul.” In A. Cleveland Coxe, Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, Philip Scaff, and Henry Wace, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. 181–235.

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Jewish views of the afterlife Dan Cohn-Sherbok

Until long after the exile (traditionally dated to 586 BCE), the Jewish people shared the view of the entire ancient world that the dead continue to exist in a shadowy realm of the nether world where they live a dull, ghostly existence. According to Kaufmann Kohler, “throughout the Biblical period no ethical idea yet permeated this conception, and no attempt was made to transform the nether world into a place of Divine judgment, of recompense for the good and evil deeds accomplished on earth” (Kohler, 1968, p. 279). This was so because Biblical Judaism stressed the importance of attaining a complete and blissful life with God during earthly life; there was no need to transfer the purpose of existence to the Hereafter. In the words of Robert Henry Charles, “So long indeed as Yahweh’s jurisdiction was conceived as limited to this life, a Yahwistic eschatology of the individual could not exist; but when at last Israel reached the great truth of monotheism, the way was prepared for the moralization of the future no less than that of the present” (Charles, 1913, p. 157). It was only then under social, economic, and political oppression that pious Jews looked beyond their bitter disappointment with this world to a future beyond the grave when virtue would receive its due reward and vice its befitting punishment (Kohler, 1968, p. 282). In the modern world, however, this traditional view has lost its hold on Jewish consciousness.

The Biblical view of the afterlife Though there is no explicit reference to the Hereafter in the Hebrew Bible, a number of expressions are used to refer to the realm of the dead. In Psalm 28: 1 and 88: 5 bor refers to a pit. In Psalm 6: 6 as well as in Job 28: 22 and 30: 23, mavet is used in a similar sense. In Psalm 22: 16 the expression afar mavet refers to the dust of death; in Exodus 15: 2 and Jonah 2: 7 the earth (eretz) is described as swallowing up the dead, and in Ezekiel 31: 14 the expression eretz tachtit refers to the nether parts of the earth where the dead dwell. Finally, the word she’ol is frequently used to refer to the dwelling of the dead in the nether world (Ps. 28: 1; 88: 5; Num. 16: 33; Ps 6: 6; Is. 38: 18). In addition, the words ge ben hinnom (Josh. 18: 16; 2 Kings 23: 10; Jer. 7: 31–32, 19: 6, 32: 35), ge hinnom (Josh. 18: 16), and ge (Jer. 2: 32; 2 Chron. 26: 9; Neh. 2: 13, 15; Neh. 3: 13)

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are used to refer to a cursed valley associated with fire and death where, according to Jeremiah, children were sacrificed as burnt offerings to Moloch and Baal (Jer. 7: 31–32; 19: 6, 32: 35). In later rabbinic literature the word ordinarily used for Hell (Gehinnom) is derived from these names. Though these passages point to a Biblical conception of an afterlife, there is no indication of a clearly defined concept. It is only later in the Graeco-Roman world that such a notion began to take shape. The idea of a future world in which the righteous would be compensated for the ills they suffered in this life was prompted by a failure to justify the ways of God by any other means. According to Biblical theodicy human beings were promised rewards for obeying God’s law and punishments were threatened for disobedience. Rewards included health, children, rainfall, a good harvest, peace, and prosperity. Punishments consisted of disease, war, pestilence, failure of crops, poverty, and slavery. As time passed, however, it became clear that life did not operate in accordance with such a tidy scheme. In response to this dilemma, the rabbis developed a doctrine of reward and punishment in the Hereafter. Such a belief helped Jews to cope with suffering in this life, and it also explained, if not the presence of evil in the world, then at least the worthwhileness of creation despite the world’s ills (See Jacobs, 1973).

The Hereafter in rabbinic thought Given that there is no explicit belief in eternal salvation in the Bible (See Jacob, 1962, vol. 2, p. 689; Kohler, 1968, p. 392), the rabbis of the post-Biblical period were faced with the difficulty of proving that the doctrine of resurrection of the dead is contained in Scripture, which they regarded as authoritative. To do this they employed certain principles of exegesis, which are based on the assumption that every word in the Torah was transmitted by God to Moses. Thus, for example, Rabbi Eleazar, the son of Rabbi Jose, claimed to have refuted the Sectarians who maintained that resurrection is not a Biblical doctrine: “I said to them: You have falsified the Torah [. . .] For ye maintain that resurrection is not a Biblical doctrine,” but it is written (Num. 15: 31ff), “Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandments, that soul shall utterly be cut off, his iniquity shall be upon him. Now, seeing that he shall utterly be cut off in this world, when shall his iniquity be upon him? Surely in the next world” (San. 90b). Again, Rabbi Meir asked, “Whence do we know resurrection from the Torah? From the verse, ‘then shall Moses and the children of Israel sing this song unto the Lord’ (Ex. 15: 1). Not ‘sang,’ but ‘sing’ is written. Since Moses and the children of Israel did not sing a second time in this life, the text must mean that they will sing after resurrection. Likewise, it is written, ‘Then shall Joshua build an altar unto the Lord God of Israel’ (Joshua 8: 30). Not ‘build’ but ‘shall build’ is stated. Thus resurrection is intimated in the Torah” (San. 91b). Similarly, Rabbi Joshua b. Levi said: “Where is resurrection derived from the Torah? From the verse, ‘Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they

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shall ever praise thee’ (Ps. 84: 5). The text does not say ‘praised thee’ but ‘shall praise thee.’ Thus we learn resurrection from the Torah” (San. 91b). The principle qualification for entrance to Heaven (Gan Eden) is to lead a good life in accordance with God’s law. Conversely, the rabbis point out that by disobeying God’s law one forfeits a share in the World to Come and is doomed to eternal punishment in Hell (Gehinnom, originally a valley near Jerusalem where Moloch was worshipped) (See Jer. 7: 31–32; 19: 6; 32: 35). According to the Mishnah there are various categories of sinners who will be damned: (1) He who says there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Torah; (2) he who says that the Torah is not from Heaven; (3) a heretic; (4) a reader of heretical books and one that utters a charm over a wound; (5) he who pronounces God’s name by supplying vowels; (6) the generation of the flood; (7) the generation of Babel; (8) the men of Sodom; (9) the twelve spies; (10) the ten lost tribes; (13) the children of the wicked; (14) the people of an apostate city; (15) those who have been executed by a rabbinical court unless they confessed their sins before death (See Super, 1967, pp. 103–108). On the basis of the discussion of these categories in the Babylonian Talmud and the remarks of sages elsewhere in rabbinic literature, Maimonides in his Guide for the Perplexed drew up a different list of those who have no share in Heaven, which has been regarded by many as authoritative (Maimonides, Laws of Repentance III, Sections 6, 7, 8).

The nature of the Hereafter The World to Come is divided into several stages: first, there is the time of the Messianic redemption. According to the Babylonian Talmud, the Messianic Age (Yemot Hamashiah) is to take place on earth after a period of decline and calamity and will result in a complete fulfilment of every human wish. Peace will reign throughout nature; Jerusalem will be rebuilt; and at the close of this era, the dead will be resurrected and rejoined with their souls, and a final judgment will come upon all humankind. Those who are judged righteous will enter into Heaven (Gan Eden), which is portrayed in various ways in rabbinic literature (See Super, 1967). One of the earliest descriptions is found in Midrash Konen, and the following extract is a representative sample of the type of elaboration in rabbinic sources: The Gan Eden at the east measures 80,000 years (at ten miles per day or 3650 miles per year.) There are five chambers for various classes of the righteous. The first is built of cedar, with a ceiling of transparent crystal. This is the habitation of non-Jews who become true and devoted converts to Judaism. They are headed by Obadiah the prophet and Onkelos the proselyte, who teach them the Law. The second is built of cedar, with a ceiling of fine silver. This is the habitation of the penitents, headed by Manasseh, King of Israel, who teaches them the Law.

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The third chamber is built of silver and gold, ornamented with pearls. It is very spacious, and contains the best of heaven and of earth, with spices, fragrance, and sweet odors. In the center of this chamber stands the Tree of Life, 500 years high. Under its shadow rest Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the tribes, those of the Egyptian exodus, and those who died in the wilderness, headed by Moses and Aaron. There are also David and Solomon, crowned, and Chileab, as if living, attending on his father, David. Every generation of Israel is represented except that of Absalom and his confederates. Moses teaches them the Law, and Aaron gives instruction to the priests. The Tree of Life is like a ladder on which the souls of the righteous may ascend and descend. In a conclave above are seated the Patriarchs, the Ten Martyrs, and those who sacrificed their lives for the cause of His Sacred Name. These souls descend daily to Gan Eden, to join their families and tribes, where they lounge on soft cathedrals studded with jewels. Everyone, according to his excellence, is received in audience to praise and thank the Ever-living God; and all enjoy the brilliant light of the Shekinah. The flaming sword, changing from intense heat to icy cold, and from ice to glowing coals, guards the entrance against living mortals. The souls on entering paradise are bathed in the 248 rivulets of balsam and attar. The fourth chamber is made of olive-wood and is inhabited by those who have suffered for the sake of their religion. Olives typify bitterness in taste and brilliancy in light (olive-oil), symbolizing persecution and its reward. The fifth chamber is built of precious stones, gold and silver, surrounded by myrrh and aloes. In front of the chamber runs the river Gihon on whose banks are planted shrubs affording perfume and aromatic incense. There are couches of gold and silver and fine drapery. This chamber is inhabited by the Messiah of David, Elijah, and the Messiah of Ephraim. In the center are a canopy made of the cedars of Lebanon, in the style of the Tabernacle, with posts and vessels of silver; and a settee of Lebanon wood with pillars of sliver and a seat of gold, the covering thereof of purple. Within rests the Messiah, son of David, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” suffering, and waiting to release Israel from the Exile. Elijah comforts and encourages him to be patient. Every Monday and Thursday, and Sabbath and on holy days the Patriarchs, Moses, Aaron, and others, call on the Messiah and condole with him, in the hope of the fast-approaching end. (Super, 1967, pp. 191–193) As with Heaven, we also find extensive and detailed descriptions of Hell in Jewish literature. In the Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Joshua b. Levi deduces the divisions of Hell from Biblical quotations: she’ol, abaddon, be’er shahat, bor sha’on, tit ha-yawen, zel mawet, and erez ha-tahtit. This Talmudic concept of the seven-fold structure of Hell is greatly elaborated in midrashic literature. According to one source it requires 300 years to traverse the height or width or the depth of each division, and it would take 6,300

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years to go over a tract of land equal in extent to the seven divisions (Erubin 19a). Each of these seven divisions of Hell is in turn divided into seven subdivisions and in each compartment there are seven rivers of fire, and seven of hail. The width of each is 1,000 ells, its depth 1,000, and its length 300; they flow from each other and are supervised by the Angels of Destruction. Besides, in each compartment there are 7,000 caves, and in each cave there are 7,000 crevices, and in every crevice there are 7,000 scorpions. Every scorpion has 300 rings, and in every ring 7,000 pouches of venom from which flow seven rivers of deadly poison. If a man handles it, he immediately bursts, every limb is torn from his body, his bowels are cleft, and he falls upon his face (Ginzberg, 1968, Vol. I, p. 15). Confinement to Hell is the result of disobeying God’s Torah as is illustrated by the midrash concerning the evening visit of the soul to Hell before it is implanted in an individual. There it sees the Angels of Destruction smiting with fiery scourges; the sinners all the while crying out, but no mercy is shown to them. The angel guides the soul and then asks: “Do you know who these are?” Unable to respond the soul listens as the angel continues: “Those who are consumed with fire were created like you. When they were put into the world, they did not observe God’s Torah and His commandments. Therefore they have come to this disgrace which you see them suffer. Know, your destiny is also to depart from the world. Be just, therefore, and not wicked, that you may gain the future world” (Ginzberg, 1968, Vol. I, pp. 57–58). The soul was not alone in being able to see Hell; a number of Biblical personages entered into its midst. Moses, for example, was guided through Hell by an angel, and his journey there gives us the most complete picture of its torments: When Moses and the Angel of Destruction entered Hell together, they saw men being tortured by the Angels of Destruction. Some sinners were suspended by their eyelids, some by their ears, some by their hands, and some by their tongues. In addition, women were suspended by their hair and their breasts by chains of fire. Such punishments were inflicted on the basis of the sins that were committed: those who hung by their eyes had looked lustfully upon their neighbours’ wives and possessions; those who hung by their ears had listened to empty and vain speech and did not listen to the Torah; those who hung by their tongues had spoken foolishly and slanderously; those who hung by their hands had robbed and murdered their neighbours. The women who hung by their hair and breasts had uncovered them in the presence of young men in order to seduce them. (Ginzberg, 1968, Vol. II, pp. 310–313) In another place, called Alukah, Moses saw sinners suspended by their feet with their heads downwards and their bodies covered with long black worms. These sinners were punished in this way because they swore falsely, profaned the Sabbath and the Holy Days, despised the sages, called their neighbors by unseemly nicknames, wronged the orphan and the widow, and bore false witness.

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In another section Moses saw sinners prone on their faces with 2,000 scorpions lashing, stinging, and tormenting them. Each of these scorpions had 70,000 heads, each head 70,000 mouths, each mouth 70,000 stings, and each sting 70,000 pouches of poison and venom. So great was the pain they inflicted that the eyes of the sinners melted in their sockets. These sinners were punished in this way because they had robbed other Jews, were arrogant in the community, put their neighbors to shame in public, delivered their fellow Jews into the hands of the gentiles, denied the Torah, and maintained that God is not the creator of the world. In another place, called Tit ha-Yawen, sinners stood in mud up to their navels while Angels of Destruction lashed them with fiery chains, and broke their teeth with fiery stones. These sinners were punished in this way because they had eaten forbidden food, lent their money at usury, had written the name of God on amulets for gentiles, used false weights, stole money from fellow Jews, ate on the Day of Atonement, and drank blood. Finally, after seeing these tortures, Moses observed how sinners were burnt in the section of Hell called Abaddon. There one-half of their bodies were immersed in fire and the other half in snow while worms bred in their own flesh crawled over them and the Angels of Destruction beat them incessantly. By stealth these sinners took snow and put it in their armpits to relieve the pain inflicted by the scorching fire. These sinners were punished because they had committed incest, murder, idolatry, called themselves gods, and cursed their parents and teachers. From this description it might appear that Hell is reserved for those Jews who have disobeyed the Mosaic law. Such exclusivism, however, was refuted throughout rabbinic literature. For example, in Midr. Prov. Rabbi Joshua explained that gentiles are doomed to eternal punishment unless they are righteous (Midr. Prov. XVII, I, 42b). Asked how a person can escape the judgment of Hell, he replied, “Let him occupy himself with good deeds,” and he pointed out that this applies to gentiles as well as Jews (there were some rabbis who proclaimed that God cosigns gentiles en masse to Hell; see Montefiore and Loewe, 1974, p. XCIII). Of course, gentiles were not expected to keep all of Jewish law in order to escape Hell; they were simply required to keep the Noachide Laws, that is, those laws which Noah and his descendants took upon themselves. The violation of such laws was regarded by the rabbis as repugnant to fundamental human morality, quite apart from revelation, and was a basis for confinement to Hell. However, there was some disagreement as to the laws themselves. In Gen. R., Noah 34: 8, for example, we read that “The sons of Noah were given seven commands: in respect of (1) idolatry, (2) incest, (3) shedding of blood, (4) profanation of the Name of God, (5) justice, (6) robbery, (7) cutting off flesh or limb from a living animal. R. Hanina said: Also about taking blood from a living animal. R. Elazar said: Also about ‘diverse kinds’ and mixtures (Lev. 19: 19). R. Simeon said: Also about witchcraft. R. Johanan b. Baroka said: Also about castration (of animals). R. Assi said: Everything forbidden in Deut. 18: 10, 11 was also forbidden to the sons of Noah, because it says ‘whoever does these things is an abomination unto the Lord.’” Nevertheless, despite this disagreement, a gentile who lived a sinful life by

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violating the Noachide laws was destined to be punished in Hell, and conversely, if he lived in accordance with them, he could gain entry into the World to Come. This eschatological scheme, which was formulated over the centuries by innumerable rabbis, should not be seen as a flight of fancy. It was a serious attempt to explain God’s ways to human beings. Israel was God’s chosen people and had received God’s promise of reward for keeping his law. Since this did not happen on earth in this life, the rabbis believed it must occur in the World to Come. Never did the rabbis relinquish the belief that God would justify Israel by destroying the power of the oppressing nations. This would come about in the Messianic Age. The individual who had died without seeing the justification of God would be resurrected to see the ultimate victory of the Jewish people. And just as the nations would be judged in the period of Messianic redemption, so would each individual. In this way the vindication of the righteous would be assured in the Hereafter.

The decline of rabbinic eschatology On the basis of this scheme of eternal salvation and damnation – which was at the heart of rabbinic theology throughout the centuries – it might be expected that modern Jewish theologians of all shades of religious observance and opinion would attempt to explain contemporary Jewish history in the context of traditional eschatology. This, however, has not happened; instead many Jewish writers have set aside doctrines concerning Messianic redemption, resurrection, final judgment, and reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked. This shift in emphasis is in part due to the fact that the views expressed in the narrative sections of the midrashim and the Talmud are not binding. As mentioned, all Jews are obliged to accept the Divine origin of the Law, but this is not so with regard to theological concepts and theories expounded by the rabbis. Thus it is possible for a Jew to be religiously pious without accepting all the central beliefs of mainstream Judaism. Indeed throughout Jewish history there has been widespread confusion as to what these beliefs are. In the first century BCE, for example, the sage Hillel stated that the quintessence of Judaism could be formulated in a single principle: “that which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. This is the whole of the Law; all the rest is commentary” (Shabb. 31a). Similarly, in the second century CE, the Council of Lydda ruled that under certain circumstances the laws of the Torah may be transgressed in order to save one’s life, with the exception of idolatry, murder, and unchastity (Sanh. 74a). In both these cases the center of gravity was in the ethical rather than the religious sphere. However, in the medieval period Maimonides formulated what he considered to be the thirteen principles of the Jewish faith (i.e. the existence of God; the unity of God; the incorporeality of God; the eternity of God; God alone is to be worshipped; prophecy; Moses is the greatest of the prophets; the divinity of the Torah; the inalterability of the Torah; the omniscience of God; reward and punishment; the Messiah; the resurrection of the Dead). Other thinkers, though, challenged this formulation. Hasdai

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Crescas, Simon ben Zemah Duran, Joseph Albo, and Isaac Arami elaborated different creeds, and some thinkers, like David ben Solomon Ibn Abi Zimrah, argued that it is impossible to isolate from the whole Torah essential principles of the Jewish religion. He wrote: “I do not agree that it is right to make any part of the perfect Torah into a ‘principle’ since the whole Torah is a ‘principle’ from the mouth of the Almighty” (Responsum No. 344, as quoted by Jacobs, 1964, p. 24). Thus when formulations of the central theological tenets of Judaism were propounded, they were not universally accepted since they were simply the opinions of individual teachers. Without a central authority whose opinion in theological matters was binding on all Jews, it has been impossible to determine the correct theological beliefs in Judaism. In the words of Solomon Schechter, “any attempt at an orderly and complete system of rabbinic theology is an impossible task” (Schechter, 1961, p. 16). Given that there is no authoritative bedrock of Jewish theology, many modern Jewish thinkers have felt fully justified in abandoning the various elements of traditional rabbinic eschatology which they regard as untenable. The doctrine of Messianic redemption, for example, has been radically modified. In the last century Reform Jews tended to interpret the new liberation in the Western world as the first step towards the realization of the Messianic dream. But the Messianic redemption was understood in this-worldly terms. No longer, according to this view, was it necessary for Jews to pray for a restoration in Eretz Israel. Rather they should view their own countries as Zion and their political leaders as bringing about the Messianic age. Secular Zionists, on the other hand, saw the return to Israel as the legitimate conclusion to be drawn from the realities of Jewish life in Western countries, thereby viewing the State of Israel as a substitute for the Messiah himself. As Louis Jacobs notes, “most modern Jews prefer to interpret the Messianic hope in naturalistic terms, abandoning the belief in a personal Messiah, the restoration of the sacrificial system, and to a greater or lesser degree, the idea of direct Divine intervention” (Jacobs, 1964, pp. 388–389). Similarly, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead has in modern times been largely replaced in both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Judaism by the belief in the immortality of the soul. The original belief in resurrection was an eschatological hope bound up with the rebirth of the nation in the Days of the Messiah, but as this Messianic concept faded into the background so also did this doctrine. For most Jews physical resurrection is simply inconceivable in the light of a scientific understanding of the nature of the world. The late Chief Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz, for example, argued that what really matters is the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Thus he wrote: “Many and various are the folk beliefs and poetical fancies in the rabbinical writings concerning Heaven, Gan Eden, and Hell, Gehinnom. Our most authoritative religious guides, however, proclaim that no eye hath seen, nor can mortal fathom, what awaiteth us in the Hereafter; but that even the tarnished soul will not forever be denied spiritual bliss” (Hertz, 1947, p. 255). In the Reform community a similar attitude prevails. In a well-known statement of the beliefs of Reform Judaism, it is stated that Reform Jews “reassert the doctrine of Judaism that the soul is immortal, grounding this belief on the Divine nature of the

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human spirit, which forever finds bliss in righteousness and misery in wickedness. We reject as ideas not rooted in Judaism the belief in bodily resurrection and in Gehenna and Eden (Hell and Paradise) as abodes for eternal punishment or reward” (Plaut, 1965, p. 34). The point to note about the conception of the immortal soul in both Orthodox and Reform Judaism is that it is dissociated from traditional notions of Messianic redemption and Divine judgment. The belief in eternal punishment has also been discarded by a large number of Jews partly because of the interest in penal reform during the past century. Punishment as retaliation in a vindictive sense has been generally rejected. Thus Jacobs writes, “the value of punishment as a deterrent and for the protection of society is widely recognized. But all the stress today is on the reformatory aspects of punishment. Against such a background the whole question of reward and punishment in the theological sphere is approached in a more questioning spirit” (Jacobs, 1964, p. 364). Further, the rabbinic view of Hell is seen by many as morally repugnant. Jewish theologians have stressed that it is a delusion to believe that a God of love could have created a place of eternal punishment. In his commentary on the prayer book, Chief Rabbi Hertz categorically declared, “Judaism rejects the doctrine of eternal damnation” (as quoted by Jacobs, 1964, p. 415). And in Jewish Theology, the Reform rabbi Kohler argued that the question whether the tortures of Hell are reconcilable with Divine mercy “is for us superfluous and superseded. Our modern conceptions of time and space admit neither a place nor a world-period for the reward and punishment of souls, nor the intolerable conception of eternal joy without useful action and eternal agony without any moral purpose” (Kohler, 1968, p. 309). Traditional rabbinic eschatology has thus lost its force for a large number of Jews in the modern period, and in consequence there has been a gradual this-worldly emphasis in Jewish thought. Significantly, this has been accompanied by a powerful attachment to the State of Israel. For many Jews the founding of the Jewish State is the central focus of their religious and cultural identity. Jews throughout the world have deep admiration for the astonishing achievements of Israelis in reclaiming the desert and building a viable society and great respect for the heroism of Israel’s soldiers and statesmen. As a result, it is not uncommon for Jews to equate Jewishness with Zionism and to see Judaism as fundamentally nationalistic in character – this is a far cry from the rabbinic view of history which placed the doctrine of the Hereafter at the center of Jewish life and thought.

Conclusion We can see therefore that the wheel has swung full circle from the faint allusions to immortality in the Biblical period which led to an elaborate development of the concept of the Hereafter in rabbinic Judaism. Whereas the rabbis put the belief in an Afterlife at the center of their religious system, modern Jewish thinkers, both Orthodox and Reform, have abandoned such an other-worldly outlook, even to the point of

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denying the existence of such doctrines. It may be that these concepts are outmoded and should be abandoned in the light of contemporary thought, but there is no doubt that such a development raises major problems for Judaism in the modern age. The belief in the Hereafter has helped Jews make sense of the world as a creation of a good and all-powerful God and provided a source of great consolation for their travail on earth. Without the promise of Messianic redemption, resurrection, and the eventual vindication of the righteous in Paradise, Jews will face great difficulties reconciling the belief in a providential God who watches over his chosen people with the terrible events of modern Jewish history. If there is no eschatological unfolding of a Divine drama in which the Jewish victims will ultimately triumph, what hope can there be for the Righteous of Israel who have suffered for their convictions?

References Charles, Robert Henry. A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1913). Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1968). Hertz, Joseph H. Commentary to the Prayer Book (London: Shapiro and Valentine, 1947). Jacobs, Louis. A Jewish Theology (New York: Behrman House, 1973). Jacobs, Louis. Principles of the Jewish Faith (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 1964). Edmund Jacob, “Immortality,” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, George Buttrick, editor (New York: Abington Press, 1962). Kohler, Kaufmann. Jewish Theology (New York: Ktav, 1968). Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance III, Sections 6, 7, 8. Montefiore, C. G. and Loewe, H. M. J. A Rabbinic Anthology (New York: Schocken, 1974). Plaut, W. Gunther. The Growth of Reform Judaism (New York: World Union for Progressive Judaism, 1965). Schechter, Solomon. Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (New York: Schocken, 1961). Super, Arthur Saul. (1967) Immortality in the Babylonian Talmud. PhD thesis, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa.

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Jewish funeral and mourning practices Vanessa L. Ochs Sociologist Samuel Heilman has written that the Jewish funeral, in creating a separation between the dead and the living, “seeks to reflect the Jewish people’s fundamental realization that, although they die and feel the precariousness of their existence, they also continue and survive, that they have lost one connection but remain bonded to others” (Heilman 2001: 74). Jewish funeral and mourning practices reflecting this mood have been transmitted mimetically from one generation to another and have been written down, as well, in sacred texts, commentaries, and handbooks for clergy, members of burial societies, and laypeople. In the modern age, the practices are often followed respectfully and with careful attention to detail even by those who do not typically engage in strict Jewish ritual observance. In the face of death, in its disorder and confusion, many Jewish individuals have found spiritual and psychological comfort in being guided by “the Jewish way,” familiar paths responding to death that they consider being ancient and hallowed by time.

A diversity of Jewish responses to death But there has not been a single Jewish way. Through history, Jews across the world have responded in various ways to the need to give social meaning to making arrangements for bodies after death and addressing the grief occasioned by loss. From the biblical period onward, Jewish practices surrounding death have never been uniform or unchanging. The Jewish practices have long refracted both the rituals and theological viewpoints derived from the cultures that Jews have lived in and the creative imagination and changing sensibilities of individuals, both clergy and laypeople. That said, individuals are not always aware that practices have changed or that new ones have been introduced.

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Reinternment One example of an ancient funeral ritual no longer practiced is reinternment, most characteristic of Israel in the first through third centuries CE. After a period of time, skeletal remains buried temporarily in the ground would have been gathered, placed in ossuaries or sarcophagi, and brought to a vault or land owned by the family for a secondary and final burial. The cave at Machpela, for instance, is referred to in the Bible as the place where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (except for Rachel) were given their final burial. The bones of Joseph, embalmed and buried in Egypt, are described in the Book of Joshua (24–32) as having been transported out of Egypt with the fleeing Israelites. In the Talmud, the meaning of secondary burial is debated, as two sages differ over whether a reburial is a sad or a joyous occasion: “Rabbi Meir said: One may gather the bones of his father or mother because it is a joy to him. But Rabbi Jose said: It grieves him” (Babylonian Talmud, Moed Katan 8a). However common it once was, reinternment did not continue past the Second Temple period, even though a reburial is allowed by halacha (Jewish law) when necessary. Nowadays, the practice of reinternment of any kind is not only avoided unless necessary but reviled by some. In recent years, some groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel have staged massive and sometimes violent demonstrations at construction sites, protesting the possible exhumation of ancient skeletal remains and ossuaries dating back to the Second Temple period. They have maintained that moving the bones constitutes an act of desecration, reflecting their belief that bones must not be moved until the coming of a messianic era when there will be resurrection. What makes these protests surprising is that previously the ultra-Orthodox in Israel accepted that unearthed bones at construction sites were to be turned over to the rabbinate for reinternment, and that discovered ossuaries, having archeological value, were to be turned over to the Antiquities Authority.

Reciting the Kaddish as a mourner’s prayer An example of a Jewish mourning practice that is thought to be of ancient origin even though it is not is the recitation of the prayer called the Kaddish. Interestingly, this prayer makes no reference to death, but exalts and sanctifies the name of God. Mostly Aramaic, it was initially recited not in the synagogue, not at the grave, and not at the home of mourners, but in the house of study. It became part of Jewish mourning practice only in the medieval period in northern Europe, according to David I. Shyovitz, who writes that its emergence in the context of death came as a response to developing Christian notions about purgatory (Shyovitz 2015: 49). The Kaddish was then recited in the context of mourning for the purposes of intercession on behalf of the deceased, hoping this might elevate the soul by limiting the duration of the soul’s punishment after death and before ascension to the after-life (Shyovitz 2015: 65). Later, Kaddish was recited to commemorate the death of a family member or martyr. Initially, only men recited Kaddish. This was challenged most eloquently by Henrietta Szold, founder of

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the Hadassah organization, in 1916, when a male family friend offered to recite Kaddish on behalf of her and her sisters when their mother died. Szold wrote the gentleman, who maintained that only men could say the prayer, explaining that she could not accept his touching offer, for she herself had to perform this act of filial piety: I believe that the elimination of women from such duties was never intended by our law and custom – women were freed from positive duties when they could not perform them, but not when they could. It was never intended that, if they could perform them, their performance of them should not be considered as valuable and valid as when one of the male sex performed them. And of the Kaddish I feel sure this is particularly true. [. . .] never did I hear a word of regret pass the lips of either my mother or my father that one of us was not a son. When my father died, my mother would not permit others to take her daughters’ place in saying the Kaddish, and so I am sure I am acting in her spirit when I am moved to decline your offer. (Lowenthal 1942: 92–93) Nowadays, Jewish women in nearly all Jewish communities are reciting Kaddish at funerals and in memory of their dead, even in some communities in which they are not counted in the quorum for prayer.

Death rituals initiated by Kabbalists Another innovation – or group of innovations – belatedly introduced, dates back to the seventeenth century, when followers of Kabbalah initiated new death rituals, many of which are contained in a book of Jewish behaviors by Rabbi Aaron Berechia of Mantua, Italy, called Ma’avar Yabbok. The title references the place where Jacob passed across Jordan River (Genesis 32: 23), and, according to Avreil Bar-Lev, it came to stand for the “passage from life to death as structured by the rituals prescribed in this book” (Bar-Levav 2003: 11). These rituals include prayers recited first at the deathbed, during the process of ritual purification, and ending at the closing of the grave. Other practices described include the giving of charity in specific amounts that will assure a good fate for the deceased, studying chapters of the Mishna and chapters of Psalms according to the letters of the deceased’s name, and lighting a candle in the synagogue at the seat of the deceased (Bar-Levav 2001: 155–167).

“Traditional” practices Despite the absence of a single permitted way that Jews have ritually responded to death that dates back to antiquity, and despite innovations that have emerged and will continue to do so, there are Jewish funerary practices and expectations for how

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mourners will behave and be comforted that are now considered “traditional.” Here, I shall provide an overview of those most deeply entrenched across a range of Jewish communities worldwide. I will indicate, as well, some contemporary variations which have been introduced and are becoming familiar in Israel and the United States. The variations, like the traditions, may reflect cultural differences across Jewish communities around the world, the desire of individuals or groups wishing to challenge or intensify traditional practice, the desire to be personally expressive, and sometimes simply ignorance of Jewish conventions rather than any conscious desire to innovate. I will conclude by indicating how the efficacy of Jewish funeral and mourning practices ripple out beyond the Jewish community.

Initial practices When one learns that a person has died, the phrase “Baruch dayan ha’emet, Blessed is the True Judge,” is uttered (The full blessing, from Mishna Berachot 9:2, could be said upon hearing bad news of any sort is: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, ruler of the universe, the true judge”). It acknowledges that God’s will has been done even when, in the case of tragedy, it transcends human understanding. These words from the Book of Job might also be spoken: “The Lord gives; the Lord takes away; Blessed in the name of the Lord” (1: 21); they point to God’s dominion and finality. Those who are officially designated by the tradition as mourners (spouse, parent, child, and sibling) may immediately tear their garments (keriyah), a sign of their grief; they may also wait till the funeral ceremony to do so, literally or symbolically, using black ribbon pinned to their lapel. Before the funeral, words of consolation are not supposed to be offered to the mourners; they are considered to be inconsolable and too occupied with their preparations for the funeral. The funeral is held ideally within twenty-four hours; it would be postponed only if the day after the death is a Sabbath or holiday, and only if a member of the immediate family must travel a distance.

Preparation of the dead for burial The members of the chevra kadisha, the volunteer sacred society that attends to the care of the dead (the male is called the met, and the female, the mettah) perform the ritual of tahara, purification. Their work is governed by the principle, kavod hamet, respect for the divine image in the body of the deceased, and what they do is regarded as a chesed shel emet, an act of ultimate loving kindness, for it cannot be reciprocated. Ensuring modesty by men caring for men, and women caring for women, they utter a few prayers, otherwise working in a respectful silence that maintains the dignity of the deceased. In some places and eras, such as in Spain in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, women would have done this work for all (Melammed 2001: 145). In Yemenite communities, preparation of the dead for burial is considered women’s

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work (Gamliel 2014: 86). Their beginning prayer asks that God have compassion for the deceased, and begs that God will mercifully disregard any transgressions and offer the reward of protected place in “Gan Eden,” literally the Garden of Eden, and figuratively the world-to-come. The body is first meticulously cleaned (rechitza) of any impurities, groomed (but not embalmed, unless it will be sent to Israel for burial), and then is purified with bucketsful of cascading water in a continuous stream. Then the body is dressed in tachrichim, a simple white hand-sewn shroud that suggests that, before God, the rich and poor are equal. The only additional garment may be a prayer shawl, which is cut to signify that it will no longer be used. The body is not prepared for viewing with embalming fluids or makeup; this would be considered an act of disrespect. That said, when the matriarch of a leading family of an upstate New York Conservative synagogue died, her body was on view in an open casket at the Jewish funeral home. The funeral director explained that he knew this went against tradition, but Jewish families in his community ask for this all the time and he obliges, as it gives them closure. In Israel, caskets are not used, except in military and state funerals, and shrouded bodies are covered in a sheet or prayer shawl and are laid directly in the ground. Outside of Israel, the chevra kadisha will lay the body in a casket – generally a plain pine box. Commercial funeral parlors in America have been, since the 1880s offering caskets of finer materials, and sometimes families feel that it is “proper” to show their respect by ignoring the modest casket promoted by their rabbis and purchasing a more extravagant or aesthetically pleasing one (Joselit 1994: 265–292). Of late, environmental concerns have led to an interest in “greener funerals,” despite the fact that traditional Jewish burial practices are already significantly greener than those of other communities. North of San Francisco, in 2010, Gan Yarok, the first Jewish “green” cemetery was dedicated. At this cemetery, all bodies must be buried in plain, biodegradable wooden boxes, wicker boxes, or shrouds. Prohibited are the use of concrete liners in coffins, formaldehyde-based embalming chemicals, and pesticides on the cemetery grounds. Only carved boulders mark the graves (Fishkoff 2010). Before closing the casket, the chevra kadisha will add earth from Israel, affirming a connection to the Holy Land. While tradition shuns the idea of adding other items, such as treasured belongings, into the coffin for the deceased to “use in the afterlife,” it is sometimes actually done in contemporary practice. When asked for their permission, some rabbis have done so, acknowledging that including beloved objects have helped the individuals to face death and helped their families to honor their last wishes (Rosove n.d.). One Reform rabbi was asked by a family that had lost a three-year-old child if they could bury him with a favorite teddy bear. He agreed because he understood it would bring the parents comfort. Finally, chevra kadisha members address their prayer to the deceased, asking for forgiveness for any inadvertent disrespect. They pray that the deceased will advocate on behalf of themselves, their families, and the whole Jewish People in heaven, and that she or he will rest in peace.

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The body should not be left alone until burial, but is accompanied by guardians, shomrim, who recite psalms until the funeral. The Hebrew word for funeral, levaya, refers to the practice of accompanying the body until burial.

The funeral Funerals are held in synagogues, gravesites, and commercial funeral chapels. Traditionally, there will be no displays of flowers or instrumental music to distract from the harshness of death. That said, while music remains discouraged, the most current online guide to Reform Jewish living funerals states that “musical selections should be arranged with the clergy or mortuary. Mortuaries may also be able to recommend a service for creating a video remembrance of the departed that can be shown at the funeral” (Rosove n.d.). The casket is placed at the front of the room and is covered by a cloth, often decorated with a Star of David. In recent years, members of Congregation Ansche Chesed in New York City have gathered periodically to inscribe satin ribbons with the names of the dead, their dates of birth and death, and sometimes with messages to them which they have woven together into a covering for the caskets of the community. The creator of the project invites the members, Ilana Harlow recalls, “to either read the name of, or speak about, the people on her ribbon. [. . .] Then she chanted the traditional memorial prayer El Maleh Rachamim. The transformative power of ritual was tangibly present in the room” (Harlow 2003: 3). The brief and sober funeral service of Psalms and biblical readings includes a eulogy (hesped) by a rabbi and, of late, sometimes several more prepared by family members and friends. The life of the deceased is praised and virtues are remembered; unlike in certain Christian traditions, mourners rarely rejoice because God, out of love, has taken them to a “better place.” One prayer, El Malei Rachamim (God full of mercy), is chanted to a particularly haunting melody; it asks God to protect the soul of the deceased and promises that charity will be given in their memory. When the brief service is concluded, pallbearers bring the coffin to a hearse; in Israel, the wrapped body may be transported by a stretcher to the Jewish cemetery (which is referred to in Hebrew as both beit almin or beit kvarot). Alternatives to the communal cemetery have been created. A Reform congregation in Canada created its own cemetery and burial society to accommodate all of its members, including those who might have otherwise been denied burial in a Jewish cemetery, including those who have been cremated or who wish to be buried along-side their non-Jewish family spouses (Lungen and Love 2009). In Israel, secular or liberal Jews seeking an alternative to the state-provided Orthodox funerals hold their ceremonies and burials at kibbutz cemeteries, or at new cemeteries (such as Menucha Nechona in Be’er Sheva) that are not under the jurisdiction of the state’s Orthodox rabbinical authorities. Families choosing these sites can be sure no rabbi will insist upon gender separation prohibiting women from giving eulogies or might call the Jewish identity of the deceased into question.

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As the coffin is moved from the service to the cemetery, people may follow behind by foot for a brief distance as a sign of respect. At the cemetery, the procession to the grave stops seven times before the coffin is placed next to the grave. (Seven is a meaningful number in Jewish tradition; in this context, some say it represents the seven days of the week, a complete unit.) There are more brief prayers, the lowering of the coffin into the grave, and a recital of El Malei Rachamim, the Tziduk Hadin (acceptance of God’s judgment). The gravesite Kaddish L’itchatdta is said by the official mourners. Unlike other versions of the Kaddish, which make no reference to death and only praise the greatness of God, this particular version speaks to a messianic vision of resurrection: “May God’s great name be magnified and sanctified throughout the world which will be renewed. God will then revive the dead and raise them up to eternal life.” Some will pull up blades of grass and drop them, symbolizing a hope for resurrection. In many communities, the grave is partially or entirely filled by mourners and attendees who shovel dirt onto the coffin after it has been lowered. The shovel is not handed from one person to another, but is returned to the mound of earth, suggesting a containment of the “contamination” of death. As the grave is being filled, one sometimes now sees people surreptitiously adding items to accompany the deceased as gestures of affection. Sometimes there is humor: An Orthodox woman placed lipstick in the grave of her mother, saying that she would never go out without her makeup; in her motherin-law’s grave, she placed a check, a sign of her generosity. When the lay cantor in one synagogue that embraces both Reform and Conservative Jews died, his poker buddies placed a deck of cards in his grave, and left poker chips at the burial site, taking the place of the stones which are traditionally left on tombstones in Jewish cemeteries when one visits as tokens of respect and remembrance. With the grave filled, fully or partially, those who have accompanied the mourners assemble in two lines, creating a path for them to pass through. The needs of the dead have been fully attended to, and now the living can hear words of comfort: “May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem,” suggesting that they are not alone in their grief.

Official mourning Upon returning home, mourners and those who accompany them wash ritually outside their door, marking a distinction between death and life. The community has prepared a se’udat havra’ah, a meal of consolation. It will often include round foods such as hard boiled eggs, suggesting the circle of life. In the absence of communal generosity, or preempting it, families have availed themselves of caterers and more comprehensive professional services. In Beverly Hills, a funeral planning service called the “Shiva Sisters” provides mourners with wardrobe shopping, photographers, videographers, and valet parking; for the meal of consolation, their aproned staff circulates with hors d’oeuvres and drinks (Landsberg 2011).

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The house will have been prepared: mirrors are covered (a sign of limiting vanity) and special seating may be provided for mourners who are supposed to sit low to the floor on cushions, mattresses, thin pillows, stools, or boxes. Thus, the week of mourning begins. It is called shiva, meaning seven; Ladino-speaking Jews call it los siete and English speakers refer to it as “sitting shiva.” Unless there is a dire financial need, mourners are not expected to go to work or leave home during this period. Now, when mourners are asked if they will be sitting shiva, they are likely to say yes even if they are not observing the full period, but just three days or even just one. During the shiva period, excluding the Sabbath and holidays (when restraints are lifted altogether and ritual mourning comes to an end), strictly observing mourners do not study Torah, wear shoes indoors, prepare food for themselves, or engage in sexual intimacy. Men do not shave and women do not wear makeup; some limit bathing. Visitors, fulfilling the commandment of nihum avelim, the obligation to comfort the mourner, come and go day and night; they may bring food for the family and be present to enter into conversations – often reminiscences – initiated by the mourners. Mourners, however, are not obligated to greet or provide food for the visitors. While ideally the mourner is visited in person, it is not uncommon to use technology. Thus, one woman mourning in New Jersey received visitors during the day; and at night she retreated to her computer to receive “virtual shiva” visits on Skype from friends in Los Angeles, Israel, and the United Kingdom (Ghert-Zand 2014). Those who are part of an engaged Jewish community are joined twice each day for prayers; a quorum of ten will allow the mourner to recite the mourner’s Kaddish at the service’s end. In some communities, the Kaddish is recited only by men; in most, women do as well. Depending on the mores of the locale and the nature of the death, the house of mourning might accommodate tears of grief, wailing and lamentation, or the cadences of everyday conversation, sprinkled with both tears and laughter. Depending, too, upon the community, there are set phrases one speaks, or says in part, upon departure. These include: Tinachamu min hashamayim (May your comfort come from Heaven), Ha’makom yenachem b’toch she’ar avelai tziyon vi’yerushalayim (May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem), and Hayyim arukim (I wish you a long life – sometimes abbreviated to “Long life!”). Yiddish-speaking Jews will say: Ir zolt mer nit visn fun ken tsar (May you not have any more sorrows) and Oif simches ([We should only meet] on happy occasions). When the shiva period concludes, sometimes described as “getting up from shiva,” mourners will be invited by those who have come to console them this last official time to rise up, adding words such as “No more will your sun set, nor your moon be darkened, for God will be an eternal light for you, and your days of mourning shall end” (Isaiah 60:20). Shoes are worn again, and torn clothing is removed. The mourners will be walked around their block or house. It will be their first time (again, except for the Sabbath, when they may pray in the synagogue) outside the house of mourning. It symbolizes the end of the period of most intense grief and ushers in a gradual reengagement with their lives.

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The next period of mourning is called shloshim, for thirty days after the death. Some communities honor the dead by devoting their study of the Mishna to them. During this period (and for those who have lost parents, for eleven more months), mourners continue to recite the Kaddish at synagogue and may, during this extended period, the sh’nat evel (year of bereavement), avoid attending celebrations and forms of entertainment, such as music or theater. Between thirty days (most typical in Israel) to eleven months after the death, families return to the burial site to unveil what should be a modest gravestone (matzevah), though grand mausoleums for individuals or families have been erected in Israel, Europe, and America. In Israel, at gravesites of fallen soldiers, visiting family and friends leave wreaths, flowers, little Israeli flags, and mementos such as framed photographs, stuffed animals, and baseball caps. It has been suggested that these gestures of personalization and extreme caretaking gestures of bereaved parents of their children’s grave (such as cultivating gardens and bringing favorite foods) counter the official state-imposed burial practices for soldiers which regiment, for instance, the shape of the tombstone and its inscription (Zerubavel 2006: 73–100).

The unveiling ceremony At the unveiling ceremony that has no textual source, Kaddish is recited again and the family returns home for a meal of consolation. Each year, on the anniversary of the death (yahrzeit or meldado) and at communal memorial services (yizkor) on particular holidays (Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot), the dead will be officially remembered again with the Kaddish prayer and the lighting of a memorial votive candle.

Jewish-inspired practices Generally, when Jewish ritual practices are studied, the non-Judaic influences that have been absorbed are noted. I want to conclude by noting that while Jewish funeral and mourning ritual practices have also absorbed external influences, they are inspiring copying. I offer two examples. The first is the green burial movement, promoted as an environmentally sound alternative to pollution-creating cremations and “a viable alternative to ‘traditional’ burial practices in the United States,” which preserves the integrity of open spaces (Green Burials Website 2009). While green cemeteries were founded before the first Jewish section of a green cemetery was dedicated, it is fair to say that the movement takes as its template the traditional natural Jewish burial practices which facilitate the decomposition of both the casket and the body into the earth. The second example is the practice of shiva, which has been admired for the psychological comfort it brings by cocooning the mourner until the shock of death dissipates some and then incrementally reintroducing the mourner back into life. A woman

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named Lula Jones, married to a Jewish man, describes attending the shiva of her husband’s grandfather and hopes that her family might do the same for her (and for themselves) even though she isn’t Jewish: I’ve decided that sitting shiva gives structure to an otherwise brutally chaotic situation. It takes the overwhelming grief from a loved one’s passing and distributes it onto the shoulders of the community so that one soul doesn’t have to bear that horrible weight alone. In your darkest hour, you are absolutely surrounded and supported by love. [. . .] Although I am not Jewish, I hope that in my passing my loved ones will have a shiva-esque gathering to celebrate my love for them and each other. (Jones 2009: 8) The “shivaesque gathering” is not the only homage; there is the new phenomenon of “secular shivas.” Reported in the secular press, this practice is emerging at the fringes of the Jewish community and beyond it. Bruce Feiler describes the practice among his circle: The “secular shivas” we organized had a number of notable differences that proved crucial to their success. First, we organized them for Jews and non-Jews alike. Second, no prayers or other religious rituals were offered. Third, we held them away from the home of the griever, to reduce the burden. And finally, we offered the grieving party the option of speaking about the deceased, something not customary under Jewish tradition. (Feiler 2012) It is different from a conventional shiva in a number of ways. The event, by invitation only, is not held at the mourner’s home, and comforters do not bring meals for the mourners. There is no prayer. Both the deceased and the mourner may not be Jewish. Given such significant differences, one might ask, “What makes this context for grieving, reminiscing, and being comforted at all like shiva?” It would probably be fair to say that secular shiva reflects two central Jewish premises that give a particular inflection to Jewish funereal practices as a whole. The first: once the body is respectfully buried, attention shifts to the living. And second: mourning is not private, and its expression rightfully takes place in the presence of community.

References Bar-Levav, A. (2003) “Jewish Rituals for the Sick and Dying,” Sh’ma, Jewish Family & Life (JFL Media), 34/603: 11. ——— (2001) “Ritualizing Death and Dying: The Ethical Will of Naphtali Ha-Kohen Katz,” in L. Fine (Ed.), Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period, Princeton: Princeton University Press. 155–170.

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Feiler, B. (2012) “Mourning in a Digital Age,” New York Times. Online: [Accessed 3 July 2015]. Fishkoff, S. (2010) “First ‘Green’ Jewish Cemetery Opens,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Online: [Accessed 1 July 2015]. Gamliel, T. (2014) Aesthetics of Sorrow: The Wailing Culture of Yemenite-Jewish Women, Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Ghert-Zand, R. (2014) “‘Control’ Alternating with ‘Delete’,” Hadassah Magazine. Online: [Accessed 29 June 2015]. Green Burials Website (2009). Online: [Accessed 10 July 2015]. Harlow, I. (2003) “Personal Rituals to Commemorate Death,” Sh’ma, Jewish Family & Life (JFL Media), 34/603: 3–4. Heilman, S. C. (2001) When a Jew Dies: The Ethnography of a Bereaved Son, Berkeley: University of California Press. Jones, L. (2009) “Seven Days and a Funeral,” in Talking about Death and Mourning, InterfaithFamily.com. Online: [Accessed 2 July 2015]. Joselit, J. W. (1994) The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880–1950, New York: Hill and Wang. Landsberg, M. (2011) “Shiva Sisters Offer Kind Words, Practical Help for Jewish Families at Times of Loss,” Los Angeles Times. Online: [Accessed 15 June 2015]. Lowenthal, M. (1942) Henrietta Szold: Life and Letters, New York: The Viking Press. Lungen, P. and Love, M. (2009) “Intermarriage Spurs Changes to Burial Rules,” The Canadian Jewish News. Online: [Accessed 1 July 2015]. Melammed, R. L. (2001) “Life-Cycle Rituals of Spanish Crypto Jewish Women,” in L. Fine (Ed.), Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period, Princeton: Princeton University Press. 143–154. Rosove, R. J. L. (n.d.) “Preparing for a Jewish Funeral: A Guide,” Reform Judaism. Online: [Accessed 20 January 2016]. Shyovitz, D. I. (2015) “‘You Have Saved Me from the Judgment of Gehenna’: The Origins of the Mourner’s Kaddish in Medieval Ashkenaz,” AJS Review. 39/1: 49–73. Zerubavel, Y. (2006) “Patriotic Sacrifice and the Burden of Memory in Israeli Secular National Hebrew Culture,” in U. S. Makdisi and P. A. Silverstein (Eds.), Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 73–100.

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Muslim views of the afterlife David Cook

Islamic beliefs concerning death and dying are important and intrinsic to the faith. These beliefs include the process by which the believer is eased into death, the statements of talqin (stating the profession of faith into the ear of the dying one), the washing of the body of the deceased, the immediate burial usually in a simple white cloth, and the process of praying for the dead. All of these categories are given a major treatment inside the hadith (tradition) literature, and developed further in the legal compendia, which then is interpreted into popular belief and custom, leading to what we can call the Muslim death ritual. Beyond these visible and generally accepted elements of the death ritual, there are a number of Islamic and popular beliefs concerning the dead, some of which are accepted by the mainstream, and some of which are not. Mainstream Islamic beliefs concerning the dead involve the process by which the dead are prepared for bliss or torment in the next existence (al-akhira). Popular belief emphasizes that the separation between the righteous and the sinners happens almost immediately, when in the grave the deceased is confronted by the two angels al-Munkar and al-Nakir, who if not deflected by the immediate recitation of the profession of faith (shahada), torment and beat the person (see e.g. Ibn Rajab and others on the torments of the grave). In mainstream Islam, it is not always clear what happens following this initial separation (popular beliefs concerning it will be discussed below), but the dead are held for the period until the Day of Resurrection (yawm al-qiyama), at which time all of humanity will be resurrected. Immediately following this resurrection there will be the Last Day (al-Yawm al-akhir), the Judgment, and the final destination of humanity into either heaven or hell. Belief in the Last Day is a major issue in Islam, one to which all Muslims subscribe, and descriptions of the event of the Last Day and of heaven and hell are major themes within the Qur’an, the hadith, and popular Muslim preaching. The literature concerning all of these themes is quite extensive. Qur’anic descriptions of the end of the world are cataclysmic in nature, due to occur at any particular time, and once it does occur, there will be no possibility of repentance for humanity. There is a strong sense of urgency given in the Qur’anic text concerning the end of the world and judgment of humanity, and remembrance of this theme has been a continual inducement to repentance in Islam, especially when one is close to

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death. Descriptions of heaven and hell inside the Qur’an are quite graphic. A classic description of heaven is the following: And the outstrippers, the outstrippers; those are the favored ones, in the Gardens of Bliss; a throng of the ancients, and a small band of latecomers. Upon beds interwoven with gold; reclining upon them, facing each other. While immortal youths go round them, with goblets, pitchers and a cup of limpid drink. Their heads do not ache from it and they do not become intoxicated. And with such fruits as they care to choose; and such flesh of fowl as they desire; and wide-eyed houris [women of paradise], like hidden pearls; as a reward for what they used to do. (Qur’an 56:10–24) Similarly, concerning hell: [It will be said]: Take and shackle him; and then let him roast in Hell. Then in a chain whose length is seventy cubits, tie him up. He certainly did not believe in Allah, the Sublime. And he did not urge feeding the destitute. Therefore, today he shall have no intimate friend, here; and no food except foul pus; which only the sinners shall eat. (Qur’an 69:32–39) Descriptions of hell often contain the element of a direct correlation between the sin for which the person is being punished and the punishment. This theme is particularly noticeable in the material on the Prophet Muhammad’s descent into hell (below) from which most of the material is derived. One should note that the graphic descriptions of heaven in the Qur’an are far more detailed than are the analogous ones concerning hell. The Qur’anic narrative relies far more upon the bewilderment and terror coupled with the horrible realization of one’s sins at the Day of Judgment in order to communicate the evil fate awaiting sinners than upon graphic descriptions of the actual torments of hell. Mainstream Muslim belief holds that once the separation at the Day of Judgment happens it is final, and eternal in nature. However, this attitude, on a popular level, has proven to be too harsh to be accepted, and so it is usually modified by the possibility of intercession (shafa’a) and/or some type of limited punishment for sinning Muslims. These latter will be allowed into paradise at a later period, and not allowed to ascend to the upper reaches of heaven, but still not be tormented for all eternity. Equally for those innocents (children, mentally incapacitated) and those unable to hear or understand the message, there is sometimes mitigation for the suffering and eternality of hell. Intercession allows for the possibility that sinning Muslims will not be punished at all, but will receive the benefit of the Prophet Muhammad’s or other accepted sacral figures’ cumulative righteous deeds which will cover up their own. Theologians had numerous problems with the idea of intercession, as it relieves the individual of responsibility for their actions.

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Later descriptions of death and the next world Popular beliefs about death principally emphasize the idea that the deceased continue to exist in their graves or at least in some accessible form to the living. This idea is especially strong with regard to the prophets (and other righteous figures), concerning whom it is said that they continue to be accessible to prayer, presumably because of the popular need for intercession and healing directed towards them (Bayhaqi, Birilwi [= Barelwi]). Burial in proximity to the prophets and the righteous also protects the believers from the torments of the grave. Other popular beliefs concentrate upon the period between one’s death and the Day of Resurrection. Although mainstream Islam is rather vague concerning what happens during this period, popular belief insists that believers effectively go to a heaven-like location, while unbelievers are tormented continuously. Effectively this separation is a type of pre-judgment. Due to the use of intercession or the presence of good deeds, it is possible for righteous believers to avoid the judgment process altogether and go directly to heaven according to popular beliefs. For many Muslims, the basis for understanding the Last Day, and the judgments of heaven and hell, are contained within the narratives of Muhammad’s Night Journey and Ascension into Heaven. This cycle of stories in which Muhammad is said to have visited the seven heavens, each occupied by a separate prophet (or prophets in one case), and then visits hell, and finally meets God, is most likely based upon the pseudepigraphic cycle of Enoch (from Late Antiquity) (see Busse 1991). The Ascension into Heaven (together with the descent into hell) stories are designed to give the faithful and the damned a picture of what to expect in the next world. Some descriptions of the descent into hell are very graphic (from the narration of the exegete al-Tabari [d. 923]): Then I [= Muhammad] looked and saw a group of people with lips like camels. There were those who took their lips and placed in their mouths fiery stones that came out of their lower parts. I said: O Gabriel, who are these people? He said: They are those who consume the possessions of orphans unrighteously. Then I saw people who were wearing shoes made of their own skins and having things forced into their mouths. It was said to them: Eat, just as you have eaten, and the worst things that God has created were forced upon them. I said: Who are these people, O Gabriel? He said: These are the backbiters, those who speak evil of others, those who eat the flesh of the people, and cast doubt upon their honor by cursing them. Then I looked and saw people sitting at a table that had roasted meat – the best I had ever seen – and around them was carrion. They turned away from the meat and consumed the carrion. I said: Who are these people, Gabriel? He said: They are whores who went willingly towards what God has forbidden, and turned away from that which God has allowed. (Tabari, xv, pp. 4f).

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Often the punishment has a corollary to the crime. But most of the popular books tend to focus more upon descriptions of heaven than upon hell. Several traditions are good examples of this popular material: The people of Paradise will visit each other on noble white camels as if they were made of rubies, and there are no other animals in Paradise other than camels and birds. (al-Haythami, x, pp. 412–13) A palace in Paradise is made from a pearl; within it are 70 courts of red ruby, in every court 70 houses of green emerald, in every house 70 bedrooms and in every bedroom 70 sleeping mats from every color, and on every mat a woman; in every house 70 tables, on every table 70 different types of food, in every house 70 slaves and concubines, giving the believer the strength to make the rounds in one meal. (al-Haythami, x, p. 420) The ground of Paradise is of silver and the earth is musk, the bases of the trees are gold and silver and the branches are pearls, emeralds and rubies, and silver-the fruit is underneath that. No one will exert himself eating whether he is standing or sitting or lying down (i.e., the fruit will make itself available). (‘Abdallah b. al-Mubarak, istidrak of Nu’aym, p. 67 no. 229) In general, popular descriptions of heaven focus upon coolness (greenness, presence of water), plenty of luxurious items (clothes, jewelry, access to alcohol, and sexual pleasures), and proximity to God. If the classical writers seem to be exaggerating, then for the most part more rigorous strands of Islam did not view their exaggerations with too much disdain. After all, the purpose of these descriptions is to encourage people to live piously. However, as noted below, there were some theological problems with the expectations fostered by popular accounts: they usually encouraged belief in intercession, and sometimes they held that the blessed will see God visually, which theologians rejected. Popular beliefs are frequently focused upon dreams, of which there are a great abundance in the Muslim sources. These range all the way from simple conversations with deceased preceded by “what has happened to you?” questions, all the way to complex visions of what heaven (or in a few rare cases, hell) looks like. Many of these are related in dreams closely associated with fighters, whose proximity to death makes them liminal figures: We were among raiders [in Sicily], and I [Shahr b. Hawshab] woke up, while a man was crying in the most fierce manner, and saying “Woe, woe!!” I went to him, and I said: “We will be back tomorrow, fear God, and have patience.” He said “I am not weeping for my family from whom I have parted in this

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world, but I was just in a dream, where it was said to me: Go to your houri wife (zawjatika al-’ayna’), and I was taken. I was lifted to a land the like of which I have never seen, and behold, there were young women the beauty of whom and whose clothing I had never seen. I greeted them, and they returned the greeting, and I said: Is the houri among you? They said: No, we are among her servants, but she is in front of you. So I went, and another land was before me, more beautiful than the first, and behold, there were young women more beautiful than the first . . . they said: We are among her servants, she is in that pearl. So I went to it, and behold, there was a woman sitting on a throne made of red ruby, with extra-large buttocks beyond the throne. I greeted her, and she returned the greeting, and I sat on by her. We spoke together, and then she got up, and put out her wrist, and said: You will not depart from us until you promise us that you will spend the following night with us, and I promised her that. Then I awoke and it is for her that I weep. (Ibn Abi Zamanayn, pp. 239–40 [no. 109]) Those going out to fight often divorced their human wives, and declared that they were married to the women of paradise in order to demonstrate their cutting of this-worldly ties, and their readiness for death. Dream-visions such as the above are fairly common in the classical period, and extremely common among contemporary Salafi-jihadi literature.

Literature on heaven and hell Comparatively speaking, Islam does not have any examples of classical literary apocalypses, such as the Book of Revelation or the various Books of Enoch, in which the reader is taken from the apocalypse of this world into the next. A great deal of material describing heaven and hell passed into Muslim sources such as Abu al-Shaykh’s (d. 979– 80) Kitab al-’azama (The Book of Majesty), from Jewish stories associated with Merkavah mysticism. Gradually through the centuries much of this material has been excised from the mainstream sources because it frequently allowed for the corporeality of God or other ideas rejected by the mainstream. During the classical period the most detailed and successful work was al-Qurtubi’s (d. 1272) al-Tadhkira fi ahwal al-mawta wa-l-umur al-akhira (A Note on the Status of the Dead and Final Matters). Al-Qurtubi gives a detailed description of the process from death to the Day of Resurrection, and along the way raises a large number of interesting questions in his work, including: whether one level of heaven is preferable to another; of the nature of the wine, plants, and the houris in heaven; whether a woman becomes a man’s wife in heaven when he takes her virginity on earth; and what is a believer supposed to do if he does want a child in heaven? According to al-Qurtubi, and others, the timeline of the Last Day is usually said to be preceded by a blowing of trumpets, followed by a general raising of the dead. (As previously noted, most believe that the dead until this point will be in limbo, with some believing that they are even continually present at their graves.) There will then be a

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process of intercession, where each major prophet (Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad) will speak up for his religious community. Humanity as a whole will eventually be split into several groups: those who enter paradise early and quickly, those who are immediately cast into hell without any possibility that they will be released from it, and those who either are cast into hell temporarily (bad Muslims) or whose entrance into heaven is delayed for some reason (usually because of sins). Whether the blessed will have the privilege of actually seeing God or not is an open question. Most sources believe that will not be possible (al-Daraqutni), but again as with other popular beliefs this one was too strong to be overcome by theological opposition. Within the graphic descriptions of heaven, there does not seem to be much room for the sort of spiritual or intellectual eternity favored by the philosophers (such as Ibn Sina [d. 1036–7] or Maimonides [d. 1204]). Hell was described in terms of heat, torture, deprivation of the senses, proportional punishment – denial or overabundance of whatever item it was that the sinner meted out to others in life – and enduring disgusting or revolting creatures on the body. In both heaven and hell there are levels, with the most elevated locations in heaven reserved for the most pious, while the most subterranean locations in hell are reserved for the worst of sinners. However, it is important to note that in neither case is there actually a true difference in kind as to either pleasure or pain, it is solely one of degree. The lowliest denizen of heaven still will live better than a king on earth, according to the traditions. In general, the Qur’an favors an actual bodily resurrection of the dead. Frequent disbelief of this possibility is mentioned in the text (Q 11:7, 17:98), to which the answer given is that God is capable of forming a body even after it has disintegrated, just as He formed it in the first place (below). This sense of corporeality is further emphasized by the types of pleasures and torments described in the literature on eschatology. Muslim teaching based upon the Qur’an has stressed the eternal nature of the separation between the good and evil parts of humanity at the Last Day. However, from a theological point of view, this dichotomy was not acceptable as there were a large number of categories of people who did not fall easily into either group. These included sinning Muslims (for whom there was the possibility of intercession), children who died before the age of maturity, as well as people who were disturbed or had no opportunity to hear the message of Islam. Thus for theologians there was a longing to make the punishment (especially) proportional to the sin, so that God would not be unjust in his sentencing. Practically speaking, this means that the judgment process is elongated somewhat, so that sinning Muslims can be punished for a time prior to entering heaven, and that others can exist in a state of semi-comfort in hell while never entering heaven.

Several legal issues One of the major legal issues that has been raised during the contemporary period involves the question of the time of death, and whether it is permissible to revive a dead person. Although there are some dreams during the classical period which indicate that

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a person could be caught up into heaven (such as Paul relates in II Corinthians 12:2) and return only reluctantly, for the most part it is only during the present time that this issue has become an important one. In general, contemporary Muslim legal opinion has held that once death has occurred (in some quantifiable manner) it should not be reversed by medical means. Otherwise the decree of God would be contravened. There are a number of tangled legal issues that have to do with the dead body. Organ transplants from the deceased are problematic because of the desecration of the body that process entails. Although they are generally (at the present time) permitted by mainstream Muslim authorities, there are still significant elements of the religious elite that do not allow them. Autopsies, even for criminal cases, are often problematic as well, and it is not at all unusual to find Muslims on a popular level resisting legal authorities who desire to carry them out. All of these issues are problems because of the reassembly of the body that is explicit in the Resurrection of the Dead at the end of the world (cf. Qur’an 37:16f.): in order to enjoy or endure the next world the deceased must have access to all of his or her parts (or at least to ensure that they are not made into the parts of some other person through transplantation) (Rispler-Chaim, chapter 8). Thus far major Muslim authorities do not appear to have allowed for the Qur’anic dispensation that God is able to recreate bodies (e.g., 46:33). As stated above, the issue of corporeal resurrection of the dead was a major cleavage between popular and rationalist Islam, as the former held to the bodily enjoyment or torment in the next world, while the latter emphasized the logical absurdity of the need for bodies in heaven and hell, the actual reassembly of one’s physical body after its decay, and the benefits of a spiritual existence. For example, during the medieval period Jews, who previously had not developed a corporeally based eschatology, began on a popular level to feel the need to elaborate what the next world would look like. More philosophically inclined Jewish scholars like Maimonides were under popular pressure to affirm that the next world would have sensual pleasures and that the resurrection of the dead would be corporeal in nature. This pressure was obviously coming from the echoes of popular Muslim preaching all around the Jewish community. The issue of eschatology has always been a popular one, in both senses of the term. Muslims and Christians vied with each other as to which type of paradise was the more attractive. Popular sermons, dreams associated with Sufi holy men, recitations of the Ascension into Heaven, all of these elements served to make Muslims aware of what the end of the world and the next one would look like. Another more recent issue causing division in the Muslim world is the veneration of graves and the visitation of the dead. This issue is one that has been popularized by the Wahhabi/Salafi movement (stemming from Saudi Arabia), and those who have raised it challenge the traditional Muslim veneration of graves, believing that it is polytheism. For this reason, Wahhabis/Salafis often engage in the willful destruction of tombs, even those of major religious figures. According to these purists, the connection between the living and the dead is broken by death, and will not be rejoined until the Day of Resurrection. Any attitude that infringes upon this absolute separation smacks of the worship of entities other than Allah. Traditional practices such as public

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mourning for the dead and praying at their tombs are strictly forbidden by Wahhabis/ Salafis (Fatawa Islamiyah, i, pp. 80–1, 167–83). Death and dying, and the belief in the next world, are major elements of Islam. Belief in the Day of Judgment is contained in the first sura (1:3) which most Muslims recite as part of their five daily prayers. Similarly belief in the Last Day is one of the five things in which Muslims must believe. Focus upon death and dying as a way to break the hold of this world over the believer was common during classical and contemporary times, and involved spending a night in an open grave, or meditation upon the imminence or inevitability of death. Sermons on death and the next world are a permanent feature of mosques. This material is produced not for the sake of morbidity but to emphasize that the true home of the believer is not this world. Therefore, the Qur’anic citations, the traditions, and the popular beliefs concerning death and the afterlife are intrinsic to the self-awareness of Islam.

References Abu al-Shaykh al-Isfahani, ‘Abdallah b. Muhammad b. Ja’far (d. 369/979–80), (1994) Kitab al-’azama. Ed. Mustafa Faris, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyya. All Qur’anic translations are from Majid Fakhry, (1997) The Qur’an: A Modern English Version. London: Garnet. al-Bayhaqi, Ahmad b. al-Husayn (d. 458/1066), (n.d.) Hayat al-anbiya’ fi quburihim. Ed. Abu Sahl Najah ‘Iwad Siyyam, Cairo: Maktabat al-Iman. Birilwi, Ahmad Riza Khan al-Qadiri (d. 1340/1921), (2014) Hayat al-mawat fi bayan sama’ al-amwat. Ed. Anwar Ahmad Khan al-Baghdadi, Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyya. Busse, Heribert, (1991) “Jerusalem in the Story of Muhammad’s Night Journey and Ascension,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 14, pp. 1–40. Fatawa Islamiyah: Islamic Verdicts. Riyad: Darussalam, 2001–3 (8 vols). al-Haythami, Nur al-Din ‘Ali b. Abi Bakr (d. 807/1404), (n.d.) Majma’ al-zawa’id wa-manba’ al-fawa’id. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr (10 vols). Ibn Abi Zaminayn, Muhammad b. ‘Abdallah (d. 399/1008–9), (1989) Qudwat al-ghazi. Ed. ‘A’isha al-Sulaymani, Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami. Ibn al-Mubarak, ‘Abdallah (d. 181/797), (n.d.) Kitab al-zuhd wa-l-raqa’iq. Ed. Habib al-Rahman al-A’zami, Beirut: Muhammad ‘Afif al-Zu’bi. Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ahmad (d. 795/1392–3), (2001) Ahwal al-qubur wa-ahwal ahluha ila al-nushur. Ed. Khalid ‘Abd al-Latif al-Sab’ al-’Ali, Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-’Arabi. Khalil, Muhammad (ed.) (2013) Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation and the Fate of Others. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lange, Christian, (2008) Justice, Punishment and the Medieval Muslim Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. al-Qurtubi al-Ansari, Muhammad b. Ahmad (d. 671/1272–3), (n.d.) al-Tadhkira fi ahwal al-mawta wa-umur al-akhira. Cairo: Maktabat al-Iman. Rispler-Chaim, Vardit, (1993) Islamic Medical Ethics in the Twentieth Century. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Smith, Jane Idleman, and Haddad, Yvonne Yazbeck, (2002) The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection. Oxford: Oxford University Press. al-Tabari, Muhammad b. Jarir (d. 310/923), (n.d.) Jami’ al-bayan fi ta’wil ayy al-Qur’an. Beirut: Dar al-Fikr (15 vols).

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Funerary culture in Islam Amila Buturovic

Like most religious cultures, in matters of death and funerary rituals Muslims are poised between universal processes of grief and body disposal and specifically Islamic teachings on the meaning of death and afterlife. The former is conditioned by a common human need to mourn and commemorate the dead. However, how that is enacted is largely informed by the norms and practices of the cumulative Islamic tradition rooted in the Qur’an and the prophetic traditions of hadith. Interpretative divergences are of great relevance in this respect: while most Muslims agree on some basic ideas of what it means to die as a Muslim, variations exist as to how death is ritually treated. The variations are partly cultural and environmental, in that the process of Islamization across the world involved negotiations of already established local practices and attitudes towards death in a particular geographic setting, but they are also denominational, reflecting enduring attention given to death and funerary practices by classical and contemporary religious scholarship. As we cannot concern ourselves with specific denominational or regional differences, we will present here relevant unifying aspects of funerary culture and their textual underpinnings, and offer some insights into their enactment in everyday life. A quick look at the pertinent passages from the Qur’an will be followed by relevant Prophetic and later authoritative elaborations that have jointly helped shape dominant funerary practices in Islam.

Death in the Qur’an Performing the ritual of disposing the remains into the earth reflects, directly and indirectly, the basic Islamic teachings about death. As a subject of divine discourse, death is strongly intertwined with apocalyptic imagery. The Qur’anic concern with death relates primarily to its affirmation of afterlife. This view presents a break from the pre-Islamic Arab consideration of this world as the only space-time in which life takes place. While there are hints that pre-Islamic Arabs may have believed in some form of life beyond death in that they nurtured strong ties with their ancestors, placed importance on unbroken family lineage, and acted on behalf of deceased relatives when their death was violent and unjust, they paid little heed to the idea of afterlife (Homerin

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1985). Pre-Islamic Arabs connected with their dead primarily in order to maintain a stable social order for the living. In contrast, the Qur’an offered a new cosmology in which life and death interconnected on a different level. What human beings consider to be the existential end – death, that is – is only a biological condition associated with one of life’s different phases. This phase is characterized by a visible and corporeal presence and participation in social and ethical affairs governing human collectivities. Caught up in day-to-day challenges, human beings ignore or forget the fact that life spans a much larger trajectory under God’s supreme and enduring choreography. The Qur’an, and indeed its cognate scriptures the Torah and the Gospels, are claimed to be the proclamation and reminder of that fact, so it is in the interest of each one of us to accept and submit to God’s design as articulated in His Books. The scriptural focus is laid on the idea of death as a return to God, in accordance with Q 2:156: “Surely we belong to God and to God shall we return.” According to the Qur’anic narrative, the Arabs, who were likely aware of this idea of afterlife through their interaction with the Christians and Jews, were chosen to be recipients of the last of God’s Books – the Mother of all Books (umm al-kitab) – outlining the meaning and course of life in toto rather than in part. Their pre-Qur’anic understanding of life, premised on what the Qur’an describes as their false belief that nothing lies beyond, was now challenged: “They say,” the Qur’an rebuffs the Arabs, “there is nothing but our present life. We live, we die, and only Fate destroys us” (Q 45:24). Fate, in this scheme, is whimsical and inconsistent. It strikes randomly, often taking away life with no rhyme or reason – prematurely, unexpectedly and unfairly. Pre-Islamic Arabs believed that life had to be experienced in full because no one ever knew when and why it would be revoked. Fear of death is a natural disposition resulting from this sense of inescapable yet elusive finality. However, the Qur’an proclaims, their assumption is wrong. Life is but one chapter on a long return journey to God, yet a crucial one because it decides if that journey into eternity is to be filled with joy and beauty or will be wretched and condemned. Life is thus a test of commitment to God’s ways. Those who accept and respect them are rewarded. Those who reject them are punished. Viewed from this perspective, death is the portal to eternal life defined by the beliefs and choices made in this world. The Qur’an offers detailed descriptions of an eternal afterlife which follows the most crucial event in humanity’s history: Resurrection. These elaborations were meant to shock and awe the polytheist Arabs who, according to the Qur’an, rejected the reality of God, afterlife, or post-mortem continuity. Rich and extensive imagery of physical havoc and inversions ensue at the end of the days, portentous forewarnings of cataclysmic events lead to the Hour, and graphic depictions of social dystopia signal the Final Judgment: at this time, God tells us – namely, “when the heavens are cleft asunder, when the stars are scattered about, when the seas are blown open, when the tombs are strewn around” – each soul shall know “what it advanced and what it deferred” (Q 82:1–5). Unless prepared for this ominous event that will turn everything topsy-turvy and lead to paralyzing confusion, we will be doomed. “Where, then, will you gọ,” asks God rhetorically (Q 81:26), ushering us to make the right choice here and now.

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The Qur’anic eschatological view frames many important teachings in Islamic tradition because of its assurance that God will grant continuity where, until the advent of Islam, there was only doom, void, and finality. Ironically, while careful and meticulous in its depiction of Resurrection and its effects, the Qur’an says little about death and a person’s condition in death before Resurrection. Of course, death is neither random nor alien in God’s eyes. God clarifies that it is He who causes both life and death (Q 23:80) and that, indeed, every soul shall taste death (Q 29:57). God determines the time and place for it and there is no escape from this determination for “wherever you are, death will find you” (Q 4:78). In a popular narrative, the mother’s womb, at the moment of conception, is sprinkled with the soil from the place where the child is destined to die (Smith & Haddad 2002).

Disposing the body, releasing the soul Because of the Qur’anic sparseness on the subject, an expansive subgenre of theological, legal, and literary elaborations on what awaits the dead in the grave evolved, feeding everyday religious imagination in matters of death and dying and delineating what it meant to be Muslim in life and also in death. The existing religious communities in the region, both monotheist and polytheist, already had well-established traditions of disposing and mourning the dead. Pre-Islamic nomadic Arabs, among whom Islam emerged as a new religious and cosmological order, also disposed of their dead through burial in the grave. For them, the grave signaled the beginning of a new, sedentary condition, and they referred to both the dead and their graves as muqīm – the ‘staying.’ Through death, the Arab nomads were forced to inhabit a permanent and stable location, and that location was not of much interest to the living given their migratory patterns. Instead, it is the invisible ancestral kinship that carried important cultural significance (Bravmann 2008). The nascent Muslim community which became rapidly urban needed to articulate its own attitude towards the dead and set the stage for the making of specifically Islamic death culture in order to be differentiated from other religious communities while not reproducing pre-Islamic norms. In the early days of Islam, questions to that effect were posed directly to the Prophet who provided thorough clarifications on the subject of dying, mourning and the handling of dead Muslims before and after the burial. As Halevi points out, the challenges the first Muslims faced related to three most important areas of community life: first, how to separate the deceased from the living; second, how to incorporate funeral gatherings into the social order and norms governing public behavior; and third, how to ensure the presence of a new type of social actors engaged in death-related rituals (Halevi 2007). The three aspects associated with funerary practices – paraphrased best as psychological, socio-economic and ritual – left an enduring impact on the formation and shaping of Islamic societies to date. In accordance with the frequent Qur’anic statements that the final phase of life awaits the body after its resurrection at the Day of Judgment, burial became the

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required, and in fact the only proper, way of disposing human remains. According to one tradition, the Prophet described the grave as the first (of many a) station of the Hereafter (Tirmidhi, 2308). Burial thus carries a ritual value of allowing the living and the dead to sustain a social connection, and a theological value in that it facilitates the process of transition from this world to the next. It also sets the stage for the act of ‘questioning in the grave,’ whereby the dead Muslim is affirmed in faith in God and in the allegiance to the Prophet’s guidance, which in turn ensures the reunion of her or his soul with the Creator. Because of this belief, the bodies of dead Muslims must not be cremated, treated artificially or interfered with in any way, but must be left to the natural process of decomposition in the earth, as per the Qur’anic statement, “We made you out of it and into it we return you, then from it we shall raise you again” (20:55). The interment of the remains is divinely stipulated: according to one sacred tradition (hadith qudsi), a man who was ashamed of his sins asked to be dismembered, his bones crushed and his remains cremated then scattered over the earth so that God could not punish him for his sins. When that indeed was done, God demanded from the earth: “Produce what you have taken, and there he was!” God then forgave the sins of the man because of his admittance that he had done it out of fear of punishment, implying he was aware of God’s ability to bring us back in the form we were before death (No. #32 in al-Bukhari, Ibn Maja). However, the issue of bodily restoration in the original shape would become a contentious issue in medieval Islamic thought, especially between philosophers and theologians who took different positions regarding the possibility and challenge of authentic restitution. While lying in the grave, the entombed remains are in fact said to subside in the barzakh, a form of ontological interspace or boundary separating the living and the dead. While the grave suggests the spatial signification of death, the barzakh, a term often used in medieval exegetical texts interchangeably with the grave, represents the space-time in which life after death begins. In the Qur’anic definition, the barzakh sets the boundary between this world and the next in absolute and non-porous ways, and is likened to a strip of land that divides sweet and salt waters and prevents them from mingling (Q 55:19–20). Once they cross to the other side, the deceased cannot return to perform any good deeds that would rectify their status (Q 23:99–100) nor can they maintain sensorial relations with the living (Q 35:22). However, the tradition holds that the Prophet spoke to the slain opponents after the battle of Badr, suggesting that for three days he could hear his words (Bukhari 64:75). In latter discussions, opinions varied among theologians if and for how long the dead could hear the living, but most agreed that they are not heard back (Smith & Haddad 2002). The boundary is firmly believed to be crossable only in one direction, from life into death, and it is within this interspace of barzakh that death begins to unfold. In other words, until the Day of Reckoning, when the soul is to be reunited with the body for the purposes of resurrection and final judgment (Q 6:36), the body remains entombed (Q 80:21), physically in the earth and ontologically in the barzakh. The grave thus serves not only the function of disposing of the body but provides the portal for the journey towards God. It is the dominating marker of the intermediate

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state (Eklund 1941), but not an exclusive one since those Muslims whose bodies vanish, burn, drown or for any other reason do not undergo a burial can expect the same fate of punishment or reward and transition through the barzakh. How and when the body is laid, however, and what funerary order and specific rituals ought to take place is not detailed in the Qur’an. On the contrary, the Qur’an presents us with narrative silence and ritual ambiguity, both of which were to be addressed and elucidated by the prophetic sunna and, in classical and medieval Islam, they further evolved through rich theological and legal injunctions.

How to bury, and why Because the Qur’an suggests that the body undergoes some form of pre-judgment while lying in the grave, albeit in several oblique references that have been collectively termed “the punishment of the grave” in the Islamic tradition, the importance of proper burial is enhanced lest the dead Muslims be subjected to unfair treatment. The punishment in the grave begins and depends on the process of the questioning of the dead by two designated angels, and, as the tradition holds, it is paramount that the body be properly prepared to receive the questioners. The Prophet’s insights and advice became the most important resource of knowledge on the subject. In the voluminous prophetic traditions, collectively known as the sunna (deeds) and hadith (words) of the Prophet, which were compiled by authoritative religious scholars after Muhammad’s death into a canonical compendium surpassed in importance only by the Qur’an, the practices and attitudes towards death rituals are placed under the heading kitāb al-janā’iz (“the book of funerary rites”). Here, Muhammad offers detailed verbal guidance and ritual prescriptions so as to clarify and establish what it means to die a Muslim, and to be buried, mourned and commemorated as one. The necessity of proper practice not only relates to the demarcations of Muslims as a separate community of believers within the religiously diverse environment but also to helps minimize the torment and punishment in the grave. Although much more ink has been spilled to discuss the status of the soul/spirit in the period awaiting the Day of Judgment, the issue of ritual and theological signification of the grave has not been ignored. Theologically, it was important to emphasize God’s absolute justice and integrity in relation to the treatment of the body, even if God Himself left things unsaid in the Book (Smith & Haddad 2002). As far as legal scholars were concerned, on the other hand, the prophetic injunctions on burial bore relevance on broader matters pertaining to family law, gender relations, public and private realms, ritual space and community and individual obligations, so a proper social behavior towards the dead required adequate explication and specification. Finally, in the Muslim cultural imagination, death and its different aspects led to a proliferation of descriptive and didactic eschatological literature, elegies, laments and other modes of creative expression that enriched local practices and gave them diversity across place and time. Thus, while the Prophetic traditions (three of which are consulted here – Bukhari, Abu Dawud and Ibn al-Maja) specified many important death-related practices, they

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clearly did not fully satisfy the curiosity surrounding death in the Islamic order of things. Presented as a series of comments and responses to specific death-related situations rather than a narrative sequence, the Prophet’s recommendations did the scriptural silence in a detailed reflection on his community’s concerns related to dying, death, burial and mourning. In combination with the Qur’an and extra-textual sources, medieval Muslim theologians, the most influential of which are al-Ghazali (11th c.), Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (14th c.) and Jalal al-Din al Suyuti (15th c.), developed important manuals and related prescriptive literature detailing the unfolding of death and the obligations towards the dead. The basic narrative can be extrapolated as the following sequence: The fateful moment happens with the apparition of the angel of death, Izra’il. Izra’il’s sole function is to carry out God’s command of taking away the soul. Most popular accounts treat him metonymically as death because no death occurs without the apparition of Izra’il. Of course, Izra’il neither determines nor causes death; he simply signals it. The moment is said to be terrifying. The dying person faces Izra’il’s overbearing presence, which can easily make him or her lose composure. This is why the dying person must focus on professing the witness, shahada, namely the first article of faith that God is one and Muhammad is His (last) prophet. Be they alone or in company of the beloved ones, the dying affirm their belonging to the Islamic community and also dispel the fright caused by the apparition of Izra’il. While the dying should be encouraged to say the shahada, the caretakers and visitors should recite, according to one version of hadith, the chapter yā-sīn (Q 36) in their presence. If the dying person is too weak or insufficiently aware to speak, any Muslim present should whisper the shahada into their ear so as to imprint it as the last words before Izra’il snatches the soul. The dead must be promptly prepared for burial. The first and crucial ritual act in preparation for the burial is to wash the corpse. The dead person’s eyes should be closed and prepared for the ritual. The ritual washing ought to be done in odd numbers: thrice, five times or seven times, and should start from the right side before moving on to the left. The person performing the ritual washing of the corpse (ghusl) ought to take a bath after performing the act. Some important questions of social and gender relations arose out of the demands of ritual washing. The Prophet recommended that “the honest ones” should wash the dead, and anyone washing the corpse and preparing it for the burial is able through such acts to regain the utmost level of purity. What that meant in gender terms, especially from the perspective of spousal relations, was not entirely clear. As gender boundaries became legally more entrenched, some jurists questioned the appropriateness of spouses washing each other’s bodies while others did not raise it as a problem. Such concerns reflected the growing emphasis in the judicial discussion on the demarcation of gender roles and the gendering of space, both private and public, and especially because of the potential ambiguity of dead Muslims’ spousal relations: how do they change after death, and if and how are they redefined? While the Qur’an specifies that four months and ten days must pass before the widow can remarry (Q2:234), the issue of ritual relationship to the dead spouse has generated divergent legal opinions, including the mores of washing their corpse. In the case of the Hanafi school, for example, the husband would be prohibited to wash the body of his wife if

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there was another female present to do it, while the wife, in contrast, could wash her husband’s body. Further to the issue of social boundaries, a Muslim could wash the corpse of a non-Muslim, which is especially relevant for first-generation converts, but not necessarily the other way around. In classical and medieval discussions many incidental practices recorded in the early days of Islam became the basis for specific legal injunctions, often tweaked through much discussion and internal divergence (Halevi 2007). Most schools recommend that the person washing the corpse should take a bath, while the men carrying the bier to the grave ought to perform ablution. Once properly washed, a Muslim corpse is ready for burial. However, the Prophet introduced an important exemption for the martyrs, like the ones at the battle of Uhud waged by the Prophet’s newly formed community of Muslims in Medina against their Meccan opponents (Bukhari, 23:429). The slain Muslims were buried in their clothes and without recommended ritual preparation. No prayer should be said over the martyrs either since God graces them with immediate provisions and protection (Q4:74; 2:154; 3:169–170). When asked about the martyrs, Muhammad responded with a typology: in addition to those who die in the battle, God has designated seven categories of martyrdom. They include the victims of plague, drowning, respiratory illness, internal ailment, fire, falling structures and women who die in pregnancy. Martyrs, the Prophet added, would be resurrected in the clothes they wore at the moment of death (Abu Dawud 20:3105, 3014, 3144; Bukhari 23:354; Ibn Majah, 6:1539). Given the Qur’anic contention that the martyrs do not in fact die but continue to live by God’s side though we cannot perceive them (Q 2:154; 3:169) means that God provides for martyrs (Q 22:58–59) in ways unfamiliar to our notion of life and death. They do not need to be prepared for death, ritually or liturgically, for they are not, in fact, dead. All other deceased Muslims whose corpses can be handled without obstruction ought to be ritually washed, then shrouded in plain white cloth (referred to as Yemeni cotton) with jaws tied up, to be loosened when laying them into the grave. According to one tradition, a horned ram should be sacrificed for the dead and the meat distributed among the community. Three rows of praying men need to accompany the bier in order to ensure rewards in Paradise. Suicide victims, like martyrs, receive no prayer, albeit for different reasons. The Prophet instructed his fellow Muslims to take part in funerals, for which the participant would be rewarded in the hereafter. Participation in funerals would become fard kifaya, “an obligation that at least some Muslims must discharge on behalf of the community as a whole” (Zaman 2001: 28). The procession, which should preferably be on foot, follows the bier carried on men’s shoulders, at the pace that is neither too fast, as if running, nor too slow, as if lacking in energy. The atmosphere must be dignified and muted. The passersby should stand up and wait until the bier is either put down or out of sight, even if, the Prophet instructed, the deceased is not Muslim (Bukhari, 23:398, 399). When the body is laid into the ground, with the face tilted towards the sacred shrine in Mecca, the basmala is uttered (“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”) followed by four takbirs (exclamations of God’s greatness, Allah-u-Akbar). In addition, a supplication prayer (du‘a) ought to be said when the procession stands over the bier, asking

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for forgiveness on behalf of “those who are living and those who are dead, those who are present and those who are absent, our young and our old, male and female” (Abu Dawud, 20:3193). Funeral prayer should be said at the grave after the completion of the burial, and the Prophet’s preferred choice of recitation was the opening chapter of the Qur’an, al-fatiḥa. The prayer is also said to lessen the risk of any punishment in the grave and grant the dead a quick transition to Paradise. Variations exist in gender terms: thus, in one interpretation the funeral prayer for a woman should be led by the father, not the husband, since her primary bond with a man is through familial rather than less stable matrimonial relations. While women do not attend the funeral, they can perform funerary prayers without men in such a way that they form a single group with the female imam seated rather than standing in the front so that no hierarchy is formed among them (Halevi 2007). In many parts of the Muslim world, women conduct ritual prayers and meditations for the dead at the dead person’s home or a relative’s home. In the cases of both men and women, a supplication prayer is performed before leaving the gravesite because the questioning in the grave begins shortly after the burial ritual is completed. As a result, the Prophet demanded the atmosphere to be solemn and dignified, both in honor of the dead and so as not to interfere with the questioning. He forbade wailing at the grave, especially by professional female wailers common in pre-Islamic Arab burial customs, and overall discouraged women from attending burials to prevent excess emotional outbursts. Such outbursts, he contended, negatively affect the dead at the time of questioning. Although the Prophet spoke routinely of questioning in the grave, only in one authoritative hadith is he said to have named the angels who perform it, Munkar and Nakir (Wensinck 1932), while in other traditions he is recorded as mentioning two interrogating angels without naming them. In yet another tradition, the Prophet is said to have identified another angel by the name of Ruman, roaming around the graves, as the first party to meet the departed soul (Smith & Haddad 2002). In popular dramatic rendering by classical and medieval Muslim authors, Munkar and Nakir appear to have been widely accepted as the interrogators who question the dead about their faith and loyalty to the Prophet and his message although their exact identity has been subject of divergent opinions. However, they have remained embedded in the religious imagination of most Muslims as the reality awaiting the dead shortly after they are laid into the grave. As the creed of one of the most influential jurists of early Islamic tradition, Abu Hanifa, asserts, “the questioning in the grave shortly upon death by Munkar and Nakir is a fact. The rejoining of the spirit [rūḥ] with the body [jasad] of the servant is a fact. The tightening of the grave and the punishment in it affecting all unbelievers and some sinful believers is a fact” (Abu Hanifa, lines 85–87).

Caring for the dead Much like the uncertainty surrounding the events in the grave, the questions of attending and caring for the graves have been subjected to intense discussions. The Prophet instructed that the graves be slightly raised and singular, one body per grave and more

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only if necessary (Abu Dawud 20:3209). In certain circumstances, two or three bodies can be placed together into a single grave if necessary, as was done with the Uhud martyrs. The graves ought to be deep and sufficiently spacious, marked with a rock and containing no structures or writing so as to not refer to the dead as they once were. One must tread carefully among the graves, lest the noise of the heels disturb the dead. In other words, the graves should be inconspicuous and uniform, to avoid ostentatious display and not to attract attention. At the same time, they must not be desecrated or defiled, no matter who the occupants are. The dead are mourned for three days, to avoid the risk of punishment of the dead person if they are excessively grieved, except widows who should mourn their husbands for four months and ten days, as specified in the Qur’an. The graves can and should be visited, because they are reminders of death, but they should never attract attention with their appearance and aesthetic. Despite an underlying austerity associated with burial practices, Muslims are enjoined to ritually care for the dead and be mindful of the dead, including their memory and graves. Partly in response to the basic need to remember loved ones and partly for reasons of historical continuity and cultural interaction with non-Muslim neighbors, the recommendation to abstain from grave marking has been largely ignored. As early as the first decades after the advent of Islam in 622 and the death of the Prophet in 632, individual preferences to be remembered epigraphically were honored. The earliest preserved tombstone dates to year 31 of the Islamic era (652 CE), naming the dead and pleading for God’s forgiveness on his behalf (Halevi 2007). Throughout the Muslim world, graves continued to be marked, at times ostentatiously, but they exhibit little uniformity in epigraphic or iconographic terms. In fact, one big point of contention for the purist Salafi movement in contemporary period is precisely the individualization of graves through epitaphs and other epigraphic modes that have become common across Muslim spaces of death, fueling their strong objection that this is done against the Prophet’s sunna and recommendation. Funerary architecture has indeed evolved in quite rich styles that vary across time and space, as do the writings found on Muslim gravestones. Some of these differences stem from denominational differences, especially as regards Sunni and Shi’a styles, but they also reflect multiple forms of religiosity associated with the mystical Sufi tradition, local influences, socio-economic status, gender discrepancies and other markers of difference. In addition, individual legal schools developed their own normative recommendations regarding cemeteries and funerary forms, the permissibility of using the Qur’anic text on the graves, intercessory invocations and commemorative ritual practice. While the differences may not be substantial in that they may be the matter of what Qur’anic verse to evoke, how to stylistically erect and mark the grave and how to differentiate male from female graves, they nevertheless indicate a persisting tension between fundamental textual demands and individual responses to death among Muslims across denominational and cultural divide, or what Campo refers to as the negotiation “between the prescribed and the performed” (Campo 2003). After all, with such a prominent role given to the idea of afterlife and potentially joyous otherworldly experiences, it is hard to imagine departing from this world without establishing a commemorative

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link: a material marker or memento to remind the living of the connection with their ancestors, and the dead of their sustained presence in memory and ritual. An important dimension of that connection, aside from personal and sentimental, is liturgical and salvific: as demonstrated by the majority of Islamic epitaphs, the dead seek to be remembered in prayer in hope of intercession and reassurance that their experience in the grave would be neither torturous nor isolating. Despite a rather formulaic, simple and declarative quality of most inscriptions, the plea for remembrance and interaction can be both implicitly and explicitly stated. In the most common practice across the Islamic world, the epigraphic inscriptions begin with the invocation of God through one of His merciful qualities, suggesting His willingness to grant forgiveness to the dead, followed by a brief statement that this is the grave (qabr), resting place (marqad) or abode (maqām) of the so-and-so dead person (marḥūm, lit. the forgiven one), whose name and biographical reference is succinctly listed, and finally an evocation of either a specific verse from the Qur’an or asking the visitor to the grave to say a prayer for the soul. The inscription ends with the date of death, or sometimes with the date of the gravestone’s erection. In more elaborate examples of funerary texts the epitaphs appear poetic, lyrical, narratively rich and even highly stylized to emulate literary conventions of the time. Of note is also the occasional practice of epitaphic chronograms (e.g. the Ottoman regions), where the inscriptions are composed in line with the Arabic alphanumeric tradition: each letter of the alphabet possesses a numerical value, so by combining certain letters as verses of the epitaphic chronogram, the author encodes the date of the buried person’s death (Buturović 2015). Much more than ordinary epitaphs, such poetic inscriptions have not only commemorative but highly prized elegiac quality. Aside from these general features of funerary epigraphy, in the course of Islamic history, exquisite architecture has been erected to mark the burial ground, mainly through charitable waqf endowments, to commemorate both outstanding as well as ordinary individuals. One look at the majestic white mausoleum Taj Mahal in Agra, built by Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in the seventeenth century in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, testifies to the powerful human desire to remember and be remembered in a way that at once epitomizes a sense of loss, social rank, fear of forgetting and the aesthetics of memory. While certainly an extraordinary example of beauty and status and therefore not typical of everyday Islam, Taj Mahal is not alone in celebrating death in monumental terms against the dangers of forgetting. In other aspects of religious and spiritual life in Islam, examples of material memory and commemorative markers abound, especially in the context of shrine culture within Sufi tradition. Built as tombs and mausoleums to Sufi saints, considered intimate friends of God, who are believed to have achieved the highest level of spiritual attainment, these shrines persist as spiritual lampposts in Islamic sacred geography and, internally, as part of a life’s journey for Sufi disciples. The shrines thus attract pilgrims, ritual commemorative gatherings, influence sacred spatiality and calendar and promote devotional practices apart from the established religious canon. Their function has been more than commemorative: they have served to spread and cement religious teachings, expand liturgical and spiritual

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practices, and facilitate the flow of divine blessing, barakah, in times of crisis or for healing purposes (Dickie 1995; Buturović 2010). Although mainstream Sunni Islamic establishment has never been fully at ease with this aspect of personal piety, shrine culture has spread across the Islamic world as a way of intimating God’s presence outside prescribed rituals, and it has more often than not acquired Sufi associations. Never put at par with the official pilgrimage/hajj to Mecca, visits (ziyara) to such shrines are nevertheless treated as sacred journeys in accordance with well-established sacred calendars and personal needs. Moreover, many such shrines are shared among different religious communities, either by virtue of the same saint extending her or his healing powers across religious divide, or by having one and the same shrine claimed by different religious groups as the location containing the remains of their saint. In such instances the participants must negotiate, at times successfully and at others through conflict, the multifaceted challenges of coexistence and consociality (Albera & Couroucli 2012; Bowman 2012). In conclusion, Islamic tradition comprises many unifying but also divergent funerary practices. Deriving from the religious and historical foundations of the Qur’an, the prophetic traditions and formative religious discourse, it has developed a number of specifically Islamic attitudes towards death and dying, but has also benefited from local attitudes and practices in the areas where it has spread. Funerary culture has thus been expansive despite certain fundamental teachings stabilized by the religious canon. Although not shared by all, the idea of an ongoing relationship between physical remains and the spirit in the liminal space of the grave has galvanized the imagination of most Muslims across time and space to assuage the fear of finality and disconnect from this world and find some comfort in death while awaiting the Judgment Day.

References Multiple Qur’anic translations, including my own rendering of specific verses, have been consulted, retrieved from the Quranic Arabic Corpus, www.qurancorpus.com. Abou-Lughod, L. (1993) “Islam and the Gendered Discourses of Death.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 25 (2): 187–205. Abu Dawud, Sunan: kitāb al-janā’iz. Vol. 20. Abu Hanifa, Al-fiqh al-akbar. Trans. by Y. M. Ninowy. Online: [Accessed 4 October, 2016]. Albera, D. and M. Couroucli, eds. (2012) Sharing Sacred Spaces in the Mediterranean: Christians, Muslims, and Jews at Shrines and Sanctuaries. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Al-Bukhari. Sahih: Kitab al-jana’iz. Online: Accessed 4 October 2016. Bowman, G. (2012) Sharing the Sacra. New York and Oxford: Berghahn. Bravmann, M.M. (2008) The Spiritual Background of Early Islam. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Buturović, A. (2010) “Death,” in J. Elias (ed.) Key Themes for the Study of Islam. Oxford: Oneworld. 123–140. Buturović, A. (2015) Carved in Stone, Etched in Memory: Death, Tombstones and Commemoration in Bosnian Islam. London: Ashgate.

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Campo, J. (2003) “Muslim Ways of Death: Between the Prescribed and the Performed,” in K. Garces-Foley (ed.) Death and Religion in a Changing World. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe. 147–177. Dickie, J. (1995) “Allah and Eternity: Mosques, Madrasas and Tombs.” In G. Michell (ed.) Architecture of the Islamic World. London: Thames & Hudson. 65–79. Diem, W., and M. Schöller (2004) The Living and the Dead in Islam: Studies in Arabic Epitaphs. 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. Eklund, R. (1941) Life between Death and Resurrection according to Islam. Uppsala: Almqvist & Ikells. Eldem, E., and N. Vatin (2007) L’épitaphe otomane musulmane, XVIe-XXe siècles. Paris: Peeters. Halevi, L. (2007) Muhammad’s Grave: Death Rites and the Making of Islamic Society. New York: Columbia University Press. Homerin, E. Th. (1985) “Echoes of a Thirsty Owl: Death and Afterlife in Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 44 (3): 165–184. Ibn al-Majah, Sunan: kitāb al-janā’iz. Vol. 6. Online: . Accessed Feb. 28, 2017. Kalus, L., ed. (2013) Thesaurus d’épigraphie islamique. Geneve: Fondation Max van Berchem. Online: . Accessed 4 October 2016. Lambourn, E. (2008) “Tombstones, Texts, and Typologies: Seeing Sources for the Early History of Islam in Southeast Asia.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 51 (2): 252–286. Laqueur, H. P. (1992) “Dervish Gravestones.” In R. Lifchez (ed.) The Dervish Lodge: Architecture, Art, and Sufism in Ottoman Turkey. Berkeley: University of California Press. 284–295. Rogers, J. M. (1988) “Calligraphy and Common Script: Epitaphs from Aswan and Akhlat.” In P. Soucek, C. Bier, and R. Ettinghausen (eds.) Content and Context of Visual Arts in the Islamic World. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press. 105–137. Smith, J., and Y. Haddad (2002) The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Toorawa, Sh. M. (2010) “Prayer.” In J. Elias (ed.) Key Themes for the Study of Islam. Oxford: Oneworld. 263–280. Wensinck, A. J. (1932) The Muslim Creed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zaman, Q. M. (2001) “Death, Funeral Processions, and the Articulation of Religious Authority in Early Islam.” Studia Islamica 93: 27–58.

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Zoroastrian afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Almut Hintze Malabar Hill, in the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai, is today one of the world’s most expensive property markets. And yet the central area of the hillrock peninsula is occupied by the fifty-six-acre walled Zoroastrian funeral grounds, the doongerwadi or ‘garden on the hill’. Administered by the Bombay Parsee Punchayat along with other trust funds of the Parsi community (Desai 1977: 46), the compound comprises a lush park with a rich flora and fauna of over 240 varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers, such as palm trees, Indian sandal wood, Indian cork trees, ebony, white siris, Buddhist Bauhinia, jasmine and mango trees. Flowers and creepers include roses, lilies, oleander, orchids, ixora and bougainvilleas, and there are peafowls, parrots, wild black kites, wood peckers, butterflies and many other animals. The vegetation creates a near forest designed to provide a home for scavenger birds and to six daxmas, or “Towers of Silence”, as they have become known in Europe following an early nineteenth-century rendering by a British colonial government official. Sir Monier Monier-Williams described the scenery as follows: The view we enjoyed when standing near the principal Sagri [i.e. a small building housing the ritual fire near the Towers] can scarcely be surpassed by any in the world. Beneath us lay the city of Bombay, partially hidden by coconut groves, with its beautiful bay and harbour glittering in the brilliant December light. Beyond stretched the magnificent ranges of the ghauts, while immediately around us extended a garden, such as can only be seen in tropical countries. No English nobleman’s garden could be better kept, and no pen could do justice to the glories of its flowering shrubs, cypresses, and palms. It seemed the very ideal, not only of a place of sacred silence, but of peaceful rest. (Monier-Williams 1879: 82) Built between 1672 and 1844 (Wadia 2002: 334–335; Kotwal 1995), the daxmas are cylindrical stone structures with tall external walls that are open to the sky. The circumference of the daxma is about 300 feet, large enough for scavenger birds like vultures to

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swoop in and out. Accessed via a rising ramp leading to a single iron door that is high up in the wall and facing east to catch the rays of the rising sun, the interior is made up of three concentric rows, each divided into open shallow compartments of the size of a human body, the outer for men, the middle one for women and the innermost for children. The three rows slope towards a deep circular central pit which eventually receives the excarnated, dry, bleached bones. The pit’s stone floor has four openings leading to underground channels that allow any water and other fluids to drain away. The channels are equipped with a filter system of thick layers of sand, charcoal and pebbles that ensure that no dead matter comes into direct contact with the earth (Fee 1905: 551–553; Modi 1937: 67–69). According to a census of 2001, the Zoroastrians constitute only 0.006% of India’s population. They are known as Parsis because they originate from Persia and settled in India after the invading Arabs had destroyed the Sasanian Zoroastrian state in 651 CE. Their religion, Zoroastrianism, is rooted in Indo-Iranian pre-history, and arose among the Iranians in the second millennium BCE. It is one of the oldest living faiths and one of Iran’s great contributions to the history of religious thought. Ideas about the choice between Good and Evil, which each person, whether man or woman, has to make, about right and wrong, judgement after death, reward and punishment and Heaven and Hell, are formulated in Zoroastrianism for the first time in world literature as constituent parts of a coherent system of belief. As the state religion of the three mighty empires of the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sasanians (550 BCE–651 CE), Zoroastrianism arguably exerted a profound influence on other religions, most notably post-exilic Judaism, nascent Christianity and Islam. Almost 1,400 years after the last of those empires fell to the invading Arabs, it still has its adherents, although today the community is microscopically small – an estimated 130,000 members worldwide with ca. 25,000 Zoroastrians in Iran and about 65,000 in India, mainly in Mumbai and Gujarat. The rest live in a global diaspora, chiefly in the English-speaking world, the oldest center being in London. Zoroastrians do not bury, cremate or submerge corpses in water, in order to prevent dead matter from coming into direct contact with, and thus polluting, the elements of earth, fire and water, the creations of their one supreme god Ahura Mazdā, or “Wise Lord” (Monier-Williams 1879: 87–88; Hintze 2014). According to their religion, any dead matter is polluting. Pollution and death are considered to form no part of Ahura Mazdā’s creation but were inflicted on it by Evil. The latter is a force entirely unconnected with and extraneous to God. Evil invaded Ahura Mazdā’s perfect cosmos from outside of it, and brought pollution, destruction and death. The purpose of creation, human beings in particular, is to reduce the presence of pollution as much as possible and thus contribute towards the eventual complete defeat and removal of Evil from the world, a task expected to be completed at the end of time with the help of a Saviour (Hintze 1995). At that point Evil will be defeated in a final battle and forced to withdraw powerless from the world to its place of darkness, where it came from originally. When a person dies, the greatest care must be taken to contain the pollution issuing from the corpse, which needs to be disposed of within twenty-four hours, if possible

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on the same day. The guiding principle of all Zoroastrian funerary observances is segregation of the dead body in order to prevent contamination, infection and harm to the living world. Funeral ceremonies are designed to prevent any direct contact of the living with the dead body, and to dispose of this source of pollution as quickly as possible (Modi 1937: 49, 71).

Traditional Zoroastrian funerary observances The traditional ancient funerary rites of the Iranian and Indian Zoroastrian communities are essentially the same, those of the Iranians being a little more elaborate (Boyce 1993). According to these rites, immediately after a person has died the body is transferred to a mortuary either at home or in a designated building in the neighbourhood or in the bunglis near the Towers of Silence. The family members recite one Ašəm Vohu-prayer into the ears of the deceased. They or professional corpse cleaners rub the body with gōmēz (unconsecrated cow’s urine) and then wash it with water, dress it with a set of clean but old clothes of white cotton and put the Kustī, or sacred girdle of the Zoroastrians, around the waist of the body three times according to the custom, while reciting the Kustī prayers on behalf of the departed, exactly as the deceased would have done while alive. The body is then placed on a narrow bed and relatives and friends draw near and kiss and embrace the deceased for the last time. After this moment they may no longer touch the body. Only professional corpse-bearers, or nasāsālārs, are permitted to do so, as from then on the dead body is believed to be contagious, having fallen under the influence of the Demoness of the Corpse, or druj nasu. The corpse-bearers are considered to be highly impure because of their direct contact with dead bodies and, hence, with Evil. While in service, they have to keep away from people, and when they retire they undergo special purification rites so that they may again rejoin society. The body should never be left alone or in the company of only one person (Modi 1937: 61). All activities concerning the corpse are carried out in pairs who are connected by paywand, a bond created by a piece of white cloth or an old Kustī. The function of the paywand is to strengthen the defense of the living against the pollution issuing from the corpse. Connected by a paywand, two professional Zoroastrian corpse cleaners place clean, white shrouds around the body, leaving only the face exposed for the sagdīds, by which the corpse is ritually “seen by a dog”. A dog is led in and made to look at the corpse for the purpose of detecting whether there is still any life in the body. It is also believed that the animal’s gaze limits and lessens the power of pollution (Boyce 1993, 1996; Moazami 2006: 128). After the first sagdīd, fire burning in a vase with fragrant wood and frankincense is brought into the room, and a priest sits down by the fire and attends to it while reciting verses from the Avesta, the ancient and sacred texts of the Zoroastrians. Members of the family may join in the recitation and the feeding of the fire, which has to be at a distance of at least three paces from the dead body so as to avoid any danger or risk to the life of the living. Meanwhile the

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two professionals place the body on a stone slab laid out on the ground in the front room of the house, arranging the hands of the deceased across the chest. Subsequently, while reciting the Yaθā Ahū Vairiiō-prayer, they draw three circles of furrows into the ground around the slab, or circle an iron nail three times around the corpse if the floor is tiled, thus demarcating the space within which the pollution is to be contained. The two men then leave the house, still holding a paywand between them. As long as the body is in the house, the sagdīd is repeated at the beginning of each of the five different periods, or gāhs, of the day. The corpse may only be taken to the Tower during the three daylight periods, but never during the night. This is done on the same day if the person died in the morning, but early on the following day if death occured after mid-day or during the night. At the appointed time, two or more corpse-bearers, having performed the Kustī prayers outside, enter the house in order to take the body to the Tower. Dressed all in white and holding a paywand between them, they carry a bier made of iron. Wood or any other soft material is considered unsuitable due to its porous nature that is conducive to spreading germs (Boyce 1989: 303–306, 328). Having placed the bier by the side of the corpse, the corpse-bearers recite a prayer, in a suppressed tone, confirming that they are fulfilling their duties in the prescribed way and at the order of the chief priest. They then sit silently next to the corpse while two priests stand in the doorway, holding the paywand and wearing the mouthsheet, or padān, covering the lower part of their face. The priests start the actual funeral service, which the Iranis call the Yašt-e Gāhān “Service of the Gāthās,” the Parsis Geh-sārnā (a term derived from Pahlavi gāhān-srāyišn “chanting of the Gāthās”), by reciting the first half of the Avestan Ahunavaitī Gāthā (Yasna 28–34). In doing so they fix their eyes on the bier, thereby purifying the bier with the holy spells. A blind priest is therefore not allowed to take part in the recitation. When reaching Yasna 31.4, they pause, the corpse-bearers rise, lift up the body and transfer it onto the bier. At this moment both priests turn around and all present look down since the nasu, which had settled on the corpse, is believed to leave it temporarily as the corpse is being moved, and may harm those present. After the body has been placed on to the bier a sagdīd is performed. The priests then continue their recitation until the end of Yasna 34 (Modi 1914). A sagdīd is again performed and the family and friends have a final look at the deceased and pay their respects. The corpse-bearers subsequently cover up the face of the deceased with a piece of cloth, secure the body to the bier, carry it out of the house and begin the procession headed by the two priests to the Tower of Silence. Relatives and friends, all dressed wholly in white, walk behind in pairs at a distance of at least thirty paces, each couple joined by holding a white handkerchief between them. In the past only men took part in the procession, but in recent years women have been included. On reaching their destination, the mourners receive a small booklet from which they recite prayers in the Avestan language, including the Xšnūman of Sraoš and the Daxma no Namaskar (“homage to the Daxma”). Others meanwhile disperse after having performed pādyāb-kustī and return to their homes.

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Upon arrival at the Tower, the corpse-bearers uncover the face of the deceased and the mourners pay their very final respects from a distance of at least three paces. After a final sagdīd the corpse-bearers carry the body up the ramp into the Tower and place it into the appropriate section. They tear the clothes open, uncover the body, and immediately leave the inside of the Tower and lock the door. The body is left for scavenger birds to devour (Fee 1905: 553–554). While this is happening, the mourners continue with their prayers in a small nearby complex of buildings, bungli and sagri, where a fire facing the door of the daxma is kept burning. Afterwards the priests are paid. In Iran it is customary for the mourners to get together near the daxma and share a simple meal, while in India family and friends return home. All mourners should take a bath in order to cleanse themselves from the impurity of the place, before continuing with their lives (Modi 1937: 49–67; Boyce 1993; Kreyenbroek 2001: 37–39).

Zoroastrian eschatological beliefs and the services for the soul Zoroastrians believe that human beings are comprised of a mortal body and an immortal soul. After a person has died, the soul leaves the body and remains within the material world for three days and three nights. During this time the soul is under the special protection of the deity Sraoša, who personifies the recitation and hearing of the sacred texts, the Avesta. At dawn on the fourth morning the soul senses a wind, which will feel like a pleasant southerly breeze if the person was good during their lifetime and recited the Gāthās in honour of Ahura Mazdā and his creation. However, if the person practised the cult of false gods, or daēvas, it will be an icy northern wind. At this point the soul perceives its own religious views, or daēnā, in the form of a woman who personifies the person’s own deeds. The more good deeds the person does during their lifetime, the more beautiful the woman appears to the soul. Conversely, the more bad deeds prevail, the more horrible and frightful she looks. In the company of its own daēnā, the soul then has to cross the Bridge of Accounting, or Činwad Bridge (Tafażżolī 1991). There it faces its judgement, in the course of which the good and bad deeds are weighed on scales held by the god “Justice”, or Rašnu. Depending on the outcome, the soul either crosses the Bridge easily and happily moves on to the bright House of Welcome, where Ahura Mazdā and his spiritual creations dwell, or the Bridge contracts to a sharp knife’s edge and the terrified soul tumbles down into the House of Deceit, Evil’s dark home of horrible existence (Shaked 1998). While the dead body is swiftly disposed of, rites for the immortal soul are complex and prolonged. During the critical three days after death, family members and friends keep a fire, or a flame (dīvo), burning in the house on the spot where the deceased had been lying, and feed it with sandalwood and incense. This practice is also followed in the buildings (bungli) at the Towers if the three-day rites are performed there. While abstaining from eating meat, the mourners support the soul of the deceased by saying prayers. All the obligatory prayers are uttered twice, the repetition being on behalf of the departed person. Family members also commission Inner Liturgies of Bāj dharnā,

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Yasna and Vidēvdād to be performed in the Firetemple on each of the three days following the death (Lüddeckens and Karanjia 2011: 115). The ceremonies are dedicated to Sraoša and are designed to aid the soul and protect it against evil forces on its perilous path. In addition, two or more priests are present and recite prayers at the beginning of each of the five periods of the day. In the evening watch, or Aiβisrūϑrǝm Gāh, the priests recite the Srōš Yašt sar-e šab (Yasna 57), perform a “Blessing” or Āfrīnagān Ceremony in honour of Sraoša and say the Patēt ī Widardagān or “confession of the departed”, which is a confession of offenses against the precepts of the religion on behalf of the dead. Sitting on the ground and facing each other they recite these texts with a fire burning in a fire vase and a metal tray with a bowl of water and eight flowers arranged in a specific way between them. On the third day after death, priests, family and friends gather in the afternoon watch, or Uzērin Gāh, to perform what the Zoroastrians of Iran call Yašt-i sewwom “service of the third (day)”. The Parsis of India use the Gujarati term Ūthamnā “departure”. This is a special ceremony for the protection of the soul that is about to leave the material world. After reciting the appropriate Gāh prayers, the Srōš Yašt Hadōxt, Patēt and prayer to Sraoša, those present commit themselves publicly to perform meritorious acts on behalf of and in memory of the deceased. Among the Iranians these take the form of saying specific numbers of Avestan prayers, whereas the Parsis pledge charitable donations in memory of the deceased. This funerary custom significantly sustains Zoroastrian philanthropy. In the small hours of the fourth day, soon after midnight, a ceremony called Hōm Drōn is performed during which an animal used to be killed. The fat from the animal was then offered at dawn to a sacred fire on the soul’s behalf (Modi 1937: 76; Boyce 1994). In India, the Ūthamna is repeated in the Ušahin Gāh of the third night just before the Čahārom prayers. At dawn on the fourth morning after death, when the soul is believed to move on to cross the Činwad Bridge, the Čahārom service is held during which the “Blessing of the member of the community”, or Āfrīnagān ī Dahm, is solemnized on behalf of the soul at the moment of judgement (Kotwal and Hintze 2008: 16–17 with fn.42), and a Yasna in honour of Ardā-fravash is performed in the Firetemple. Afterwards those attending share a meal with meat, which traditionally was the meat of the animal killed in the ritual of the preceding night, thus marking the end of the period of abstinence from meat (Khudayar 1914; Boyce 1994). Nowadays no animal killing is performed as part of the night prayers, but it is customary to eat meat on the fourth day. Ceremonies on behalf of the departed are subsequently celebrated daily until the tenth day and then again on the thirtieth day after death, the first anniversary day, and annually for thirty years, or for roughly a generation (Kotwal and Choksy 2004; Lüddeckens and Karanjia 2011: 122–132). Thereafter family members remain connected with the deceased through his or her personal “choice”, or fravashi, to worship Ahura Mazdā and reject the daēvas. Like the soul, a person’s fravashi is immortal. Once a year at the festival of the spring equinox, the fravashis of departed ancestors are believed to come back and visit the homes of their respective families for ten consecutive nights

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to enjoy food and clothing laid out for them on the rooftops of their houses (Hintze 2009). In Mumbai, the clothes are kept next to the vases in the Agiary (Firetemple), where the Muktad prayers are performed. For the Zoroastrians death is a temporary state. Death will be reversed at the end of time when Evil is defeated and forced to withdraw to the place where it came from in order to destroy Ahura Mazdā’s perfect world. As a result, the dead are expected to rise. All resurrected bodies will then undergo the universal judgement. This takes the form of a stream of molten metal through which they must pass. The stream will feel as pleasant as a bath of warm milk to the truthful worshippers of Ahura Mazdā, but as painful as molten metal to the deceitful worshippers of the false gods, the daēvas. Eventually all resurrected bodies emerge purified from the molten metal and each of them is united with his or her soul. The resurrected display individual features, so that husband and wife, father and son, and mother and daughter will recognize each other. Their bodies will be forever in the perfect youth of the fifteen-year-old, and they will enjoy all the physical pleasures of life but without procreation and without any adverse consequences (Shaked 1998; Hintze 2000).

Ancient funerary practices and recent developments In the Avesta, the god Ahura Mazdā prescribes that dead bodies should be taken to mountaintops in order to be devoured by carrion-eating dogs and birds (Vidēvdād 6.44–51). The practice was confirmed by the Greek historian Herodotus (484–425 BCE), according to whom the Persians have corpses mangled by birds and dogs (Histories 1.140), and, with reference to Samarkand in Sogdiana, by the Chinese envoy Wei Tsie, whose report of the early seventh century CE is quoted in the encylopaedia T’ong tien compiled 766–801 CE by Tou Yeou (Chavannes 1903: 132f. note 5). Wei Tsie mentions more than two hundred families, probably corpse-bearers, who live outside of the capital and take care of funerals by placing dead bodies into an enclosure to be devoured by dogs, and then gather the bones (Grenet 2015: 143). Exposure is usually associated with the Zoroastrian religion, which provides the religious underpinning for the practice. The fact that in the mid-second millennium BCE, the rich culture of inhumation was abandoned in large areas of Central Asia and that no graves were found until the Hellenistic period has been interpreted as indicating a Zoroastrian presence in Central Asia during that time (Huff 2004: 594; BendezuSarmiento 2007). The royal Achaemenid tombs in the province of Pars were in all probability sepulchres for the complete bodies of the deceased kings, who presumably received special treatment. The injunction that the elements should not be defiled by contact with dead matter is observed in all of them in so far as the stone house tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargad stands on a seven-step pedestal, while the rock-hewn tombs of Darius and his successors at Naqsh-e Rustam and elsewhere are carved high up into the mountain (Huff 2004: 602). The rock chambers would have been closed with a stone slab.

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The word daxma, which is already attested in the Avesta, originally meant “tomb”. In the Vidēvdād it refers to a built, rather than a rock-cut, construction (Humbach 1961: 99–102; Hoffmann 1965) while in Middle Persian inscriptions it is equivalent to the more precise astodān “ossuary” and denotes a wide range of bone receptacles used for secondary burial (Huff 2004: 596). The oldest extant built daxma, dating from the Hellenistic period, is from Erkurgan in Sogdiana, while the one at Durmen-tepe near Samarkand is from the seventh to eighth centuries CE. The Sasanian daxma at Chil’pyk in ancient Chorasmia is highly visible on a hilltop in the plain of the Oxus river (Grenet 2013: 18–19). Originally constructed in the first centuries CE, there is evidence for later use in the seventh and eighth centuries and again in the ninth and tenth centuries (Manylov 1981: 50–56). An excavated structure at Bandiyān, ca. 250 km west of Mashhad near the border of Turkmenistan, has also been identified as a daxma of the mid-Sasanian period (Rahbar 2007), but this is disputed (Gignoux 2008; Simpson and Molleson 2014: 79). Textual sources seem to confirm the archaeological evidence for exposure from Central Asia. A Sogdian leather document from Mount Mugh, dating from the early eighth century CE, records the sale of one half of a bipartite daxma (Sogd. ʾsksʾk /ǝskasē̆/) for the use of one family (Grenet 1984: 316–319; Livshits 2015: 41–42), and the Bactrian documents V25 and W21 attest the word λαχµιγο (lakhmig, < *daxma-ka-), although the context provides no details as to what kind of disposal the term refers to (Sims-Williams 2000: 4, 2007: 226). Traveling between Thana and Broach in Gujarat in 1322, the monk Jordanus reports about “a roofless tower”, into which “pagan-folk . . . who worship fire” cast their dead (Firby 1988: 88, 208 n.496 with references). While exposure has left few archaeological traces, there is evidence for the different ways of preserving the bones in receptacles in secondary burials. Rock chamber tombs, the larger ones possibly those belonging to a family, could have been designed to serve as receptacles for the bones of excarnated bodies. In addition to the chamber tombs, bones might also be placed in rock- or stone-cut troughs or cists, covered by lids as body-sized sepulchres (Huff 2004: 603–618). Burials within rock cairns are attested across southern Iran during the first millennium CE in a well-established tradition stretching from Fars to Baluchistan. The archaeological evidence suggests a wide variety of local practices of secondary burial during the Sasanian period (Simpson and Molleson 2014: 77–79). A local custom associated with the disposal of the dead could be attested at Shahr-i Qūmis in West Khorasān, where some 140 fragments of the bones of a single person were found in a secluded and sealed chamber on the second floor of a house (Hansman and Stronach 1970). Ossuaries used for the burial of excarnated bones have been recovered in small numbers in southwest or western Iran, in particular at Bushehr (Molleson 2009; Simpson and Molleson 2014: 80–84) and in larger numbers in Central Asia, especially in Chorasmia and in Sogdiana (Grenet 2015: 142–144). Several of them are stamped, and were therefore likely mass-produced. Some of the imagery used on ossuaries can be identified as Zoroastrian. One of the best examples is a sixth- to seventh-century CE ossuary from Yumalaktepe (near Shahr-i Sabz in southern Uzbekistan). The walls of the ceramic receptacle show Zoroastrian priests performing

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a ritual and the god Rašnu holding scales in his hand, probably performing the individual judgment of the soul (Berdimuradov et al. 2012). The god holding scales is also depicted on the only surviving fragment of a seventh-century ossuary from Samarkand (Grenet 2002: 90–91). Sogdian traders who died in China were placed for decomposition into stone sarcophagi, or on funerary couches in underground stone-lined chambers (Lerner 2005). The decorations of these funerary monuments likewise include Zoroastrian imagery. One of the best examples here is the sarcophagus of Wirkak and his wife Wiyusi, discovered in Xi’an in 2003. The bilingual epitaph in Sogdian and Chinese states that the couple died in 579 CE within just one month of each other, he at the age of eighty-six. The sarcophagus was commissioned by their three sons. The engraving on the eastern side of the sarcophagus shows the couple crossing the Činwad Bridge together with their complete household. The Bridge is wide and comfortable and spans an abyss of unsafe waters inhabited by frightful creatures (Grenet et al. 2004; Gulásci and BeDuhn 2012 [2016]). From the 1930s exposure gradually yielded to burial in cement-lined graves in Zoroastrian cemeteries, called ārāmgāh “place of rest” in Iran, although it remained an alternative in Kermān and Yazd, and at Šarīfābād a new daxma (Stewart 2012) was built and brought into use as late as 1963 (Boyce 1977: 192–194). The practice was abandoned, however, when in the 1970s Iran’s daxmas were declared a health hazard and illegal. The practice of exposure was also abandoned by Zoroastrians who moved to live in the modern diaspora. For example, in the UK Zoroastrians have their own cemetery at Brookwood, where the dead are buried in special stone-lined graves. Exposure is particularly suitable for India’s tropical climate (Fee 1905: 553–554) and continues to be observed by the Parsis. However, the mass death of vultures across Asia in the 1990s caused a major problem for the traditional Zoroastrian funerary rites. India’s vulture population had seen a gradual decline because of habitat destruction caused by urbanization. The decline was dramatically precipitated by the drug Diclofenac, introduced in the 1980s to treat livestock for inflammations and fevers. While harmless to cattle, the painkiller caused fatal kidney and liver damage to vultures who feed on their carcasses. In 2005 the Government of India imposed a ban on the cattle drug, but by then the three endemic species of vultures –oriental white-backed, long-billed and slender-billed – were already almost extinct across South Asia, their population having fallen by 97% since the early 1990s (Damania 2006). Efforts are being made to increase the population of vultures again through captive breeding projects, supported by the Government of India and organizations including the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), but this is a slow and protracted process as vultures have a low reproduction rate. In the meantime, Parsis have explored alternative ways of disposal. They include the installation of solar concentrators which desiccate the exposed corpse and speed up the decomposition at Towers of Silence in Mumbai (and places such as Hyderabad), and the use of electric crematoria. In South Mumbai, a Zoroastrian prayer hall inside the Worli civic crematorium was opened in 2015 to conduct the four-day funeral prayers.

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Further reading A detailed study with ample references on Zoroastrian funerary rites in Iran and India is readily available in Boyce 1993. Kreyenbroek 2001: 37–39 provides a concise survey of Parsi funerary observances, while Lüddeckens and Karanjia 2011 give an up-to-date, detailed account with a glossary and rich bibliography. Fee 1905 describes the Parsi practice and rationale of exposure. Huff 2004 surveys the archaeological evidence for different types of pre-Islamic funerary practices in relation to Zoroastrian prescriptions. A good survey of funerary practices during the Sasanian period is Simpson and Molleson 2014. Grenet 2015: 142–144 provides a succinct account of the evidence from Central Asia with up-to-date references.

Acknowledgments For valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article I am indebted to Dastur Dr Firoze M. Kotwal, Dr Ramiyar Karanjia, Dr Parvez Bajan and my Zoroastrian students at SOAS, Mehrbod Khanizadeh from Iran and Kerman Daruwalla from India. I am also grateful to Khojeste Mistree for providing a detailed list of the flora and fauna at the Doongerwadi, and to Dr Elizabeth Magba and my son William SchimrigkBiagini for checking the English. Any remaining shortcomings are of course my sole responsibility.

References Bendezu-Sarmiento, J. (2007) De l’âge du bronze à l’âge du fer au Kazakhstan, gestes funéraires et paramètres biologiques. Identités culturelles des populations Andronovo et Saka. Avec la collaboration de A. Ismagulova, K. Bajpakov et Z. Samashev. Paris: De Boccard (Mémoires de la Mission Archéologique Française en Asie centrale 12). Berdimuradov, A.E., G. Bogomolov, M. Daeppen, and N. Khushvaktov (2012) “A New Discovery of Stamped Ossuaries Near Shahr-i Sabz (Uzbekistan),” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 22, 1–6. Boyce, M. (1977) A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism based on the Ratanbai Katrak lectures, 1975. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ——— (1989) A History of Zoroastrianism, Vol. 1. Second impression with corrections, Leiden etc.: Brill. ——— (1993) “Corpse,” in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. 6, Fasc. 3, New York: Columbia University Press. 279–286. ——— (1994) “Death,” in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. 7, Fasc. 2, New York: Columbia University Press. 179–181. ——— (1996) “Dog ii. In Zoroastrianism,” in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. 7, Fasc. 5, New York: Columbia University Press. 467–469. Chavannes, E. (1903) Documents sur les Tou-kiue (Turcs) occidentaux, St. Petersburg: Academy of Sciences, repr. with additional notes, Paris 1942. Damania, A.B. (2006) “Will the Vultures Ever Return to the Dokhmas?” FEZANA Journal 19/3, 52–56.

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Desai, S.F. (1977) History of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet 1860–1960, Bombay: Trustees of the Parsi Punchayet Funds and Properties. Fee, W.Th. (1905) “The Parsees and the Towers of Silence at Bombay, India,” The National Geographic Magazine 16/12, 529–554. Firby, N.K. (1988). European Travellers and Their Perceptions of Zoroastrians in the 17th and 18th Centuries, Berlin: D. Reimer. Gignoux, Ph. (2008) “Le site de Bandiān revisité,” Studia Iranica 37, 163–174. Grenet, F. (1984) Les pratiques funéraires dans l’Asie Centrale sédentaire de la conquête grecque à l’ismalisation, Paris: C.N.R.S. ——— (2002) “Zoroastrian Themes on Early Medieval Sogdian Ossuaries,” in Ph.J. Godrej and F. Punthakey Mistree (eds.), A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion & Culture, Ahmedabad: Mapin 90–97. ——— (2013) “Zoroastrian Funerary Practices in Sogdiana and Chorasmia and among Expatriate Sogdian Communities in China” and “The Silk Road, Central Asia and China,” in S. Stewart (ed.), The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination, London: Tauris 18–27 and 92–103. ——— (2015) “Zoroastrianism in Central Asia,” in M. Stausberg and Y.S.D. Vevaina (eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. With the assistance of Anna Tessmann, Oxford: Oxford University Press 129–146. ———, P. Riboud, and Yang Junkai (2004) “Zoroastrian Scenes on a Newly Discovered Sogdian Tomb in Xi’an, Northern China,” Studia Iranica 33, 173–184. Gulásci, Z. and J. BeDuhn (2012 [2016]) “The Religion of Wirkak and Wiyusi: The Zoroastrian Iconographic Program on a Sogdian Sarcophagus from Sixth-Century Xi’an,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 26, 1–32. Hansman, J. and D. Stronach (1970) “A Sasanian Repository at Shahr-i Qūmis,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 102, 142–155. Hintze, A. (1995) “The Rise of the Saviour in the Avesta,” in Chr. Reck and P. Zieme (eds.), Iran und Turfan. Beiträge Berliner Wissenschaftler, Werner Sundermann zum 60. Geburtstag gewidmet, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 77–97 (Iranica 2). ——— (2000) “Frašō.kərəti,” in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. X, Fasc. 2, New York: Columbia University Press. 190–192. ——— (2009) “The Return of the Fravashis in the Avestan Calendar,” in D. Durkin-Meisterernst, Chr. Reck and D. Weber (eds.), Literarische Stoffe und ihre Gestaltung in mitteliranischer Zeit. Kolloquium anlässlich des 70. Geburtstages von Werner Sundermann, Wiesbaden: Reichert 99–121. ——— (2014) “Monotheism the Zoroastrian Way,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Third Series) 24/2, 225–249. Hoffmann, K. (1965) “Av. daxma-,” Kuhn’s Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Sprachforschung 79, 238 (= Aufsätze zur Indoiranistik, ed. by J. Narten, vol.1, 1975, 338). Huff, D. (2004) “Archaeological Evidence of Zoroastrian Funerary Practices,” in M.L. Stausberg (ed.), Zoroastrian rituals in context, Leiden and Boston: Brill 593–630 (Numen Book Series: Studies in the history of religions 102). Humbach, H. (1961) “Bestattungsformen im Vidēvdāt,” Kuhn’s Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Sprachforschung 77, 99–105. Khudayar, Dastur Sheriyar (1914) “Chaharum Ceremony (in Persia),” in J. J. Modi (ed.), Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Madressa Jubilee Volume, Bombay: Fort Printing Press 432–434. Kotwal, F.M. (1995) “The Parsi Dakhma: Its History and Consecration,” in R. Gyselen (ed.), Au carrefour des religions. Mélanges offerts à Philippe Gignoux. Bures-sur-Yvette: Groupe pour l’Étude de la Civilisation du Moyen-Orient 161–170 (Res Orientales VII). ——— and J.K. Choksy (2004) “To Praise the Souls of the Deceased and the Immortal Spirits of the Righteous Ones: The Staomi or Stūm Ritual,” in M. Stausberg (ed.), Zoroastrian Rituals in Context, Leiden and Boston: Brill 389–401. ——— and A. Hintze (2008) The Khorda Avesta and Yašt Codex E1. Facsimile Edition. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz (Iranica 16).

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——— and K.P. Mistree (2002) “Protecting the Physical World,” in Ph. J. Godrej and F. Punthakey Mistree (eds.), A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion & Culture, Ahmedabad: Mapin, 337–365. Kreyenbroek, Ph.G. (2001) Living Zoroastrianism: Urban Parsis Speak about Their Religion, in collaboration with Sh.N. Munshi, London and New York: Routledge. Lerner, J. (2005) Aspects of Assimilation: The Funerary Practices and Furnishings of Central Asians in China. Sino-Platonic Papers 168, Philadelphia: Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Livshits, V.A. (2015) Sogdian Epigraphy of Central Asia and Semirech’e. Translated from the Russian by Tom Stableford, edited by Nicholas Sims-Williams, London: School of Oriental and African Studies (CII vol. II, III). Lüddeckens, D. and R. Karanjia (2011) Days of Transition: The Parsi Death Rituals. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag (Arbeiten am Lichtenberg-Kolleg). Manylov, Yu.P. (1981) “Novye dannye o pogrebalnom obryade Khorezma pervykh vv. n.e.,” in I.K. Kosymbetov and V.N. Yagodin (eds.), Arkheologicheski issledovaniya v Karakalpakii, Tashkent: Fan 50–64 (in Russian, “New data on funerary custom of Khwarezm in first centuries CE,” in Archaeological Research in Karakalpakstan). Moazami, M. (2006) “The dog in Zoroastrian religion: Vidēvdād Chapter XIII,” Indo-Iranian Journal 49, 127–149. Modi, J.J. (1914) “The Geh Sārnā Recital, as Enjoined and as Recited about 150 Years Ago,” in J.J. Modi (ed.), Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Madressa Jubilee Volume, Bombay: Fort Printing Press 415–420. ——— (1937) The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsis, Second Edition, Bombay: Union Press. Molleson, Th. (2009) “Two Sasanian ossuaries from Bushehr, Iran: Evidence for exposure of the dead,” Bioarchaeology of the Near East 3, 1–16. Monier-Williams, M. (1879) “The Towers of Silence, and the Pārsī Religion,” in M. Monier-Williams (ed.), Modern India and the Indians: Being a Series of Impressions, Notes, and Essays, London: Trübner 80–96. Rahbar, M. (2007) “A Tower of Silence of the Sasanian Period at Bandiyan: Some Observations about Dakhmas in Zoroastrian Religion,” in J. Cribb and G. Herrmann (eds.), After Alexander: Central Asia before Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press 455–473 (Publications of the British Academy 133). Shaked, Sh. (1998) “Eschatology i. In Zoroastrianism and Zoroastrian Influence,” in E. Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6, New York: Columbia University Press. 565–569. Simpson, St John and Th. Molleson (2014) “Old Bones Overturned: New Evidence for Funerary Practices from the Sasanian Empire,” in A. Fletcher, D. Antoine and J. D. Hill (eds.), Regarding the Dead: Human Remains in the British Museum, London: The British Museum 77–90 (British Museum Research Publication 197). Sims-Williams, N. (2000) “Some Reflections on Zoroastrianism in Sogdiana and Bactria,” in D. Christian and C. Benjamin (eds.), Realms of the Silk Roads: Ancient and Modern, Silk Road Studies 4, Turnhout: Brepols 1–12. ——— (2007) Bactrian Documents from Northern Afghanistan II: Letters and Buddhist Texts, London: Nour Foundation. Tafażżolī, A. (1991) “Činwad Puhl,” in E. Yarshater (ed.) Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. V, Fasc. 6, New York: Columbia University Press. 594–595. Stewart, S. (2012) “The Politics of Zoroastrian Philanthropy and the Case of Qasr-e Firuzeh,” Iranian Studies 45, 59–80. Wadia, A. (2002) “Evolution of the Towers of Silence and Their Significance,” in Ph.J. Godrej and F. Punthakey Mistree (eds.), A Zoroastrian Tapestry: Art, Religion & Culture, Ahmedabad: Mapin, 325–335.

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Sikh afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Arvind-Pal S. Mandair Introduction The origins of what is today called Sikhism can be traced to the Punjab religion of North India (lit. land of the five rivers) five centuries ago. (The term Sikhism is a Western word, like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Sikhs themselves use the term Sikhi which is derived from the Punjabi verb sikhna: to learn. Unlike Sikhism, the word Sikhi does not denote an object or thing but has a temporal connotation referring to a path of learning as a lived experience. I have discussed the question of the very legitimacy of the term “Sikhism” elsewhere. [See Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed, London: Bloomsbury, 2013.]). Sikhs are those who undertake a path of self-perfection under the guidance of a spiritual master called Guru (to be distinguished from the lower case guru which is traditionally used in India to refer to any respected teacher). For Sikhs, the Guru (uppercase) refers to a succession of ten spiritual masters, each of whom played a role in evolving the path of Sikhi and a teaching or philosophy known as gurmat. But the term Guru, as the Sikhs use it, has wider meanings that include the word of the Gurus as embodied in Sikh scripture, to the teaching or philosophy of the Gurus (gurmat) and to the “divine” inspiration behind all of these (the satguru). The community as a whole is known as the Panth (also derived from the Sanskrit pth meaning path). The founding figure behind the entire Sikh movement was Guru Nanak whose teachings and life-experience became the inspiration and model for the nine Gurus who followed him. The Sikh Gurus passed on their teachings to the community that grew around them in the form of several thousand poems and hymns of surpassing beauty and directness. To these hymns were added the compositions of non-Sikh saints, and together these were enshrined in the central text of the Sikh Panth: the Adi Granth (lit. origin text), a recognized masterpiece of Indian devotional literature. The Adi Granth is so important in Sikh tradition that it occupies center stage in the physical layout of all Gurdwaras and in ceremonies of worship. It possesses a unique status marked by its honorific title of Guru Granth Sahib.

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Time, death and dying in Sikh scripture The Guru Granth Sahib’s authority and influence on the Sikh way of life is due partly to the fact that its hymns directly testify to the poetic experiences of the Sikh Gurus, and partly because the central message of these hymns is existential/experiential rather than epistemological/transcendental. Whatever the Sikh Gurus experienced, and what they exhorted their followers to experience, was a state of Oneness. This state of Oneness, however, is not the experience of a transcendental, eternal deity (monotheism) but an experience of oneness that is strictly within the horizon of life and death, or mortality. Because human consciousness is a construct of mortal experience, the requisite state of Oneness is realized through the process of perfecting one’s consciousness. Paradoxically, though, such perfection involves recognizing and imbibing into one’s consciousness a fundamental imperative (hukam) that is inscribed within the nature of all existence and mirrored by the structure of the human ego. Thus the recurrent message in the Guru Granth is to experience Oneness by reuniting the two halves of the psyche (ego and non-ego) which become separated over time. To recognize hukam is to realize that the very element in which both separation and unification can take place is time. Not surprisingly the theme of time is one of the most pervasive in Sikh scripture. However, the Gurus do not treat time as a category or entity distinct from the phenomenal world and from existing beings. The reason for this is that time can only be “known” as aporia, an irresolvable contradiction, where each moment disappears in the very moment that it appears. As such, time itself escapes the subject-object opposition generated by ego-centrism. Time is simultaneously subjective and objective. For example, ordinarily we think of time as a static grid or a screen on which subjects appear to move between set coordinates, e.g. from past to future. To collapse this dualism Guru Nanak adopts the well-rehearsed strategy of shrinking the entire passage of human life into a single night, depicted in terms of infancy, childhood, youth, old age and finally death. A momentary guest, man comes into this world to sort things out. But the fool is trapped by worldly greed Till, seized by death, he repents when he departs. The reaper, when he come, cuts both ripe and unripe, He makes his preparations, picking up his scythe, For once the farmer orders, the crop is cut and weighed. The first watch is wasted on busyness, the next in sleep, The third in idle talk, and in the fourth dawn breaks, The One from which life springs is never once remembered. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 43) To the person who refuses to confront the true nature of time as impermanent here and now (“one dies of course, but not me, not yet”), the Gurus project the true nature of time as one’s own mortality that is always already there and cannot be deferred. Through this depiction, one is existentially confronted with the presence of death here

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in this very moment. Reversing our normal everyday understanding, the Gurus show how, from the perspective of impermanence, the usual secure optimism of daylight and the waking state turn out to be illusions, whereas night and the dreaming state are better indicators of reality. The nature of time as the ultimate equalizer of fortunes is evident in many hymns which show that if one rises, one must ultimately fall, irrespective of whether that happens in one’s own lifetime or after one’s death, as portrayed below in Shaikh Farid’s verse: Umbrella-shaded kings, whose praise Their bards to drum beats cried, Are gone to slumber in their graves, With orphans at their side. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1380) While ordinarily people lament the passing of time, grieving for things lost, and suffering pain when attachments are broken, the Guru teaches that attachment and suffering result only from the ego’s habitual obstruction of the natural flow of time. By accepting time’s impermanence as our own essence and seeing every attempt to control time as ultimately illusory like the waves of the sea, which are here one moment, gone the next, one can be released from suffering which the Gurus refer to through the metaphors of the cycle of births and death. But if one learns to cultivate a mindfulness of hukam through the practice of constant remembrance of the Name, one can learn to renounce self-attachment as the insidious obstacle to time’s constant becoming. With the obstruction removed, the mind is freed from its self-imposed bindings, from its immersion in the cycle of birth and death, and from the anxiety of being born into one life-form after another. Given the mutual imbrications of hukam and time (where hukam can either be recognized objectively as the imperative of constant becoming that is time or subjectively as surrender to this immanent principle), references to death are fairly common in the Guru Granth. This is not because the Sikh Gurus were pessimistic about this world, but because, for them, mortality encompasses life and death, creation and destruction, as inseparable processes. One cannot comprehend the phenomenon of death without simultaneously comprehending life (maran jivan ki sojhi pae). Envisaged as a cycle of life-death (janam-maran ka chakar), mortality is not morbid but rather a constant reminder that one should cherish life and not be swayed by the false pretension of ego which cocoons itself in delusions of immortality. As Guru Nanak poignantly reminds us about the last stages of life: The ninth stage sees shortness of breath and white hair, In the tenth the body burns till only ashes are left and the funeral party utters laments. Life came, and is gone, and so too one’s delusions of fame, Leaving only the offering for crows.

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Nanak, the love of the self-led is blind Without the true Guru the world drowns in darkness. (GGS, p. 137) According to Nanak, even the prophets, gods, demigods and other divine beings are not immune to the rule of mortality: Death inevitably strikes Even the likes of Indra. Brahma’s domain is subject to death Likewise Shiva’s world is fated to come to nothing. (GGS p. 237) Every being, sentient and non-sentient, comes into existence “with death as its written fate” (GGS, p. 876): Death does not wait for auspicious days. Or ask whether it’s the light or dark side of the month. Some are treated harshly, others well cared for. Some leave armies and mansions to the sound of drums. Nanak, this heap of dust returns to dust. (GGS, p. 1254) Common terms used figuratively for death in the Guru Granth Sahib include: kal, mritya, jamadutt and lavi lunia. The term kal literally means time, darkness. As the term maran kal it connotes the time of one’s death, suggesting that death constantly gnaws at the fabric of life, yet we remain ignorant of it. The terms jama or jamadutt are derived from Yama the Vedic god of death and refer to death’s manifestation as an entity responsible for collecting departed souls. The term marana is related to the Sanskrit mritya (lit. mortality). The phrase lavi lunia is another figurative term that refers to the reaper who shears the crops when they are ready for harvesting. A common source of confusion about the nature of death arises from the prevalence of terms in the Guru Granth Sahib such as akal, amrita, amar, amarpad. At first sight, these terms appear to be simple negations of kal, mrityu, marana, etc. The impression is therefore given that akal/kal, amrita/mrita, mar/amar or marana/amarapad are simply binary opposites, where the temporal qualities associated with time, death, dying (kal, mritya, marana) – specifically the notion of change and becoming – can simply be negated to give timelessness, eternity, immortality (akal, amrita, amar, amarapad), etc. However, this confusion arises from a modernist interpretation that imports a metaphysical framework that does not exist in the Guru Granth Sahib, which in turn results in a devaluation of the worldly time, the time of life-death, and a concomitant hyper-valuation of the timelessness of eternity or immortality. The misinterpretation arises from a modernist emphasis on grounding the meaning of Sikh scripture in the

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deathless existence of a deity that transcends time and world. However, the existence of such a deity is clearly antithetical to the notion of hukam – the immanent imperative of constant becoming, differentiation, hence creativity within all existence. This confusion is easily remedied if we delve a little more deeply into the notion of death and dying in the Guru Granth Sahib and adopt the rather different, because paradoxical, standpoint that it propagates. This is the standpoint of what is variously referred to as ego-loss, death of the ego, or dying to the self. The writers of the Guru Granth Sahib are unanimous in stating that akal, amarpad and amrita are not indicators of a timelessness that is outside or beyond time, but signify liberated states of existence where one is simultaneously in time and eternity, mortal and immortal. The difficulty resides in breaking with the everyday understanding of terms akal, amrita, amarpada (eternity, immortality), an understanding that is generated from the standpoint of egocentric individuality (manmukh) which engrosses the individual in conventional death, accompanied by a fear of death and dying. As Guru Amardas writes: Egocentrics are born only to die, yet even their deaths are a waste. Attached to duality their souls are scourged. Always saying “me, mine, my own” they are ruined. Without examining their Self, they drown in doubt. True death is attained by those who die to the Word. (GGS p. 363) Rather by dying to the ego, by learning how to lose ego, one can achieve a liberation in life (jivan-mukti) that brings about the death of conventional death, or the death of everyday time (kal kale). Such liberation is also spoken of as achieving a state of eternity, but one which does not signify an extended time, or a state beyond mortality. The eternal state – variously referred to as akal, amrita or amarpad – is, paradoxically, entirely mortal. To achieve such a state of existence one can avoid “the portals of biological death.” Such states are entirely achievable while one is still alive. Those who manage to achieve this state of akal, amrita, amarpad while alive are known as jivan-mukt or gurmukh. But to achieve this state one has to die to the self, and the favored way of dying to the self is to die to the Word, which in essence means that one has to transform the everyday practice of language use based on the centrality of self-naming (where the “I” becomes the center of existence) into a practice of language where one simply names without centering it on the “I.” The latter is equivalent to repeating the divine Name, which in effect means the “not-I” (for details see my essay on “Sikh Philosophy” in Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed, Bloomsbury Publishers: London, 2013): Few indeed know the Guru’s Word, Through which one kills the self/I to attain release. Such dying is not death as such But a merger into the state of equipoise. (GGS p. 120) 102

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By meditating on the nature of one’s self One learns to die while still living. (GGS p. 935) If one dies to the Word Such death is truly blessed. (GGS p. 1067) The notion of true death as dying to oneself has kindred resonances in Sikh social practices, ceremonies, and in the way that Sikhs remember the lives and deaths of the ten historical Sikh Gurus. Shortly prior to the time of their physical deaths, each Guru, beginning with the first, Guru Nanak, performed an initiation ceremony signifying the passage of authority from one master to his successor. The ceremony itself involved the initiate drinking charan pahul (lit. the water of immortality sanctified by the touch of the master’s foot) into which the existing master had dipped his toe. The drinking of charan pahul signified total self-sacrifice, or dying to the self, in order to live as transformed being (gurmukh). The other part of this ceremony involved the old Guru prostrating himself before the new Guru in a reverse act of self-sacrifice signifying that the old master had now become the initiate (or Sikh) of the new Guru. The foundational meaning of this ceremony was to show the intertwined nature of death and life, that life goes on after death, but never in the same form. A different form of this blessed dying through self-sacrifice was enacted by the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, when he abolished charan amrit and initiated a new order of Sikhs called the Khalsa in 1699. On March 30 of that year Guru Gobind Singh tested the resolve of his followers by inviting them to offer him their heads. Five Sikhs volunteered to sacrifice their heads. The new initiation ceremony which was fashioned after that event came to be called Khanda ka Pahul (or initiation of the sword) and encapsulated the earlier sense of symbolic sacrifice or dying to the self. The initiate is required to die to his past samskaras by relinquishing old social ties and beliefs, and be reborn into the Guru’s family. These new initiates, or khalsa, are like “kindred spirits who served their master while they lived and keep him in mind at the moment of their death” (GGS p. 1000). Far from fearing death, they envisage death as a long-awaited union with the Beloved from whom they have been separated, and yearn for their departure to their “real home” (nij ghar). Death therefore marks the day of union with their Beloved, the divine spouse. As such it is not an occasion for grief.

Hastening death: suicide, euthanasia and abortion Sikhs believe that human birth is a precious gift, an opportunity with which to harness the body’s potential for adoring the Name and serving others. Life is a field upon which the self can properly experience the twin registers of sukh (pleasure/enjoyment/ happiness) and dukh (pain or suffering) as thoroughly intertwined. Although one’s existence may be imbued with pain, Sikh teaching emphasizes that one should not 103

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reject pain by labeling it bad, but rather accept it with the same demeanor that one accepts pleasure. From such a perspective, many Sikhs argue that hastening death by taking one’s own life is ethically wrong because the impulse to annihilate oneself emanates primarily and paradoxically from a deep-seated self-attachment, the desire to cling to one’s own life as if it were one’s own to begin with (See http://www.bbc. co.uk/sikhism/euthanasia). Moreover, suicide, far from solving anything, only creates more pain for those left behind. The case of euthanasia is more complex, however. To begin with, it is necessary to differentiate between active and passive euthanasia. Whereas active euthanasia implies the intentional hastening of death by a deliberate act, passive euthanasia can refer to the intentional hastening of death through a deliberate omission or withdrawal of things that might otherwise sustain life, for example, food, medical treatment or an artificial life-support mechanism. Furthermore, euthanasia can be carried out against the wishes of the patient or actually be requested by the patient and undertaken by a third party who might be a doctor or other accomplice. The modern and conventional Sikh response to euthanasia is to say that the decision to kill or ascribe death to a person in pain or undergoing other forms of suffering is based on delusion. The causal root of delusion can be traced to one or another of the five vices spoken of in Sikh scripture [kam (lust), krodh (anger), lobh (coveteousness), moh (attachment), ahamkar (pride)] (Singh, 1983, p. 31). In such cases, the argument goes, the dying person and/or the person assisting the dying person, should use the process of dying as an opportunity to reflect on the nature of self-attachment and other psychological charges associated with the five vices. The idea here is that as long as there is life, there is always hope. Sikhs contemplating euthanasia should look at the whole picture, as it were, and try to make the appropriate distinctions between ending life and not artificially prolonging a terminal state. For those who contemplate assisting the death of another, the emphasis of this argument is to provide greater care and service for others who are less fortunate. While this theory works perfectly well in the cases where the motive for hastening death is bodily pain or a similar type of suffering, nevertheless, a complication can be seen to arise when we stretch the motives for hastening death. The complication arises if we take into account historically important cases of Sikhs refusing to live in order to serve a “higher” or nobler cause. The obvious example is the person who hastens his or her own death in order to save others from a fate that they themselves may not have contemplated. For example, the possibility of an entire community being enslaved or becoming subservient to more powerful external socio-political forces. Two of the Sikh Gurus (Arjan and Tegh Bahadur) willingly chose to be tortured and die rather than prolong their own lives and comforts, and in so doing condemn their fellow men and women to subservience and misery. Their deaths had a powerful emancipatory force on the community. There are numerous other examples in early and modern Sikh history. But how distinct, philosophically and spiritually, is the concept of martyrdom from other types of death, especially when the idea of a good or proper death is so strong in Sikh scripture? The point here is that health practitioners may need to be aware, on the one hand, of the psychological motivations for an individual’s hastening death,

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and on the other, of the deeply spiritual and often ambivalent nature of Sikh teachings on death. On the question of abortion, the modern Sikh Code of Conduct and related historical sources are silent. As a result individual Sikhs, and Sikh communities in Punjab and in the Western diaspora, have had to work out relevant responses based on their interpretation of the teachings of the Sikh Gurus or by resorting to existing Punjabi cultural norms and shared traditions. When one turns to Sikh scripture, however, the issue of abortion is not specifically mentioned although there are many references to the conception of life, the nature of sentient beings and the transmigration of the soul. In consonance with prevalent North Indian cultural beliefs and practices, many Sikhs share a culture and worldview that includes ideas of karma, rebirth and collective as opposed to individual identity. Unlike the linear notion of time held by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, many Sikhs (like Hindus and Buddhists) believe that time is non-linear and consequently birth and death are repeated for each person in continuous cycles. One’s desires, thoughts and actions in a particular lifetime leave their traces in the memory of an individual. These traces influence the circumstances and predispositions experienced in future lives. Accordingly there is no absolute beginning or end. More importantly, from such a perspective, the moment of conception is the rebirth of a fully developed person who has lived in previous lifetimes. To terminate a birth through abortion would be tantamount to refusing a soul entry into a particular body and sending it back into the cycle of births and deaths – a choice that is not ours to make. Sikh scripture does indeed make reference to karmic theory, as for example in the first verse of a famous hymn composed by Guru Nanak: In the first watch of night, my trader friend You were thrown into the womb, where upside down Your thoughts and prayers became fixed on the Lord. Upside down your prayers and devotion were completed. Each helpless creature must endure its written fate. Nanak, in the night’s first watch you were posted to the womb. (AG p. 74) Consequently those Sikhs who interpret the Gurus’ teachings as inseparable from the broader North Indian cultural worldview tend to take a firm position that abortion is wrong. If conception has taken place, the argument goes, it would be wrong to deliberately induce miscarriage and abortion. Based on a purely metaphysical standpoint, however, such a view is increasingly recognized by Sikhs today as idealistic, and unable to provide suitable answers to instances such as: (i) a threat to the mother’s physical health if continuing pregnancy were to lead to her death, or if it were to physically harm the mother but not cause her death; (ii) a threat to the mother’s psychological health, if, for example, the pregnancy is due to rape or incest, or if there is an adverse medical condition; (iii) problems with the fetus’s health, for example if the fetus is

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malformed or has contracted a disease such as HIV; (iv) when a woman simply wishes to exercise her “right to choose” whether or not to abort the fetus. Because the vast majority of scriptural teachings avoid such metaphysical standpoints as at the very least unhelpful, most Sikhs influenced by the modern reformist tradition tend to interpret the Guru’s teachings in a more pragmatic fashion. Thus, if one follows the above hymn through to completion, it becomes obvious that Guru Nanak had a more pragmatic and existential notion of nature of death that is firmly rooted in an acceptance of hukam: In the night’s fourth watch, my trader friend, The reaper comes into the field. None is informed, my trader friend When death will come to send them off. When death comes to send them off Is known to the Lord and no one else. Your family’s lamentation is false For the dead one is no longer their kin. What you get in the end is only that On which you fastened so much love. Says Nanak: In the night’s fourth watch, my soul The reaper harvested the field. (GGS p. 74) Consequently neither modern Sikh society nor its ecclesiastical structure are concerned to lay down hard and fast rules in regard to issues such as abortion. Nevertheless, if there are strictures regarding abortion which would be binding on all Sikhs, it would be that abortion should not be linked to any kind of personal gain, economic or otherwise, nor driven by selfish motives or by the five vices.

Funerals and the bereavement process In accordance with the practices specified by the Sikh Gurus, death rites are a relatively simple and dignified affair. Those mourning the loss of a loved one are expected to maintain a state of mental equipoise, and not to indulge in loud lamentation. Indeed, lamentation over death is strongly discouraged in Sikh practice as can be verified from a verse “The Call” in the Guru Granth Sahib, which records the death of the third Guru Amar Das: By his wish Guru Amar Das called his entire family to himself and said: No one after me should lament and cry, Such cries will in no way please me. (Ramkali Sadd, GGS, 923)

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This attitude is carried on in Sikh bereavement and funerary practices. Like Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, Sikhs practice cremation. The cremation ceremony is a family occasion. Members of the family wash and clothe the body in clean garments and the five Ks. In India the body is laid in a bier and taken to the cremation ground where the pyre will be lit by the eldest son or by a close relative. In India, because of the hot climate and relative paucity of arrangements for preserving corpses, this often happens within a day or two of the death. When a Sikh person appears close to death, their family will come to their bedside and recite Sukhmani, a long hymn meaning “Pearl of Peace” composed by the fifth Guru, Arjan, for times of suffering and grief. In the UK and North America, palliative care units or hospital wards are able to make arrangements for a Sikh gyani (or minister) to visit and console the dying person and recite hymns such as Sukhmani. Some families opt to do this themselves. Sikh funerary practices normally follow the Sikh Rahit Maryada (Sikh Code of Conduct, 1990), which specifies the following approved rites and practices: (i) The body of a deceased person should not be placed on the floor and no ceremony be conducted other than recitation of “Waheguru”; (ii) Mourners must not grieve or raise a hue and cry or indulge in breast beating. To induce a mood of resignation to God’s will (hukam), it is desirable to recite Gurbani or repeat “Waheguru”; (iii) However young the deceased may be, the body should be cremated. However, where arrangements for cremation cannot be made, there should be no qualm about the body being immersed in flowing water or disposed of in any other manner; (iv) Cremation can be conducted at any time, during day or night; (v) The dead body should be bathed and clothed in clean clothes. While that is done, the Sikh external symbols – kangha (small wooden comb), kachha (short breeches), karha (iron wrist bracelet), kirpan (short sword or dagger) – should not be removed. Thereafter putting the body on a plank, an ardas or short prayer is offered to mark the body’s being taken away for disposal. The hearse should then be lifted and taken to the cremation ground. While the body is being carried to the cremation ground, hymns that induce feelings of detachment should be recited. On reaching the cremation ground, the pyre should be laid. Then the ardas for consigning the body to fire should be offered. The dead body should then be placed on the pyre and the eldest son or any other relation or friend of the deceased should set fire to it. The accompanying congregation should sit at a reasonable distance and listen to kirtan or carry on collective singing of shabads (hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib) or recitation of shabads that induce a mood of detachment. When the pyre is fully aflame, the Kirtan Sohila (prescribed pre-retirement night Scriptural prayer) should be recited and the final ardas offered. The congregation should then leave. Coming back home, a reading of the Guru Granth Sahib should be commenced at home or in a nearby Gurdwara, and after reciting the six stanzas of the Anand Sahib, the ardas should be offered and karhah prashad (sanctified sweet-meal) distributed. The reading of the Guru Granth Sahib should be completed on the tenth day. If the reading cannot, or is sought not to be completed on the tenth day, some other day may be

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appointed for the conclusion of the reading having regard to the convenience of the relatives. The reading of the Guru Granth Sahib should be carried out by the members of the household of the deceased and relatives in cooperation. If possible, kirtan (congregational singing) may be held every night. No funeral ceremony remains to be performed after the “tenth day.” (vi) When the pyre is burnt out, the whole bulk of the ashes, including the burnt bones, should be gathered up and immersed in flowing water or buried at that very place and the ground leveled. Raising a monument to the memory of the deceased at the place where his dead body is cremated is taboo. (vii) The approved code strictly forbids any of the following post-funerary practices: Adh Marg (the ceremony of breaking the pot used for bathing the dead body amid doleful cries halfway towards the cremation ground); organized lamentation by women; foorhi (sitting on a straw mat in mourning for a certain period); diva (keeping an oil lamp lit for 360 days after the death in the belief that that will light the path of the deceased); Pind (ritual donating of lumps of rice flour, oat flour or solidified milk (khoa) for ten days after death); kirya (concluding the funeral proceedings ritualistically, serving meals and making offerings by way of Shradh; Budh Marna (waving of whisk over the hearse of an old person’s dead body and decorating the hearse with festoons), etc. Also forbidden is the picking of the burnt bones from the ashes of the pyre for immersing in the Ganga, at Patalpuri (Kiratpur), at Kartarpur Sahib or at any other such place. In Western countries Sikh funerals follow the Rahit Maryada (1990) as far as possible. However, the cooler climates, coupled with the prevalence of funeral homes which provide facilities for preserving the body indefinitely, allow for more flexible funeral arrangements and an extended bereavement period. This is especially helpful for Sikh families that are dispersed across different continents. Thus, it is not uncommon to see families delaying funerals by a few days or longer to allow close relatives to gather for the final ceremonies. During this interim period the body will be kept at a nearby funeral home. Relatives and friends are able to visit and console the grieving family members prior to the funeral. Mourners will sit in a room around the family members. The conversation and words of consolation will focus less on the sadness of the occasion or the loss of the person concerned, and more on the good memories of the deceased. In conformity with North Indian traditions, mourners (especially women) normally wear white or light-colored clothing. In Western countries, men have increasingly opted to wear darker clothing, usually a black jacket or coat, although this is not a requirement. A day before the funeral, close family members will visit the funeral home to wash and dress the body. The washing process is usually overseen by staff at the funeral home, who are normally well trained about Sikh etiquette and customs. Many funeral homes have a small chapel or similar room, where family members can recite ardas following the dressing of the body. On the morning of the funeral the coffin containing the body is brought to the family home in the hearse. Friends and relatives gather once more and after a short ardas the funeral cortege makes it way to the crematorium. As the cremation fire is lit and made ready to receive the body, kirtan sohila is sung, followed by a recitation of ardas in which blessings are sought for the departed soul.

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After the cremation mourners can go to a nearby Gurdwara (Sikh temple) where there will be a formal service to remember the deceased, or the party can return to the home of the deceased. Either way, the completion of the funeral day is marked by the distribution of karah parshad. Once the main part of the funeral is over, it is customary for a complete reading of the Guru Granth Sahib to be undertaken in the house of the deceased. This reading must be completed in ten days. In India the immediate family members return to the cremation grounds after forty-eight hours to retrieve the ashes, which are then placed in the flowing waters of a nearby river or stream, very often the river Sutlej. Sikhs in the West usually take the ashes back to Punjab where they will be disposed of at Kiratpur into the Sutlej.

References Mandair, Arvind-Pal S. (2013). Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed, London: Bloomsbury. Sikh Rahit Maryada (1990). Dharam Parchar Kameti. Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Kameti, Amritsar, 17th edition. Singh, Avtar (1983). Ethics of the Sikhs, Patiala: Punjabi University.

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Hindu afterlife beliefs and funerary practice T. S. Rukmani Introduction Before talking about the rites and afterlife beliefs of the Hindus in general one must remember that Hinduism has evolved over a period of over 5,000 years and changes, both historically and culturally, over the years have impacted Hindu religious patterns including funerary rites and beliefs. For instance, a growing number of Hindus today, who consider themselves modern, call themselves philosophical Hindus and do not observe any funerary rites as prescribed in the sacred texts and have devised novel ways to mark their respect for the dead. Some of my own relatives and friends cremated the body of their loved one and then immersed the remains in a nearby body of water. They then fed a number of poor people in the neighborhood and did not observe any period of pollution or purification after the mandatory pollution period normally expected of a follower of Hinduism. So there are the orthodox Hindus, on the one hand, who follow the prescribed rituals as laid down in what are known as the Gr̥ hyasūtras (c. 500 BCE–200 BCE), and then you have the modern Hindus as shown above, while in between are a number of Hindus who have their own varied ritual observances. Since Hinduism has no single authority as a church or a single sacred scripture there is a freedom for the rituals and observances to evolve according to the times and one’s convenience. One should also bear in mind that in Hinduism there are no strict historical boundaries that divide the early Vedic period from the later epic or Purāṇa period, or the modern period for that matter. This has led to the statement that the Hindu civilization has maintained a continuity over a period of more than 5,000 years, which means we can still trace a large number of present-day ritual practices and observances to the earliest Vedic period of the religion (c. 2500 BCE–800 BCE). This is especially true of funerary rites and afterlife beliefs. Cutting across centuries, some of these rites and beliefs go back to a hoary past, and the reader needs to pay attention to those details which will be mentioned in the course of this article. With that preamble let me now state whatever information one obtains from the Hindu sacred texts regarding their funerary rites and afterlife beliefs.

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Funerary rites Funerary rites involve both orthodox rituals as well as conventional cultural practices. As far as the ritual observances are concerned, even today the funerary rituals follow more or less the same pattern, with the same mantras (sacred formulae), as are recorded in the Vedas. The changes that have come about over the years are mainly in the conventional and cultural practices which have evolved over time. Cremation or burning by fire is generally the accepted mode of disposal of the dead body today, except in the cases of little children and saints/sants/saṃnyāsins/sādhus, where burial is the norm. Cremation was also the preferred mode in Vedic times, though there is also evidence of burial in some cases at that time as well. Fire, or Agni, is one of the important deities in the Vedas, as Fire is supposed to convey the offerings to the various devas/deities in any religious ceremony. The last funerary rite is also a religious ceremony called the last saṃskāra, or ritual purification at death by burning of the body. Since Agni is the messenger of the devas, Agni was also thought to carry the dead person to the realm of the dead. The realm of the dead is generally called the home of the ancestors (pitaras) and is presided over by Yama in the R̥ gveda. The R̥ gveda mentions Yama as the first person who died and also as the one to whom funeral sacrifice is offered; he is the one who both guides the departed self to its abode and stays above to receive those who have died. There are hymns addressed to Yama (X. 135), and there is also another hymn addressed to Yama and his sister Yamī (X. 10). Yama will later assume great importance in Hinduism as the God of death. As far as the rituals in this Vedic period are concerned, they are simple. Yama is invoked to come along with the other devas and the pitr̥ s (ancestors) to enjoy the offerings of sacrifice. The newly dead are directed to go by those paths by which the ancients have gone, and unite with their ancestors and with Yama (RV. X. 14.8). The R̥ gveda mentions two paths by which the dead will pass in a general way without any detailed description of them: the path of the devas (devayāna) and the path of the fathers (pitr̥ yāna). After the cremation of the corpse, the mourners had a ritual bath and then went home to a feast and celebration. There are elaborate descriptions of these rituals in the funeral hymns (antyeṣṭi sūktas) of the R̥ gveda (R̥ V. X. 14–18) and Atharvaveda (AV. XVIII. 2–34) as well. These hymns are also given in Rajbali Pandey’s book on Hindu saṃskāras (Pandey, 1969, 244 ff). From these hymns we get a fairly good idea of how death was treated and the simple rituals that were practiced in honor of the departed during Vedic times. We find, for instance, that Vedic r̥ ṣis (sages) expected to live for a hundred autumns and fervently hoped that they would not die before completing that life span. These funeral hymns also bring into focus the worldview held at that time and how the beliefs and rituals connected with death and afterlife are interconnected with the Vedic worldview. Once a person is dead, mantras are recited to revive him/her. Mantras are short sacred utterances in Sanskrit which can be a single sound, a syllable, a word, or a short sentence recited at all religious functions. They are supposed to have psychological and spiritual significance, and every Hindu religious function has specific mantras recited

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to mark the occasion. If the mantra recital does not succeed, then, after washing the corpse and tying the big toes together with twigs, the corpse is transported in a cart to the place of cremation followed by relatives as well as professional mourners. We do not find any explanation for tying the toes together. In some cases today even the thumbs are tied together. One popular explanation is that the ātman needs to depart from a well-preserved embodied state. One significant feature, in contrast to modern tendencies, is that we find that women also accompanied the dead body to the cremation site during Vedic times. There is nothing prohibiting women from joining the funeral procession in the mantras themselves, but the difference today perhaps has more to do with the changing status of women in society. In fact, both the R̥ V and AV mention the widow of the deceased who lies next to the corpse and is persuaded to get up and go back to lead a normal life (RV.X. 18.7; AV. XVIII.3. 1–7). Thus she is asked to rise and go back to the world of the living and take on a new husband. Thus R̥ V X. 18. 8 clearly asks the widow to “Be united with this man as his wife who holds thy hand and seeks to be thy husband.” It further adds, “Now we two with fine hero sons will triumph over all who challenge and threaten us” (RV.X. 18.9; trans by A. C. Bose). Since it is reasonable to assume that the widow would have been accompanied by some of her female relatives as well, this practice makes it clear that women were not prohibited from accompanying the dead body to the cremation ground in ancient times. Whether this practice of the wife lying next to the dead husband indicates the practice of satī or not in Vedic times is another matter altogether. Satī literally means a chaste woman dedicated to her husband, but gradually this term came to be associated with the practice of burning a dead man’s widow along with his corpse which came into vogue at some later point in time in India, though the exact date of its introduction remains unknown. Once established, though, it continued to be practiced till it was abolished by law in the nineteenth century. The point here is whether the wife lying next to the dead body of her husband mentioned in the Vedas constitutes satī. There is no evidence that suggests that it was satī, as she is asked to get up and join another man as his wife to raise a family. Thus one can only say that there is no definite indication of satī during Vedic times. One important feature of the Vedic worldview was its strong belief in a holistic connection between the various elements and the devas presiding over them, as well as their correspondence with the components of the human body. Thus, the puruṣasūkta (hymn dedicated to Puruṣa) (R̥ V. X. 90) talks about an archetypal sacrifice wherein the three elements in a sacrifice – i.e. the sacrificer, the sacrificed, and the sacrificing – were all the single Puruṣa who was performing the sacrifice of himself upon himself. The hymn then goes on to state that, figuratively, all that exists in the universe, including the devas Indra, Agni, and Vāyu, came into being from the sacrificed Puruṣa; even the hymns and meters of the mantras came from that same source. The stratification of society into four groups based on their occupation, known earlier as the varṇa system but later identified with the caste system, also came to be associated with the different parts of Puruṣa, like the mouth, arms, thighs, and feet. The various celestial bodies, the moon, the sun, and the deities Indra, Agni (fire), and Vāyu (wind) are pictured as

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born from the mind, eye, mouth, and breath of Puruṣa, respectively. This imagery of the connection of the elements with parts of the body of Puruṣa later gets extended and replicated in the individual bodies of all persons. We see this clearly in many funeral hymns, and one of these hymns (RV. X. 16) talks about the same connection between the different parts of the human body such as the eye, breath, etc., as being associated with the respective elements and further adds that upon death and cremation the different parts of the body go to their respective counterparts in nature, like the eye to sūrya (sun), the breath to the wind, and so on (RV. X. 16.3). As time goes by we notice that the above practices undergo a number of changes to accommodate new ideas that come into being, and this trajectory can be traced from Vedic to Upaniṣadic times and later during the Gr̥ hyasūtra period and also the Purāṇa phases (c. 500 BCE–c. 700 CE).

Afterlife beliefs If we look at the literature from the late Vedic period (c. 900 BCE–500 BCE) we find very little detailed discussion of what happens to the person after death. As we saw in the RV, once a person is dead he/she reaches the region of the ancestors (pitr̥ loka), which also seems to be the abode of Yama. Since the present body is burnt, one presumes that it is some substitute essential self that travels to this new loka/world. However, one can also find reference to svarga or heaven and sometimes even to three heavens. P. V. Kane’s History of Dharmaśāstra offers the following account of heaven and a region resembling hell as depicted in the RV. A pious person after death is mentioned as enjoying the company of devas and leading a joyful life in heaven (RV I.125.5; V.63.2; X.107.2). On the other hand, one who has been non-generous and non-pious is thrown down from heaven; it is not clearly stated where the person goes but there are many references to a pit or a deep bottom place into which an impious person falls (RV II.29.6; IV.5.5; VII. 104.3; see Kane, History of Dharmaśāstra Vol. IV: 154ff). This region is also described as being dark. There is also mention of a naraka-loka (hell) in the Atharvaveda (II.14.3), but there is no elaboration of the nature of this bottomless pit. It is quite possible that these incipient ideas later gave rise to the full blown idea of naraka (hell). By the later Vedic period (c. 900 BCE–500 BCE) some of the Upaniṣads refer to another region where the dead are supposed to go. Thus the Kaṭhopaniṣad (Kaṭh.Up) talks about a region called svarga (heaven) where there is no fear nor old age, no hunger or thirst, and where one rejoices forever (I.1.12). There is even mention of the Nāciketa sacrifice through which one can attain this svarga. Other Upaniṣads also have such descriptions. But very soon that will be replaced by a full-fledged theory of the afterlife of a self in another world and its return to Earth in a subsequent life determined by the deeds with which that self was associated in its previous life or lives. The reluctance to accept new regions to which the departed might go, like svarga and naraka, is also seen in the commentarial literature of the philosophical sūtras where a metaphorical meaning is read into svarga and naraka. Thus the commentator Śabara,

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on Jamini’s Pūrvamīmāṃsāsūtras, states that “the primary meaning of the word svarga is joy or delight and not a thing (dravya) that brings joy” (Kane, History of Dharmaśāstra Vol. IV: 169). Some Purāṇas, like the Brahmapurāṇa and Viṣṇupurāṇa, state that “svarga is what causes happiness to the mind, that naraka is the opposite of it [. . .] and that svarga and naraka are really states of the mind characterized by happiness and pain respectively” (Kane, History of Dharmaśāstra Vol. IV:170 and footnote 408). A full-fledged theory of karma, with its corollaries of a permanent self/ātman that migrates from one birth to another in keeping with the karma done in the previous life/lives, along with the theory of final liberation from birth and death called mokṣa, all came to find a place in eschatology at this late Vedic period (c. 900 BCE–500 BCE). This became the bedrock for all later changes, and this basic framework of karma/rebirth, or transmigration, and final mokṣa held its sway over the course of subsequent historical periods and is still the core belief of a Hindu today. The karma theory was an attempt to logically explain that one’s suffering or good fortune in the world are the result of one’s own actions, whether done in this life or in previous lives gone before, and not the dispensation of God or any other agency. The sociologist Weber thought this was the only attempt which satisfactorily explains the evil present in the world. Thus Weber states that the karma theory is a rationally satisfactory answer along with the Zoroastrian dualism and predestination decree of the deus abscondidus “for the basis of the incongruity between destiny and merit” (Weber, 1946, 275). Once the karma theory got entrenched in the psyche, the afterlife was formulated in terms of the karma done in one’s previous life/lives. While many theories regarding karma were present during those times, the theory that finally got accepted was the one strongly advocated in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (Chānd. Up.) where the ātman goes to another world and, after experiencing some results for the karma done in the world, comes back into the world with a residue of karma and takes on an embodied existence in keeping with that residual karma. Karma also got classified into different categories; since not all karma determines the next birth but only those that are in the stage of fructification from the accumulated karma over many births, the accumulated karma was called the sañcita karma. The karma that started the life just lived was known as prārabdha karma (karma that has started yielding its result) and finally kriyamāṇa karma which is karma that was being done in this life and was accumulating its own results. Thus if one chose to lead a life devoted to good karma like practicing rituals and rites, one could hope to live a hundred years and then come back in another birth in accordance with one’s karma and the cycle repeats itself over and over again. But if one is more spiritually inclined and decides to live a life of meditation and good deeds, then once the karma gets wiped out the jīva would attain liberation or mokṣa. This, one could say, was the key development from the point of view of soteriology. This theory still holds sway in the Hindu worldview to this day. Culturally, and at the popular level, a lot of changes were taking place which are reflected in the Mahābhārata and Purāṇas. In these popular texts, karma theory got

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tagged along with the belief of gaining svarga or naraka according to the karma done by a person. In Hinduism there is no strict division of scripture versus non-scripture. In fact the word “scripture” itself is an import from the West. Except for the Vedas no other textual authority is accepted uniformly as sacred texts by all Hindus. That is why the epics like the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa and the Purāṇas are called popular texts which gave rise to popular ideas that gradually came to be associated with svarga and naraka. In one of the Purāṇas the tortures that an evil person has to go through in naraka or hell are vividly described as follows: Then he sees two terribly looking messengers of death with eyes full of anger. At the sight of them, with terrified heart, he passes urine and excrement. They shut him up into a body deigned for torture. Fastening a noose around his neck, they drag him along the road as the king’s men do to convicts. Now and then he faints in exhaustion. He tries to rise again as he is led by the hellish road to the abode of Yama. (Bhāgavata Purāṇa III.30.19–23; translation by Rick Jarrow, 2003, 54) Thus to sum up we can see that along with the popular notions of regions called svarga and naraka to which a departed self goes after death, a tendency to interpret words like svarga, naraka, etc., metaphorically in the philosophical commentarial literature also existed side by side. Some new ritual practices, such as the notion of a period of impurity and immersing the ashes collected after cremation in a sacred tīrtha (pilgrimage center), came into being and are still observed today though it is not part of the Vedic lore. They became solidified during the period between c. 500 BCE and 500 CE. This is also the time which saw the composition of the śastras, such as the Dharmasūtras, and the Smr̥ tis, like the Manusmr̥ ti, the Gr̥ hyasūtras (manuals dealing with domestic rituals), the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa, some early Purāṇas, etc., which throw light on the changing social patterns which in turn influenced the funeral rituals and rites. It is well known that Hinduism has a tendency not to discard earlier beliefs and practices easily and so these get tagged along with later ideas which come into being as society changes. For instance, one idea which we already saw in the R̥ gveda itself is the path of the devas (devayāna) and the path of the pitr̥ s (pitr̥ yāna) by which the departed self goes on its onward journey to the world of Yama. During the classical period, this was expanded, and an elaborate description of the nature of these paths is available. Thus the devayāna was described as being filled with light, brightness, etc., whereas the pitr̥ yāna was mentioned as being dark, filled with smoke, etc. This entire path is described in one of the early Upaniṣads, the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (Chānd. Up), as follows: So those who know the doctrine of the five fires and those who in the forest follow the path of faith and austerities go by the path called devayāna; he goes to light (arcis), from light to day, from day to the bright half of the moon, from

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thence to the six months during which the sun goes to the north, from the months to the year, from the year to the sun, from the sun to the moon, from the moon to lightning. There is a person not human. He leads them to Brahman. This is the way to the gods, the way to Brahman. Those who proceed by it do not return to life. On the other hand those who practise sacrifices, works of public utility and almsgiving they pass into the smoke, from smoke to night, from night to the dark half of the month, from the latter half of the month to the six months in which the sun moves southwards, but they do not reach the year. From those months to the world of the fathers, from the world of the fathers to space, from space to the moon. Having dwelt there as long as there is residue of good works they return again by that same course by which they came to space, from space to air; and after having become the air they become the smoke; after having become smoke they become mist; after becoming mist they become cloud, after becoming cloud he rains down. They are born here as rice and barley, herbs and trees, as sesamum plants and beans. Then those whose conduct has been good will quickly attain a good birth while those whose conduct has been evil will attain an evil birth. (Chānd.Up. V.10. 1–9) (trans by Kane and Radhakrishnan) The section ends by stating that if one pursues wisdom one travels by the path of the gods, if one performs good works one travels by the path of the fathers. If one does neither of the two then one continually revolves like little creatures. In popular Hinduism, devayāna came to be identified with the northern journey of the sun, called uttarāyana, and the southern journey of the sun, called dakṣiṇāyana, with the pitr̥ yāna. Furthermore, there arose a belief that those who died during uttarāyana would reach svarga while those who perished during dakṣiṇāyana would descend to naraka. It is this belief that is reflected in the Bhīṣma episode of the Mahābhārata. Here, Bhīṣma, a great warrior, though killed during the dark period of the year (dakṣiṇāyana), chose to keep himself alive on a bed of arrows till the time of the northern journey of the sun (uttarāyana) and then gave up his life. Moreover, today a Hindu who dies in the bright half of the year is also considered a holy person whereas one who dies in the dark half of the year is considered an evil one. Another popular belief today is the importance of the last thought that a person has at the time of death. This again is not entirely new but has its origins in Upaniṣadic references such as Chānd.Up (III.14.1), Praśna Up (III.10), etc. The Bhagavadgītā (Gītā), traditionally considered a commentary (bhāṣya) on the Upaniṣads, also shares this same view (Gītā.8.5). This has also become one of the strong convictions of a Hindu today, and one witnesses the recital of the Gītā, Bhāgavata Purāṇa, and other sacred books at the side of a dying person so that the dying person can direct his/her thoughts towards the Supreme during those last moments. At what point in its long history of funerary rites a period of mourning came into being is not very clear but by now a lengthened period of mourning has come into being and is observed today by orthodox Hindus.

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While in the R̥ gveda the relatives, after cremating the body and taking a bath, went back to their normal lives, we now witness a period of pollution and mourning. Normally nine days of grieving and a tenth day when the pollution is wiped out and the relatives of the deceased are accepted back into society has become the norm. During these nine/ten days the dead person, called a preta, is supposed to be hovering round the place of death and so some rice balls, called piṇḍa, are offered to the preta and on the tenth day (or sometimes the twelfth day) a ritual called sapiṇḍīkaraṇa, which means the uniting of the dead spirit with the ancestors in pitr̥ loka or abode of the dead ancestors, is done. Without this ritual being performed, the dead spirit is believed to continue to hover round the place of death. In the Vedas there is mention of the collection of the bones after cremation and their burial in the same ground where the cremation was done, over which, in some cases, a monument was erected (R̥ V X.18.10–13; Kane, History of Dharmaśāstra Vol. IV: 240; Pandey, 1969, 260). One interesting observation we find is that “according to the custom of the Taittirīyas, the duty of collecting the bones was performed by women, preferably the senior wife of the deceased” (Pandey, 1969, 260). But this is no longer the case and the bones are collected by the chief mourner who performed the cremation. With the prominence that important pilgrimage centers gained during the epic and Purāṇa times it has also now become customary for the collected ashes/bones to be immersed into a holy river, particularly the river Gaṅgā. Dying in Varanasi and being cremated on its banks is also believed to confer immediate mokṣa/liberation to the deceased. Another belief held since this time is that one who is living can also perform his death rituals, called śrāddha, at Gayā, which then need not be done after his/her actual death. Performance of śrāddha at Gayā for oneself while living guarantees mokṣa at death and relieves the relatives from performing any śrāddha for the deceased. P. V. Kane discusses in great detail the origin and development of the performance of śrāddha (Kane, History of Dharmaśāstra Vol. IV: 349ff). Today the śrāddha ceremony is an important annual observance even though the time of observance can differ from region to region. The śrāddha ritual is considered to be an occasion for repaying our debt to our parents and ancestors. There is a belief that the Shraddha rites facilitate the journey after death of our loved ones, to reach their final destination without any obstacles. While Vedic mantras still form a very important part of the ritual ceremonies following death, the Gr̥ hyasūtras also add some new mantras to accompany these new practices that have come into being. While a goat or a cow was either sacrificed or symbolically sacrificed and then let go to roam freely as recorded in the Vedas, today dāna, or giving gifts of various useful items, has become one of the main ritualistic expressions. “When a Hindu feels that his death is near [. . .] to promote his future weal he makes presents to the Brahmans and the needy. Among the presents the gift of a cow is the most valuable” (Pandey, 1969, 246). Other articles of daily use such as an umbrella, footwear, a staff, etc., are also given. Sometimes gold and silver is also given.

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Conclusion Of the sixteen saṃskāras (purificatory rites) that a Hindu is supposed to undergo, two are considered of paramount importance: the vivāha, or marriage, and the antyeṣṭi, or funerary rituals. An overview of the rituals and ceremonies connected with funerals and their different beliefs regarding an afterlife has been discussed above. We saw how there is no uniform pattern of ritual observance by the Hindus. This varied behavior has led scholars to accept many “Hinduisms,” at least in the popular domain. Thus it is not easy to talk of just one way of observing rituals and one kind of belief in an afterlife. For instance, while the philosophical Hindu would believe in mokṣa as the ultimate goal defined variously depending on whether one is a follower of the path of knowledge, devotion, selfless action, or just the practice of Yoga, and also believe in repeated births and deaths till mokṣa happens, a religious Hindu, while paying lip service to mokṣa, would also believe in a heaven and hell and the world of the manes/pitr̥ s. He/ she would also fervently believe that one’s favored deity (iṣṭadevatā), whether Viṣṇu, Śiva, Śrī Kr̥ ṣṇa, etc., has the capacity to intervene and save a person from the clutches of Yama. Stories abound in the Purāṇas about how just the utterance of the name of Viṣṇu or Śiva can save one from impending death. However, in spite of the many rituals, ceremonies, and beliefs in afterlife, some core observances can be mentioned: the cremation, the collection of the bones/ashes and burying them or consigning them to a holy river, an observance of a period of pollution, giving of gifts that one can afford, a day of purification and celebration after the period of pollution is over, and remembrance of the dead soul on the tithi or astronomical day he/she passed away annually by the chief mourner who is normally the son. Similarly the notion of an afterlife determined by the karma that one has done in previous life/ lives is also uniformly believed in. The belief in heaven or hell or the intervention of a preferred deity to save one’s devotee is not something every Hindu believes in.

References Bose, A. C. (1954). The Call of the Vedas. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ——— (1966). Hymns from the Vedas. London: Asia Publishing House. Chand, Devi (1982). The Atharvaveda Sanskrit Text with English Translation. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. Jarrow, Rick E. H. (2003). Tales for the Dying: The Death Narrative of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. New York: State University of New York. Kane, P. V. (1973). History of Dharmaśāstra Vol. 4 (second edition). Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1951). A Vedic Reader for Students. Madras: Oxford University Press. Pandey, Rajbali (1969). Hindu Saṃskāras. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. Radhakrishnan, S. (1992). The Principal Upaniṣads. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Weber, Max (1946). Essays in Sociology. Trans. by Gerth and Mills. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Jaina afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Peter Flügel Metaphysics Jaina metaphysics is dualistic. Living beings are regarded as products of the amalgamation of the immortal substances, soul (jīva) and matter (pudgala). This process of interpenetration produces karman, that is, in the Jaina interpretation, a dynamic aggregate of subtle atomic particles, held together by a homogenous receptacle, the karman body (kārmaṇa-śarīra), which, contingent on its particular structure, generates between two and four further types of bodies: the gross (audārika-), transformation (vaikriya-), translocation (āhāraka-). and fiery bodies (taijasa-śarīra). The individual configurations of these bodies constitute all varieties of living beings existing in the lower-(adho-), middle- (madhya-), and upper-world (ūrdhva-loka) across four birth categories (gati): humans (manuṣya), gods (deva), hell-beings (nāraka), and animals and plants (tiryañc). Theoretically, at the outset of the body constituting processes, subtle matter is attracted and transformed into karman due to the soul’s own meta-physical action (yoga), that is, volition, which is conceived as a vibration of its parts (pradeśa). Empirically, the interpenetration of soul and matter is without beginning and, generally, without end. Because the embodied soul’s intrinsic quality of active consciousness (upayoga) is conditioned by karman, every act (kriyā) produces new karman particles, which function again as the seeds for acts of the same type in a feedback loop. Because the soul continues to be tied to its karman body after the disintegration of the gross body, it automatically generates a new gross body. Immortal souls thus find themselves trapped in a potentially endless series of self-produced mortal bodies. As independent active substances, they possess, however, the capability of liberating themselves from the painful cycles of re-death. This is achieved through a willful reversal of the processes of embodiment. Classical Jaina doctrine teaches that the degree of violence (hiṃsā) and of the passions (kaṣāya), anger, pride, deception, deceit, and greed, involved in action determines type, quantity, and duration of the karman body, which conditions the actions, lifespan, form of death, and reincarnation of the embodied soul. By practicing non-violence (ahiṃsā) and renunciation (pratyākhyāna),

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the embodied soul prevents the binding of further karman. Final liberation (mokṣa) from the cycles of re-death (saṃsāra) can be accomplished through the deliberate elimination of all remaining karman particles, primarily by the combined practice of physical asceticism (tapas) and meditation (dhyāna), a form of action that gradually brings an end to all physical action. (For details see the Prakrit primary sources cited by Schubring [1935/2000]; Umāsvāti’s fourth-century Sanskrit Tattvārthasūtra [TS1,2]; and Glasenapp [1925/1998]).

Religious practice From the point of view of Jaina doctrine, the approaching disintegration of a gross body is not a calamity, but an opportunity. A practicing Jain, whether mendicant (m. sādhu, f. sādhvī, etc.) or lay-supporter (m. śrāvaka, f. śrāvikā, etc.), acting non-violently, as far as possible, and regularly practicing asceticism cum meditation, will at the end of life seek to perform voluntary death through fasting, a ritualised process, called “thinning out” (saṃlekhaṇā or sallekhanā), which produces an accelerated destruction of karman. If this course of conduct is followed through many incarnations, the point of final death (ātyantika-maraṇa) can be reached, whose deliberative performance eliminates the remaining karman particles, and thereby liberates the naturally blissful and all-knowing soul forever from incarnation. This is the ultimate aim of the Jaina dharma taught by Vardhamāna Jñātṛputra, called “Mahāvīra,” the presumed last, but likely only, Jaina prophet (jina), traditionally dated from 599–527 BCE.

Contemporary mortuary practices Today, the complete customary sequence of mortuary practices of and for a Jaina mendicant comprises seven distinct rituals and ceremonies, with complex sub-routines, performed by the dying mendicant him-/herself, by members of the local mendicant community, and by householders, usually members of a local Jaina lay community: (A) Voluntary death (sallekhanā), with the support of other mendicants; (B) Removal of the corpse (nirharaṇa), by mendicants; (C) Funeral ceremonies, related to cremation (dāha-saṃskāra), by laity; (D) Collection of the bone relics (asthi-saṃcayana), by laity; (E) Disposal of the bone relics (asthi-visarjana) or construction of a funerary monument (stūpa or samādhi) by householders; (F) Commemoration (smṛti), by mendicants and/ or householders; (G) Veneration (vandanā) and/or worship (pūjā), by individual mendicants or laity. A–E are the mortuary practices strictly speaking. They are performed only once, immediately before and after death. F–G are post-mortuary practices of commemoration and empowerment that are specifically connected with the site of cremation, bone relics, and the new incarnation of the mendicant’s soul as a god in one or other region of the upper-world. Depending on the status of the deceased, the degree of attachment

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of devotees, and other circumstances, they are either not practiced at all or annually or irregularly.

Precept and practice The standard sequence of religious practices connected with the process of dying of a Jaina monk or nun, the disposal of the corpse, and the readjustment of the relationships of the survivors to the deceased is characterised by decreasing scriptural regulation and participation of mendicants, who by rule are only directly engaged in the above routines (A) sallekhanā and (B) nirharaṇa. It is believed that the soul leaves the body and is reincarnated almost instantly at the point of death. Funeral and post-funeral practices are therefore classified not as “religious” but as “social events,” with a focus on a temporal physical object rather than on an eternal meta-physical object. Fasting to death is prescribed in great detail in the disciplinary texts for mendicants in the Prakrit scriptures (siddhānta) of the Śvetāmbara and Digambara traditions. Beside world-renunciation, it is the most significant religious event in the Jain tradition. The only post-mortem practice performed by the mendicants in accordance with scripted rules is the removal of the corpse from their abode. All other funerary routines are performed by householders, not necessarily laity, according to custom. The routines of funeral and post-funeral ceremonies for monks (C–G) are nowhere prescribed. Paradigms are found in the Jaina narrative literature, however, with legendary and mythological characters as protagonists.

Voluntary death Reliable guides to prescriptions for the “voluntary” (sakāma-) or “wise death” (paṇḍitamaraṇa) through fasting (sallekhanā), as opposed to the “involuntary” (akāma-) or “fool’s death” (bala-maraṇa), by way of various types of suicide, etc., are Kamptz (1929), Deo (1956), Caillat (1972, 1977a, 1977b), Oetjens (1976), Settar (1989, 1990), Granoff (1992), Baya (2007), and Soni (2014). Jaina funerary and post-funerary practices, especially the funerary practices for Jaina mendicants, have only recently been studied and compared with similar Hindu and Buddhist practices. (See Caland, 1896; Waldschmidt, 1944, 1948, 1950–51; Bareau, 1970–71; Flügel, 2015, 2017).

Funerary practices From a participant’s point of view, contemporary funerary practices for Jaina mendicants (B–E) can be divided into three parts: (1) removal of the corpse, (2) cremation,

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and (3) collection and disposal of the bone relics. These subdivide again into a number of more or less invariable subroutines: (B) Removal of the corpse: a. Fasting (caturtha-bhakta), non-study (a-svādhyāya), meditation (dhyāna); b. Changing the clothes of the deceased (vastra-parivarta); c. Abandoning the corpse (nirharaṇa); d. Meditation, by reciting the hymn to the Twenty-Four (Jinas) (caturviṃśatistava-kāyotsarga). (C) Funeral: a. Preparing the dead body for public display; b. Veneration of the dead body: last sight (antim-darśana); c. Preparation of the funeral palanquin (śivikā or vaikuṇṭhī); d. Funeral procession (śava-yātrā); e. Cremation (dāha-saṃskāra); f. Mantra. (D) Collection of the bone relics (asthi-saṃcayaṇa). (E) Disposal of the bone relics: a1. Discarding of the bone relics (in a river, etc.) (asthi-samarpaṇa or asthi-visarjana); or a2. Preservation of the bone relics: samādhi (stūpa) construction. The principal routines, whether scripted or unscripted, are shared by all Jaina traditions. Most of them are traceable to canonical sources. Yet, an outline of the tripartite structure as a whole, encompassing the practices prescribed for mendicants and the customary routines performed by householders, cannot be found in any single text. The practices therefore need to be studied ethnographically and compared with the Jaina literary corpus.

Removal of the corpse Basic disciplinary rules for the removal of the corpse of a common mendicant were prescribed already in the early canonical BKS 4.24 and elaborated in its commentaries, especially Saṅghadāsa’s sixth-century BKB 5497–5565, as well as in the Digambara text BhĀ, composed by Śivārya circa the first century CE. In contrast to the paradigmatic high-class cremations for a Jina, depicted in the Jaina narrative literature, the BhĀ and the BKB prescribe in great detail the likely older procedure of simply discarding (nīharaṇa) the dead body of a common monk at a spot in the forest that is devoid of life. BKB 5503 specifies the materials – solid and smooth bamboo (veṇu) and wood (dāru) – for the “implement” (uvagaraṇa) which BKS 4.24 recommends to be used by mendicants to carry the body outside the temporary abode, if a monk dies at night and no householders are present. It is likely that funeral rites performed by householders for deceased mendicants were at some stage added to the scripted practice for mendicants of simply removing the corpse from their abode. Because the use of fire is a form of violence to be avoided according to Jaina doctrine, texts on monastic or lay discipline do not mention any of the four ritual stages of the funerals outlined in late Vedic texts, summarized by Caland (1896: xii–xiii), which evidently served as the paradigm for both presently

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observable Jaina funerary practices, and canonical narrative paradigms, including bone-relic preservation: (a) cremation (upoṣaṇa), (b) collection of the charred bones (asthi-saṃcayana), (c) erection of a monument (śmaśāna- or loṣṭa-citi), (d) expiation (śāntikarman). Since Jaina funeral and post-funeral practices are unregulated, some are commonly identified with the help of Vedic terms, such as dāha-saṃskāra and asthi-saṃcayana. However, no obligatory periods of mourning (śoka) or ritual impurity (sūtaka) are recognised amongst the Jainas, as in Brahmanism. There is no equivalent to śāntikarman. Rites of expiation are neither prescribed nor practised, not even by laity, after the death of a mendicant or a family member. Instead, mental purification through meditation is carried out and visits to senior Jaina munis and/or to Jaina temples are made.

Textual paradigms for Jaina funeral ceremonies One of the oldest depictions of a Jaina funeral in the Jaina scriptures is the description of the funeral of the legendary first universal emperor Ṛṣabha (Pk. Usabha), who also became the first jina, in JDP 2.109–120, a Prakrit narrative text of the Śvetāmbara canon, dated to the latter half of the fourth century CE. It offers more detail than any other early text on the funeral ceremony for Ṛṣabha, conducted at the place of his sallekhanā on the top of Mt. Kailāsa, and must have served as a paradigm for subsequent funeral narratives. On evidence of the many parallels in modern Jaina funeral rites, it was the most influential template for the development of Jaina funerary ceremonies, certainly from the Kuṣāṇa and Gupta periods onwards. Contrary to the older narrative of Daśaratha’s funeral in the Rāmāyaṇa and the accounts of the funeral of the Buddha (MPS), all key acts are performed not by humans but by gods under instruction of Indra (Pk. Sakka), that is, by ideal householders, who finally removed all bone relics for private worship at their abodes (vimāna) in the upper-world, combining functions of palace, stupa, and temple, so that no relics were left for human beings. The common trend towards idealisation of cultural heroes has here reached its logical conclusion. The following routines are described: 1 Veneration of the dead body i ii

threefold circumambulation from right to left (tikkhutto āyāhiṇa-payāhiṇā); obedient veneration (bowing with folded hands) (sussūsamāṇa pajjuvāsaṇa);

2 Preparation of the funeral pyre (ciyagā); 3 Preparation of the dead body: i ii iii iv

bathing (ṇhāṇa) with water from the milk-ocean (khīrodaga); anointing (aṇulipaṇa) with sandalwood paste (gosīsa-caṃdaṇa); dressing with loose white clothes (haṃsa-lakkhaṇa paḍasāḍaya niaṃsa); adornment (alaṃkāra);

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4 Construction of a funeral palanquin (siviyā); 5 Cremation: i ii iii iv

mounting the body on the palanquin (sīyā āruhaṇa); placing the palanquin on the pyre (ciyagā ṭhavaṇa); lighting the fire (agaṇi-kāya viuvvaṇā); extinguishing the funeral pyre (ciyagā nivvāvaya) with milky water (khīrodaga);

6 Gathering of the bone relics (sakahā geṇhaṇa) by the gods; 7 Construction of a memorial (ceiya-thūbha) at the cremation site; 8 Collective celebration of the Tīrthaṅkara’s liberation (pariṇivvāṇa-mahima) at the cremation site; 9 Eight-day-long festivals (aṭṭhāhiya mahā-mahima) on separate mountains in Nandīśvara; 10 Return of the gods to their heavenly abodes (vimāṇa) and worship of the Jina’s relics (jiṇa-sakahā accaṇā). The slightly later description of the Ājīvika Gośāla’s funeral in Viy 15.139, 142, presents a similar sequence of acts, using almost identical words. The only significant addition is a depiction of the removal (niharaṇa) of the body and of its transportation in a procession out of the city on a “thousand-men-palanquin” (śiviyā), which evidently was not needed on the mountain peak, where Ṛṣabha starved himself to death. The evolution of this paradigmatic structure of the monastic funeral and post-funeral ceremonies, applied to life-stories of Mahāvīra only in post-canonical texts, is difficult to reconstruct. The oldest lists of mnemonic keywords (dvāra-gāthā) referring to the funeral of Jaina mendicants can be found in c. first- through fifth-century passages of the Āvaśyaka-niryukti (ĀvN), whose redactions are attributed as a whole to the literary name Bhadrabāhu by the tradition. ĀvN 206, composed in Prakrit in the old anuṣṭhubh metre, mentions the following four key funerary practices, said to have been introduced by Ṛṣabha: (a) veneration of the corpse (maḍaya-pūaṇa), (b) cremation (jhāvaṇā), (c) funerary monument (thūbha), (d) words (of eulogy and commemoration) (sadda). No further detail is offered. The interpolated mūladvāra-gāthā ĀvN 366, composed in classical āryā metre, dedicates three of nine keywords for the first time to the funeral of Ṛṣabha himself, according to Jaina mythology the second ever after the funeral of his mother Marudevī. It does not include the veneration of the dead body, which after the liberation of the soul is, in doctrinal terms, not worthy of veneration anymore, but adds the construction of temples: (a) liberation (nivvāṇa), (b) cremation (kuṇḍā), (c) funerary monument (thūbha), (d) (Ṛṣabha) temples (jiṇa-hara). ĀvN 435 offers an identical sequence. Yet, it is the only early text of the Āvaśyaka literature that explicitly mentions the collection of bone relics in the form of a single keyword: “thigh-bone” (sakahā). While the removal of the relics by the gods is also narrated by Jinadāsa Gaṇin Mahattara’s seventh-century ĀvC and Haribhadra’s eighth-century ĀvṬ, in ĀvN 435 the cremation of the mendicants, who are said to have performed sallekhanā together with Ṛṣabha, is placed into the hands of the descendants of the

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Ikṣvāku line (i.e. Ṛṣabha’s son Bharata), as it is in the most polished version of the narrative in Hemacandra’s twelfth-century Jaina universal history TŚPC. The loci classici on the worship of bone relics and reliquaries (Pk. samugga, Sk. samudga) by the gods are the narratives in the Śvetāmbara canonical texts JDP 2.109–120, Rāy 240, and Viy 10.5, which are later or from the same period as ĀvN 206 and 435, but earlier than ĀvC and ĀvṬ. If the details of the legend reflect practices that were customary at the time of the composition, then the practice of cremation, followed by relic preservation (by humans or gods) must have been practised in the Jaina tradition early on. Though relic stüpa construction has been documented in contemporary Jainism (Flügel, 2008, 2011, 2012a), and traced back with certainty to the tenth century and likely five hundred or more years earlier (Flügel, 2010, 2012b; Dundas, 2013), apart from these mythical paradigms, there is however only circumstantial evidence of the practice of collection and veneration of bone relics amongst Jainas in ancient India, certainly not for Mahāvīra, nor are there any Jaina texts detailing the construction of stūpas or samādhis, comparable to Vedic and Buddhist literature. Many commemorative funerary monuments are mentioned in Jaina literature, but only one ancient Jaina stūpa of the Kuṣāṇa period has been excavated to date. The question whether it contained bone relics remains open, but can no longer be answered, since A. Führer, the last excavator, reports finding and transporting to the Museum in Lucknow pots with ashes of Jaina monks from the site, which cannot be verified and dated (See Smith, 1901; Shah, 1955/1998; Flügel, 2010: 441f.).

Funeral procession Unlike the common death of a householder, the death of a Jaina ascetic who has worked a lifetime for the purification of the karman body, and as a consequence will be reborn as a god, is a joyous occasion. In contrast to the solemn funeral of a common Jaina lay person, whose dead body is carried in a lying posture, covered from head to toe by a shroud, by male family members to the funeral pyre, on a simple bier (siḍī or sīḍī) constructed out of bamboo sticks that are laid out in the form of a ladder, as its name indicates (siḍī = sīṛhī), and is cremated with slight variations in a standard modern Hindu fashion, the funeral of a Jaina ascetic, who purposefully purified and finally “liberated” the soul from its fetters to achieve salvation or at least a better rebirth, is conventionally celebrated by householders, as is in modern Hindu contexts the funeral of an old person who died a “good death” (Parry, 1994: 155, 157). While the participation of women is nowadays prohibited in common Jaina and Hindu funeral processions (though not in Vedic India: see Āśvalāyanagṛhyasūtra IV.4.2), females take part in the funerals of Jaina ascetics. As in the procession to the place of monastic initiation (dīkṣā-yātrā), the emphasis is not on the negative aspect of loss in renunciation or death, but on the positive potential to create new relationships.

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The hope for a victory over attachment is expressed by the prevalence of royal symbolism in processions at weddings, Jaina initiations, and funerals. It is now an established Jaina custom to honour exemplary Jaina mendicants, as well as exceptional laity who performed the fast to death (sallekhanā) (see Williams, 1963), with a festive funeral procession to the cremation ground in an extravagant royal-style palanquin, inside of which the corpse will be reduced to ashes in a visually compelling act of transformation through fire. The corpse is carried on the shoulders of leading male representatives of the local Jaina community, behind an orchestra playing exuberant tunes, in a decorated funeral palanquin, resembling a royal litter, covered with a canopy, shaped like a palace or a temple, in a cross-legged, upright meditative posture, with the face exposed. The exposed sitting posture of the deceased, the open display of the face, and the prescribed absence of mendicants during the funeral procession and cremation seem to be features unique to the funerals of Jaina ascetics. As a rule, in Hinduism, Buddhism, and in ordinary Jaina funerals, corpses are not carried in an upright position. Even kings are usually transported to the funeral ground in a lying position, with their faces covered. The significance attached to the sitting posture therefore indicates that the underlying comparison is rather between a parade of a living king, conveyed on the shoulders of men in a comfortable chair (sukhāsana), and the procession of a dead Jaina ascetic, who is expected to have been reborn as a king of gods in the upper-world. Cremation of the corpse in a meditative cross-legged “lotus posture” (padmāsana), as common today, could be an even later development (as in Hindu ascetic burials). The ancient Jaina narrative texts remain silent on this point.

Funeral palanquin A funerary palanquin was once regarded as the exclusive privilege of royalty, and, until recently, could only be paraded in public with permission of the king. One of the oldest descriptions of an Indian royal funeral, in Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa (Rām) II.65–77, that of King Daśaratha, father of Rāma, culminating in the collection of bones and ashes, mentions a funeral palanquin (śibikā) used for the procession of the corpse to the cremation ground (II.76.14). Waldschmidt (1948: 273, 344f.) pointed to the close analogy between the basic sequence of events in the description of Daśaratha’s funeral and accounts of the funeral of the Buddha, who instructed his disciples to have it conducted in the same way as the funeral of a universal monarch (cakravartin). The origins of this practice are obscure. With the emergence of the concept of the fourfold community (cāturvarṇya-śramaṇa-saṅgha), possibly as late as the fourth century CE (Viy 20.8.5), Jaina mendicants officially assumed the status of spiritual rulers for their followers, which they must have enjoyed for centuries. They began to be addressed as kings (mahārāja), and allegorically depicted as such in Jaina literature and iconography (Uv 16). However, because the use of regal symbols is prohibited for Jaina mendicants, the outward trappings of royalty can only be attached to them for brief moments, shortly before initiation, and between death and cremation. This

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explains the creation of extended ceremonies for these occasions, which are organised by lay devotees to publicly celebrate Jaina values and Jaina mendicants as their paradigmatic representations. All early depictions of Ṛṣabha’s funeral, JDP 2.101, ĀvC p. 222, the first Digambara version, Jinasena’s ninth-century Sanskrit universal history ĀP 47.343f., and in a slightly different context BhĀ 1973, use the words siviyā or sīyā as designations for funeral palanquins. Śibikā is a term without obvious eschatological overtones. In the Śvetāmbara canon, it is also employed as a designation for the palanquins used for carrying mendicants-to-be to the place of initiation.

Ascent to heaven The so-called baikuṇṭhī used by Śvetāmbara Jainas in Rājasthān is an elaborate wooden structure made of a base of two joined carrying poles and a rectangular canopy, with a rib-vaulted dome made of bamboo rods conjoined by a pivotal timber nexus. The timber skeleton is internally and externally embroidered with shining fabric, and the pinnacles of the dome are decorated with metal pots and flags. Its conventional shape mimics a (mahā-) prāsāda, a temple or throne cum heavenly palace, literally “a seat in a conspicuous place.” It is also called deva-vimāna, “vehicle” or “palace of the gods,” because it represents a means of transport for a god’s journey to heaven (devaloka) (as it were via the smoke of the cremation fire). In his description of Ṛṣabha’s funeral, Hemacandra wrote: “Śakra laid the Lord’s body on a bier that was equal to the best areal car” (TŚPC 13.253). The Digambaras today still prefer the term vimāna to designate their relatively modest funeral palanquins. The same symbolism is invoked by the Rājasthānī synonyms bekuṇṭhī, baikuṇṭhī, and vaikuṇṭhī, which derive from the Sanskrit adjective vaikuṇṭhīya: “relating to Viṣṇu’s heaven” in the sense of “leading to Viṣṇu’s heaven.” Patel (1986: 163ff.) pointed out that the word vaikuṇṭḥa was first associated with Indra in late-Vedic texts. Later vaikuṇṭha became an epithet of Viṣṇu, and the “story attached to Indra has been transferred to Viṣṇu” (p. 168). The concept of a vaikuṇṭha heaven, the abode of Viṣṇu, was created around the ninth and tenth centuries, and further developed in later Purāṇas, such as the Bhāgavatapurāṇa. As a transferred epithet of Indra, a term that is also used to designate a class of gods of the Jaina upperworld, the use of the word baikuṇṭhī for Śvetāmbara Jaina funeral palanquins may even be older than the ninth century, given that middle and late-canonical texts already tell us that, as a rule, the souls of Jaina mendicants swiftly travel to and are reincarnated in the upper-world (ūrdhva-loka) as Indras and Indrāṇīs or other powerful heavenly beings. Bhattapariṇṇā v. 80 of the Mūrtipūjaka Śvetāmbara Jaina canon, conveys how through faith (ārāhaṇā) and proper conduct (caritra) higher rebirth is assured, and how, after death, the soul then “moves swiftly like a car towards good and high forms of being” (Kamptz, 1929: 39). Late-canonical allegories such as this inform ritual practices, symbols, and postfuneral experiences even today. The visible enactment of the soul’s imagined ascent to heaven (vaikuṇṭha-gati) by means of a procession leading to the ceremonial,

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quasi-sacrificial, destruction of a funeral palace by fire (and its imaginary transformed recreation in the upper-world) demonstrates the continuing influence of Vedic imagery on the Jaina (and Buddhist) funeral ritual. The jainised use of the word baikuṇṭhī for a Jaina funeral palace is itself an example for the complex co-evolution of Hindu and Jaina religious cultures. Although the names of their heavens differ, both traditions agree that with the help of heavenly palaces the gods can travel at will and very fast throughout the cosmos. The paradigmatic Jaina depiction of such a vimāna is the god Sūriyābha’s palace described in the Rāyapaseṇaijja (Rāy) 351.

From ritual to ceremony The terms vimāna and vaikuṇṭḥī and the iconography of the Jaina funeral palanquins clearly express the unwritten purpose of the violent cremation ceremonies organised by Jaina laity for their religious virtuosi, that is, the symbolic transformation, in the eyes of the devotees, of the ascetic into a powerful indra, or king of the gods. The change of status is pictured as the journey of the soul towards the place of its improved rebirth in the upper-world, of which the funeral procession marks, as it were, the beginning. Compare Oldenberg (1894/1917: 574) on the initial recitation of ṚV 10.14.7 and the supposedly “magical” effect of the procession to the cremation site for the advancement of the “soul” on its path, and Caland (1896 § 11: 20) on the late Vedic funerary cart (śakaṭa, anaḥ) which is described as a vehicle for the deceased to travel to the realm of Yama. From a Jaina karman-theoretical point of view, the soul already left the body long before the cremation, which is usually performed within twenty-four hours after confirmed death, as highlighted by the separate keyword nirvāṇa in ĀvN 366. The Jaina funeral ceremony has therefore at best socio-religious functions. The cremation fire is neither the cause of the translocation and transformation of the old into a new body in heaven, as presumed by the sacrificial Vedic cremation (which it outwardly resembles) (see ṚV 10.16.2), nor of the translocation of the Jaina soul, but merely visualises the alleged dissociation of the soul through the acceleration of the decomposition of the body, its simulacrum, at a time when a vivid image of the deceased still persists. As a symbolical performance, that is, a ceremony rather than a ritual, the cremation of a Jaina saint has religious functions as well. It offers participants the opportunity for generating merit (puṇya) by way of “approval” or “appreciation” (anumodana) of the completed saintly course of conduct and the resulting heavenly rebirth of an exemplary personality, whose pursuit of self-restraint has come to fruition. Like the obligatory kāyotsarga meditation, performed by mendicants after abandonment of the corpse of a deceased monk or nun, cremation rites performed by the laity are believed to offer opportunities for self-transformation, if they indeed result in an intensification of the personal realisation of the Jaina perspective on the transience of worldly existence in contrast to the immortality of the soul. In the minds of others, the dissociation of soul

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and body is not a singular event, but a process that is complete only at the point of the visible dissolution of the body, not at the point of death. On the one hand, this explains the purpose of funeral rites, and, on the other hand, the religious priority given to the site of disposal of the body over the site of death. The visualisation of the effects of accumulated good karman as a journey to heaven also invites the conjecture that as a god reborn in the upper-world, who still cares about the remains of his former body, the deceased will help his devotees in the middle-world. Despite the official view of some Jaina traditions, such as the Śvetāmbara Terāpanth, that funeral rites are purely social events, a continuation of the relationship with the deceased is desired by most practicing Jains.

Jaina relic stūpas For similar purposes relics of well-known saints are clandestinely preserved and entombed underneath funerary monuments that are erected at the sites of cremation, and venerated in officially unacknowledged forms. All bone-relics are said to have been removed by the gods, in the case of the Jinas, and hence rendered accessible only in imagination, as symbols of the ideal path, but not as media for physical empowerment, as they are for the gods, who only possess transformation and translocation bodies, but not gross bodies. The now well-documented custom to annually remember the day of death of a famous saint and/or to venerate or worship their relics is unscripted and practiced variably often without any specific collective ritual or involvement of mendicants.

Afterlife According to the Jaina scriptures, the souls of well-behaved mendicants will inevitably be reincarnated as one or other of the many types of gods in the heavens of the upperworld. Contingent on their behaviour, this possibility exists also for laity, especially for those who have adopted an ascetic lifestyle and performed sallekhanā. One of the earliest discussions of the question of the precise location of the rebirth of a common deceased monk can be found in part one of the NDK, a late-canonical work of narrative texts, which describes the life of the mendicant Megha. He was initiated by Mahāvīra, initially not well-behaved and hence reinitiated, then studied the scriptures, performed extended fasts, and died young on top of Mt. Vipula after taking the vow of voluntary self-starvation. After his death, the monks in his company left his mortal remains on the mountain, collected his paraphernalia, and returned them to Mahāvīra. Goyamā then asked Mahāvīra, in a similar manner as in Uv 66–189, where Megha had been reborn after his death and where he would be born thereafter. The omniscient Mahāvīra gave a precise answer: because Megha was of good character, studied all of the main sacred texts under senior monks, performed many fasts, and took the vow of

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voluntary death, he was reborn as one of the highest types of gods (deva) in the region of Vijaya, “Victory,” the eastern part of the topmost layer of the upper-world, known as Aṇuttara, “Beyond All.” After three “oceans” of time, he, that is, his soul, will be reincarnated as a human being in Mahāvideha and finally attain salvation (pariṇirvāṇa) after the final death of its last body. The bodies of all living beings are mortal and subject to the cycles of death and rebirth across the three worlds and birth-categories. The worst bodies are those of the short-lived single-sensed elementary beings, called nigoda, technically belonging to plant-beings, which form the logical opposite of the liberated souls, and are reproduced in the same form by bad karman (pāpa). The best bodies are those of humans with only a very light load of remaining good karma (puṇya). Only those very special human beings can exercise their innate free will almost unobstructed by karman and reach salvation.

References ĀvC = Āvassayacuṇṇi (Āvaśyakacūrṇi) by Jinadāsa Gaṇi Mahattara. (1928–1929). In: Śrīmadāvaśyakasūtram. 2 Vols. Prakāśikā: Ṛṣabhadeva Keśarīmala. Ratalāma: Ṛṣabhadeva Keśarīmala Saṃsthā. ĀvN = Āvassayanijjutti (Āvaśyakaniryukti) by Bhadrabāhu. (1916). In: Śrīmad-Āvaśyakasūtram (Prathamo & Pūrva Vibhāgaḥ). Ed. Cunīlāla Pannālāla Javherī. Mumbaī: Nirṇayasāgara Press (Āgamodaya-samiti-siddhānta-saṃgrahe 1). ĀP = Ādipurāṇa by Jinasena. 9th C. (1950/1996). In: Ācārya Jinasena-Kṛta Ādipurāṇa. Bhāga I-II. Hindī Anuvāda, Prastāvanā Tathā Pariśiṣṭa Sahita. Sampādana – Anuvāda: Pannālāl Jain. Naī Dillī: Bhāratīya Jñānapīṭha. Bareau, André (1970–1971). Recherches sur la biographie du Buddha dans les sūtrapiṭaka et les vinayapiṭaka anciens: II. Les derniers mois, le parinirvāṇa et les funérailles. Tome I-II. Paris: Éole Française

D’Extrême-Orient. Baya, D. S. (2007). “Śreyas.” Death with Equanimity: The Pursuit of Immortality. Jaipur: Prakrit Bharati Academy. BhĀ = Bhagavaī-Ārāhaṇa. (2004). In: Bhagavatī-Ārādhanā by Ācārya Śivārya. Ācāryaśrī Aparājit Sūri Racita Vjayodayā Ṭīkā Tathā Tadanusārī Hindī Ṭīkā Sahita. Sampādaka Evaṃ Anuvādaka: Siddhāntācārya Paṇḍita Kailāśacandra Siddhāntaśāstrī. Solāpura: Jaina Saṃskṛti Saṃrakṣaka Saṅgha (Jīvarāja Jaina Granthamālā, Hindī Vibhāga 36). BKB = Bṛhatkalpabhāṣyam. (2007). Hindī Anuvāda Sahita. Vācanā Pramukha: Gaṇādhipati Tulasī. Pradhāna Sampādaka: Ācārya Mahāprajña. Sampādaka / Anuvādaka: Muni Dulaharāja. Sahayogī: Muni Rājendrakumāra & Muni Jitendrakumāra. Khaṇḍa 1–2. Uddeśaka 1–6. Lāḍanūṃ: Jaina Viśva Bhāratī. BKS = Kappa (Bṛhatkalpasūtra). In: BKB. Caillat, Colette (1972). “La mort par le jeûne chez les Jaina.” Bulletin de la Société Ernest Renan (N.S.) 21: 103–107. ——— (1977a). “Fasting unto Death According to the Jaina Tradition.” Acta Orientalia 38: 43–46. ——— (1977b). “Fasting unto Death According to Āyāranga-sutta and to Some Paiṇṇas.” Mahāvīra and His Teachings. Ed. A. N. Upadhye et al., 113–118. Bombay: Mahāvīra Nirvāṇa Mahotsava Samiti. Caland, Willem (1896). Die altindischen Todten- und Bestattungsgebräuche, mit Benutzung handschriftlicher Quellen. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam. Afdeeling Letterkunde. Deel I. No. 6. Amsterdam: Johannes Müller.

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Deo, Shantaram Balchandra (1956). History of Jaina Monasticism from Inscriptions and Literature. Vol. 16. Poona: Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute. Dundas, Paul (2013). “A Neglected Śvetāmbara Narrative Collection: Hemacandrasūri Maladhārin’s Upadeśamālāsvopajñavṛtti Part 1 (With an Appendix on the Funeral of Abhayadevasūri Maladhārin).” International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) 9, 2: 1–47. Flügel, Peter (2008). “Jaina Relic Stūpas.” Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 3: 18–23. ——— (2010). “The Jaina Cult of Relic Stūpas.” Numen (Special Issue: Relics in Comparative Perspective, Edited by Kevin Trainor) 57, 3–4: 389–504. ——— (2011). “Burial Ad Sanctos at Jaina Sites in India.” International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) 7, 4: 1–37. ——— (2012a). “Stūpa as Tīrtha: Jaina Monastic Funeral Monuments.” Jaina Studies – Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 7: 25–27. ——— (2012b). “Sacred Matter: Reflections on the Relationship of Karmic and Natural Causality in Jaina Philosophy.” Journal of Indian Philosophy 40, 2: 119–176. ——— (2015). “Jaina Funeral Palanquins.” Jaina Studies – Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 10: 21–28. ——— (2017). Jaina Rituals of Death. London: Routledge. Glasenapp, Helmuthv (1925[1998]). Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation. Tr. Shridhar B. Shroti. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas. Granoff, Phyllis (1992). “Worship as Commemoration: Pilgrimage, Death and Dying in Medieval Jainism.” Bulletin D’Études Indiennes 10: 181–202. Jacobi, Hermann (1911). “Death and Disposal of the Dead (Jain).” ERE 4: 484–485. ——— (1906). “Eine Jaina Dogmatik. Umāsvāti’s Tattvārthādhigama Sūtra. Übersetzt und erläutert.” ZDMG 60: 287 325, 512–551. JDP = Jambuddīvapannatti (Jambūdvīpaprajñapti). (2002). In: Uvaṅgasuttāṇi 2. Vācanā Pramukha: Ācārya Tulasī. Sampādaka: Yuvācārya Mahāprajña, 357–588. Lāḍanūṃ: Jaina Viśva Bhāratī. Kamptz, Kurt von (1929). Über die vom Sterbefasten handelnden älteren Painna des Jaina-Kanons. Hamburg. MPS = The Mahā-Parinibbāna Suttanta. (1881). In: Sacred Books of the East. Vol. 11. Ed. by Max Müller. Tr. Thomas William Rhys Davids, 1–136. Oxford: Clarendon Press. NDK = Nāyādhammakahāo (Jñātṛdharmakathā). (1992). In: Aṅgasuttāṇi 3. Vācanā Pramukha: Ācārya Tulasī. Sampādaka: Yuvācārya Mahāprajña, 1–391. Lāḍanūṃ: Jaina Viśva Bhāratī Saṃsthāna. Oetjens, Karl (1976). Śivāryas Mūlārādhanā: Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis der Sterbefasten Literatur der Jains. Hamburg: Doctoral dissertation. Oldenberg, Hermann (1894/1917). Die Religion des Veda. Zweite Auflage. Stuttgart & Berlin: J.G. Cottaische Buchhandlung Nachfolge. [The Religion of the Veda. Tr. Shridhar B. Shroti. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1988]. Parry, Jonathan P. (1994). Death in Banares. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Patel, Gautam (1986). “The Concept of Vakuṇṭha – A Later Development.” Journal of the Oriental Institute Baroda 35, 3–4: 163–169. Rām = Valmiki’s Ramayana. Translated and Presented by Desiraju Hanumanta Rao & K. M. K. Murthy. www.valmikiramayan.net/ Rāy = Rāyapaseṇaiyaṃ (Rājapraśnīya). (2002). In: Uvaṅgasuttāṇi 1. Vācanā Pramukha: Ācārya Tulasī. Sampādaka: Yuvācārya Mahāprajña, 79–212. Lāḍanūṃ: Jaina Viśva Bhāratī. ṚV = Der Rig-Veda. (1923/2003). Aus dem Sanskrit ins Deutsche übersetzt und mit einem laufenden Kommentar versehen von Karl Friedrich Geldner. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schubring, Walther (1935 [1962/2000]). The Doctrine of the Jainas: Described after the Old Sources. Translated from the Revised German Edition by Wolfgang Beurlen. Third English Edition. With Three Indices Enlarged and Added by Willem Bollée and Jayandra Soni. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas.

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Settar, S. (1989). Inviting Death: Indian Attitude towards the Ritual Death. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ——— (1990). Pursuing Death: Philosophy and Practice of Voluntary Termination of Life. Dharwad: Karnatak University, Institute of Indian Art History. Shah, Umakand Premanand (1955/1998). Studies in Jaina Art. Benares: Pārśvanātha Vidyāpīṭha. Smith, Vincent Arthur (1901). The Jain Stûpa and other Antiquities of Mathurâ: Archaeological Survey of India. New Imperial Series. Vol. 20. North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Vol. 5. Muttra Antiquities. Allahabad: Frank Luker, Government Press, North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Soni, Luitgard (2014). “Jaina Modes of Dying in Ārādhanā Texts.” International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) 10, 2: 1–14. TS1 = Tattvārtha-Sūtra of Umāsvāti/Umāsvāmī. See: Jacobi 1906. TS2 = Tattvārtha-Sūtra of Umāsvāti/Umāsvāmī. (1992). In: Reality. Tr. S. A. Jain. English Translation of Srimat Pujyapadacharya’s Sarvarthasiddhi. Madras: Jwalamalini Trust. TŚPC = Triṣaṣṭiśalākāpuruṣacaritra by Hemacandra. (1931–1962). The Lives of Sixty-three Illustrious Persons. 6 Vols. Tr. Helen M. Johnson. Baroda: Oriental Institute. Tukol, T. K. (1976). Sallekhana is not Suicide. Ahmedabad: L.D. Institute of Indology(Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Series 55). Uv = Ovāiyaṃ (Aupapātika). (2002). In: Uvaṃgasuttāṇi. 4.1. Vācanā Pramukha: Gaṇādhipati Tulasī. Sampādaka: Ācārya Mahāprajña, 1–77. Lāḍanūṃ: Jaina Viśva Bhāratī. Viy = Bhagavaī. Viāhapaṇṇattī. (1994/2000/2005/2007). Khaṇḍa 1–4 (Śataka 1–16). Mūla-Pāṭha, Saṃskṛta Chāyā, Hindī Anuvāda, Bhāṣya Tathā Abhayadevasūri-Kṛta Vṛtti Evaṃ Pariśiṣṭa-Śabdānukrama Ādi Sahita. Vācanā-Pramukha: Ācārya Tulasī. Sampādaka/Bhāṣyakāra: Ācārya Mahāprajña. Lāḍanūṃ: Jaina Viśva Bhāratī. Waldschmidt, Ernst. (1944–1948). Die Überlieferung vom Lebensende des Buddha. Eine Vergleichende Analyse des Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra und seiner Textentsprechungen. Zwei Teile, Vorgangsgruppen I-IV und V-VI. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ——— (1950–1951). Das Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra. Vol. 1—3. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Williams, Robert (1963). Jaina Yoga. London: Oxford University Press.

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Therava¯da Buddhist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Rachelle M. Scott In the assembly hall at Wat Sra Kaew in Ang Thong Province (about 100km north of Bangkok) is a large glass enclave with the body of the deceased abbot of the temple. Photos of the abbot, ceremonial fans, a wax figure, and flowers surround his decaying body. Many visitors linger before his corpse as they would before an image of the Buddha – using it as an opportunity to meditate on his life as well as the nature of death, impermanence, and suffering. This memorial display draws our attention to the centrality of death in Theravāda Buddhism. Discourses on death pervade early Buddhist teachings and serve as a focal point for ritual and ethics. When speaking of death, Theravāda Buddhists place a single death within a broader context of multiple deaths and rebirths. This is due to the belief that all sentient beings are trapped within the realm of saṃsāra (cycles of rebirth and re-death) until one has reached liberation through the attainment of ultimate wisdom (nibbāna). The tradition of Theravāda Buddhism offers a number of views on death, as a series of endings and beginnings. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the context of a Theravāda Buddhist funeral, which in most cases marks one end and ushers in a new beginning, or in Buddhist terms, a further becoming. For a select few within the Buddhist world, however, the funeral may mark the end of a long journey towards the cessation of suffering. This chapter will examine death in the Theravāda tradition through the lens of funeral practice, which incorporates normative discourses on death and suffering as well as karmic tales of fortune and woe.

Discourses on death in Theravāda Buddhism The Theravāda tradition is often characterized as the oldest school of Buddhism. While recent scholarship has raised legitimate questions about the authenticity of the label “Theravāda” to refer to the tradition (Skilling et al. 2012), it nevertheless is a useful category to refer to monastic, discursive, and ritual traditions in South and Southeast Asia that were linked in varying ways to Theravāda texts, practices, and systems

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of authority. Today, Theravāda Buddhism is the predominant form of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, but also has a following in Western countries due to immigration and the popularity of vipassanā, or insight meditation. One of the hallmarks of the Theravāda tradition is a focus on the life and teachings of Siddhattha Gotama (c. 6–4th centuries BCE). Death features prominently in the Buddha’s story, as both a motivation for his quest for liberation from suffering (dukkha) and his attainment of it. Each May, during the Visākha Pūja festival, Theravāda Buddhists commemorate the life of the Buddha by hearing the story of his last life, from his miraculous conception to his final death (parinibbāna). In some parts of Thailand, Visākha Pūja is followed eight days later by a ceremony that commemorates his funeral. Many versions of the Buddha’s biography recount his encounter with an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and an ascetic renouncer (the four sights). This biographical event has enormous significance to the tradition as it marks the Buddha’s acknowledgment of suffering, his experience of compassion, and the motivation for his going forth from home into homelessness (renunciation). After his realization of ultimate wisdom (nibbāna) and decades of teaching the dhamma, the legend of the Buddha in the Theravāda tradition culminates in his last physical death. This moment emphasizes the humanity of the Buddha (all conditioned things are subject to decay) as well as the conclusion of the path and the end to further becoming. It is not insignificant that the Theravāda calendar begins with the death of the Buddha, rather than the date of his birth or year of awakening. The Buddha’s discourses on death, as found within the Pāli canon (the authoritative collection of texts within the Theravāda tradition), often link death to suffering (dukkha) and karma. Siddhattha Gotama was a wandering renouncer (samaṇa), who, like other renouncers of his day (6–4th centuries BCE), defined the religious path in terms of the attainment of specialized wisdom – discovering the truth that would liberate one from the seemingly endless cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra). The following verses from the Samyutta Nikaya (15.3) highlight the incredible length of time over which early Buddhists viewed the process of rebirth and redeath for an individual. Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. . . . Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father . . . the death of a brother . . . the death of a sister . . . the death of a son . . . the death of a daughter . . . loss with regard to relatives . . . loss with regard to wealth . . . loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time – crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing – are greater than the water in the four great oceans. . . . Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries – enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released. (“The Round of Rebirth: samsara.”)

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The Buddha and his early followers painted the end to this vast series of personal and familial deaths (as well as the loss of wealth and health) as the goal of religious practice. This release was predicated upon disenchantment “with all fabricated things” – the liberative wisdom of the origins and nature of dukkha in all of its forms, including death. As seen in the passage above, death features prominently in the Buddha’s teachings on the nature of life within saṃsāra. Pāli texts frequently reference how saṃsāra is characterized by the three marks of existence (dukkha/suffering, anicca/impermanence, and anattā/not-self). In addition to the suffering intrinsic to the death experience, the Buddha emphasized how death enables one to contemplate the nature of impermanence (of beings, thoughts, feelings, etc.) and the danger of attaching to false notions of the self. In the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta, the Buddha advocated the contemplation of death in order to foster mindfulness of the body: Again, a monk, as if he were to see a corpse thrown aside in a charnel-ground, one, two or three days dead, bloated, discoloured, festering, compares this body with that, thinking: “This body is of the same nature, it will become like that, it is not exempt from that fate.” (Walshe 1995: 338) These contemplations were the basis of two forms of meditation on death: maraṇasati (mindfulness of death) and asubha bhāvanā (meditation on decaying corpses). The Venerable Buddhaghosa, the great Theravāda theorist and systematizer, considered these meditations to be beneficial to all practitioners, not merely a select few (Bond 1980: 242–243). These meditations continue to occupy a space within Theravāda practice, albeit in different ways. It is not unusual to come across a display of a decaying body of a monk (typically a senior monk) in a Thai temple. As in the case of the abbot of Wat Sra Kaew, these monks continue to teach the dhamma through the decompositions of their corpses. Other temples may not have physical bodies on display, but will have glossy posters or photographs of internal organs, decaying corpses, and accident victims. These all serve to remind Theravāda practitioners of the essential truths of suffering, impermanence, and no permanent self. The latter images have the dual function of serving as an object for the contemplation of death as well as a reminder of the linkage between accidental death and negative karmic consequences. Moreover, meditations on death do not always require material bodies or images. One English monk developed the practice of a “bake-in,” in which he performs sitting meditation within the oven of a temple crematorium, as an elaboration on this practice. It should be noted that many of his fellow Thai monks were wary of this practice for fear of ghosts and other unsettled spirits in and near the crematorium (Phra Peter Pannapadipo 2005: 357). Theravāda discourses on death include discussions of both the “good death” and the “bad death.” In general, a good death occurs after a long life, with the mind focused on the teachings of the Buddha. To facilitate mindfulness of the Buddha during the dying process, monks in Sri Lanka will remind the dying person of his/her store of merit, tie

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protective strings around the person and others present, offer sacred water, and chant protective blessings (pirit) to ensure a favorable passage into the next life. “The fact that someone died while listening to chanting seems to be a great comfort for family members and friends and is frequently mentioned in a funeral house” (Langer 2007: 12). Similarly, in Thailand, a good death is one in which all thoughts are directed toward the Buddha through the recitation of his name. In the Trai Phum Phra Ruang, a fourteenth-century Thai text on the realms of existence, we are told that a person who is destined for a heavenly rebirth sees “the wishing tree, golden mansions, and very beautiful gem castles, as well as devatā who are dancing and playing” (Reynolds and Reynolds 1982: 214). While ultimately one should aim toward liberation from rebirth and re-death in the Theravāda tradition, rebirth as a god is widely viewed as a favorable rebirth and as a legitimate goal for religious practice. A good death and a favorable rebirth are both signs of merit within the tradition. In contrast, Theravāda Buddhists view untimely deaths (akālamaraṇa) as inauspicious events and as the fruition of negative karma. Examples include accidental deaths (car accidents, drowning, and fire), the death of children and women in childbirth, and violent murder. These deaths are inherently dangerous for both the deceased and his relatives and acquaintances since the deceased may become a restless spirit or ghost (preta) who is still connected to his family or home. Thai horror films frequently use such an unfortunate death as the basis for stories of hauntings and malevolent spirits. The story of Mae Nak (or Nang Nak), for instance, focuses on the death of a woman and her baby in childbirth and her desire (beyond the grave) to welcome her husband home from war and provide him with a happy family. Discussions about untimely deaths and karma also occurred in Thailand following the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, in which thousands of people, both young and old, lost their lives. These kinds of death destabilize families and communities, and they require special care.

The funeral of the Buddha Funeral practices in the Theravāda tradition reflect the belief that death is a transition that must be navigated properly. What is considered proper with regard to funeral rites reflects status (monastic or lay, nobility or commoner, wealthy or poor) as well as the mode of death (timely or untimely, natural or unnatural). For Theravāda Buddhists, the best of all funerals is that of an arahant, an awakened being who will no longer be reborn in the realm of suffering. Foremost among these is the funeral of the Buddha, which recognizes his exalted status within the tradition and sanctions the cult of the relics. The Mahāparinibbāna Sutta, a text within the Dīgha Nikāya of the Pāli canon, provides a detailed description of the Buddha’s final days and his elaborate funeral. The text recounts not only how the Buddha became deathly ill (by eating rancid pork) but also the Buddha’s final words of dhamma (including a description of how Ananda should care for his body after death) and the assurance that his teachings were complete. With

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hundreds of senior monks in attendance, the Buddha asked three times if anyone had any questions about his teachings. Their silence functioned as a sign that the Buddha’s dhamma was full and complete. Shortly thereafter, the Buddha died. The Buddha’s death was marked by miraculous events in Kusinara – the earth quaked and flowers bloomed out of season. His funeral included several days for allowing his followers and the gods to pay proper respect to him through “worshipping, honoring, respecting, & venerating the Blessed One’s body with dances, songs, music, garlands, & scents, in making cloth canopies and arranging floral wreaths” (Maha-parinibbana Sutta). The Buddha’s cremation was delayed in order to accommodate the wish for many to honor him in this way. After a week, his followers prepared his body for cremation. As instructed by the Buddha, they cared for his body as they would a “wheel-turning monarch” (a dhamma-following political ruler). This meant that he had a funeral befit a high-ranking member of society – it was both elaborate and noteworthy. His body was wrapped five hundred times in new linen cloth and cotton-wool and covered in perfumed substances; over five hundred monks and a multitude of gods traveled to pay their respects. Several attempts were made at lighting the funeral pyre, but it did not occur until the arrival of the Venerable Kassapa when it spontaneously erupted in flames. After the body had fully burned, water from the sky and sāl trees extinguished the fire. Representatives from different parts of the kingdom then requested portions of his bodily relics. Following the instructions from the Buddha, these relics were distributed and placed within stūpas (memorial monuments). The funeral of the Buddha demonstrates his elevated status within the tradition while simultaneously offering instruction on how to continue to venerate his body even after his death. Buddhist funerals produce bodily relics, and these become a popular focus of Buddhist piety from the Buddha’s time to today. These relics serve as objects of meditation as well as devotion; they connect the living community to the power of the Buddha. Buddhists also commemorate the Buddha’s death through art. Statues, carvings, and paintings depicting the Buddha’s parinibbāna are common throughout Southeast Asia. In fact the “parinibbāna pose” (reclining Buddha) has become one of eight standard poses of the Buddha in Buddhist art. Thai Buddhists consider this pose to be especially worthy of devotion for those who are born on Tuesdays. The large, 150-foot long, reclining image of the Buddha at Wat Pho in the heart of the old city of Bangkok is a tourist attraction for both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. Its grandeur commemorates the importance of the Buddha’s death to the tradition. As in the case of the abbot of Wat Sra Kaew whose decaying body is on full display on temple grounds, parinibbāna statues of the Buddha also provide a focus for both devotion and meditation. The Buddha’s death narrative also serves as a charter myth for the ideal funeral for those of elevated status. In Theravāda Buddhist countries, lavish funerals are held for those of both religious and political power. The funerals of kings and other members of the royal family are elaborate displays of dynastic power and continuity. The 2008 funeral of Princess Galyani Vadhana, the elder sister of the reigning monarch of Thailand (King Bhumipol Adulyadej), exemplified this tradition. Bathing rites took place at Piman Rataya Throne Hall, and she lay in state at the Dusit Maha Prasart Throne

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Hall in the Grand Palace. The royal family commissioned the construction of a Phra Merumas, a cremation pavilion representing Mount Meru, at Sanam Luang in front of the Grand Palace, and they used a family diamond and gold funeral urn for her ashes. The King declared one hundred days of mourning for the Royal Family, while the Government declared fifteen days for the country. The funerals of high-ranking monks are similarly elaborate and often prolonged (Wells 1982: 224). As in the story of the Buddha, it is customary to delay the funeral of a monk in order to accommodate the number of people who might want to make merit through paying respect to the deceased. Keyes also suggests that villages might need to delay the funeral in order to collect enough funds for a proper funeral (Keyes 1975: 46). While the Buddha’s funeral was delayed for only a few days, there are a number of stories of Theravāda monks whose cremations have been delayed for months, years, or even indefinitely. The famed northern Thai monk, Khruba Siwichai, was delayed eight years, while the remains of the famed meditation master Luang Phor Sodh of Wat Paknam (d. 1959) are still housed in a small room within the temple compound, and devotees continue to pay their respects to his body. The elaborate funeral of the renowned female meditation master, Khun Yay Upasika Chan, was delayed for a year at Wat Phra Thammai; according to the temple, more than 250,000 were present for her funeral, which included the procession of her body on an ornate golden peacock (Scott 2012). Most recently, the cremation of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand (Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara) occurred two years after his death, and his funeral included a parade through the streets of Bangkok, merit-making by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, and the donation of thousands of dok mai chan (paper flowers) to temples across Thailand. (Fredrickson 2015).

Theravāda funeral practice Theravāda funerals provide an opportunity for families, friends, and community members to commemorate the life of a loved one, to make merit for the deceased to help in the next life, and to further the dhamma – especially the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence and suffering. Funeral practices highlight the active connection between the living and the dead. “The deceased have to be cared for, they have to be fed, to be appeased or simply to be remembered as the duties to relationships with the dead are essential to the flourishing of many, perhaps all, societies” (Williams and Ladwig 2012: 5). The scale, length, and details of Theravāda funerals vary based on the “circumstances of death (from old age or accident), the status of the deceased (rich or poor, lay or ordained), and the local customs of a particular area” (Swearer 1995: 57). The funeral rites for royal family members or high-ranking monks might take place over months or years, while common funerals typically occur within a few days of the death. Funerals for those individuals who have died through violence (accidents, murders, or suicides), however, usually occur as soon as possible in order to appease the restless spirit. Klima recounts how the husband of a woman who died in childbirth would often

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not return home for fear of being followed by her spirit; rather, he would ordain as a monk for a period of time in order to make merit and separate himself from the restless spirit of his deceased wife (Klima 2009: 147). The deaths of those who have not yet attained nibbana are viewed as journeys – either to favorable or unfavorable destinations. Proper care of the dying person and his body following death helps to facilitate a fortunate rebirth. For instance, Thai Buddhists believe that one should die at home in order for the spirit “to be coaxed gently and naturally into the world of the dead, from where a link with the phi ban, the class of ancestors, may still be established and maintained” (Terwiel 1994: 228). The bodies of the dead are similarly prepared for this journey. Swearer describes how in northern Thailand the body is washed and a thread is wrapped around the hands, toes, and neck to symbolize “the bonds of passion, anger, and ignorance.” The removal of the thread before the cremation represents the cessation of suffering (Swearer 1995: 58). While these rites reflect some of the essential teachings of the Buddha, other practices have local origins. In Thailand, sometimes a coin is placed in the mouth of the corpse as payment for a safe journey to one’s next life, whereas in other ethnographic accounts, Buddhists place a piece of paper with the syllables of the four major subjects of the Abhidhamma in the mouth (Swearer 1995: 58). Some coffins are decorated with colored lights, while others contain wreaths, candles, and sticks of incense (Wells 1982: 215). In Laos, coffins are filled with the favorite things of the deceased while village elders and a soothsayer sacrifice animals to feed both the dead and the living (Bouté 2012: 102). Photographs of the deceased are commonly placed on or near the casket. Families often seek to maximize merit-making for their deceased relative prior to cremation, as some cremations are delayed for extended periods of time for this purpose. Wells recounts how one “wealthy merchant did not cremate the body of his daughter until he had spent all her inheritance in merit-making services for her” (Wells 1982: 217). Ethnographic accounts of Theravāda funerals focus on the interaction of the family with the monastic community. Wells (1982) argues that funeral practices in Thailand are the “most elaborate of all the life-cycle ceremonies and the ones entered into most fully by the monks” (215). Monks play an essential role in funeral practices, from helping to ensure a good next life for the deceased to helping to contextualize a single death within the Buddha’s broader teachings on impermanence and suffering. Davis suggests that monks have a unique control of the dead due to their status “as socially dead men, renunciants of the household life, those who, like the spirits of the dead, must survive on gifts from the living” (Davis 2012: 76). Families will often invite monks to their homes to offer them food (matakabhatta) on behalf of the dead and special robes (that have been placed on top of the casket). Upon the removal of the robes, monks will chant the following Pāli stanza that reinforces the lesson of death: “All conditioned things are impermanent; Their nature is to arise and decay. Having arisen they cease; In their stillness is happiness” (Swearer 1995: 60). The offering of food and robes to the monks for the purpose of transferring merit to the deceased has a long history in the tradition. Gombrich (1988) argues that this

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practice originated within Brahmanical funeral rites, in which the Brahmin priest would be fed to ensure a favorable rebirth for the dead. Buddhist monks assumed this role in the case of Buddhist deaths and were fed not only during the initial funeral period but also after a week, three months, and a year (Gombrich 1988: 125). Alms-giving rituals are common in all Theravāda funeral cultures; some offer on the day of the cremation (Thailand and Laos), while others make offerings seven days after the death (Sri Lanka) (Langer 2007: 25). As in other Buddhist rituals, monks serve as fields of merit for the laity. In the case of funerals, families seek to transfer this merit to the deceased – either to secure a favorable rebirth or lessen the severity of a bad one. Theravāda monks have also participated in death rites for a large group of individuals following natural disasters and mass killing. Most recently, Theravāda monks in Sri Lanka conducted a ritual burning of ivory tusks in order to transfer merit to the slaughtered elephants (Bastians and Anand 2016). During the funeral rites, monks chant Buddhist verses to facilitate the passage of the deceased to the next life. There is no single liturgical text for all Theravāda funerals in South and Southeast Asia; rather, monks create a “patchwork of individual verses, couplets, and triplets (canonical and non-canonical)” to create a “chanting sequence” (Langer 2007: 35–36). In Thailand and Laos, monks typically chant from various Abhidhamma collections, which many view as the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. Some of these texts may be canonical or derived from later commentaries, such as the Abhidhammasaṅgaha (12th century). Some texts are more frequently chanted while the body is still in the home or being moved, while others may be used during the cremation portion of the funeral. In general, these verses reinforce the lessons of impermanence and suffering. While the vast majority of Buddhists are not trained in the Pāli language, they believe that the verses have ritual power to aid both the living and the dead. McDaniel argues that the liturgical use of Abhidhamma texts in Southeast Asia invokes the generative power of a mother; “[t]hey are used to metaphorically and, many believe, actually create new life” (McDaniel 2008: 92). The chanting of Buddhist verses is not the only sound heard during Theravāda funerals. In general, Theravāda funerals are festive occasions with music, dance, games, and even gambling practices. Thai families often hire musical groups (naang hon) to perform. Wong argues that musical performances were “traditionally felt to be essential for a death ritual. Certain musical pieces that punctuate the stages of a funeral are not just mere accompaniment but are, rather, musical pieces that embody ritual actions that release the dead from this world” (Wong 1998: 105). Swearer suggests that the various forms of entertainment not only benefit the spirit of the deceased but also foster “community solidarity and integration” during a period of destabilization (Swearer 1995: 59). All of these festivities end, however, right before the cremation or burial (burial practices are more common in Sri Lanka than mainland Southeast Asia). Terwiel describes how attendees will place an object (candle, incense, sandalwood) in the coffin and ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing toward the deceased. In return, families may distribute memorial booklets that contain a biography of the deceased, a section on Buddhist ethics and philosophy, and a list of funeral sponsors (Terwiel 1994: 235).

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Following the cremation, families will return to collect the ashes, which they may pour into a body of water or place in a temple wall or memorial monument (stūpa or cetiya/ chedi). The place is usually marked with a plaque with the name, picture, and dates of the deceased on it (Wong 1998: 114). These spaces recognize the death while commemorating the life of the individual. The location of funeral rites and cremations varies among different Theravāda communities. Funeral rites can be in the home (more common for laypersons) or at a temple, and cremations can occur out in the open or within enclosed crematoriums. In contemporary Thailand, funerals are big business and the majority of temples now have crematoriums; the latter became a standard feature of temples in the twentieth century (Wong 1998: 103). In the capital city of Bangkok, which used to forbid cremations within city limits, there are many temples that regularly perform cremations. The number has increased so significantly in the modern era that the government has raised concerns about air pollution and city cremations. At the same time, temples are becoming more creative in their funerary offerings. Wat Klong Toey Nai, a temple along the Chao Praya River in Bangkok, now offers pet cremations. After the funeral of a fourteen-year-old dog, Bai Toey, a monk at the temple instructed the dog’s owners to repeat the following saying: “This life cycle is completed. We pray that Bai Toey be born in the next life blessed with prosperity and good health, in a better form, like one of a human” (Ahuja 2010).

Conclusion Theravāda discourse and practices of death continue to occupy a prominent place in Buddhist practice, from the global popularity of maraṇasati (mindfulness meditation on death) to the creation of new death narratives in film and literature. Ghost stories have always occupied a place within Theravāda thought, but now they literally come to life on the screen and page. They constitute a new material and visual culture of death, along with mural paintings and illustrated manuscripts (Chirapravati 2012: 79). Most recently, some Theravāda temples have constructed elaborate hell parks, which creatively move visitors through scenes of death and rebirth. Not surprising given their names, many of the scenes depict torture and misery in the various hell realms. Death, therefore, is not merely a condition of life within Theravāda Buddhist thought and practice – it continues to be an opportunity for Buddhists to contemplate karmic consequences and future births.

References Ahuja, A. (2010). “Thai Temple Offers Buddhist Funerals for Pets.” Reuters.com. Online: < www.reuters. com/article/us-thailand-dog-funeral-idUSTRE6640CJ20100705>. Accessed Sept. 12, 2016. Bastians, D., and G. Anand (2016). “Sri Lanka Destroys Illegal Elephant Tusks.” New York Times, January 26. Online: . Accessed Feb. 28, 2017.

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Bond, G. (1980). “Theravada Buddhism’s Meditations on Death and the Symbolism of Initiatory Death.” History of Religions 19.3: 237–258. Bouté, V. (2012). “Good Death, Bad Death and Ritual Restructurings: The New Year Ceremonies of the Phunoy in Northern Laos.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, eds. P. Williams and P. Ladwig. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 99–118. Chirapravati, M. L. (2012). “Corpses and Cloth: Illustrations of the Paṃsukūla Ceremony in Thai Manuscripts.” In P. Williams and P. Ladwig, eds., Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 79–98. Davis, E. W. (2012). “Weaving Life Out of Death: The Craft of the Rag Robe in Cambodian Ritual Technology.” In P. Williams and P. Ladwig, eds., Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 59–78. Fredrickson, Terry (2015). “Nation to Bid Farewell to Supreme Patriarch.” Bangkok Post, December 16. Online: . Accessed Feb. 28, 2017. Gombrich, R. F. (1988). Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. London: Routledge. Keyes, C. F. (1975). “Tug-of-War for Merit: Cremation of a Senior Monk.” The Siamese Heritage Trust. Online: . Accessed Oct. 12, 2016. Klima, A. (2009). The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in Thailand. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Langer, R. (2007). Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice and Its Origins. London: Routledge. McDaniel, J. (2008). “Philosophical Embryology: Buddhist Texts and the Ritual Construction of a Fetus.” In J. Law and V. Sasson, eds., Imagining the Fetus: The Unborn in Myth, Religion, and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 91–105. Pannapadipo, P. P. (2005). Phra Farang: An English Monk in Thailand. London: Random House. Reynolds, F. E., and M. B. Reynolds (1982). Three Worlds According to King Ruang: A Thai Buddhist Cosmology. Berkeley, CA: University of California. Scott, R. (2012). “Buddhism, Miraculous Powers, and Sacred Biographies: Re-Thinking the Stories of Theravāda Nuns.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 33.2: 489–511. Skilling, P., J. Carbine, and C. Ciuzza (2012). How Theravada is the Theravada: Exploring Buddhist Identities. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. Swearer, D. K. (1995). The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Terwiel, B. J. (1994). Monks and Magic: An Analysis of Religious Ceremonies in Central Thailand. Chonburi: White Lotus. “Maha-parinibbana Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Total Unbinding” (DN 16), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www. accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.16.5-6.than.html . “The Round of Rebirth: samsara.” (2013). Edited by Access to Insight. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition). Online: . Accessed Feb. 28, 2017. Walshe, M. (Trans.) (1995). “Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta,” The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. Wells, K. E. (1982). Thai Buddhism, Its Rites and Activities. Bagnkok: Suriyabun Publishers. Williams, P., and P. Ladwig (2012). Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wong, D. (1998). “Mon Music for Thai Deaths: Ethnicity and Status in Thai Urban Funerals.” Asian Folklore Studies 57.1: 99–130.

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Tibetan Buddhist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Matthew T. Kapstein The prominence of death rites in Tibet reflects the confluence of both indigenous and Buddhist beliefs and practices, as these have intermingled and developed throughout over a thousand years. However, pre-Buddhist (and hence pre-historical) developments remain in most respects obscure. The existence of neolithic necropoli in several parts of Tibet demonstrates the importance of an archaic funerary culture, but its interpretation remains unsure. And although some myths and rituals preserved in available written sources, including those of Tibet’s indigenous Bon religion, certainly hark back to the period before Buddhism’s penetration of Tibet, beginning during the seventh century c.e., a fully coherent picture has yet to emerge (Bellezza 2013). The emphasis here, therefore, will be on the documented mortuary culture of Tibetan Buddhism, with some references, as pertinent, to indigenous non-Buddhist traditions.

The terror of death and postmortem perils Pre-Buddhist Tibetan culture appears to have possessed a distinct eschatology, concerned with the need to secure safe passage for the deceased in a difficult journey to the “happy land” (Macdonald 1971). It is possible, too, that there was a notion of the prospect of returning as a human being, at least in the case of neonatal death (Blondeau 1997; Kapstein 2000). With the advent of Buddhism, however, the concepts of a perpetual round of rebirth (saṃsāra in Sanskrit, khorwa in Tibetan), its unmitigated sufferings, and the necessity of achieving liberation from it by attaining nirvāṇa, or at least birth in a “Buddha Realm” (buddhakṣetra, sanggyé-gi zhing), became paramount. This is clearly reflected in a late first millennium funeral rite found among the hoard of early medieval manuscripts discovered at Dunhuang, that seems to preserve some autochthonous elements: Now listen, you who are deceased! Fickle impermanence, the real nature of the whole world, has at this time befallen you, the deceased. [. . .] It’s time to

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provide you with the great refuge for one who journeys from this world to the next. Your lords and refuges, in journeying as one without a second to uncertain domains, are the Buddhas, who are transcendent lords, the bodhisattvas, who are great heroes, and the exalted arhats. None are greater than these. [. . .] Turning to those Precious Jewels, let the mind’s path tend to nothing else whatsoever! Do not unbalance the scales of thought! Hear more, you who are deceased! Obtaining illusory bodies in this prison of the three realms, all who are born die in the end. No one is free from that! Journeying thus from one birth to the next, the path of birth and death is oppressive. Remember that that’s how it is! Eighty-thousand leagues beneath this Rose-Apple Continent is the place of great hell, where the ground is blazing iron. [. . .] Because there exists such a hellish place, O you who are deceased, take care not to miss your path and to stumble! But if, perchance, you fear you might fall, there is a bodhisattva called “the exalted Avalokiteśvara,” who will protect you straight away from that great hell. Remember his name, pray to him in these words, recite his mantra, beseech him for refuge, and you will be freed from that awful place. (Kapstein 2004: 20–21 Significant here is the employment of the custom of calling the dead, addressing the deceased directly so as to guide him. This seems not to have been part of Indian Buddhist practice and may reflect early Tibetan traditions. During the fourteenth century, it reemerged as a key feature of the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Liberation by Hearing during the Intermediate State (Bardo tödröl). With the appearance of this celebrated work, Buddhist and native Tibetan mortuary culture were firmly assimilated to one another (Cuevas 2006; Imaeda 2010; Lopez 2011). An important aspect of the Indian contibution, however, was the very notion of the “intermediate state,” or bardo (antarabhava in Sanskrit), which was originally posited in order to explain how one lifetime could be linked to another (Kritzer 1999). It is described as a liminal existence during the passage from death to rebirth, whereby one wanders in a “mind-body” until suitable circumstances for rebirth are found. In fact, according to Buddhist belief, most of us do not really “find” our new sites of birth at all; we are, rather, driven into them by the forces of karma as if we were mere leaves tossed by gale winds. Owing to the nearly helpless condition of the deceased in the bardo, intercession by the enlightened buddhas or bodhisattvas is required to aid one in realizing a favorable realm. In Tibet, the intercessory role in this context became one of the main functions of the lama, the priest who had mastered esoteric tantric rituals and was thus qualified to minister to the needs of the dying and the departed. A twelfth-century work offers this summary: [At the time of death,] one does not yet know oneself to be in the intermediate state. Then, when three and a half days have passed, the appearance of the future body arises occasionally to some extent. The previous body is unable to

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endure, and even if you approach your relations, when you are oppressed by hunger, thirst and pain, they do not provide food or drink, and you see them mourning and lamenting [your death]. “Father! I’m dead! Now in whom can I hope? What would help?” With such thoughts, you become terrified. At that time you know that you have passed from living to dead. You are without loving relations, without hope or protector. You are pursued by the butcher of karma, tormented by unbearable pain, and so rush all about your relations’ dwellings, screaming “woe!” If the intermediate state is brief it lasts one week, and if long, after experiencing the varied pains and manifestations of the intermediate state for seven weeks you will take birth again. What’s more, at the moment one thinks “I’m dead!” those who possess the instructions will be reached by the voice of the lama, saying, “Know the intermediate state to be the intermediate state! Meditatively cultivate the buddha’s body of rapture!” and so will know then not to be frightened, because this is a time for awakening as a buddha. Hence, one will petition the lama, and cultivate the contemplation that all the appearances of the intermediate state are one’s own projections, and that all one’s projections are like apparitions and dreams. (Kapstein, unpublished)

The prospect of paradise The Buddhist funerary rite found at Dunhuang, and quoted above, emphasizes the importance of securing rebirth in a divine realm in which the Buddhist teaching is available. The deceased must journey through several paradises before seeking the attainment of perfect nirvāṇa, the final goal of the postmortem itinerary to be recited to the deceased: From this Rose-Apple Continent, there is in the north Mt. Meru. It is the king of mountains, made of four sorts of precious gems. On its summit is the gathering place of the gods of the excellent religion, where the lord of the gods, Indra, and his thirty-two ministers open the way and show the paths of gods and men and of the world. There, that king of the gods will teach the instructions of the doctrine to you, O worthy son, and the power of [your] merits will be emptied. O worthy son! then on the northern summit of Mt. Meru, there is the palace called Alakāvatī, where the transcendent lord, glorious Vajrapāṇi dwells with a retinue of many wrathful divinities. Worthy son, he will confer empowerment upon you, granting all desires to your heart’s content. Then, worthy son, owing to the blessing of Vajrapāṇi, continue your journey, and in the divine abode of Tuṣita there is the religious regent of Buddha Śākyamuni, who is called sublime Maitreya. His retinue includes the bodhisattvas Vasumitra and Siṃhāntara, the nine-hundred ninety-six bodhisattvas of the

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Auspicious Aeon, and others, as well as numberless godlings. In a jewelled palace, with flowing divine robes, the enjoyment of varied musical instruments, and other such things unimaginable, the perfect provisions of happiness, in that holy, divine land may you be cautious about those many joys! (Kapstein 2004: 22) It is only after attaining this paradise that the deceased may aspire to attain nirvāṇa, which explains the caution above, not to become too attached to heaven’s pleasures. As readers of the Tibetan Book of the Dead will no doubt recognize, this is a path that differs to some degree from that taught in many of the later Tibetan bardo traditions, which emphasize the necessity of avoiding both divine and infernal realms alike and to seek for liberation alone. Nevertheless, with the emergence of a religious orientation focusing upon rebirth in Sukhāvatī, the “Pure Land” of Buddha Amitābha (Gómez 2002), the eschatological vision that had characterized archaic Tibetan Buddhist funerary rites was in essence forever retained (Kapstein 2004b; Halkias 2012). Tibetan prayers for rebirth in Sukhāvatī are so numerous that they form an identifiable sub-genre among liturgical works, most often called Dé-mön, an acronym for a phrase meaning “prayerful aspirations for rebirth in Sukhāvatī.” These were modeled on well-known canonical verses in translation, but such prayers with clear attributions of Tibetan authorship began to appear by about the twelfth century and to feature among the regular devotions of Tibetan Buddhists. The following verses, for example, were composed by Drikung Kyopa (1143–1217), one of the leading teachers of his time: From here in the western direction, Is Amitābha’s field. May all those who adhere to his name Be born in that supreme field! Like the lotus unsoiled by the mire, Unsoiled by the three worlds’ taint, Sprung from the lotus of being, May we be born in the Blissful Land! (Kapstein 2004b: 27) Prayer liturgies such as these were just one aspect of the Amitābha and Sukhāvatī cults as they unfolded in Tibet. Of particular importance, too, was the role of tantric approaches to ritual and yoga, for the Buddha Amitābha was ubiquitous within the Buddhist tantric milieu. In particular, Amitābha and his Sukhāvatī field acquired a special association with one very important technique of tantric yoga in Tibet, “Transference” (powa), whereby one’s consciousness at the moment of death may be forcefully projected to a suitable realm of rebirth. The practice of Transference causes the consciousness of the dying individual to depart suddenly from the body through a forced opening at the crown of the skull, and to travel immediately to a pure land, in which enlightenment will be swiftly attained. Because adepts of Transference are believed

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also to be able to direct the consciousness of a dying or recently deceased individual to a blessed realm, the technique became not only an essential aspect of personal religious practice, but equally the stock-in-trade for ritual specialists called upon to assist at the time of death and for the subsequent funeral rites, so that the performance of Transference became a major source of religious revenue. In all events, the idea of propelling one’s consciousness to a pure land that enjoys a particularly welcoming relationship with our impure realm proved attractive and the practice became universal within Tibetan culture. An important pilgrimage and public teaching called the “Great Transference at Drikung” (Drikung Powa Chenmo), convened once every twelve years, enjoyed great popularity, attracting tens of thousands, and has recently been promulgated by Tibetan teachers outside of Tibet as well (Kapstein 1998).

Funerary practices In Tibetan societies, the manner in which one dies is an issue of great concern. The individual should be at ease and tranquil when approaching death and sufficiently conscious either to undertake appropriate religious practices, or at least to understand the spiritual instructions accompanying the rites that others perform on one’s behalf. Family and friends should be present to ensure that the dying be comfortable and encouraged in virtuous thoughts, for this may determine in part one’s postmortem destiny. When death occurs, the corpse is not to be touched until the ritual of powa has been performed. Lamps surrounding the deceased must be kept burning and family members enter into a period of mourning, letting their hair remain undone, dispensing with jewelry, and wearing old clothes (Gouin 2010: 15–45). Additional rites performed on behalf of the deceased include the recitation of religious texts such as the book of Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate State (the Tibetan Book of the Dead). Moreover, in times of mourning the merits of charity and religious offering are much encouraged, to benefit both the deceased and his or her survivors. In an episode from the Tibetan epic of Gesar, for instance, where the death of the hero’s mother is recounted, thousands of stūpas are consecrated on her behalf, fresh prayer flags are made to adorn the entire kingdom, and bountiful donations are distributed among the monks and the entire population, in accord with each one’s rank and merit, all of this to ensure the propitious rebirth of the departed. Though the details are elaborated in the epic with much hyperbole, in its spirit the text strictly reflects current practice. For the merits performed on behalf of the deceased are considered to be a reflection of the merit the person had accrued in life and so must be appropriately valorized (Kapstein 2007). A suitable date for the disposal of the corpse is determined astrologically. In Central Tibet the remains are then generally brought to the “maṇḍala” of the cemetery to be dissected and fed to the vultures, whose flight is considered analogous to spiritual flight to the heavens. The origins of this custom are unknown, though some have noted a parallel to Zoroastrian practice and so have suggested Iranian influence

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(Gouin 2010: 59–71). Cremation is also prominent in many places, particularly in the wooded Himalayan regions. High-ranking clergy and reputed saints are often cremated, even in Central Tibet, though they are sometimes mummified and entombed in shrines, as was the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617–1682), whose remains are preserved in a massive reliquary housed in the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The practice of conserving the corpses of saints and religious leaders in this way recalls, too, the entombment of the early medieval Tibetan kings, whose mummies were consigned to imposing mausoleums (Tucci 1950). Following death, liturgical rites generally continue for a period of seven weeks, corresponding to the forty-nine days during which the consciousness of the deceased is believed to wander in the bardo. Annual memorial services for the dead are also sometimes held, particularly to commemorate departed religious teachers. The explicit purpose of these elaborate and long-lasting funerary practices, at least when dedicated to persons who are not regarded as religious masters – for saints are not thought to require the intercession of ordinary mortals – is ostensibly to secure a favorable station of rebirth for the departed. However, an equally clear function of these rituals is to prevent the spirits of the deceased from disturbing the living and to reassure the survivors on this score. This tacit purpose is made explicit in connection with particularly inauspicious death – for example, by murder or accident – in which case the spirit might loiter about haunting his former dwellings and making mischief among the living. When this occurs, special rites intended to exorcize the ghost and dispatch it to a suitable abode are required.

Privileged passages The ancient, legendary kings of Tibet, from whose line the monarchs of the seventh- to ninth-century Tibetan empire arose, were held to be divine in origin. The first seven kings, known collectively as the “seven heavenly thrones,” demonstrated their divinity at death by leaving no earthly remains at all. A twelfth-century work offers this description: With reference to those seven kings, they possessed, on their crowns, the so-called “divine daemon-cord.” This was a ray of white light. When those seven passed from suffering [in Buddhist usage this would mean “attained nirvāṇa”] and journeyed to the realm of the gods, they dissolved into light from their feet upwards, and after the light faded into the sky they left no corpses behind. So it is said that the mausoleums of the seven thrones were planted in space. (Kapstein 2004c: 137) With the eighth of the early kings, Drigum Tsenpo, the royal line at last was reduced to the status of mortals. It was from the crisis stemming from the disposition of Drigum’s

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corpse, the legends tell us, that the mortuary institutions of the monarchy, including the king’s mummification and the construction of an elaborate mausoleum in which to inter him, arose (Kapstein 2006). These practices were abandoned following the fall of the old Tibetan empire in the ninth century, but, curiously, as we have seen above, certain aspects of the archaic milieu appear to have persisted in connection with the death of saints. A ninth-century Tibetan Chan text found at Dunhuang, for example, provides brief hagiographical accounts of a lineage of teachers, during whose deaths peculiar light phenomena are said to have appeared. A good example is found in the hagiography of the final member of the lineage, the Tibetan adept Namké Nyingpo: In his seventy-first year, during a dog year, he adopted the unwavering vajra-posture and passed beyond time without change of complexion. That night two great lights continuously arose in the sky between Srin-po peak and the ridge of Zhong-pong mountain, below the hermitage, and the whole district was illuminated until they set in the west. [. . .] After prayers were recited, during the third watch in the middle of the night, at the base of the cliff behind the hermitage, a great light arose, and passed away in the western direction. (Kapstein 2004c: 138–139) In later times, reports of saintly individuals vanishing in a “body of light,” or a “rainbow body,” became widespread, and have continued down to the present time. An example may be found in the autobiography of a famous recent Tibetan master, the late Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche (1939–1987), who reports an incident in eastern Tibet during the 1950s: At Manikengo . . . we had been told the story of a very saintly man who had died there the previous year. [. . .] In his youth he had been a servant with a wealthy family, but in middle age he left his employment to receive meditational instruction in a monastery. Though he had to work for his living by day, he spent most of his nights in contemplation only allowing himself two to three hours’ sleep. His compassion was so great that he always helped every one in need, and opened his house at all times to pilgrims and the very poor. [. . .] Just before his death the old man said ‘When I die you must not move my body for a week; this is all that I desire.’ They wrapped his dead body in old clothes and called in lamas and monks to recite and chant. The body was carried into a small room, little bigger than a cupboard and it was noted that though the old man had been tall the body appeared to have become smaller; at the same time a rainbow was seen over the house. On the sixth day on looking into the room the family saw that it had grown still smaller. A funeral service was arranged for the morning of the eighth day and men came to take the body to the cemetary; when they undid

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the coverings there was nothing inside except nails and hair. The villagers were astounded. [. . .] We had heard of such things happening, but never at first hand, so we went round the village to ask for further infomation. Everyone had seen the rainbow and knew that the body had disappeared. (Trungpa 1966: 95–96) Passing in a body of light, however, was never regarded as a necessary sign of sanctity. A serene departure following an exemplary life, dying while engaged in the practice of meditation or the exercise of powa, these and similar characteristics were regarded as the marks of saintly death (Schaeffer 2007). Unseasonably mild weather, flowers blooming out of season, the appearance of exotic birds, and similar occurrences were also regarded as omens that might accompany the death of the saint. By convention, the deceased religious figure is thought to repose in samādhi so that, even if mummification is not practiced, the corpse is usually allowed to remain in state for some time for this reason. Cremation may therefore be delayed for as much as a year – the “sky burial” not generally being employed in these cases – and the ashes and cinders that remain are carefully examined for relics (ringsel) that are then guarded as precious treasures by disciples and devotees, or interred in memorial stūpas dedicated to the deceased saint. Tibetan mortuary traditions were particularly attentive, too, to the figure of the revenant, the individual who has undergone what we today call “near-death experience” and so is regarded as having a privileged connection with the world of the dead. Such persons, termed délok, literally “returned from beyond,” in Tibetan, need not be considered particularly saintly, though some do adopt a quasi-shamanic religious vocation following their experience and serve as healers and spirit-mediums in their communities (Pommaret 1987). A substantial literature exists, recounting the netherworld journeys of such persons, including both historical and legendary figures (Cuevas 2011). An example is the legend of Chöwang, who, on learning that his departed mother has been reborn in hell, travels to the underworld to free her. He crosses the Buddhist Styx to meet Yama, the lord of death, himself, who urges him to give up his quest: “We all enjoy slaughter and butchery! King Chöwang, you’d better be gone from here.” But the hero persists and expresses his determination to take his mother’s sufferings upon himself so that she be released. He is told, however, that the policy of the shop permits neither exchanges nor refunds. The infallible workings of karma are made clear to him through a series of judicial proceedings that unfold before his eyes in Yama’s court: a virtuous man who had sinned but slightly – with three companions he had once stolen and slaughtered a yak – is mercifully sentenced to a succession of human lives; but a young woman who had taken advantage of her husband’s trade as a diviner in order to profit from those in distress, particularly in connection with funerals, is condemned to a sealed iron chamber in the nadir of hell (Kapstein 2007). Narratives such as these pervade the délok literature. By offering first-person testimony in confirmation of the truths of karma and Buddhist cosmology, they serve to

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uphold the moral universe of Tibetan Buddhism, with its strongly marked distinctions of merit and fault. The way in which one dies in such a world, together with the rites and ceremonies that one’s death entails, form the mirror of the moral order throughout.

References Bellezza, John Vincent. (2013) Death and Beyond in Ancient Tibet. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Science. Blondeau, Anne-Marie. (1997) “Que notre enfant revienne! Un rituel méconnu pour les enfants morts en bas-âge.” In Samten Karmay and Philippe Sagant, eds., Les habitants du Toit du monde: hommage à Alexander W. Macdonald. Recherches sur la Haute Asie 12. Nanterre: Société d’ethnologie, pp. 193–220. Cuevas, Bryan J. (2006) The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. New York: Oxford University Press. ———. (2011) Travels in the Netherworld: Buddhist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet. New York: Oxford University Press. Gómez, Luis O. (2002) Land of Bliss: The Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light: Sanskrit and Chinese Versions of the Sukhāvativyūha Sūtras. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Gouin, Margaret. (2010) Tibetan Rituals of Death: Buddhist Funerary Practices. London: Routledge. Halkias, Georgios T. (2012) Luminous Bliss: A Religious History of Pure Land Literature in Tibet. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Imaeda, Yoshiro. (2010) “The Bar do thos grol: Tibetan Conversion to Buddhism or Tibetanisation of Buddhism.” In Matthew T. Kapstein and Sam van Schaik, eds., Esoteric Buddhism at Dunhuang: Rites for this Life and Beyond. Brill’s Tibetan Library 25. Leiden: E. J. Brill, pp. 145–158. Kapstein, Matthew T. (1998) “A Tibetan Festival of Rebirth Reborn: The 1992 Revival of the Drigung Powa Chenmo.” In Melvyn C. Goldstein and Matthew T. Kapstein, eds., Buddhism in Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 95–119. ———. (2000) The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation and Memory. New York: Oxford University Press. ———. (2004a) “Tibetan Death Rituals and Dream Visions.” In David Damrosch, David L. Pike, Sabry Hafez, Haruo Shirane, and Pauline Yu, eds., The Longman Anthology of World Literature, Volume B, The Medieval Era. New York: Pearson-Longman, pp. 19–25. ———. (2004b) “Pure Land Buddhism in Tibet?” In Richard Payne and Kenneth Tanaka, eds., Approaching the Land of Bliss: Religious Praxis in the Cult of Amitabha. Studies in East Asian Buddhism 17. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 16–41. ———. (2004c) “The Strange Death of Pema the Demon-Tamer.” In Matthew T. Kapstein, ed., The Presence of Light: Divine Radiance and Religious Experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 119–156. ———. (2006) The Tibetans. Oxford: Blackwell. ———. (2007) “Mulian in the Land of Snows and King Gesar in Hell: A Chinese Tale of Parental Death in Its Tibetan Transformations.” In Bryan J. Cuevas and Jacqueline I. Stone, eds., The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations. Studies in East Asian Buddhism 20. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 345–377. ———. Unpublished. Translation of Khyung-po-rnal-’byor Tshul-khrims-mgon-po, Bar do’i gdams ngag. Tibetan text in Encyclopedia Tibetica, vol. 93, 77b6ff. Kritzer, Robert. (1999) Rebirth and Causation in Yogācāra Abhidharma. Vienna: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien.

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Lopez, Donald S., Jr. (2011) The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Macdonald, Ariane. (1971) “Une lecture des Pelliot tibétain 1286, 1287, 1038, 1047, et 1290: Essai sur la formation et l’emploi des mythes politiques dans la religion royale de Sroṅ-bcan sgam-po.” In Études tibétaines dédiées à la mémoire de Marcelle Lalou. Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, pp. 190–391. Pommaret, Françoise. (1987) Les revenants de l’au-delà dans le monde tibétain. Paris: CNRS. Schaeffer, Kurtis R. (2007) “Dying Like Milarepa: Death Accounts in a Tibetan Hagiographic Tradition.” In Bryan J. Cuevas and Jacqueline I. Stone, eds., The Buddhist Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations. Studies in East Asian Buddhism 20. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, pp. 208–233. Schaeffer, Kurtis R., Matthew T. Kapstein, and Gray Tuttle, eds. (2013) Sources of Tibetan Tradition. New York: Columbia University Press. Trungpa, Chögyam. (1966) Born in Tibet. London: George Allen and Unwin. Tucci, Giuseppe. (1950) The Tombs of the Tibetan Kings. Rome: IsMEO.

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Shinto and death From cultural roots to contemporary thought

Stuart D. B. Picken Shinto, Buddhism, and death Shinto is less associated with death in Japan than Buddhism. However, while Japanese Buddhism became the religion of the funeral, known colloquially as お葬式仏教, ososhiki Bukkyo (“funeral Buddhism”) it did so in order to come to terms with the amorphous agglomeration of local cults it encountered, spoken of collectively as Shinto (神 道, the way of the kami). Joseph Kitagawa (1966: 85) commented: “Some people hold that Japan became a Buddhist country during the Heian period (794–1185), when Buddhism in effect absorbed Shinto. Yet, is it not equally true that Buddhism surrendered to the ethos of that nebulous religion of Japan, which lay deeper than the visible religious structure, commonly referred to as Shint?” That was the price of Buddhism’s acceptance. Consequently to understand death and dying in modern Japan the logical starting point remains the pre-Buddhist cultural perception of death, since even in Buddhist rituals, the underlying view of death is and remains that of ancient Shinto.

Primal human awakenings to death and dying When considering the attitudes of the ancient Japanese towards death, it is difficult not to be struck by how relatively little thought has been given to the more general question: At what stage in the process of human development was death perceived as the fate of all to ‘die’ and, in dying, ‘cease to be’? While an answer in terms of a date within mankind’s 10,000 odd years of existence obviously cannot be given, a little exercise of the a priori historical imagination could suggest how the question might be formulated as an aid to understanding the Japanese and the points at which their most primitive insights identify with, or differ from, those of other ancient peoples. Humanity in its early stages of development probably regarded death as both inevitable and necessary for survival. In order that some might continue to live, others had to die. But somewhere in the timeline, the civilized perception of humanity must

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have developed, namely that of a creature more likely to die of old age, other natural causes, or disease, rather than at the hands of another or from savaging by an animal. Once death was observed as the outcome of age, humans probably began to develop religious sentiments. Spiritual longings began to appear leading to the formalization of death rites in their most primitive forms. What may have been true of evolving human civilization in other places was certainly true of Japan.

Early Japanese perceptions of death It is clear from the excavation of the earliest artifacts of their civilization that the ancient Japanese had formed some images about death, dying, and attitudes towards the dead. Most of these have continued to survive later developments and remained dominant within even the highly sophisticated Buddhist death system of later ages. If we look at Japan’s three ancient stages of civilization, the Jomon (Neolithic: 7000– 250 b.c.e), Yayoi (Bronze-Iron: 250–3rd century c.e.), and Kofun (Proto-historic: 2nd to 6th centuries c.e) ages, we see many similarities to other primitive civilizations at the same stages of development. However, as individual civilizations grow in complexity, the perception of death tends to become more and more localized. Universal elements may survive, but sooner or later clear emphases begin to emerge which define the dominant attitude of the culture towards death and the dead. In the case of Japan, it was the ancient mythology that shaped the principles of the developed death system of later ages. This may be seen in the threads of consistency running throughout its history. These may be traced through archaeology and literature. Diggings from Jomon sites show a variety of burial methods, but the absence from gravesites of weapons and other necessities of life suggests a lack of belief in an afterlife. On the other hand, small clay dolls were broken in pieces and were buried with the deceased. While there was probably the feeling that the dead may have some continued existence, the variety of styles and the lack of standardization in burial customs does seem to imply that while the idea of death had been realized, no uniform image had been formed. A death system with public recognition had not yet evolved. The Yayoi period, which was in part influenced by Chinese Bronze culture, saw the emergence of a more systematic approach to the physical artifacts surrounding the dead. The surrounding funeral rites, as described by Chinese observers of the early Wei Dynasty (220–265 c.e.), appear to have been much more interesting. The Wei text describes the rituals as follows: “When death occurs, mourning is observed for more than ten days. [. . .] When the funeral is over, all members of the whole family go into the water to cleanse themselves in a bath of purification” (Sansom, 1979: 23). It also appears to have been customary to have someone eating and drinking in the place of the mikebito (deceased person). Modern Japanese carry food as well as flowers when grave-visiting. The practice of purification in water (misogi) is also interesting in relation to the modern funeral custom of giving mourners a small packet of salt to sprinkle in their genkan (entranceway) on returning home. Salt is believed to have

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powers to purify the mourners after contact with death and its consequent kegare (汚れ, defilement), an important concept, since association with the physical aspect of death leads to pollution. The Kofun era shows the first clear signs of belief in life after death. It covered the period during which Buddhism was being steadily introduced into Japan and before its formal acknowledgment in the sixth century. The artifacts of this era have been found from the south of Kyushu to the north of Iwate Prefecture. The coffins inside these early mounds were often hollowed out logs placed near the top of the mound where the earth was shaped into a long rounded trench surrounded by loose stones. A boatshaped coffin suggests that the deceased was going on a journey, which as Freud points out, is the commonest and best authenticated symbol of death. During the Chinese Sui Dynasty (581–61) there are records in which we find the following reference to Japanese funeral customs: To bury the dead, coffins are used. Relatives and mourners sing and dance beside the coffin. Dresses of white are worn by the closest relatives of the dead. If the dead man is noble, he is placed in a funeral house built outside, and mourned for three years. If he is a commoner, he is buried on the right date chosen by divination. For burial, the corpse is placed on a boat and sometimes rollers are used to pull it along the road. (Wada and Michiro, 1973: 33) The first awareness of death probably arose in Japan in much the same way as it did in Asia and Europe. But once the elements of civilization and culture took shape, differences in the perception of death and of the dead began to develop. Consequently, the symbolism surrounding death began to become distinctive. This may help to explain why the skull and cross-bones became a symbol of death to the European, while in Japan, the beauty of the falling cherry blossom reminded the samurai of the frailty of life.

Ancestral souls and kami The key to understanding death in Shinto, and in Japanese culture in general, lies in two concepts: kami and ancestral souls. The definition of what is meant by the central Shinto term kami is extremely difficult. The famous Kokugaku (National Learning) scholar of the Edo period, Motoori Norinaga (1730–1801), explained that even he did not fully comprehend the meaning of the word kami. He refers to the divine beings written of in the classics and the spirits enshrined in the nation’s jinja (神, literally the place of a kami). In fact, any form of being that possessed some unique and eminent quality, or that was awe inspiring, including rocks, stones, trees, people, or the souls of the departed could all be capable of being called kami. The souls of past emperors and distinguished people could certainly fit here as well.

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Much of the research into Japanese folk religion and folk culture, particularly the work of Yanagida Kunio (1878–1962), has stressed the point that there is no distinction between the souls of kami in ancient mythology and the souls of ancestors, since they are collectively revered and worshipped. While perhaps it may be true that most ordinary people could not define the distinction, it should be recognized by those studying the phenomena since that distinction made possible a separate role for Buddhism when it reached Japan. While Buddhism and the older tradition we call Shinto have had long and complex relations, Buddhism eventually acquired the funeral while Shinto came to control agriculture and the rites of passage through life. However, great historical figures such as General Nogi and Matsushita Konosuke are enshrined. It is interesting to note that kami may die physically and also that they have souls that may live on. This becomes significant for the distinction between two types of souls. There are those of human beings who have lived and died and there are those kami who have lived and died. This is the distinction between the souls of physical forbears and the souls of kami. Shinto’s many cults and rituals concern themselves with kami and the souls of kami but not with the souls of people except in certain rare cases. There are instances of a person being enshrined during his lifetime following the performance of some great feat. The separation between the two types of souls is otherwise quite distinct. I have seen the grave of a kami located in a shrine. The grave of Saruta-hiko-no-mikoto is located at the Tsubaki Okami Yashiro (椿大神社), a shrine in Mie Prefecture about an hour by road from the major city of Nagoya in the Chubu region. But because the corpse is seen as a source of pollution, no human being is interred in the precincts of a shrine. Because of this distaste for the physical aspect of death, the human dead, both their corpses and their souls became the concern of Buddhism at a later stage.

Ancestral souls and sangaku shinko While in some places the protective kami of a community and ancestral souls may become identified, even in such cases, the distinction is still drawn initially. This is often where the residence of the ancestral souls is identified as a mountain, near to the village, a feature of sangaku shinko, the ancient mountain cult of Japanese religion. The village of Toyamatsu, in Jinseki-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture, was researched by the Minzokugaku Eizo Kenkyujo (the Audio-Visual Research Center of Folk Culture) located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, between 1963 and 1970. It was discovered that a set number of rituals were performed throughout the year relating to the worship of fire and the land, the seasons of the year, ancestors, rice production, and the myo, the basic unit of social organization in that community. Before rice-planting, a ritual is performed to invite the guardian kami of rice to the paddy fields. This guardian kami is invited down from the mountains to the farmhouse. They then return to live in the mountains. The

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mountain kami therefore live with the ancestral spirits of the people. While the ancestral souls are given kami status after thirteen years, they are nevertheless distinguished from the mountain kami, who are much older. In the same community there is a ritual called megurigito which is held in midsummer and is a unique form of ancestor reverence. The members of the Council of Elders carry their ancestral kami from door to door in a small omikoshi (a portable shrine or palanquin) and visit the members of the myo. In each house, after prayers to the kami, the visitors receive food and sake, then public works and matters of village concern are discussed. Matsuri (festival) and matsuri-goto (government) are thus combined as in the days of the ancient Yamato court. In that village is illustrated the most basic form of sangaku shinko, the cult of the mountain kami. The mountain is the residence of the protective kami of the community and the ancestral spirits. Of greatest significance is the obvious concern for the location and welfare of these ancestral beings who extend protection to the living. One of the central pillars of Japanese tradition about death, and one of the invisible supports of the Japanese social system, is reverence for ancestors. The concern of the Japanese for the welfare of ancestral spirits is a feature that runs throughout their history and permeates every aspect of Japanese culture. It also serves to reinforce the distinction between ancestors and the souls of kami who are not ancestors.

Ikioi and marebito While formalized reverence for ancestors in the home and in front of the butsudan (family altar) was introduced with Buddhism, the ancient Japanese seemed always to have had serious reverence for the souls of their physical forbears and for people of remarkable vitality, possessed of unusual powers. They recognized the power of such a person’s soul. Those possessing ikioi, energy, power, or vitality beyond what is normal for human beings were to be feared in their lifetimes since souls as great as theirs, if offended, could easily wreak great revenge after death. In the Japanese classics, there is the example of Emperor Yu-Riyaku (457–459) whose moral conduct hardly entitled him to reverence, but whose other qualities made him an object of fear. He received a special revelation from the great kami of Kadzuraki which added notably to his prestige (See Chamberlain 1882). Close to this is the tradition of the marebito, an extraordinary visitor, a kind of holy man whose presence could invoke special blessings. Such people often toured remote communities bringing news of good fortune. Rituals and ceremonies welcoming the visit of such a guest appear to have great antiquity. Concern for the welfare of the dead and a spontaneous feeling of reverence for their souls led to the rise of similar rituals. But what of the modern times and the present? The recognition of ikioi and the marebito enables the modern Japanese to accept and use fortune tellers (who divine the past and its mistakes rather than predict the future) and other people of unusual religious

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qualities. The leadership of most of the new religions lies with people of notable shamanistic qualities, whether male or female. These ideas crystallize in the traditional concept of ikigami or ikibotoke, a living human Buddha, and continue to manifest themselves in the contemporary practice of ancestral reverence.

Ikigami – living human kami The concept has been controversial, but is an excellent illustration of how the living and the dead intertwine in the Japanese imagination. Ikigami was a disputed concept. D. C. Holton wrote in 1922 (p. 152): “There is no evidence that such kami ever, during their actual lifetimes, became centers of organized cults and received worship at the shrines.” In response to this, Kato Ganchi (1926) cited numerous instances. He described Shinto as a “theanthropic” religion in which there could be awareness of true divinity within the highest humanity. He also referred to numerous shrines he had discovered in which people were worshipped during their lifetimes for deeds and services so apparently exalted that those people were deemed worthy of reverence. Kato references two shrines in which the spirit of Emperor Meiji was enshrined during his lifetime although the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo was erected after his death. One was in Ishinomaki, near Sendai (1876), and the other in Kami-Ina Gun, in Shinano (1893). Another example of a person being enshrined as a kami within his own lifetime is Matsuoka Yorozu (1838–1891). He was recognized as a fair-minded and competent judge in a case involving the villagers of Ohara and Minamida, in Iwata Gun of Totomi Province. They requested the right to water from a pond belonging to another community. Matsuoka allowed the claim, ensuring the continued life of the villages, and in honor of the judgment (and of the judge himself) a shrine was set up beside the pond. As a result of a similar judgment, in a similar situation, another shrine had already been set up to his soul at Okabe Machi, Suruga Province, around 1871. Likewise, in 1787, a shrine was erected in the suburbs of Ashikaga City to the soul of Kanai Shigenojo (who did not die until 1829) in honor of his inventive genius in the art of weaving. He became the protective kami of the weaving profession. His descendants lived near the shrine at least until the early years of the twentieth century. In Fukuoka Prefecture, in Kyushu, an annual ceremony was performed on November 17 every year to revere the soul of Hayashida Moritaka, who was a great benefactor and philanthropist within the community. The basis of reverence was purely ethical and had nothing to do with either magic or politics. It is one of Japan’s interesting paradoxes that the highest honor that Japanese society may pay to one of its members is to treat that person in life as though he or she were dead. The perceptive Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), reflecting on ikigami, wondered how the villagers could believe that the soul of someone could be both within himself and simultaneously in the shrine. He was told that the soul was capable of being in more places than one at any given time (Hearn 1896).

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Modern ancestral reverence Takeda Choshu’s book on ancestor worship (1957) is the most comprehensive attempt to discuss the topic since the end of the Second World War. His work points to specific aspects of the cult, such as the social factor of the ie, or family tradition, and its perpetuation in modern society. He makes an important point in drawing attention to the fact that ancestor worship is an emotional attitude towards the deceased, and claims that it is natural to most Japanese. In other words, Japanese concern for ancestors arises not as a matter of principle alone, but spontaneously; the Japanese have a natural reverence for their ancestors in much the same way as they have for sacred places. Ancestor worship has become ritualized and is divided between the kamidana (kami-shelf) and the butsudan (Buddhist family altar). While modern forms of expression may seem remote from the times of antiquity, the ancestor worship of the past lives on. In moments of natural and spontaneous self-expression, the roots of the emotion expose themselves. Of relevance is the research of Robert J. Smith (1974) who investigated the contemporary state of ancestor worship in the 1950s and again in the 1970s. He was literally mocked by colleagues at Stanford University who declared that while he found some family altars in 1950, he would not find any ancestral altars in 1970s Tokyo. On his later visit, he found many more than even he expected. What was of equal interest, though, was the notable absence of Buddhist artifacts. This supports the judgment that the roots of religion in Japan are in ancestral reverence. In these remarks about the earliest tradition of Japan regarding death and the dead, I have tried to identify several basic themes, to indicate the basic distinction between kami and souls, and to demonstrate that these ideas, combined with a spontaneous reverence for the dead, remain distinguishing features of the tradition.

The Japanese classical mythology The foundation of the modern view of death is to be found in the classics and in Japanese mythology. Death is natural; it is not a punishment. It is, however, in physical terms, a form of kegare already referred to, namely pollution or impurity for those who come into direct contact with it. In its spiritual aspect, the souls of the dead continue to exist and the living may maintain contact with them. Unlike the roots of the Western tradition, there are no moral aspects and no pessimism. These characteristics give the Japanese view of death three core characteristic and traditional distinguishing features. In the mythology, these features appear notably in the narrative of the death of Izanami-mo-Mikoto and Izanagi-no-Mikoto, procreators of the Japanese archipelago, and Izanagi’s pursuit of Izanami to the land of the dead. Izanagi enters the land of Yomi-no-Kuni and when he finds Izanami, she asks him not to look at her. However, he ignores her request and lights a torch which makes visible her body in an advanced stage of decomposition. In horror, he runs away, and she, in anger, pursues him, assisted by the Ugly Females of the land of Yomi.

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While the Ugly Females of Yomi were preparing to cross this river, Izanagi-noMikoto had already reached the Even Pass of Yomi. So he took a thousandmen-pull-rock and, having blocked up the path with it, stood face to face with Izanami-no-Mikoto, and at last pronounced the formula of divorce. Upon this, Izanami-no-Mikoto said: “My dear Lord and husband, if thou sayest so, I will strangle to death the people of the country which thou dost govern, a thousand in one day.” Then Izanagi-no-Mikoto replied, saying: “My beloved younger sister, if thou sayest so, I will in one day cause to be born fifteen hundred” (Aston 1972: 25, I: 19). To this, a comment is added: “Some say that the Even Pass of Yomi is not any place in particular, but means only the space of time when the breath fails on the approach of death” (Aston 1972: 26, I: 20). These passages indicate a number of interesting points. Firstly, it seems to have been believed that there was a boundary or point of transition between the worlds of the living and of the dead. Secondly, the living have access to the dead and they can communicate with each other. The death of Izamani is touchingly related and has parallels in the Manyoshu, a later poetic work, where husbands mourn the passing of wives. The idea of the living divorcing the dead, even symbolically, is a concept that is difficult to comprehend even in Japanese. The other highly significant point is that while she threatens to kill one thousand people a day for her transgression, she replies that she can make one thousand five hundred to be born. This has been taken to imply the power of life over death. This is but one example of a Shinto concept confronting and defying a Buddhist one.

Contemporary Shinto practices Having made the case for Shinto culture being immanent in all funeral rituals in Japan, some reference to Shinto funerals in Japan would complete the discussion. Shinto funeral ceremonies in contemporary Japan, called Sosai (葬祭), do take place, however, either in homes or in other places, but never in shrine grounds because of the impurities associated with death. This is another historical reason why Buddhism was able to assume control of the funeral. The thought behind the modern Shinto funeral is an interpretation of the classics by then-Edo-period Kokugaku scholar Hirata Atsutane (1776–1843), who was the last great figure of the Fukko (復古), or Restoration School of Shinto, that contributed to the Meiji Restoration (Meiji Isshin, 明治維新) of 1868. His views accord closely with the Japanese classics’ view of death as being an agent of pollution. The last great public Shinto funeral was that of Emperor Showa (r.1926–1989). The funeral was conducted according to Shinto rites, with the principal location being in Shinjuku Park, which was closed for the entire period. The funeral patterns and the procession format, however, were modeled after court scrolls from the Heian Period. In referring to the death of the Emperor, the normal word, shinu (die), was not used in formal statements, nor was the euphemism, naku-nareru. The term hogyo (崩御) was

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used, which in traditional texts denotes the death of a kami. The rituals followed five distinct stages: (a) Renso-tojitsu-hinkyusai-no-gi (斂葬当日繽宮際の議) The Ceremony of Farewell was a private ceremony of the Imperial Household held on the day of the funeral and entombment. (b) Jisha-hatsuin-no-gi (轜車発引の儀) The Ceremony to transport the Imperial hearse from the Imperial Palace to the Funeral Site was also private. The Reikyu (霊柩, the Imperial coffin) was brought to the place where the ceremony was to be held. (c) Sojoden-no-gi (喪場殿の議) The Ceremony at the Funeral Hall is a Shinto ritual involving the new Emperor and several Shinto priests. The Sojoden was a hall erected for the purpose of conducting the ceremonies. By this time, the Reikyu had been placed upon the Sokaren (装花鏈), the one-and-one-half-ton weight palanquin upon which the coffin was placed. (d) Taiso-no-rei (大喪の礼) The State Funeral in which the Emperor was host and the Prime Minister was Chairman of the State Funeral Committee. This was public and involved the visiting heads of state and was considered a secular ritual. At the funeral of Emperor Showa, the Torii was removed between the two rituals to emphasize the distinction between the private rituals of the Imperial Household and the public State Funeral. (e) Ryosho-no-gi (陵所の議) The Ceremony of Entombment at the Imperial Mausoleum in which the Sokaren is carried to the place of interment by fifty members of the Imperial Household Guard wearing special robes called Sofuku (僧服). In the cases of both Emperor Taisho and Emperor Showa, this was the Imperial Mausoleum at Hachioji. On the occasion of the funeral of the Emperor Showa, these rituals lasted about five hours, and were televised only to the point where the bier disappeared into the compound where the final ceremony took place.

The Yasukuni Shrine debate Any reference to Shinto and death in contemporary Japan would be incomplete without a reference to the Yasukuni Shrine problem. The shrine was created in Kudanshita in Tokyo to respect the ancestral souls of those who died during the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Thereafter, the war dead of World War I and subsequently World War II were enshrined. Thereafter, all war dead and any Self-Defense personnel killed on duty are also enshrined. Once a year, the incumbent prime minister has made a formal visit (sampai, 参拝), deemed an act of reverence. Several questions have arisen over these visits, which may vary from one government to another. One is whether or not it constitutes a violation of the constitution that separates religion and state. There are disputants on both sides. There is also a lobby that wishes the government to take responsibility for the shrine, which is equally controversial. However, the most vociferous critics of the

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shrine are in China and Korea, who protest the visits with claims that revering the war dead is wrong due to the atrocities alleged by these governments, who also see it as a prelude to recrudescent militarism in Japan. There appears to be no simple diplomatic solution to the issue. It is only to be hoped that a point might be reached where Japan’s right to grieve its own dead would be recognized.

References Aston, William George (Trans. and Ed.) (1972). Nihongi; Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. Rutland, VT: Tuttle. Chamberlain, Basil Hall (1882). “A Translation of the ‘Ko-ji-ki’.” Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vol. 10, Supplement.Yokohama: R. Meikeljohn and Co. Choshu, Takeda (1957). Sosen Suhai. Kyoto: Heirakuji Shoten. Ganchi, Kato (1926). A Study of Shinto: The Religion of the Japanese Nation. Tokyo: Meiji Japan Society. Hearn, Lafcadio (1896). Some Thoughts about Ancestor Worship. Tokyo: Tuttle & Co. Holton, D. C. (1922). Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Vol XLIX, Part II. Kitagawa, Joseph (1966). Religion in Japanese History. New York: Columbia University Press. Sansom, Sir George (1979). A History of Japan, Vol. 1. Tokyo: Charles Tuttle. Smith, Robert J. (1974). Ancestor Worship in Contemporary Japan. Stanford: University Press. Wada, Kiyoshi, and Ichihara Michiro (1973). Zuisho Wakokuden – Chronicles of the Sui Dynasty. Tokyo: Iwanami Shon.

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Early Chinese afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Mu-chou Poo1 Introduction With a long and continuous cultural development since the Neolithic period, the area of the East Asian continent now known as China produced abundant archaeological and textual evidence for the development of its funerary culture. In the entire Neolithic period, however, various local traditions co-existed at the same time, and not until the beginning of the Shang Dynasty, when written documents appear, and when cultural cohesion strongly suggests that a mainstream cultural tradition was established in the area with Shang cultural dominance, can we talk more substantially about a funerary culture that was the hallmark of the Shang civilization. Most of the Shang bronze artifacts now on display in various museums throughout the world came from tombs and were largely part of the funerary equipment. It was from the function, the style, the manufacturing technique, and the inscriptions on them that we learned various political, social, economic, and religious conditions of the Shang. Thus the study of the funerary culture, of the tombs and their contents, and of the ceremonies accompanying the funeral, may provide invaluable knowledge and insight into the Shang civilization. The same, of course, can be said of later eras. With the increase of written documents, of course, the impact of funerary culture on our knowledge of a given period might have become less dominating. Nevertheless, the continuous development of funerary culture throughout ancient China until the end of the Han Dynasty makes a fascinating subject of study, as no written material alone could have provided.

Burial customs of the pre-imperial period Although we choose to begin our story from the Shang period, this does not mean that the Shang culture was a fresh start. On the contrary, numerous connections can be observed regarding specific funerary customs. Take tomb styles for example; the overwhelming majority of adult tombs from the Neolithic Yang-shao culture (Jin 1984), the

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Mid-Yellow River Longshan culture (Gao 1980; Li 1960), the Dawenkou culture (Wu 1990), the Shandong Longshan culture (Du 1980; Zheng 1963), or even the Majiayao (Gansusheng 1983; Qinghaisheng 1976) and Qijia (Xie Duanju 1975) cultures of the upper Yellow River region, were the so-called “rectangular vertical pit.” Such a tomb was basically a sunken rectangular pit dug directly into the ground, in which to dispose of the body. The average size of such tombs are 1.5 m–2 m × 0.5 m–1 m. The largest among them, such as tomb no. 10 at Dawenkou, may reach 4.2 m × 3.2 m, which might have been that of a ruler or clan leader (Wu 1990). As for the means of burial, most of the tombs were earthen pits without coffins, and it was only in the Dawenkou culture that wooden coffins were found. Occasionally, the burial pit was lined with stones or pebbles, as a means to isolate the body from the surrounding earth. Children were often buried in a large jar (rarely also with some adults), which appear to be secondary burials. These anomalies notwithstanding, the general practice of body posture was the “extended face-up” posture, as opposed to “extended face-down” or “flexed” postures, which were less prevalent. One special feature was group burial. Already in the Yangshao period, same-sex group burials were found, and later in the Dawenkou and Majiayao cultures there were couple burials, indicating certain changes in social structure, and perhaps the rise of the nuclear family. Another important aspect was the appearance of certain ritual objects in the burials, including jade axes and other ceremonial objects, such as cong (琮, a rectangular shaped tube made of jade, probably used in religious ceremonies) and yazang (牙璋, a blade-like jade object later used as symbol of political status), as well as thin clay containers. Other funerary objects usually consisted of utensils of daily life, like clay pots, bone needles, stone pebbles, earrings, tools, etc. (Poo 2008: 36). Recent studies on the pre-Shang Erlitou (二里頭) culture at Yanshi, Henan Province, have firmly established the connection between Erlitou culture and the Shang, as witnessed by large-scale palace buildings, bronze tools, weapons, and ritual vessels (Chang 1977: 315–316; Du and Xu 2005, 2006). In other words, the Neolithic Yangshao and Longshan cultures were connected to the Shang culture through the intermediary of the Erlitou culture. Thus one could say that by the end of the Neolithic period, burials along the Yellow River basin had acquired some features that constitute the basic elements of the burial customs of the Shang Dynasty and later eras: vertical-pit-wooden-casket tomb, extended face-up burial posture, and ritual objects that could indicate the social and political statues of the deceased.

Shang royal burial It would be easily understandable that, with the development of society into more complicated and stratified structure, the powerful and the rich in society would tend to bury their dead in a more elaborate way to show their social distinction. Larger tombs, more funerary objects, and lavish coffins and caskets are expectedly found with the burials of the ruling class. The Shang Dynasty (c. 1555–1059 BCE), apparently due to the

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accumulation of resources and concentration of power resulting from many generations of development, was able to deploy its resources to construct a funerary culture that echoed the growing power of the royalty. The astounding royal tombs excavated at the site of Yinxu 殷墟, present city of Anyang, Henan Province, together with thousands of small tombs and some mid-size tombs that might have belonged to the commoners and nobles respectively, give us a good overview of the funerary culture of the Shang (Chang 1980: 110–124; Poo 2008: 41–42). The clear contrast between the sizes of the tombs indicates the formation of a hierarchical society divided into the rulers, the nobles, the commoners, and the slaves. A study of the tombs of this period shows that, at Yinxu, a good indication of the status of the tomb owner was not only the size of the tomb, but the ramps leading to the tomb pit, obviously for construction purposes. The larger the tomb, the more ramps were needed. Take Tomb no. 1001 for example; its top dimension measures 18.9 m × 13.75 m, and bottom floor dimension measures 16 m × 11 m, with a depth of 10.5 m, and with four ramps on each side of the burial pit. The longest ramp measures 30.7 m × 7.8 m; the shortest measures 7.4 m × 3.75 m (Liang and Gao 1963: 17). Altogether archaeologists found seventeen large tombs, among them eight have four ramps, eight have two ramps, and one has one ramp. Whether all these were tombs of the kings, or whether those with one or two ramps were persons of a lesser status, is of course not easy to determine without written evidence (Poo 2008: 41). One can at least point out that the tomb of the queen of King Wu Ding, Fu Hao, did not have any ramp, though her tomb contained abundant funerary objects when it was found (Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan 1980). From the findings in the tomb of Fu Hao, we gain the impression that the burial process was a rather lengthy and complicated one. At an early stage of the burial, sacrificial pits for animals (mainly dogs) and people were dug at the bottom of the burial pit. A wooden casket would then be constructed in the center of the burial pit. When the casket was completed, and both coffin and funerary objects were placed within it, the earth was filled in. At different levels of this filling in, sacrificial victims – humans or dogs – were placed, some on top of the casket, some to the side. Other funerary objects were also buried at different depths of the burial pit, suggesting certain rituals took place at the moment of interment (Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan 1980: 7–12). Based on this, one can surmise that in the larger tombs of the kings, with many more human sacrificial victims and certainly more funerary objects, the burial process involved even more elaborate rituals. The most extraordinary aspect of the Shang royal burial, to our modern eye at least, was the custom of human sacrifice. It was the custom of the day that the Shang king took with him a large number of people, voluntarily or not, to the netherworld. To take the example of Tomb 1001 again, archaeologists found more than 164 bodies scattered in various locations in the tomb. Some of these were provided with coffins and funerary objects, some were without such equipment. A large number of them were beheaded and lying in rows on the ramps, among them children and young adolescents (Liang and Gao 1963: 17). Thus we can see that the sacrificial victims

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also consisted of different statuses: those who were close to the King, as retinues or guards, and those who were mere servants, workers, or even slaves. In the tomb of Fu Hao, for another example, at least sixteen people were sacrificed to accompany the queen (Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan 1980: 8–19). Apparently the custom of human sacrifice was quite prevalent, as more than 200 mass graves for human sacrifice were found at the site of Anyang, with more than 1,300 bodies inside (Anyang 1977; Chang 1980: 123 ff.). The practice of human sacrifice at funerals lasted throughout the Shang and into the subsequent Western Zhou, and down to the Eastern Zhou and the Warring States period (Huang 1990). Although the practice was probably not as prominent as during the Shang period, and less people were sacrificed, the fact that the practice could last for such a long time, despite certain protests from the more conscious intellectuals in society, indicates a strong conservative element in the funerary custom among the ruling class.

Funerary equipment and socio-political status It has long been acknowledged by traditional Chinese scholars that there existed during the Zhou Dynasty (c. 1059–221 BCE) a system that regulated the funerals (Pirazzoli-T’Serstevens 2009; Poo 2011). Two sets of regulations concerning the funerary equipment are described in Confucian Classics such as the Yili 儀禮 and Liji 禮記: (1) the size and layer of the coffins and caskets used, and (2) the number and combination of bronze ritual vessels, such as the ding-tripod and the gui 簋-container, the two most commonly supplied pair of vessels that register the status of the tomb owner. The number of the coffins and caskets used in a burial descends from seven layers for the king, five layers for a prince, three for a minister, and two for a gentleman. In a similar hierarchical order, nine ding and eight gui were supplied to the king’s burial, seven ding and six gui for the minister, five ding and four gui for the high official, three ding and two gui for the lesser official, and one ding for the gentleman (Yu 1985). With the discovery of some intact tombs, scholars have been trying to determine whether such regulations were followed in reality at all. Archaeological records confirm only generally that a more or less consistent burial pattern can be detected, but to ask for an absolute consistency throughout the Zhou Dynasty and down to the Warring States period (c. 453–221 BCE) is to ignore the very complicated historical changes of this period, as every power holder, or holder-to-be, could try to promote his own prestige by breeching the rule – if there ever was one to be followed (Poo 2008: 39–53; Wang 1986). The consensus is that the idea of the hierarchical order of funerary equipment could have been followed for a period of time at a certain area, when the political situation was stable. The seemingly neat and logical exposition of the hierarchical order in the Classics should probably be seen as idealized theories that were propagated by the status-conscious elites who were keen to preserve an ideal socio-political order with themselves as its interpreters.

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For example, excavations at the cemetery of the state of Guo in early Eastern Zhou (770–255 BCE) show a rather consistent application of the hierarchical order. Thus for the tomb of the crown prince, seven ding, six gui, six li 鬲, ten carriages, twenty horses; for the minister, five ding, four gui, four li, five carriages, ten horses; for the official, three ding, four gui, two li; for the gentleman, two or one ding; for the commoner, no bronze vessel (Zhongguo kexueyuan kaogu yanjiusuo 1959: 55–79). Yet in other places, during the late Zhou and Warring States period, local variations render the ideal system invalid, as the authority of the Zhou kings declined, and vassal states exerted their own individual power. This means that people who in the ideal system should be using a certain degree of funerary equipment now “usurped” that of the higher degree. The long-term result of this trend was that the status symbol of the bronze ritual vessels were “democratized” in that more and more people put bronze vessels in their tombs regardless of their actual political status. If they could not afford bronze vessels, clay surrogate vessels were used instead. With the common use of ritual vessels (or surrogate vessels) in the funerary equipment that did not necessarily correspond to the actual socio-political status of the deceased, we can detect that some changes had happened to the burial custom. In the early Zhou, when the system was more or less in effect, the system could be understood as the marker of the status of the deceased when they were alive. Whereas during the Warring States period, when the system was usurped, the use of ritual vessels and their surrogates became the marker of the expected status of the deceased in the netherworld. Of course this does not mean that the earlier burial system did not contain any element that could be seen as preparing for the “future.” The sacrificial victims, for instance, can be seen as expressing the wish to have those people follow and serve the king in the netherworld. But on the whole, one can argue that there was a general change from this-worldly to other-worldly concern in the use of funerary objects. Beginning from the Warring States period, the appearance of clay surrogate objects became increasingly prevalent. Not only were ritual bronze vessels gradually disappearing, but objects of daily use, such as utensils, various containers, or models of houses and animal pens, even musical instruments, were often included in the funerary equipment (Poo 2008: 193–195). This trend continued into the Han Dynasty, when objects of daily use, plus various models of houses, fields, storages, barns, as well as figurines of servants and entertainers, were buried together with the deceased, obviously with the intention of providing a comfortable life hereafter.

The evolution of tombs and burial customs in the Han Dynasty With the unification of the country under one ruling house, China entered into the so-called imperial age, first with the short-lived Qin Dynasty (221–207 BCE), followed by the Han Dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE). The unification brought about not only a centralized government, but also unified writing and metric systems, regulated by a common legal system. Obviously, such unified systems were necessary for the management of the

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country, now with unprecedentedly vast territory and huge population. Some other aspects of the country, especially local culture and lifestyles, changed at a different pace. Nonetheless, political change brought about social and cultural changes, building upon those of the Warring States period. There was continuity in funerary practices, such as the ongoing use of surrogate funerary objects and the vertical-pit-wooden-casket tombs. Yet change also set in. Most conspicuously, people began to build a different kind of tomb. Instead of the vertical-pit tombs, a new horizontal brick tomb began to emerge in north China, and eventually became the dominating tomb style in the entire country in the Eastern Han period, replacing the vertical pit tombs entirely (Huang 2003: 41–42, 90–95). The tomb chamber was now built with stone slabs and bricks, and the entrance to the tomb was a horizontal front gate, much like the house of the living. Such an architectural style logically developed by expanding the number of tomb chambers to serve various functions: kitchen, storage, stable, audience hall, living quarters, etc. Some tombs were even decorated with paintings, reliefs, or molded bricks with patterns and pictures. Depending upon the economic and social status of the deceased, funerary objects were supplied to the tomb. These objects often included real utensils of daily use, clothes and garments, musical instruments, food and money, or surrogate objects such as models of servants, houses, domestic animals, and fields, reflecting the social and economic status of the tomb owner. Archaeologically, the changing tomb style was probably due to the expansion of a variation of vertical-pit tomb with a horizontal side chamber that was originated in the western region. This horizontal side chamber gradually developed into a main chamber, and, with the supply of stone slabs and large clay bricks to serve as the outer casket, it finally emerged as a horizontal tomb chamber supported by stacked bricks (Poo 2008). Such a gradual evolution of tomb style might not warrant any ideological claim, yet when it became equipped with front doors with doorknobs, it is legitimate to see the tomb as an imitation of the house of the living. In fact, even with the wooden-casket tombs, examples of doors and windows made into the side wall of the casket clearly suggest an imitation of the house of the living (Huang 2003: 61–69; Hubeisheng bowuguan 1989; Poo 2008). These are concrete indications of an idea of the tomb as the house of the dead, which bears some important significance for the concept of the afterlife.

The conception of afterlife as revealed by burial practice While there should be little doubt that the idea of a soul or ghost (suggesting some kind of life after death) existed long before written evidence; a clear textual reference to the idea of an afterlife cannot be found before the Warring States period. The Yellow Spring, or the Dark City, for examples, are indications of diverse imagination relating to places where the soul or ghost of a person might reside after death (Poo 1998: 62–66). It is interesting to note that the afterlife or the netherworld was often conceived with reference to worldly institutions. Thus there was in the Warring States period a “Controller of Fate” in charge of the roster of people with their names and

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allotted life spans. The Controller of Fate, moreover, could make mistakes and summon the wrong person to death, just as worldly bureaucrats would often commit errors. One story found in a Qin Dynasty tomb in the modern Gansu Province tells of the resurrection of a person from death because the Controller of Fate discovered that he had made a mistake, and thus returned the deceased back to life. In this story, the deceased was said to have resided in the tomb all the time, without moving to other places, as though the tomb itself was the underworld abode for the dead (Harper 1994). That the term “underground” was used to designate the netherworld or world after death was firmly established by the early Western Han, when texts excavated from tombs of this period bear references to an underground bureaucracy with titles such as “Underground Lord,” “Underground Two-Thousand-Bushels,” “Underground Assistant Magistrate,” etc. Here we see an imaginative netherworld presided over by a “government” that acted much the same as the one above ground. One (or better, one’s ghost) needs to report to the Underground Assistant Magistrate, for example, when he/ she is buried in the tomb (Poo 1998: 165–178). The tomb was considered a new home for the dead in the underworld, and thus the dead would have to go to the government registration office to report his/her arrival, for there would be taxes and other civil obligations to be performed under the surveillance of the underground officials. That this underground bureaucracy was imagined with some realistic details could be confirmed by the existence of surrogate money and grain for the purposes of paying taxes, and that the piece of land of the underground residence of the deceased needed to be purchased from a certain underground office (Kleeman 1984). This underground world of the dead, as far as it was based on the model of the world above ground, can on the whole be understood as “secular” in the sense that the high authority in this underground world was much like the emperor of the imperial government, except that this high authority would be known as a “god” or “shen” in Chinese. A certain ambiguity exists in distinguishing this “god” in the underground world and the “real gods” in the world above who received veneration and sacrifice from the worldly authority such as the Son of Heaven. It seems that our sources did not provide concrete evidence to show if this underground “god,” sometimes called “Yellow God,” was actually conceived as the equivalent of the worldly emperor, thus still under the protection of the God on High, or if this underground god was another form of the God on High. Either way, it should be clear that the underground bureaucrats took care of mundane business just as their worldly colleagues did. In such an afterlife in the underground world there was no special “religious teaching” to follow, except to observe, as the funerary texts reveal, what was asked of a law-abiding citizen.

Elite ideal and common practice It seems that the majority of the common people accepted the idea of the netherworld, and therefore duly supplied the dead with all sorts of funerary objects, completed with exorcistic rituals and texts in order to protect the deceased as well as the descendants

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(Yang 1933). However, there was always a minority of intellectuals who held different views, some more radical than others, about the usefulness of such lavish attention paid to the funerals. Some criticisms were based on the Confucian principle of modesty that one should not spend too much on the deceased simply to show off one’s social status and wealth. Other critics with Daoist or naturalist inclinations propagated the idea that death was the end of the bodily existence in the world, as the body was the mere chance congealment of the qi-ether in the universe, and that nothing exists after death when the qi was decomposed and dispersed into the universe. On the whole, as expected, the prevailing custom was to have a proper funeral for one’s kinsfolk, according to the Confucian ideal, to show respect to the deceased on the one hand, and, on the other, to allow relatives and friends to gather, and mourn, as part of the rite of passage (Poo 1990). Of course, the line between a proper and balanced funeral and an extravagant and lavish one was often difficult to draw.

Conclusion Before the rise of Buddhism and Daoism, towards the end of the Eastern Han, the afterlife of the Chinese people was conceived of largely according to the model of this world. The funerary practice associated with this idea of the afterlife was actually rather compatible, for a good reason. Since people expected the existence of a soul or ghost after death, and the place of the existence was imagined as governed by a bureaucracy, this afterlife could be said to bear the imprint of the political culture of the unified empire. It would be difficult to imagine a netherworld with a large bureaucracy if the actual world that people lived in did not have such an establishment. When Buddhism began to be introduced into China, therefore, it was this view of the afterlife that the monks were trying to confront and change. On the one hand, they had to persuade the intellectuals that the soul of the dead still existed, but there was not an afterlife as people had imagined before. Instead, the soul would have to experience a transmigration, either to be reborn, or to enter the state of nirvana and achieve Buddhahood, depending upon how one cultivates one’s consciousness and follows the teaching of the Buddha. Only those who committed crimes would be condemned to Hell, a place where the sinners suffered all kinds of torture as a “hungry ghost” [preta]. Such an afterlife expectedly caused considerable difficulty for the Chinese. On the other hand, the monks had to persuade the commoners to believe that they were able to deal with the attack of ghosts and spirits and deliver them to a blessed paradise in the West. Since Buddhism did not specifically object to burial, the funerary practice of the Han people was largely preserved after the fall of Han, with the addition of some Buddhist elements such as the images of the Buddha and Buddhist paraphernalia. As for Daoism, since it was developed from the Chinese indigenous belief system, it has inherited the concept of the underground as the destination of the ghosts of the dead. In fact, certain exorcistic texts found in some Eastern Han tombs that purported to expel evil ghosts were considered by some scholars as the early traces

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of Daoism (Zhang and Bai 2006). Yet because of its promotion of the idea of immortality, there was also the world of the immortals that one could aspire to enter, given the proper cultivation of the Way either by performing proper rituals, or by ingesting drugs of immortality. This would be an afterlife either in heaven, as one of the heavenly immortals, or on earth, living among the remote mountains as the earthly immortals. For these immortals, since they did not really “die,” there was no need of funerals. They were by far the smallest number in society, though they inspired generations of followers, and created a lasting legacy in the imagination of the Chinese people.

Note 1 This article is supported by a Hong Kong UGC/GRF grant, code 453111.

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Contemporary Daoist afterlife beliefs and funerary practices Adeline Herrou In China, Daoist monks are special companions of death. They are summoned to officiate at funerals as the souls of the deceased pass into the beyond, and are subsequently entrusted with the worship of the dead over the long term. They also have a sensitive but crucial role to play alongside the living, those left behind to grapple not just with the necessary mourning, but also with the suffering souls of dead people who have failed to make the transition and have become wandering spirits, called gui 鬼. This chapter is primarily based on ethnographic data that I collected in Daoist monasteries of the Quanzhen order (the order “of Complete Perfection”) in Shaanxi province since the early 1990s, as well as on other social anthropological and historical accounts of death in contemporary China and in earlier periods. Below, I explore how monks come to think of death, accompany it, and cure it, while they themselves strive, in their own self-cultivation practice, to avoid it by pursuing the quest for immortality (literally “the long life without dying”). Through the rituals they perform either for or in connection with the deceased, and the various exorcist actions they are qualified to carry out, Daoist death specialists manage the porous boundaries between the world of the dead and that of the living, as well as the possible conjunctions between the two. Through long-life techniques that are transmitted from master to disciple down the spiritual generations of Daoist monks, they perpetuate an alternative model, that of the immortals (xian, 仙), which they seek to become.

Different kinds of death Yin and yang rituals Daoist monks perform rituals of two kinds: those for the living, which they consider yang rituals, and those for the dead, or yin rituals, in conformance with the diagram, their religion’s emblem, known as the “Great Ultimate.” Yang rituals are essentially propitiatory and therapeutic. Daoist monks do not celebrate marriages

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or births, even if they are sometimes asked to help place these events under auspicious signs (by calculating the spouses’ future destiny, by choosing the day of the wedding, or by helping with the attribution of the newborn’s first name). Yin rituals help convey the souls of the dead through the maze of the underworld to get them out of it. Literally the shady and sunny sides of a mountain, the yin and yang, as is well known, represent a whole series of complementary opposite pairs. The monks customarily say that heaven, and therefore the world of the immortals, is yang, while the earth and the world beyond the grave, or that of the dead, is yin. During their lifetime, human beings evolve between heaven and earth, half yin and half yang. When they die, they are more or less obliged to pass through the underground jails (diyu, 地狱), from which most return fairly quickly. But some will remain prisoners for having acted badly during their lifetime and having committed offenses or crimes. The idea of bad death The Chinese make a distinction between two kinds of death: a death that is in the nature of things, when the person has reached the end of his or her allotted life; and an unnatural death caused by an accident or illness, or resulting from an act of violence. The main ritual that Daoist monks perform for the dead is that of the “passage of the soul toward deliverance” (chaodu, 超度), the name of the ritual then being adapted depending on whether the deceased died an ordinary death or was the victim of a “bad death,” something the officiant will initially have to determine. The idea of bad death is central to eschatology in China and a number of other Asian societies (see Baptandier, 2001). It represents the risk of a painful afterlife destiny for its victim, and is dangerous for others who are disturbed by its repercussions. It more simply implies a differential handling of the dead depending on age, experience, the cause of death, or if one died too young or under particularly difficult (or even dreadful) conditions requiring specific treatment. This ultimately comes down to giving more attention to certain dead people in the belief that it is necessary to attenuate the unbearable nature of their death. Then there are also “good deaths” that inexorably shift into the category of bad deaths, gui. At least two cases can be mentioned, very different from one another. First, there are men and women who carried out particularly wicked acts in their lifetime, people who committed crimes instead of spending their existence accumulating merits. Second, among the gui one also finds people who died a good death and were benevolent in their lifetime, but for whom ancestral worship was either deficient or lacking altogether. Condemned to suffer for the oversights of their descendants, they will wander among the gui until certain people decide to make up for this unfortunate lack of worship; such people might include those who are directly or indirectly responsible, or who substitute for descendants who are not in a position to fulfill their duty to filial piety, perhaps because they are prevented from doing so, because they were unaware of the death of their family member, or because the deceased simply had no descendants. 174

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Fate and long-life beliefs In Chinese thought, one thus discerns a simultaneous belief in both the responsibility of people with regard to their own destiny (through their actions), and the responsibilities of certain innate qualities of karma, or fate, that orient their lives and the acts they commit (Kohn, 2007: 99). The idea of reincarnation, which lies at the core of Buddhism but more broadly influences how death is conceived in China, is seen as repercussions for behavior, carried from one life to another, with either a progression or a regression of the person, according to merits or faults accumulated and karma (“action and its consequences”). For Buddhists, a successful existence implies stopping the cycle of rebirths in order to reach Nirvana; for Daoists, death and reincarnation are the common lot of mortals; “true beings” attempt to stay in the same life by trying to prolong it in this world before going to the paradise of the immortals. As Daoist monks explain, destiny does not have only one single component. Destiny (mingyun, 命运) includes a part that can be acted upon (the yun, good or bad fortune) and another part about which nothing can be done (the ming, life itself) (Herrou, 2010: 142). From this perspective, it is sometimes hard to know whether the victim of a bad death did not reach the end of his portion of life, or was fated to have an abnormally short or shortened life. Whatever the case may be, it is important to understand that the idea of a long life, or longevity, is deeply rooted in Chinese thought, lying at the foundation of a whole series of practices that are widespread in Chinese society, well beyond the world of Daoist monks. For example, it is central to a wide range of martial arts (Tai Chi, combat arts, qigong), based on traditional breathing, meditation, and gymnastic exercises, which are often considered long-life techniques (see C. Despeux, 1981; Palmer, 2008). In this regard, a bad death is nothing but the antithesis of a long life and is the lowest possible destiny, the opposite of a successful life. One must therefore do everything possible to avoid it, and if it occurs despite everything, it is important to make every effort to transform it and bring it back onto the side of normality.

Ancestor worship and family concern In China, death is not an individual matter for several reasons. One person’s karma affects that of others, particularly within one family. This is so much the case that death has something trans-generational about it in the sense that it makes the living dependent upon their dead, and vice versa, in a kind of vicious circle: and close relatives will be the first to suffer when bad deaths affect their lineage. This is all the more the case if the death is not remedied, or if ancestral worship is not performed, in which case the dead cannot rest in peace and continue to disturb, even haunt, the living, especially close relatives. This applies not just to their present life, but also their afterlife, since the destiny of one person affects that of others. Merits of asceticism and of action affect “flesh-and-blood relatives.” They can have the effect of advancing the group to a level that its members would not have reached individually. The same applies in the other direction for faults and other sins or crimes. 175

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Those who commit wicked deeds will inevitably be punished by the Messenger of Death (Wuchang, 无常) and will be taken to the Ministry of Darkness to receive corporeal punishments. Loved ones left behind can also be harassed for the same misdeeds, theoretically continuing up to the ninth generation. They could be affected during their lifetime, but also during their subsequent rebirths. The idea that the living remain dependent upon their relatives after death is anciently and deeply rooted in Chinese thought, as Christine Mollier reminds us on the subject of the High Purity movement of medieval Daoism: Here below, post-mortem grudges usually translate into disasters or disease. Cases of possession, health problems or reversals of fortune overwhelming a family, from which only a ritual could deliver them, are generally attributed to condemnation by an ancestor. In ancient China, reprisals from the beyond did not come from a single phantasmagoria. Society as a whole tended to interpret misfortunes and vicissitudes as direct consequences of ancestral punishment. (2001: 88) This comment still holds true for contemporary China. Conversely, exceptional destinies are liable to benefit their entourage, in their present life or in another. Some monks explain that they were able to choose a monastic career thanks to merits that their parents or grandparents accumulated in the course of their own existences, either because they had been particularly pious, devoted to the life of the local temple, or because they had reached an advanced stage in the practice of self-cultivation. Incidentally, the subjective impression that one’s ancestors behaved well is usually not enough to sustain this kind of belief; memories of certain facts help attest to past feats. For example, having a father who died in the seated meditation position is a sign heralding a better life or reincarnation. Death concerns a whole lineage since it is up to relatives to finance the necessary rituals, without which the kinship group and the whole local community could be threatened. Descendants have to transform the deceased “from a dangerous corpse into a settled ancestor” (Watson, 1982: 156) and must then venerate them as such. A lack of ancestor worship is liable to produce “orphan souls” (guhun, 孤魂) that, if not quickly controlled, are liable to reappear as ghosts and harm the living, specifically the relatives who are guilty of a lack of filial piety, but also others whose only mistake was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once “orphan souls” have been transformed into deadly spirits, they attack everyone out of vengeance, including innocent people.

Rituals for the passage of souls Different kinds of souls The “progression of the soul toward salvation” ritual comes in the form of either a ritual “for the progression of the lost soul” (chaodu wanghun, 超度亡魂) or a ritual “of the orphan soul” (chaodu guhun, 超度孤魂), or on the contrary, a ritual “of the ordinary 176

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soul” (chaodu linghun, 超度灵魂), depending on how the deceased died and the worship he received. As they say locally, it consists in “opening the road” (kailu, 开路) to death. Daoist monks see it as a modern form of the ancient “Recall of the soul” ceremony (zhaohun, 招魂) (Maspero, 1971: 236). When it is a matter of a bad death, they also speak of “feeding the flaming mouths” (fang yankou, 放焰口), an appellation also found among Buddhists, who may have inspired Daoists, considering that both religions have borrowed from each other when it comes to venerating the dead. In this case, the term “flaming mouths” designates starving, deadly spirits that locals say are so emaciated by hunger that their throats are as narrow as a hair. The living have to feed these flaming mouths not just to calm them, but also, as Stuart Thomson says, to prevent them from coming and stealing offerings made to “ordinary” dead people. He explains that this rite, also known as “Universal Salvation” ceremony (pudu, 普度) “is modeled on similar community rituals performed in the seven lunar months when the gates of the underworld are opened to release all the hungry and suffering souls” (1988: 76). Death is conceived as a journey. The goal of the chaodu is to help the dead cross the world beyond the grave and be delivered from it. As I noticed in the field, Chinese people have quite different perceptions of these underground jails. Some describe them precisely, usually as ten infernal rooms that everyone must pass through, whereas others are more vague about the arrangement of these Hells. The fact remains that in some temples these are represented as places of exceptionally violent torture, with statues that depict mutilated men and women being subjected to all kinds of extremely cruel torments. The punishment received depends on the offenses committed during one’s lifetime. To do the chaodu, officiants set up a Daoist ritual area (daochang, 道场) where they go to great lengths to call back the souls of the deceased in order to free them (chaoba, 超拔) and help them escape the “sufferings of the Realm of Darkness” (youku, 幽苦). After they have risen back to the surface of the earth, they could become ancestors. Returning to the world of human beings also enables them to be reincarnated. Since conceptions surrounding ordinary death in Daoism are partly borrowed from the Buddhist meaning, one often encounters the belief that common mortals must undergo a succession of rebirths. But we will see that for Daoist followers, the important thing is to avoid death altogether. Remember that people in China see themselves as having two kinds of soul: the hun, 魂, and the po, 魄. The hun leaves the body and rises to heaven at the moment of death, as indicated by the radical of the cloud, 云, linked to the element of the ghost, the manes of the dead, 鬼, in the character used to designate it; the po stays with the corpse, as suggested by its character, made up of the radical of the color white, 白 – which, according to Max Kaltenmark (1960), in this case refers to the bone of the skeleton – attached to the element of the ghost. In every person, there are three hun whereas there are seven po. But in China, although the separation of the hun and the po does indeed mean death, these two groups of souls are not very consistent. Souls are volatile and ephemeral, destined to disappear quite quickly after death (Gernet, 1990: 198). People attribute more significance to the three essential components of the individual – the breath (qi, 气), the spirit (shen, 神), and the essences (jing, 精) – which are at the core 177

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of the self-cultivation process. The chaodu ritual is also a matter of doing everything possible to call back the souls before they disperse.

The chaodu ritual in space and time Monks used to be called to the bedside of the deceased to perform this ritual. Today, religious policy recommends performing it in temples. Monks and the faithful both say that it is done less systematically than in the past, having been simplified. In people’s homes, the ritual was performed in the presence of the corpse within three days of death, before the souls escape and disperse. Today, at the temple, it is done without the body on a less precise date. However, outside the context of monasteries that are part of the official hierarchy, and especially in the countryside, rituals for the dead continue to be performed in people’s homes and on the day or days preceding the burial or cremation by household Daoists or temple-dwelling priests (Jones, 2010: 48). However, Daoist monks endeavor to follow certain rules in order to link the timing of the ritual with important stages in the progression of the souls. This is because it is said that the po disappear every seven days, and that they will all be gone after forty-nine days (seven times seven). The seven-day periods that follow the death are counted precisely, keeping in mind that “the first seven” (yiqi, 一七), or the week following death, is most important because it is said that there is still some possibility that the souls could return to the body, perhaps if such were decided beyond the grave, or if the ritual was exceptionally effective to the point of bringing the dead back to life. The “third seven” (sanqi, 三七), or twenty-one days after death, the “fifth seven” (wuqi, 五七) or thirty-five days, and the “seventh seven” (the last seven), are also considered particularly important moments of worship, marking the gradual decline in the state of consciousness of the souls and the weakening chances of communicating with them. The hun disappear more slowly. It is said that one disappears every year, so it takes three years before all are gone. This length of time recalls the longest prescribed mourning period in the Chinese system (that of a son for his father), in which categories of mourning – determining the length of the mourning period, what should be worn, and other details – are traditionally defined precisely depending on how close or how distant a family member is to the deceased in accordance with the Liji, 禮記 (Book of Rites) (see Couvreur, 1951: 385–387). Monks usually perform only one ritual chaodu, selecting the date as well as possible, depending on when the laypeople make the request. The sooner after the death it is performed, the more effective it is, but families can decide to commission a ritual chaodu at any moment, usually when they feel unpeaceful (buan, 不安). The duration of the ritual varies. It is adjusted according to the wishes and means of the petitioners. It used to be the case that a ritual could last a day and night, three days and three nights, or even a week. Today it is often compressed into a half day. It is usually performed in the afternoon, during the hours when the yin is regaining its ascendency over the yang, and when the deceased’s souls, which are particularly afraid of the yang and the life breaths,

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will be more disposed to respond to the officiants’ call. However, sometimes close ones ask for the ritual to be renewed (not at the various week-intervals but repeated once or several times in the following months or years). During the ritual, to help the souls get out of the underground jails, Daoist monks use a long, vertical banner (fan, 幡) bearing taboo characters (hui, 讳) that are not spoken but, like talismans, serve to guide the souls of the dead, showing them the path to escape the maze of the world beyond the grave. These ritually codified ideograms have a hidden meaning that remains obscure to the average layperson. They have the particularity of being made up of the element of the ghost, of the manes of the dead (gui, 鬼), which gives them a demonifuge power, and that of the rain (yu, 雨), which crowns many secret names. (On the element of the rain and its use in talismans, see Baptandier, 1994: 68.) Comprehension of these unutterable and unreadable characters is reserved for their recipient. Their drawing is accompanied by secret magic spells that give them a ritual effectiveness, and they mainly designate the names of ancestors and gods. Through the officiants, laypeople transmit food to the deceased, placing it on the altar. They also leave money (banknotes from the “bank of hell,” sold in stalls near the temple or paper money made for offerings, usually yellow) or paper clothing (which laypeople either cut out and glue within the temple or buy in shops) that will be transformed by fire so it reaches its recipients. The belief that certain characteristics of the human condition persist in the beyond, such as the need to eat and wear clothing, implies that offerings should be in keeping with the social position of the deceased’s family. The practice can also be viewed as a means of reasserting one’s social condition, which also continues to concern the dead. As Béatrice David explains: “Death is also used to display social prestige, of which an elaborate funeral is sometimes the measure, especially in the countryside where interment is still allowed” (2006: 114). Changes in society, particularly relating to the treatment of the dead, have also contributed to reshaping rituals. The reform of religious customs introduced by the communist state at the time of the Great Leap Forward, stipulating that the dead must be cremated rather than interred, partially ended some ritual practices. In particular, geomantic practices that once required assessments by Daoist officiants to find the right orientation for tombs or burial mounds, according to the site as well the deceased’s Eight Birth Characters, were ended, except in certain rural areas where burials continue to be practiced. Daoist monks are now sometimes asked to perform the chaodu ritual in the new crematoria, and even though the alignment of the sepulchers containing urns generally makes a fengshui assessment unnecessary, they continue to fulfill their role in relation to the souls of the deceased (on this new practice of “burying urns,” and on the funerary reforms and religious policies of the Chinese government in the twentieth century, see V. Goossaert and Fang, 2008). Some times of the year are particularly conducive to the performance of rituals for the crossing of souls, such as the Three Grand Festivals for the Dead (Sanda guijie, 三 大鬼节); the day of the Pure Brightness festival (Qingming, 清明), which traditionally takes place around the vernal equinox (around April 5), a celebration that is linked

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to the worship of the dead, when people traditionally go to tombs to sweep them and sometimes still follow the custom of “eating cold food” for three days (also called no-fire days); the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the midyear celebration (zhongyuan, 中 元), also known as the “ghost festival” (鬼会, guihui), celebrated when it is said that the doors of Hell open; and the first day of the tenth month, the “Sending Winter Clothes [to the Dead] festival” (Song hanyi, 送寒衣, when Chinese families worship their ancestors by burning spirit-clothes made of colored paper by the graveside (on theses festivals as sequences of the funeral rituals, see Naquin, 1988: 44–46). The rituals performed on those days are usually commissioned by specific laypeople, but they can benefit all wandering souls. If the auspicious nature of certain days is taken into consideration when deciding the dates of rituals, conversely they cannot be performed on days considered unlucky. When these celebrations fall on days when all ritual activity is prohibited, they span three days instead of one, and are suspended on the second day when worship is forbidden. After these rituals for the dead, or purification rituals, officiants must wash off emissions due to the effluvia of the dead. When there has been contact with the body of the deceased, officiants are required to go to the public baths before returning to the temple. Other rites to fight the avenging ghosts As mediators between human beings and gods, Daoist monks know how to detect evils caused by the avenging ghosts. They do not necessarily need to resort to elaborate rituals to enter into communication with gui. When a Daoist monk suspects that a lost soul is responsible for a petitioner’s illness, he can enter into communication with it more simply by means of certain acupuncture points on the body of the patient, which he can use to locate the spirit, communicate with it, and expel it. The monk can also use exorcism practices like the one that makes it possible to “escape contaminated breaths” (bixie, 避邪) by means of “talismans” (fu, 符) and “incantations” (zhou, 咒), that is to say magic and secret “ritual arts” (fashu, 法术). The belief in bad deaths is such that, beyond the rituals performed by Daoist masters, other practices come into play that do not necessarily require the participation of a religious specialist, or they take place in another context. For example, there is a custom of performing marriages between victims of bad deaths, known as ghost marriages (guihun, 鬼婚), or posthumous marriages (yinhun, 阴婚), to attempt to improve their afterlife situation and appease them so they will leave the living in peace. David explains that since the daughter’s position does not give her the right to an ancestral status in her father’s patrilineage: “The woman can only acquire this ancestral position through marriage; hence the posthumous marriage of the spirits of dead children, which allows the spirits of dead daughters to take a place in their posthumous spouse’s family altar,” and families therefore often appeal to an intermediary just as they do in the case of an ordinary marriage, and this person is often able to act as a medium entering into verbal communication with the dead. “Parents who initiate the matrimonial union of their

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son, whether he is living or dead, confide the task of finding his fiancée to the manmaipo [the-woman-who-asks-questions-of-rice]” (David, 2000:141). (On posthumous marriages, see Ahern, 1973: 136; Wolf, 1974: 150–152; Jordan, 1985: 140–155.) In another area, the pilgrimage to Mount Fengdu is also an important practice observed by many. As an earthly symbol of the entrance to the Daoist hells where the souls of the deceased are temporarily consigned, Mount Fengdu is both a mountain – located on the upper Yangzi River near the famous Three Gorges in the easternmost part of Sichuan province – and a mythical location in the Daoist scriptures of the Six Dynasties. As Sandrine Chenivesse has shown, people go there “to worship their deceased but also to untie the ‘knots of death’ and proclaim the ‘vow of living.’” A mandala map “presents the concise, symbolic representation of the world beyond the grave, but it is also a peregrination tool that makes it possible to venture to the heart of this fearsome place, where there is a concentration of destructive powers and the crowd of people who died bad deaths” (Chenivesse, 1998: 325). Daoist monks have the task of helping repair and getting beyond both good and bad deaths. As Christine Mollier has written, “the rite gives everyone, without exception, the possibility of having a good death” (2001: 102). Furthermore, Daoist masters themselves, through the quest for immortality they pursue, represent a sort of challenge against death.

Striving to avoid death In China, Daoist monks are among the principal officiants providing support for the dead. But when it comes to their own mortality it is blasphemous to say that one of them is “dead.” According to the internal language of the ritual arts, one is supposed to say that the monk “turned into a bird” (yuhua, 羽化), the bird or bird-man in this case symbolizing the heavenly ascension of the “true beings” (zhenren, 真人) that these ascetics seek to become. It is not that they think each one of them has the ability to avoid ordinary death, but rather they traditionally prefer to speak of death as a metamorphosis in consideration of those among them who truly succeed in becoming immortals. In their position as monks – in Chinese literally “those who have left their family/home” (chujia ren) – with their characteristic lack of descendants, they are not subject to the risk of a bad death by virtue of the merits accumulated through self-cultivation practices and through their station as officiants (Herrou, 2013: 180–188; 220–223). Remember that Daoist religion is ultimately less concerned with death and the beyond than with life itself, which is supposed to be prolonged, the goal being to attain immortality, literally a “long life without dying” (changsheng busi, 长生不死). Immortality is a complex notion. It is gradual, if we agree that immortals can be either earthly beings, enduring in the human world with the same body, though transfigured, or celestial, beings who have departed to distant regions or to Isles of the Blessed. And in any case, it goes hand-in-hand with a certain discretion. Although mythology includes immortals who ascend to heaven in broad daylight, it is usually a question

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of humans who feign death and hide their long-life transformation. Henri Maspero describes the “apparent” or “fake” “death” of the immortal, or “deliverance from the corpse” (shijie, 尸解): “Before he leaves, in order not to disrupt the society where death is a normal event, he pretends to die. He leaves behind a sword or stick, which appears like his corpse. The mourners cry over it and proceed to bury it” (1971: 284). According to the Daoist monks’ conception of immortals (xian, 仙), on the surface they are anthropomorphic. They are hard to distinguish from ordinary humans as they continue to evolve among them or occasionally appear in their world. However, some so-called supernatural characteristics enable well-informed followers to detect them: in addition to their ability to fly from one place to another and their gift of ubiquity, immortals produce no shadow, even in direct sunlight, since they themselves have become sources of light, water does not wet them, fire does not burn them, the cold no longer affects them, they eat little, etc. Today, while Daoist followers continue to secretly transmit, from master to disciple, recipes for long-life elixirs and techniques for meditation and breath-work in hope of approaching immortality, even of attaining the Dao (which is translated as the Way or Path to Follow, but which more generally designates the ineffable principle at the root of all things), some of them, those considered most deserving, are likened to immortals during their lifetime. For example, today this is the case for the last of the old monks who entered the monastery in “the China of the past,” before the Cultural Revolution, those who lived through the vicissitudes of the twentieth century and the long period when all religions were prohibited, which saw them return to secular life before being later allowed to return to religious life and make the revival of the 1980s possible. The faithful at the temples speak of them as “living immortal-gods” (huo shenxian, 活神仙). Although the expression almost sounds clumsy to the ears of monks who believe that gods and immortals are necessarily alive, it reminds us that belief in immortality in contemporary Chinese society is still very meaningful. To say the least, it constitutes a genuine challenge against death, which can be repaired and sublimated, if not avoided, by those who strive to take control of their own destiny and do everything they can to push back the limits of human life.

References Ahern, E. M. (1973). The Cult of the Dead in a Chinese Village. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Baptandier, B. (1994). “Le tableau talismanique de l’Empereur de Jade. Construction d’un objet d’écriture.” L’homme 129: 59–92. ——— (ed.) (2001). De la malemort en quelques pays d’Asie. Paris, Karthala. Chenivesse, S. (1998). “Fengdu: cité de l’abondance, cité de la male mort.” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 10: 287–339. Couvreur, S. (1951 [1913]). Li-ki ou ceremonial. Paris: Cathasia. David, B. (2000). “L’échange verbal entre les morts et les vivants en Chine. La médiation rituelle de la manmaipo, ‘la-femme-qui-interroge-le-riz’.” Archives de sciences sociales des religions 111: 135–148. ——— (2006). “Funérailles.” In T. Sanjuan (ed.) Dictionnaire de la Chine contemporaine. Paris: Armand Colin. 114–115.

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Despeux, C. (1981). Taiji quan. Art martial, technique de longue vie. Paris: Guy Trédaniel. Gernet, J. (1990). Chine et christianisme. La première confrontation. Paris: Gallimard. Goossaert, V. and Fang, L. (2008). “Les réformes funéraires et la politique religieuse de l’Etat chinois, 1900–2008.” Archives de sciences sociales des religions 144: 51–72. Herrou, A. (2010). “A Day in the Life of a Daoist Monk.” Journal of Daoist Studies 3 : 117–148. ——— (2013). A World of Their Own: Daoist Monks and Their Community in Contemporary China, trans. L. Kohn. Dunedin: Three Pines Press. Jones, S. (2010). In Search of the Folk Daoists of North China. 华北民间道士与法事. Surrey, UK: Ashgate. Jordan, D. (1985 [1972]). Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors: The Folk Religion in Taiwan. Berkeley: University of California. Kaltenmark, M. (1960). “Ling-pao: Note sur un terme du taoïsme religieux.” Mélanges publiés par l’Institut des hautes études chinoises 2: 559–588. Kohn, L. (2007). “Ethics and Morals.” In F. Pregadio (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Taoism, 1. London: Routledge. 99–100. Maspero, H. (1971). Le taoïsme et les religions chinoises. Paris: Gallimard. Mollier, C. (2001). “De l’inconvénient d’être mortel pour les taoïstes de la Haute Pureté.” In B. Baptandier (ed.) De la malemort en quelques pays d’Asie. Paris: Karthala. 79–105. Naquin, S. (1988). “Funerals in North China: Uniformity and Variation.” In J. Watson and E. Rawski (eds.) Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press. 37–70. Palmer, D. (2008). “Chinese Religious Innovation in the Qigong Movement.” In A. Y. Chau (ed.) Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation. London: Routledge. 182–202. Stuart, T. (1988). “Death, Food, and Fertility.” In J. Watson and E. Rawski (eds.) Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China. Berkeley: University of California Press. 71–108. Watson, J. (1982). “Of Flesh and Bones: The Management of Death Pollution in Cantonese Society.” In M. Bloch and J. Parry (eds.) Death and Regeneration of Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 155–186. Wolf, A. (1974). “Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors.” In A. Wolf (ed.) Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press. 131–182.

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North American indigenous afterlife beliefs Joseph A. P. Wilson Introduction Today, most Native Americans are Christians and hold corresponding afterlife beliefs (Morrison 2002; Stockel 2004; Vilaça and Wright 2009). In previous centuries, hundreds of distinct ethnic and linguistic groups gave rise to a wide range of different afterlife beliefs, with some common themes. For example, in the Northwest Coast, Arctic, and Subarctic, animistic soul concepts commingled with notions of crossspecies reincarnation and multiple souls coexisting in individual bodies. The many “persons” of the animate material universe may be directly engaged with by skilled individuals, reminiscent of Siberian shamans. Migratory Navajo and Apache peoples represent a late prehistoric incursion of this northern cultural pattern into the desert Southwest United States, and indeed these affiliated groups retain an eschatology typical of their Subarctic-dwelling kin. In contrast, the Pueblo desert agriculturalist populations of the Southwest regard the hydrologic cycle as the basis for their distinctive eschatology; souls of the dead transmigrate back and forth between the life-giving rainclouds and the life-giving springs. Afterlife beliefs in the equestrian societies of the Great Plains are not well-defined, likely an effect of cultural synthesis between disparate hunting and agrarian groups in nineteenth-century confederations. Likewise, determining the status of traditional afterlife beliefs in the Eastern Woodlands is not straightforward. The ethnographic record in the East is piecemeal as many groups were conquered and displaced (and/or assimilated and converted) long before a reliable ethnographic record was established. Some eastern Iroquoian, Siouan, and Algonquian groups apparently maintained beliefs in a paradisiacal afterlife, which may be indigenous, or may owe to the influence of Christian monotheism. That these paradise beliefs are occasionally attested to in sources from the contact-traditional period is not conclusive, as the objectivity of these early modern authors is in doubt. Finally, the influence of Christian apocalyptic eschatology was profound in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century prophet-centered native revitalization movements of the Eastern Woodlands, Great Plains, and Intermountain West,

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and similar patterns have arguably contributed to the syncretic character of panIndian traditions such as the Powwow movement, where Christian and Indigenous religious ideas are seamlessly commingled.

Animism and reincarnation in northern and western North America (Arctic, Subarctic, Northwest Coast, and Athabaskan Southwest) Prior to the spread of Christianity, belief in animism was especially widespread in native North America. Today it persists in localities and is commingled with Christianity in particular cases, for example among central Subarctic Cree (Berkes 1999). Animism is the belief that the cosmos is animated with a soul-principle, not limited to humans and animals, but also plants, specific places, and natural forces. In contrast to pantheism (which also posits a universal soul in nature), animism is not strictly monistic, and instead emphasizes the particular distinct qualities of different animate entities. The study of animism in North America was central to the early development of the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and the scientific study of religion, under the guise of social evolutionism (Durkheim 1912: 68–71; Spencer 1876–1886; Tylor 1871). Classical social theory viewed animism as an archaic religious template which complex societies inherited and from which they developed their own distinct soul concepts. This understanding hinged on an absolute dichotomy between body and spirit derived from Western theology. Social evolutionism has since fallen out of favor, yet animism has retained its currency, not as a universal proto-religion built upon a metaphysical dichotomy, but rather as a relational ontology with broad application (Hornborg 2006). Rather than presume animism is based on belief in supernatural spirit, the contemporary paradigm for animism studies regards it as more concerned with the interaction of forces and substances, i.e. with natural relationships, not supernatural ones. This more nuanced understanding of animism owes much to A. Irving Hallowell’s term, “other-than-human persons,” used to describe human-nonhuman relations in the animist worldview of central Subarctic Northern Ojibwa (Hallowell 1960). Personhood is not confined to one category of being, and even so-called inanimate objects may be animate beings of a different order. Concepts of the afterlife in animistic systems (where nothing is really dead) may appear idiosyncratic. Broad regional patterns are punctuated with innumerable local variations. While there is no single animistic eschatology, this perspective suggests that death is a change in natural state from one order of personhood to another. Generalized animistic beliefs are common around the world, but North American animistic cosmologies stand apart from the others in that animistic beliefs are often conjoined with reincarnation beliefs and with cross-species (human-to-animal) rebirth beliefs in particular. Gananath Obeyesekere examines the reincarnation beliefs of multiple Native American groups residing on the Northwest Coast, Arctic and Subarctic. He observes that “their theories have an underlying ideological resemblance to South Asian religions [. . .] in the view that animals and even

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plants are endowed with consciousness” (Obeyesekere 2002: 38–39). They are thus distinct from the eschatologies of other small-scale societies, and rather form part of a broad pattern which extends deep into Siberia and Central Asia, all the way to India (Obeyesekere 2002: 89). As Antonia Mills notes, “concepts of reincarnation in the New World have doubtless continued to be influenced by [. . .] Siberian shamanism (itself affected by Buddhist belief and practice)” (Mills 1994: 20–22). Shamanism is a notoriously slippery concept. Shamans in animistic societies might most simply be regarded as those individuals most skilled at interacting with other-than-human persons. The Siberian term “shamanism” is overused in indigenous religious studies. It does not neatly conform to a coherent global pattern of beliefs, but is employed haphazardly in different indigenous settings (Kehoe 2000). Classical Siberian shamanism (where the concept originated) is nonetheless relevant to the study of northern North American belief systems, owing to millennia of continuous criss-cross diffusion between Siberia and Alaska (Fitzhugh 1994). Widespread Athabaskan languages share cognate terms for reincarnation (e.g. Gwich’in, natliʔ and Slavey, ndaadlinha’) suggesting the concept was present in early Athabaskan speech communities in Alaska, before the Athabaskan expansion came to dominate the Western continental interior during the Common Era (Mills 1994: 20). Indeed, similar reincarnation eschatologies are also reported in descendant Athabaskan communities as far away as California and the desert Southwest (Bourke 1892: 470; Haile 1943; Powers 1877: 110). Northwest Coast Tlingit (linguistic cousins of the Athabaskans) also have beliefs with pronounced resemblance to Indic eschatology. Specific examples include a taboo against remembrance of past lives, and rebirth as the “flame” of individual consciousness lighting the “lamp” of a new body (Stevenson 1974: 222). Notions similar to karma (reward and punishment after death) are exceedingly rare in small-scale indigenous societies, even where rebirth or reincarnation eschatologies are present (Obeyesekere 1994: xix). Notable exceptions are found in specific Athabaskan and other western Subarctic (inland Inuit) communities, where persons are reborn either as humans or less auspicious species (bears, snakes, lemmings, etc.) depending on individual character or deeds (Bancroft 1875: 527; Igjugȃrjuk and Rasmussen 2001; Petitot 1878: 26; Powers 1877: 110). Northern North American animists share with Native Siberian peoples a view that two or more souls co-inhabit a single body. Whereas “soul” or “self” is singular for most organized religions, American and Siberian animists often regard the human person as a complex of elements and thus multiple, commingled souls may have different fates. Multi-soul ontology is a widespread feature of American and Siberian shamanism from Hudson’s Bay to Bering Strait, and from Bering Strait to the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. The component soul-“parts” of an individual may number between two and six within this vast geographic range. Furthermore, the specific traits of particular component souls are so characteristically similar across this range that it is strongly indicative of retention from a common ancestor tradition rather than coincidental independent origins.

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Examples will illustrate this. The Nentsi of the lower Yenisei valley in Northwest Siberia possessed a belief in a three-component soul where two of these components are virtually identical to the shadow-soul and breath-soul found in Native American societies from Alaska to Arizona. Just as among most Athabaskan-language speakers in North America, the Nentsi shadow-soul is considered to be a malign ghost (capable of returning to molest the family), whereas the breath-soul is considered benign or beneficent. Furthermore, Nentsi, just like many Athabaskan groups, practiced strict name taboos (avoiding homophones resembling personal names, capable of summoning dangerous shadow-souls), and destroyed the deceased’s house and possessions in funerary customs precisely analogous to common Athabaskan practices (Perry 1983: 728). Among Southern Athabaskans, the thoracic organs (heart-lungs-liver) are considered to be a single super-organ, so the action of breath is a function of the working heart (Baldwin 1997: 27). The Northeast Siberian Yukaghir and neighboring Polar Yakut both have the same three-soul model as the Nentsi, with the intellect, shadow-soul, and breath-soul/heart-soul. Like the Southern Athabaskan Navajo and Apache, they conceive of breath as the action of the working heart. Furthermore, these two neighboring Siberian groups both believe in human-to-human reincarnation within family lineages (Jochelson 1910: 158–161). Similar reincarnation beliefs are found among many Athabaskan speakers. As stated above, many Athabaskan and Eskimo groups believed that at least a portion (often the breath/wind) of the human soul was capable of rebirth or reincarnation in the terrestrial sphere. The common historical context for this apparent affinity is borne out by current linguistic work demonstrating cognate terms for “wind soul” in far-flung members of the Dene-Yeniseian family, uniting Siberian and Athabaskan languages in an ethnic unit spanning the distance from the Yenisei valley to Hudson’s Bay (Kari and Potter 2010; McNeley 2009, 106). Thus we may describe what could be an old circumpolar eschatology involving an animate cosmos where multiple souls reside within individuals. Reincarnation of some of these souls is possible within and between biological species, while others may become disembodied, seek retribution, and cause harm.

Afterlife beliefs in the Pueblo Southwest: eschatology of the kachina religion Athabaskan speakers (Navajo and Apache) are by far the largest native populations in the Southwest today, but they arrived there five hundred to one thousand years ago at the earliest. The original inhabitants of the region are the Puebloans, village-dwelling desert agriculturalists, whose religion and afterlife beliefs are intimately intertwined with the life-giving cycles of agriculture. The agricultural symbolism of Pueblo animist religion and Navajo/Apache ceremonialism and mythology are heavily indebted to each other (Levy 1998). However, this fact emphatically does not extend to shared afterlife beliefs and eschatology. For Navajo and Apache, fear of a malignant ghost is the paramount funerary concern, and unceremonious abandonment of corpses was a

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common Athabaskan custom from Arizona to Alaska. For the Navajo, only the utmost holy individuals, i.e. revered elders who pass away peacefully and painlessly, can possess sufficient beauty (hózhó) so as not to be a threat to the living. In stark contrast, Pueblos regard the spirits of deceased relatives as essentially benign, and the dead return to the place of their origin among the honored ancestors (Cushing 1896: 404–405). This means Pueblo peoples routinely interred loved ones in the dirt floor of a domicile, allowing the physical essence of a kinsperson to reintegrate with the life-giving earth (Silko 1986). Such close proximity to corpses is anathema to Navajo and Apache. However, some similarity with Athabaskan custom is still observed, for instance in the burial of Zuni victims of violence in remote and isolated locations (Cushing 1896: 346). Zuni and (Athabaskan) Navajo customs have similar concerns about violent deaths, but differ in the overall degree of caution surrounding the danger of “ghost sickness” (caused by exposure to corpses). Zuni also (like Athabaskans) practice name taboos, avoiding personal names of the deceased (with few exceptions) and only refer to the dead in generic terms as kachinas, ancestor spirits associated with living water (Tedlock 1983: 508). Puebloans are descended from a number of distinct archaeological village cultures of the greater Southwest, including some in ancient Utah and Colorado. Today they form enclaves surrounded by Navajo and Apache territory in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. They are culturally and religiously cohesive, despite their remarkable linguistic diversity. The eastern Pueblos (Keresan and Kiowa-Tanoan speakers) are most heavily influenced by Roman Catholic missionaries from the Spanish colonial period, and practice a syncretized version of the Catholic faith, where Pueblo religious images are subsumed within the icons of Catholicism. Traditional Pueblo attitudes about the immortality of honored ancestors are complementary to traditional Catholic eschatology and funerary customs. Intricate Pueblo mythologies also share with institutional Christianity a grand apocalyptic concern for the end of the world (Barreiro 2010: 91). Western Pueblos (e.g. Hopi and Zuni) are generally more traditionalist than eastern Pueblos are today. Zuni reside in a part of northwest New Mexico where Catholic missionaries have operated since the sixteenth century, and the traditional kachina religion has coexisted there alongside that faith and has also been syncretized, albeit to a lesser extent than in the eastern Pueblos (Niebuhr 1995: 14). The reclusive Arizona Hopi (Uto-Aztecan speakers) were never directly colonized by a European power the way the other Pueblos were, and have thus preserved the purest forms of the ancient kachina religion. Western Pueblo traditionalism has diffused eastward in recent generations, contributing to a revitalization of traditionalism among the more Catholicized eastern Pueblos. The syncretism between Catholic saints and the hundreds of kachina spirits was aided by the fact that kachinas are not worshiped as deities, but are viewed as intercessors, functionally analogous to the saints they are commingled with. They are honored ancestors, and also the embodiment of natural forces, elements, principles, and concepts. As the dead return to the earth, they return to the domain of the kachinas and transmigrate between the earth and sky as part of the hydrological cycle. Thus

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rainclouds and sacred springs are both regarded as the embodiment of these beloved ancestors, who sustain the living with the rains. Kachinas are represented by masked dancers in ceremonies and as intricately carved painted dolls. The antiquity of the masked dancer tradition is suggested by their depiction in wall murals, rock art, and painted pottery from archaeological sites from the fourteenth century CE or earlier (Schaafsma 2007). For Zunis, human souls reside in the Lake of the Dead, a mythical lagoon in a hollow mountain below the confluence of the Zuni and Little Colorado Rivers, at the bottom of the northeast end of the Grand Canyon. This abode is a fullfledged civilization complete with houses and a Kiva (ceremonial structure), governed by the immortal kachinas who welcome the newly deceased. The origin of various coldblooded animal species is further explained in conjunction with the origin of death itself: as a consequence of the demise of ancient children whose mothers abandoned them in fear while attempting to cross the river (Cushing 1896: 343, 404–405). The Hopi regard the entrance to the underworld on the western horizon, in the San Francisco Peaks of Arizona where the sun journeys below the earth. The sun itself is the most important ancient kachina, and the escort for departed souls. The cyclical journey of a new kachina (a recently deceased person) to and from the underworld with the sun commences four days after death, when the breath-soul departs from the eastward-facing grave (Fewkes 1918: 526). (The auspicious character of the breath-soul is an attitude Hopi share with their Athabaskan neighbors.) Among Hopi and Zuni, the mourners will beseech the dead person, newly introduced to the world of kachinas, to be a staunch advocate for the interests of the living, in promoting rainfall and plant growth. I visited the San Francisco Peaks with a Hopi colleague in the late 1990s, and I observed firsthand a ring of crooked dwarf ponderosa pines growing near the very top of a mountain at around 12,000 feet of elevation. That the Hopi regard this place as the permanent abode of the kachinas is quite fitting, given both the proximity of the peak to the rainclouds themselves, and the naturally “muscular” anthropomorphism of the trees, which resemble kachina dancers in both size and shape.

The Great Plains: a synthesis of disparate afterlife beliefs No North American indigenous culture area is more iconic and generally recognizable than the equestrian Great Plains, and yet the aboriginal afterlife beliefs there are generally difficult to categorize or summarize because of the derived and synthetic character of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century multiethnic confederacies which are the basis for the regional culture pattern. Spanish horses transformed the Plains cultures quickly in less than a century, compelling a diverse range of former agriculturalists and foragers (from vastly separated border regions) to converge upon a new hunting paradigm, characterized by unprecedented mobility. Ghosts and spirits were a widespread concern and an explanation for illness and misfortune, as they were in many other regions. But ghosts were not an overwhelming or universal fear the way they were

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for some more westerly and northerly groups. Multiple distinct soul concepts were present, but no clear transcultural pattern of Plains ontology emerges in a review of the literature. Reincarnation eschatology was a common belief here too, but (again) markedly less developed than in the far Northwest. The presence of diverse immigrant ethno-linguistic groups from multiple regions can help to make sense of this apparent dilution of doctrines. Plains Indians generally lacked firm concepts of an “abode of the dead” connected with a specific place (St. Pierre and Long Soldier 1995: 99). This might likewise be explained as a function of high mobility, beyond what was typical for ancient hunters. Pedestrian foragers will typically cover the same migrational itinerary often enough to enable familiar places to form the basis for a concrete afterlife mythology. Specific familiar landscapes were also extremely sacred to full-fledged Plains horse cultures. But the increased likelihood that equestrian nomads would be born and later die in vastly separated terrains had rendered impractical the traditional reliance on a singular terrestrially construed “map” of the afterlife. The Plains cultural synthesis seems naturally to include elements derived from multiple diverse regions.

Eastern Woodlands afterlife and Christian eschatology: which came first? The literature on afterlife beliefs in the Eastern Woodlands is sparse. At the beachhead for transatlantic colonization beginning in the early Modern period, many native groups were displaced, assimilated, or otherwise decimated long before their afterlife beliefs were rigorously documented. The sources which do exist from the contacttraditional period are of questionable reliability, written in a theater of colonial power, where the authors’ objectives were often overtly political or missionary. How much of Eastern Woodlands eschatology is original, and how much was borrowed from the European Christians? Just as the echoes of Buddhist karma in Pacific coastal eschatology may reflect Asiatic influence on the circumpolar economy during the Common Era, so too must we consider the intense influence of Christianity upon Atlantic coastal peoples after Columbus. To some degree, archaeological evidence may mitigate this situation. Ritually destroyed tobacco pipes as grave goods in Adena burial mounds in Ohio from the first millennium BCE suggest that the now-commonplace North American dual-soul concepts may have archaic roots. Tobacco smoke is ethnographically linked to the alienable (breath) soul and the celestial sphere, while the destruction of grave goods is associated with the threat posed by the earthbound (shadow) soul (McElwain 1985: 42). Because malevolent sprits can cling to their former possessions, the ritual destruction of these objects can reduce risks posed by these loitering shades. The isolation of burial mounds from Adena residence sites is also consistent with concerns about the danger posed by earthbound spirits. Paradisiacal afterlives, with an abundance of game animals for the benefit of the virtuous dead (so-called “happy hunting grounds”), are widely attested among Algonquian,

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Siouan, and Iroquoian language communities of the Eastern United States, but these may have been strongly influenced by Christian eschatology and even by the Romantic American fiction of James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans (Cooper 1919 [1826]: 262). Yet Fenimore Cooper was not the first to interpret indigenous afterlife beliefs in a manner reminiscent of Western religious views. In 1588, Thomas Harriot (a scientist and client of Sir Walter Raleigh’s) described, in vivid detail, both a heaven-like and hell-like afterlife of the native religion. The virtuous dead of the Carolina Algonquians were alleged to reside among the Mantoac (“gods”; probably cognate with Algic “Manitou”). The damned, by contrast, are condemned to burn in a pit of fire (Harriot 2008 [1588]: 143–144). The obvious similarity of this description to the cosmic dualism of the Christian afterlife simply cannot be ignored. Later authors drew from the same reservoir of ideas, and now scholars must be cautious in accepting their claims at face value. Centuries of sustained European cultural hegemony mean that the possibility of intense syncretism must be given weight in any discussion of the ethnographic record. The likelihood of Christian influence only increases over time, and indeed there were half a dozen major religious revitalization movements led by charismatic prophets in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (among Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Muskogean peoples alike), which were very likely stimulated by awareness of the prestige afforded to the model of institutional Christianity by the ascendant Euro-Americans. A key way this is apparent is in the ubiquity of concepts of heaven and hell as eternal abodes for the deceased, observed in the prophetic traditions from throughout this region (Cave 2006). As native political fortunes were in decline, revitalization movements were on the rise, and were especially geared toward the reformulation and elaboration of native eschatology along Christian lines.

Conclusion Just as the systematic alienation of native peoples from their traditional territory moved rapidly westward in the nineteenth century, so too did this propensity for religious syncretism in the context of prophetic revitalization movements. The most famous late-nineteenth-century revitalization movement in the western United States was the Paiute prophet Wovoka’s “Ghost Dance,” which rapidly spread from Nevada to the Great Plains during the last phase of the Indian Wars. Wovoka’s career is directly parallel to those of the earlier Eastern prophets in numerous respects, including notably a similarly elaborate apocalyptic eschatology influenced by Christianity (Kehoe 1989: 6–7, 122–123). While most practitioners of Wovoka’s pan-Indian religious movement abandoned the new faith after the 1890 massacre of peaceful practitioners at Wounded Knee Creek, it did not disappear completely, even as it was officially banned by the U.S. Government. In particular, the Kiowa nation of the southern Great Plains continued to practice a more covert and cryptic version of the Ghost Dance throughout the 1890s and well into the second decade of the twentieth century. This Kiowa

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Ghost Dance tradition preserved a number of traditional songs which are still heard on the intertribal powwow circuit today. Thus a vital element of the Ghost Dance still survives (Kracht 1992: 472). Modern intertribal powwows have subtle but pervasive religious overtones, and seamlessly blend elements of Native American religion with overtly Christian doctrines. In this respect, the process of religious syncretism that began in the Colonial Era continues to the present day.

References Baldwin, Stuart J. (1997) Apacheans Bearing Gifts: Prehispanic Influence on the Pueblo Indians, Phoenix: Arizona Archaeological Society. Bancroft, Hubert H. (1875) The Native Races of the Pacific States of North America, Vol. 3, Myths and Languages, New York: D. Appleton & Co. Barreiro, José. (2010) Thinking in Indian: A John Mohawk Reader, Golden, CO: Fulcrum. Berkes, Fikret. (1999) Sacred Ecology, Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis. Bourke, John G. (1892) “The Medicine-Men of the Apache,” in J.W. Powell (ed.) Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, DC: Smithsonian: 443–603. Cave, Alfred A. (2006) Prophets of the Great Spirit: Native American Revitalization Movements in Eastern North America, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Cooper, James Fenimore. (1919) [1826] The Last of the Mohicans, New York: Scribner. Cushing, Frank Hamilton. (1896) “Outlines of Zuñi Creation Myths,” in J.W. Powell (ed.) Thirteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, Washington, DC: Smithsonian: 325–447. Durkheim, Émile. (1912) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, translated by Joseph Ward Swain, New York: George Allen & Unwin. Fewkes, J. Walter. (1918) “Sun Worship of the Hopi Indians,” in S. Searles (ed.) Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office: 493–526. Fitzhugh, William W. (1994) “Crossroads of Continents: Review and Prospect,” in W.W. Fitzhugh and V. Chaussonnet (eds.) Anthropology of the North Pacific Rim, Washington, DC: Smithsonian: 27–51. Haile, Berard. (1943) “Soul Concepts of the Navaho,” Annali Lateranensi 7: 59–94. Hallowell, A. Irving. (1960) “Ojibwa Ontology, Behavior, and World View,” in S. Diamond (ed.) Culture in History: Essays in Honor of Paul Radin, New York: Columbia: 19–52. Harriot, Thomas. (2008) “A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia.” In B. Schmidt (ed.) The Discovery of Guiana by Sir Walter Ralegh, Boston: Bedford: 141–148. Hornborg, Alf. (2006) “Animism, Fetishism, and Objectivism as Strategies for Knowing (or Not Knowing) the World,” Ethnos 71(1): 22–24. Igjugȃrjuk and K. Rasmussen. (2001) “Seeking Knowledge in the Solitude of Nature,” in J. Narby and F. Huxley (eds.) Shamans Through Time: 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge, New York: Putnam: 81–83. Jochelson, Waldemar. (1910) “The Yukaghir and the Yukaghirized Tungus, Part 2,” Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History 13(2): 135–342. Kari, James and Ben Potter. (eds.). (2010) The Dene-Yeniseian Connection, Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press. Kehoe, Alice B. (1989) The Ghost Dance: Ethnohistory and Revitalization, New York: Holt Rinehart and Winston. Kehoe, Alice B. (2000) Shamanism and Religion: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking, Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.

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Kracht, Benjamin R. (1992) “The Kiowa Ghost Dance, 1894–1916: An Unheralded Revitalization Movement,” Ethnohistory 39(4): 452–477. Levy, Jerrold E. (1998) In the Beginning: The Navajo Genesis, Berkeley: University of California Press. McElwain, Thomas. (1985) “Archaic Roots of Eastern Woodland Eschatology: A Soul-Dualism Explanation of Adena Mortuary,” Cosmos 1: 37–43. McNeley, James K. (2009) “Athabaskan, Ket, and Chinese Concepts of a Wind Vital Core of Human Life: A Family Resemblance?” Shaman 17: 103–115. Mills, Antonia. (1994) “Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit: Context, Distribution, and Variation,” in A. Mills and R. Slobodin (eds.) Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit, Toronto: University of Toronto Press: 15–37. Morrison, Kenneth M. (2002) The Solidarity of Kin: Ethnohistory, Religious Studies, and the Algonkian-French Religious Encounter, Albany: SUNY Press. Niebuhr, Gustav. (1995) “Zunis Mix Traditions with Icons of Church,” New York Times, 29 January: 14. Obeyesekere, Gananath. (1994) “Foreword,” in A. Mills and R. Slobodin (eds.) Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit, Toronto: University of Toronto Press: xi–xxiv. Obeyesekere, Gananath. (2002) Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth, Berkeley: University of California Press. Perry, Richard J. (1983) “Proto-Athapaskan Culture: The Use of Ethnographic Reconstruction,” American Ethnologist 10(4): 715–733. Petitot, Émile. (1878) Monograph of the Déné-Dindjiè Indians, translated by D. Brymner, Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada. Powers, S. (1877) Tribes of California, Contributions to North American Ethnology vol. 3, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Schaafsma, Polly (ed.). (2007) New Perspectives on Pottery Mound Pueblo, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Silko, Leslie Marmon. (1986) “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination,” Antaeus 57 (autumn): 882–894. Spencer, Herbert. (1876–1886) Principles of Sociology, 2 vols, New York: D. Appleton. Stevenson, Ian. (1974) Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, 2nd ed., Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. Stockel, H. Henrietta. (2004) On the Bloody Road to Jesus: Christianity and the Chiricahua Apache, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. St. Pierre, Mark and Tilda Long Soldier. (1995) Walking in the Sacred Manner, New York: Touchstone. Tedlock, Dennis. (1983) “Zuni Religion and World View,” in A. Ortiz (ed.) Handbook of North American Indians Volume 9: Southwest, Washington, DC: Smithsonian: 499–508. Tylor, Edward B. (1871) Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, 2 vols, London: John Murray. Vilaça, Aparecida and Robin Wright. (eds.). (2009) Native Christians: Modes and Effects of Christianity Among Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, Surrey: Ashgate.

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Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to offer a brief glimpse into the lives of indigenous African peoples as they go about the daily business of death, dying, and interaction with the afterlife. In order to accomplish such a task, we must recognize from the outset that these traditions have been largely invented through colonial and postcolonial encounters. This does not mean that the Kalahari of South Africa did not exist before colonialism, or that the Kalahari do not utilize the term indigenous for their own purposes (Barnard 2006, Barnard et al. 2006, Kuper 2003). Rather, we must remember that as traditional African beliefs have been categorized as indigenous by these globalizing forces, they have been ignored, idealized, infantilized, and destroyed (Mudimbe 1988). African scholar Okot p’Bitek (1973, 91) wrote at great length about Western projects like the one you hold in your hand, and in the end he offers Western scholars like myself a kind of golden rule of dialogue with African traditions: “Shut your mouth and ask no questions. Open your ears wide, and sharpen your eyes” (see also p’Bitek 1970). This may at first sound harsh to the reader, and yet one must realize the long and troubled past that has brought p’Bitek to this conclusion. Efforts to “understand” African traditions have often been guided by colonial and ethnocentric viewpoints. By way of example p’Bitek points to a conversation that transpired in the Nile Valley between Samuel Baker, a British naturalist, and a Lutoko elder named Commoro in the late nineteenth century (p’Bitek 1973, 91): B: C: B: C: B: C: B:

Do you believe in life after death? How could such a thing be? A man cannot get out of his grave! Do you believe that a man is like an animal then, and simply ends at death? An ox is stronger than a man, and surely its bones last longer after death. A man must certainly be superior to an ox. Many men are not nearly as clever as on ox. The mind is in fact independent from the body, and clarifies that the spirit of the person will surely live forever once the body has died. C: Where will the spirit live?

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Following this conversation Baker concludes that the Lutoko, and all other Africans like them, are a truly primitive people with no sense of anything “spiritual.” Baker’s questions begin with his own assumptions about the afterlife, and when Commoro answers from his own assumptions, Baker assumes the very worst of this elder. Commoro’s answers maintain an emphasis on wholeness as opposed to unity and/or transcendence in the abstract. There are many ways to go about introducing African experiences of death and dying, yet I have chosen to focus on one very simple point. The English-speaking person generally assumes a mind-body dualism that is not present in the African tongue. Commoro has no sense of what an immaterial person might be like, and underlines this point by asking a very reasonable question: where would someone like this live? This does not locate him as backward or lacking, but rather as a perfectly rational person operating from a very different set of assumptions about the nature of lived experience and the afterlife. One should not, and cannot, conflate the widely divergent cosmologies of the Dogon, the Luo, the Lutoko, the Akan, the Sumbara, and Shona with one another. At the same time, when these various groups of people speak of ancestors, the afterlife, and the nature of the supreme being they do so from a particularly African context. As we shall see, rather than concerning themselves with the disappearance, immateriality, immortality, salvation, or transcendence of the dead, an African experience of death and dying is really quite physical. Commoro asks Baker, where exactly would an immaterial eternal soul live? A consideration of African experiences of death and dying asks those of us living and studying in Western contexts to ponder the exact same question. The catch, of course, is that what ends as an almost intractable problem in modern contexts (mind-body dualism) has a rather simple and easy answer within the African continent. So, I ask the reader to join me on this short journey as I attempt to both unpack some more problematic assumptions about African traditions in general, while also offering a brief glimpse through the door of African experiences of death and dying.

Transcendence in African afterlife In his cross-cultural history, Douglas Davies (2005, 1–23) characterizes death as a “journey beyond.” He begins his Brief History of Death by considering accounts of mortality found in the epics of Gilgamesh, Adam and Eve, and Jesus Christ. The journey beyond is then painted largely as an act of transcendence, either through resurrection (e.g., Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), release (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism), or through some form of self-transcendence. Davies owes a certain theoretical debt to Maurice Bloch (1992, 86), who locates this process of self-transcendence in ancestral rites of both the Shona people of Southern Africa and the Merina of Madagascar. Allan Kellehear (2007, 117) picks up on Bloch’s theme as he writes, “The transcendental drives out the ‘vital’ so that over time the person becomes ‘entirely transcendental.’” If we were to simply leave the conversation here, it seems that the

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history of death and dying is a matter of transcending the limitations of the lived body (Kellehear 2007, 118). To do so, however, would be to risk conflating Davies’s three different forms of transcendence in such a way that we miss p’Bitek’s warning about the necessity of listening carefully to what African systems of thought can teach us about the nature of death and dying. David Chidester (1990), a well-known scholar of African traditions, has written at some length about death in a cross-cultural context, and he has in the process focused almost entirely on what he calls patterns of transcendence. Yet transcendence, as utilized by Chidester, is quite distinct from the term as used by Davies with regard to resurrection and/or release. When Chidester speaks of transcendence he is more aligned with Davies’s self-transcendence. In this case, people gain insight into the nature of death, and are subsequently able to contextualize this experience for the benefit of their communities. As we shall see, Chidester’s pattern of ancestral transcendence is a case in point. Death rituals performed by the Zulu often include various attempts to reverse the normal order of behaviors. They might take a dead body out of the back of a hut, opposite the front door, or walk backward as they carry the corpse toward its resting place. They may also dress with their clothing turned inside out, or say “no” when meaning “yes” at a funeral. These backward behaviors set the stage for an understanding of the land of the deceased seen as an exact opposite of the human realm. Offering another example from West Africa, the LoDaaga (or Dagara among the people I work with in Burkina Faso) play out similar rites, but also add an element of shared familial judgment. In this case, the recently deceased is eventually judged based on the moral fabric of their living relatives. In this case, it is especially important for these newly deceased ancestors to take an active role in the lives of the living (Chidester 1990, 66–71). In both cases we can see Chidester’s idea of transcendence as distinct from Kellehear’s notion of “entirely transcendental.” Africa is an exceedingly large and diverse place, and making generalizations about African systems of thought can be hazardous, yet one of the few commonalities regarding African understandings of the afterlife is that it is not transcendent in the sense of immaterial or absolutely other, but rather is understood as contiguous with the dayto-day lives of those people living within any community (Teffo and Roux 1998, 141). We find here a difference of degree, rather than of kind: a contiguous relationality that has been characterized by African philosopher Kwame Wiredu (1987, 161) as quasiphysicalism. It is this quasi-physicalism that must be grasped if the English-speaking reader is going to venture an approximation of African life after death.

Supreme being, African logic, and afterlife Wiredu (2007), among other scholars, has clarified that most African traditions have some idea of a Supreme Being, but as one might gather from the section above, this notion is not in keeping with a Christian ideal of monotheistic transcendence. Jacob K. Olupọna has written at some length on this topic, and he warns us not to judge

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African traditions as somehow lacking because they have no need for monotheistic versions of transcendence (2008, 89–103). It is again important to remember p’Bitek’s warning, and not attempt to see African understandings of transcendence through an Indo-European lens (Davies’s transcendence as resurrection or release). If we want to consider the nature of the relations between the órísá and their followers, how might we go about this without resorting to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or other Western motifs? I have tried for years to explain African quasi-physicalism to students, peers, and day-to-day acquaintances, and in that process I have stumbled upon the numbers zero and one. What, you might ask, could such numbers have to do with the nature of reality, death, and dying? My answer is: plenty. In an important book on the topic, philosopher of science Helen Verran has articulated in detail the different ways that Yoruba and English-speaking persons count. The history and biography of zero is a fascinating one, largely of Indo-European origins, but it has no place within the languages of indigenous African communities (Verran 2001, 62–64). To the extent that this is true, ideation around extinction, simple disappearance, or nihilism finds no place within indigenous African languages (Verran 2001, 62–64). The story of one, as in a transcendent, immaterial, or wholly other One does not find itself at home in African thought either. Pointing us in the direction of this numerical understanding of life and death, Verran writes, “Most [English-speaking] people are used to thinking of themselves as kin, as ‘having relations.’ [. . .] They are probably less familiar with thinking of themselves as relation” (Verran 2001, 100). Am I a one in relation to other ones, or am I a whole made up of a multiplicity of relations? This question goes right to the heart of African experiences of life and death. Numbers in the English system point to qualities, while numbers in the Yoruba system point to modes. Where the logician working in English is concerned with the relationship between the One and the Many, the Yoruba logician worries about the contrast between Whole and Part. Every event in the Yoruba language is understood as a whole made up of parts. There is no need for zero, an abstraction adopted in Indo-European base-ten numerical systems, within the Yoruba cosmology. There is also no sense of an autonomous one that could be understood outside the context of the many. As Verran is quick to point out, and to Olupọna’s point that we must take Yoruba and other African traditions on their own terms, this does not point to a lack of logic within the African systems, but rather toward an alternative logic. When a Yoruba person says something like, “He is in the state of being dead (ku),” rather than, “He is dead,” they are pointing us not toward a long ago pre-civilized past. They are speaking from a complex contemporary system of thought predicated on its own logic – a logic that is very different from that set of abstractions (zeros and ones) inherited from our Indo-European linguistic traditions, but a system no less complex for this difference. In fact, writes Verran, “Yoruba numeration, with it multi base nature [. . .] has a capacity to handle calculation that is far superior to the base-ten [Indo-European] scale” (Verran 2001, 63–64). The Yoruba system places a marked emphasis on the whole. When a person is alive, she is both a whole made up of parts, as well as a part of a whole. When a person dies, this relational context remains; she is still part of a whole, and a whole made

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up of parts. Where does one go when one dies? Do they disappear, or live in an immaterial realm for eternity? Following the conversation about logic above, traditional African beliefs see zero as an abstraction. One could not go to zero (nothingness) and thereby disappear, because zero is an abstraction that cannot be found within an indigenous African’s lived experience. It also follows that the idea of some transcendent one, an eternal realm (heaven) that is somehow separate from the whole of lived experience, similarly strikes the indigenous African as an unnecessary and unwarranted abstraction. So where does one go when they die? The answer is quite simple, they move to another village of course! One that is at some distance from the villages of the living, but one that is no less part of the quasi-physical whole that makes up existence for the indigenous African person. “Some say [the afterlife is located] besides our earth; some [say] that is beneath it” (Wiredu 2007, 31). What matters here, is that those who have passed live in a place and in a way that is very similar to our own. We can imagine Commoro laughing with us now, poking a little fun, for where else would they go?

The sticky stench of death Death stinks and it must be “cut” from the living or else it will infect those that it has yet contaminated. At least this is the sense of death shared among the Sambura people of northern Kenya. There is, of course, a certain stench that accompanies rotting flesh, but this is not exactly what the Sambura mean when they say that death has a certain stench. This smell is associated with stickiness. It clings to people, and those that share a relational field-physicality with those who have died or are dying are at risk of being contaminated by this sticky stuff called lkiye (death) (Straight 2007, 120). The idea that people have sensuous entangled bodies that are shared with those they are close to is fundamental to understanding indigenous African experiences of death and afterlife. Having worked for many years with the Sambura of northern Kenya, Bilinda Straight writes, “Samburu subjectivity is continually reconfigured and transformed as latukuny [shared quasi-physical body] slides from one person to the next in ways that defy dualistic categorization” (2007, 93). She emphasizes the importance of latukuny and the importance of “cutting” bodily ties to those who have been infected by death. Latukuny can be understood through examples given above: those who share space, live in close proximity, drink from the same cup, work in the same office, and watch the same team. All of these people are understood to share an inter-subjective sensuous body (i.e., latukuny). I feel my mother’s pain more than my neighbors because our bodies are more entangled, and my neighbor’s pain is far more palpable to me than that of the Samburu halfway across the world. Death shares in this inter-subjective sensuous physicality. Imagine a man who decides not to share the meat of a recently slaughtered cow with the elders in his village. This goes against Samburu custom, and more importantly, forces this man into a position where he will inevitably suffer the slight he has sent toward the elders within his own person. To hurt another is really to hurt oneself. In just such an instance, a Samburu man in Kenya sold his spoils to a butcher, without giving anything to the village. He

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died shortly thereafter from gastronomic issues attributed to his indiscretion (Holtzman 2009, 136). Now this man has gotten a little death on him, and if you are in some way connected to him, say from the sharing of food, then from the Samburu perspective there must be some ritual separation of your shared bodies. Otherwise the sticky stench of death will surely infect you just as surely as it had infected him.

Death is spatial Looking to Straight’s (2007) important work on the mortuary rites of the Samburu can be instructive. Newborn babies and elders pose little or no threat to the community when they die, while other deaths in the community are judged and spatially dealt with on a spectrum from sweet, and therefore good, to stinky and bad. When a grandparent dies of old age, for example, it is said by the Samburu that this person dies “smelling sweet.” This is an auspicious thing, and the elder is literally buried inside of the home. Among the Chaga, a Bantu-speaking people living at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya, this practice is taken one step further. The bodies of the elders are eventually dug up so that the skull of the elder can be removed. This skull is then buried once again at the base of a special tree, whereby a rock is placed over the top as a marker offering a point of origin for ongoing ritual relations with the ancestors (Hasu 1999). This spatialization, writes Luc de Heusch (1982, 3), is important among the Bantu, who spend more time tending to the inter-subjective sensuous physicality of death than talking about it. This privileging of space can be seen again among the Samburu, as they distinguish the death of sweet-smelling elders from the less pleasant odors of parents and other persons who have gone through various stages of maturation. Unlike the elders who might be buried within the home, other village members are left under acacia trees in more rural areas occupied by the Samburu, while in more densely populated areas the Samburu have begun to take on the practice of burying their dead (Straight 2007, 115–128). In either case, “clothes and ornaments are removed, their heads are shaved, and their corpses wrapped in an animal hide or blanket, positioned on their right side as if sleeping” (Straight 2007, 120). When the cause of death is bad (e.g., murder or the unnatural death of a young person), the person must be taken as far from the village as possible. In some cases, for example a young man dying within the actual village (which is more dangerous than the death of a young woman), the whole village is moved, leaving the body of the person where it lays. While this may seem extreme, it speaks to the importance of place and spatiality when dealing with death in Africa.

Elders and ancestors Wiredu makes an important distinction between ancestor worship and ancestor veneration. To worship the ancestors, he tells us, “would bespeak a general hankering after self-apotheosis difficult to imagine” (Wiredu 2007, 32). In effect, how strange would it

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be to worship oneself as especially divine? This is reminiscent of conversations I have had with Dagara elders that point to an important distinction between Christian and Dagara style “prayer.” In Dagaraland, one does not speak to a transcendent divinity. Such a practice would assume that there is someone or something that is wholly other in relation to this world. There are plenty of references to a Supreme Being in African languages, but no sense of some wholly other supernatural Being. The ancestors, then, are beings just like you or me. P’Bitek finds the Luo people of Central Africa making a similar point: “They were thought of as whole beings, not dismembered parts of man, i.e., spirits divorced from bodies” (qtd in Wiredu 2007, 31). Ancestors are not seen as non-physical aspects of dead people, no more than they are supernatural beings worthy of worship. They are “whole beings,” in keeping with our lesson in Yoruba logic above. They live in their own quasi-physical world right next to ours, and go about their business just like you and me. When elders pass they do not leave their bodies, rather they find themselves otherly bodied. Life then goes on as normal. “The fundamental reason for [any] cognitive dissonance” with this idea, writes Wiredu, “is that in these [African] thought systems existence is spatial: to exist is to be in space” (Wiredu 2007, 30). The nature of this normalcy is crucial to understand. African scholar Elijah Obinna (2013, 163) writes, “Among the Amasiri death is not about the ending of life, but the continuation of life in a new phase.” He goes on: “Death thus is perceived as a ‘call,’ which must be answered with a ‘yes’ and which nobody can refuse.” Among communities that have such a clear linkage between the realm of the living and that of the ancestors, it is common among elders to see their passing as a going home. Obinna and many others have recorded such sentiments throughout the African continent. Among people of the Central African republic of Congo, the world is made up of concentric circles, with the living connected to the recently dead and the recently deceased connected to the more revered beings who have become full-fledged ancestors, and on to some who have become revered by the larger community as especially important ancestors or “little gods.” Death for the Manianga in Congo is not about disappearance or decomposition, rather it is about a departure. This departure is not too far, however, for if the ancestors who have traversed to the realm of the dead are neglected, they have every right to make their dissatisfactions clear (Bockie 1993, 83). It is with regard to the need to feed the ancestors that I now turn toward the issue of libations and animal sacrifice.

Sacrifice, death, and community In 1897 the English ethnographer Mary Kingsley (1897, 143) wrote of the “welldisposed ones” (ancestors) in West African cosmologies. In writing about the relationship of Africans with these ancestors, Kingsley tells us that offerings are made to console and support these “human spirits” as they attempt to help in any way they can the families of the village. She is quick to assure the reader that these gifts are not

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sacrifices. The reason for the distinction made by Kingsley presumably lies within the context of a common understanding of sacrifice that continues to prevail today. The basic Judeo-Christian idea, which Kingsley is careful not to conflate with African traditions, is that a common object can be transubstantiated, by way of sacrifice, into something sacred (e.g., Catholic communion wafers and wine). In effect, the mundane can be made transcendent through ritual. The offerings used in West African traditions do not fit this Western definition for Kingsley. Presumably the problem lies in the rather mundane nature of these offerings of milk, blood, and meat. They are given, says Kingsley, in a way reminiscent of how one would support a family member or some other person in one’s life (Kingsley 1897, 143). The basic quasi-physical theme of African thought that I have been articulating can once again be located here. Writing on the topic of fetishism in West Africa in 1904, Robert H. Nassau made a similar point to the one articulated by Kingsley above when defining the nature of sacrifice. Unlike Kingsley, Nassau locates the practice of sacrifice at the very heart of all religion, and in fact intentionally conflates the terms worship and sacrifice in doing so. Helping us to understand the distinction Kingsley has made, Nassau distinguishes between what he sees as the “low” form of West African sacrifice (fetishism) and the higher Christian ideal. The Christian, he tells us, seeks salvation through a particular Being for a specific purpose. The motivating factor of the African, Nassau tells us, is fear. The African here is not moved by love, the giving of thanks, or out of the necessity of confession. The object of sacrifice is not an omnipotent transcendent God, but rather a host of “spirits” that are enmeshed in human affairs. The salvation sought, continues Nassau, is not that of a spiritual (read supernatural or transcendent) sort, but rather is “purely physical” (Nassau 1904, 258). This, for Nassua and Kingsley, is a sure sign of primitive beliefs. Both of these authors are trying to get at the definition of sacrifice as a process of sacrilization. This definition, whereby what is profane is made sacred via the act of sacrifice, was made famous by Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, who began their classic text on the nature of sacrifice within the context of Vedic ritual (Hubert and Mauss 1964, 52). While his understanding became important for generations of Western scholars working in Africa and elsewhere, de Heusch characterizes Hubert and Mauss’s work as beholden to a familiar brand of “Indo-European ethnocentrism” (de Heusch 1985, 4). The basic issue that de Heusch locates in Hubert and Mauss’s account of African thought revolves around the distinction they set up between the sacred (transcendent) and the profane (physical). It is important to remember at this point that both Kingsley and Nassau are at pains to make a clear distinction between those who partake in sacrifice in the manner characterized by Hubert and Mauss and those (i.e., indigenous Africans) who do not. “African thought,” writes de Heusch (1985, 196), “does not separate matter and spirit, seeds and ‘souls.’” In effect, de Heusch is in complete agreement with Kingsley and Nassau, at least on one count. Sacrifice, in an African context, has nothing at all to do with Hubert and Mauss’s idea of sacrilization. As both Kingsley and Nassau have pointed out, Africans do not make a distinction between the physical/natural and the immaterial/supernatural.

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Through a detailed excursion through multiple African ritual systems, de Heusch brings home this idea, distinguishing at one crucial point in his study an important difference between otherwise very similar god-men, Jesus Christ and the Dogon savior-god, Nommo. Both are sacrificed for the good of the people, both are resurrected, and yet the outcomes of resurrection are quite distinct. It is important to point out, in contrast to Nassua and Kingsley, that de Heusch does not make a value judgment regarding these distinctions. Rather, he sees them as equally interesting cultural variations on a theme. Christ’s sacrifice brings about an internal form of salvation whereby the souls of Christian followers are saved, and thereby granted entrance into an infinite and transcendental heavenly realm. Nommo’s resurrection, in contrast, affects a wholly physical change in the day-to-day lives of the Dogon. For these African people there is no future-oriented perfected realm, nor is there a sense of some abstract or transcendent realm or Being that is wholly other (i.e., supernatural). Nommo’s resurrected body becomes the very body or substance of the world. Both Vedic and Christian sacrificial rituals are meant to transubstantiate the transient and impure into the higher stasis of divine purity. African sacrifice, and subsequently African understandings of life and death, has quite a different purpose. Sacrificial rituals among the Tallensi of Northern Ghana, for example, are understood as a necessary means of transaction between the living and those in the realm of the dead. Prayer in the Tallensi context is equivalent to the sacrifice of animals and libations of water, milk, beer, etc., for the ongoing nurturance of relationships between these two realms (Fortes 1987, 22–23).

Conclusion: death and dying in a modern world By way of closing, I would like to bring the reader’s attention to words written by anthropologist Brad Weiss. Modernity, he tells us, “not only transforms the relation of subjects to objects and person to each other, but [it also] decisively severs these relations, producing only ‘alienation’ out of what was once ‘authentic’ value” (Weiss 1996, 220). Weiss is concerned about the effects of modernity and a possible loss of meaning among the Haya people of Northwest Tanzania in particular and indigenous communities throughout Africa in general. This corresponds, says Weiss, to what Bourdieu and others have called the disenchantment of the world. Bruno Latour (2010, 2) has famously defined moderns as people who believe that other people believe. And yet belief plays no role in African experience of the afterlife. Belief is a particularly Judeo-Christian, Muslim, and finally modern invention. To this end Guy G. Stroumsa (2009, 138) writes of a “radical transformation of religion into a phenomenon that is above all internal – the vera religio [true religion] established over the belief with Augustine.” Here Christians have “true religion.” This internalization of religious practices has informed and motivated the great majority of

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Western scholarship on religion, which has been overly determined by Judeo-Christian concerns about subjective experiences, i.e., beliefs. Yet the vast majority of nonWestern religious communities have largely inverted this scenario. They tend to place the majority of emphasis on how someone acts, what they eat, or who they marry, not on what that person believes (see Nongbri 2013, 94–96, Schilbrack 2014, 70–25). While questions of belief motivate many Western conversations around life after death, the indigenous African views the other world as a “this-worldly institution,” and therefore seeks to find the best way to maintain and nurture relationships with those who are there (Wiredu 2007, 32). Throughout this essay I have hoped to show just how very ordinary life and death is within an African context. Interactions with the deceased are a regular aspect of daily life, and journeys between lands demarcated for the living and dead are fluid. The paths between villages of the living and villages of the dead are often and easily traversed. While so many twentieth-century thinkers assumed the eventual demise of religious beliefs – think Durkheim, Marx, and Weber – recent scholarship paints a more complex picture (Mercadante 2014, Norris and Inglehart 2011, Taylor 2007). In one comprehensive study recently published by the University of Chicago, the number of people who do not believe in life after death dropped from twenty-one percent to fifteen percent between 1973 and 2006. During a similar time span, the number of people who do believe in afterlife rose from sixty-nine percent to seventy-three percent, and an increase in those who are unsure rose from nine to almost twelve percent (Smith 2009). I cite these numbers not to make a case for the truth of African systems of thought, wherein people know quite clearly that there is life after death. Rather I mean to defend the case for what Rowland Abiodun called the Yoruba “aesthetic of the cool” (qtd in Hallen 2000, 129). Barry Hallen (2000, 71) describes a person with this “cool” temperament as a “patient person, [who] is far more likely to listen to and observe carefully what is happening, and to speak with apperception and perspicacity.” Hallen’s words bring us back to p’Bitek’s suggestion to listen before making any judgments. Africans have not followed the Indo-European fascination with the One as distinct from the Many. Instead, they have focused on wholes. The life of a person is part of a larger whole, just as much as it is a whole made up of a multitude of relations. Life after death is no different. Rather, it is understood as simply another mode of being, another whole, made up of similar relations. Death is a journey to be sure, but not one beyond the natural world. Death shares in the same inter-subjective sensuous physicality that all living persons enjoy. It is a natural occurrence that has nothing to do with a supernatural other. In the end we must get beyond our fascination with ones and zeros, transcendence and extinction. In order to understand the African context of death and dying, we must see ourselves as a multiplicity of relations as well as a multiplicity of wholes. To the extent that we are able to accommodate these traditions, we just might follow p’Bitek’s advice and succeed in opening ourselves to a whole other rich and complex way of being with death and dying.

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References Barnard, Alan (2006). “Kalahari Revisionism, Vienna and the ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Debate.” Social Anthropology 14 (1):1–16. Barnard, Alan, Mathias Guenther, Justin Kenrick, Adam Kuper, Evie Plaice, Trond Thuen, Patrick Wolfe, and Werner Zips (2006). “The Concept of Indigeneity.” Social Anthropology 14 (1):17–32. Bloch, Maurice (1992). Prey into hunter: The politics of religious experience, the Lewis Henry Morgan lectures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bockie, Simon (1993). Death and the invisible powers: The world of Kongo belief. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Chidester, David (1990). Patterns of transcendence: Religion, death, and dying. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub. Co. Davies, Douglas James (2005). A brief history of death, Blackwell brief histories of religion. Malden, MA: Blackwell. de Heusch, Luc (1982). The drunken king, or, the origin of the state, African systems of thought. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. de Heusch, Luc (1985). Sacrifice in Africa: A structuralist approach. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Fortes, Meyer (1987). Religion, morality, and the person: Essays on Tallensi religion, essays in social anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hallen, Barry (2000). The good, the bad, and the beautiful: Discourse about values in Yoruba culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Hasu, Päivi (1999). Desire and death: History through ritual practice in Kilimanjaro. Saarijärvi: Finnish Anthropological Society. Holtzman, Jon (2009). Uncertain tastes: Memory, ambivalence, and the politics of eating in Samburu, northern Kenya. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hubert, Henri, and Marcel Mauss (1964). Sacrifice: Its nature and function. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kellehear, Allan (2007). A social history of dying. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kingsley, Mary H. (1897). “The Fetish View of the Human Soul.” Folklore 8 (2): 138–151. doi: 10.2307/1252969. Kuper, Adam (2003). “The Return of the Native.” Current Anthropology 44 (3): 389–402. doi: 10.1086/368120. Latour, Bruno (2010). On the modern cult of the factish gods. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Mercadante, Linda A. (2014). Belief without borders: Inside the minds of the spiritual but not religious. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mudimbe, Valentin Y. (1988). The invention of Africa: Gnosis, philosophy, and the order of knowledge, African systems of thought. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Nassau, Robert Hamill (1904). “The Philosophy of Fetishism.” Journal of the Royal African Society 3 (11): 257–270. doi: 10.2307/714949. Nongbri, Brent (2013). Before religion: A history of a modern concept. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart (2011). Sacred and secular: Religion and politics worldwide. 2nd ed, Cambridge studies in social theory, religion and politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Obinna, Elijah (2013). “Ritual and Symbol: Funeral and Naming Rituals in an African Indigenous Community.” In Critical reflections on indigenous religions, edited by James L. Cox. Surrey, England: Ashgate. 159–174. Olupọna, Jacob K., and Terry Rey (2008). Òrìșà devotion as world religion: The globalization of Yorùbá religious culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. p’Bitek, Okot (1970). African religions in Western scholarship. Kampala: East African Literature Bureau.

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p’Bitek, Okot (1973). Africa’s cultural revolution. Nairobi: Macmillan Books for Africa. Schilbrack, Kevin (2014). Philosophy and the study of religions: A manifesto, Wiley Blackwell manifestos. Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell. Smith, Tom W. (2009). Religious change around the world. Chicago: Templeton Foundation. Straight, Bilinda (2007). Miracles and extraordinary experience in northern Kenya, Contemporary ethnography. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Stroumsa, Guy G. (2009). The end of sacrifice: Religious transformations in late antiquity. American ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Taylor, Charles (2007). A secular age. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Teffo, Lesiba J., and Abraham P. J. Roux (1998). “Metaphysical Thinking in Africa.” In The African philosophy reader, edited by P. H. Coetzee and A. P. J. Roux. London: Routledge. 134–148. Verran, Helen (2001). Science and an African logic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Weiss, Brad (1996). The making and unmaking of the Haya lived world. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Wiredu, Kwasi (1987). “The Concept of Mind with Particular Reference to the Language and Thought of the Akans.” In African philosophy, edited by Guttorm Fløistad. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. 153–179. Wiredu, Kwasi. 2007. “African Religions.” In The Routledge companion to philosophy of religion, edited by Chad Meister and Paul Copan. London: Routledge.

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Overcoming death in new religious movements Susan J. Palmer New religious movements (NRMs) and “small sects” have been a familiar feature of the North American religious landscape since the early 1700s. It is interesting to note, however, that death in NRMs has rarely been a topic or an issue (Melton 2005). Aside from occasional violent episodes (notably the murders perpetrated by the Charles Manson Family (1974); the mass suicides/homicides of Jonestown, the Solar Temple, and Heaven’s Gate between 1978 and 1997; and the 1995 sarin gas attack by Aum Shinrikyo – events which received extensive and sensationalistic coverage in the media), death in NRMs was neither a topic nor an issue (Melton 2005). In fact, the question of how NRMs approach the problem/reality of death; of how they imagine the afterlife – in doctrine, myth, or ritual, has been largely ignored – by journalists, by NRM scholars, and even by the charismatic founder prophets and theologians of the groups themselves (with a few notable exceptions). One of the most puzzling characteristics of the new religions that emerged in America (and in Europe) in the mid- to late twentieth century has been their tendency to ignore, or downplay, death. Why is this puzzling? Because “imagining death,” reminding members of their mortality and preparing congregations for the afterlife, has generally been considered a major function and defining characteristic of religion. The late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century anthropologists who studied “primitive” societies defined “religion” as the belief in spiritual beings and argued the main function of religion was to explain the mysteries of life and death (Tylor 1881). Malinowski (1948: 71) notes: “The existence of strong personal attachments and the fact of death, which of all human events is the most upsetting and disorganizing to man’s calculations, are perhaps the main sources of religious belief.” So why does death play a relatively minor role in the myths, beliefs, and practices of new religious movements? To answer this question, one must first ask three others: How do new religions differ from old religions? Who were the early “joiners”? And what was the cultural background and social context of the rise of NRMs in North America?

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New religions and the 1960s–1970s counterculture Three factors central to NRMs might explain the lack of interest in death (at least in their early stages of formation): the youthful population in NRMs, the affluence and “distorted demography” of the baby boomers, and the radical new values of the counterculture which placed an emphasis on living to the full in the present as part of the spiritual path. The youthfulness of its first-generation members is generally considered one of the defining characteristics of a NRM (Barker 1998). In terms of social background, the “spiritual seekers” of the 1960 and 1970s belonged to the post-WWII “baby boom” generation, which according to Wade Clark Roof (1993) was a “distorted demography.” These “boomers” “were born in a time of considerable affluence and almost limitless expectations. The 1950s and much of the 1960s were times of economic growth and widespread opportunities [. . .] the American Dream was doing well” (Roof 1993: 87). Finally, the rise of the counterculture or “hippie” movement was an important aspect of the rise of new religions. Harvey Cox (1977) in Turning East notes a fascination among 1970s American youth with the mystical traditions of “oriental import religions” (Cox 1977: 2). The 1960s and 1970s was a time of rapidly changing values. Yankelovich has identified a major cultural shift from an ethic of self-denial to the ethic of self-fulfillment (Yankelovich 1981). A new sense of self was in the making – away from social roles toward a more inner-developed psychological view of self. The new religions reflected the shifting values of the new, countercultural youth, who tended to reject the materialistic pursuits of their parents. Their spiritual goal was personal transformation in this lifetime, as opposed to the aim found in traditional “old” religions of preparing for the afterlife. In his 1979 study of the Divine Light Mission, James Downton found that many young, college-age Americans who had become disillusioned with the hedonistic shallowness of the late 1960s drug culture, but felt unable to return to conventional middle-class lifestyles, gradually drifted into the exotic subculture of an Eastern religion, the Divine Light Mission (Downton 1979: 2). Gregory Johnson notes a similar pattern in his study “The Hare Krishna in San Francisco.” He explains how Swami Prabhupada exploited the hippie vernacular in his evangelistic rhetoric; for example, the sign that hung over the San Francisco temple read, “Stay high all the time on Krishna: No bad trip, no bringdowns on Krishna.” Johnson concludes: “Conversion to Krishna seemed to be an emphatic rejection of conventional affluent America [. . .]. Utopian aspirations of the drug culture had failed. The movement idealized, organized and dogmatized many of the members’ previous hippie attitudes” (Johnson 1976: 50). One might go so far as to argue that these spiritual seekers of the counterculture embraced a common illusion (or delusion?) of physical immortality. The outstanding poets and self-help gurus of the 1960s and 1970s were more interested in the eternity of the present moment than an afterlife. Be Here Now! was the title of Baba Ramdass’s famous book (1971). We find the larger social context of the “hippie” movement or counterculture, with its emphasis on youth, vibrant health, sexuality and beauty, and

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the illusion of immortality reflected in the early phases of many new religions. As Holm notes in his study of the Indian spirituality factor in NRMs, there was an emphasis on experience: “Through the correct diet [. . .] and personal development, often in relation to a teacher or guru, all the individual’s potential can be developed and one can lead a rich, fulfilling life” (Holm 2001: 100).

The absence of funerary rituals Frederick Bird (1978) has observed that, whereas the older traditional religions offer rituals that mark the life cycle in the individual (birth, marriage, death) and the yearly seasons (Christmas, Ramadan, Passover), NRMs tend to offer rituals of meditation, purification, and initiation. These types of rituals do not bind the individual to the biological family or the community or to the historical past. Rather, NRM rituals are geared toward enhancing the individual’s inner spiritual state and facilitating psychological transformation. While rituals of purification are concerned with health and healing, based on alternative models of the body-mind connection, none of the rituals found in NRMs, as described by Bird, seem to address the problem of human mortality (Bird 1978). Other researchers in new religious studies have found a notable absence of the kind of rituals found in the older traditional religions. Some groups do not offer any rites of passage, such as the secularized Buddhist meditation group, Vipasana. Many of the NRMs that emerged out of the Human Potential Movement, like Werner Erhardt’s est (now called “Landmark Education”) or Silva Mind Control, offered “magical” techniques for living a healthier, more dynamic, and satisfying life, and tended to ignore the problem of death. There are exceptions to this pattern. Buddhist groups in the West follow the Four Noble Truths which speak of death and impermanence. Scientology’s practice of auditing incorporates L. Ron Hubbard’s belief in reincarnation, and as early as 1978 its manuals described how funerals as well as marriages and births ought to be conducted. Some of the older Christian, Bible-based NRMs, such as the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, and others, have relied on mainstream Christianity for conducting funerals, and imagining what lies beyond. Groups that emerged out of the nineteenth-century Spiritualist movement demonstrate a preoccupation with death and the Spirit World beyond. Wiccan and Neopagan religions have always offered rites of season and individual passage that speak of death and communication with the dead (Berger 1999; Pike 2001).

The denial of death in new religions It is important to note that this lack of concern for human mortality seems to apply only to new religions in their early, formative phases, within the first ten or twenty years of development. Predictably, this situation will change. Over time, as the groups

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and their members mature, it becomes more difficult to ignore the reality of death. Revered prophets and immortal messiahs die. The first generation of converts reach middle age, many marry and give birth to a second generation, watch over their grandchildren, then reach old age and disappear, one by one, into death. New religions in the 1960s and 1970s were composed of healthy young men and women who found it easy to ignore the problem of death. But once the Grim Reaper intruded on their worlds, they could no longer ignore its presence. Even so, rather than forging meaning systems to transcend death (as per Chidester 1990), many new religions actively seek to overcome it, forging mythic and ritual strategies to deny its reality. These strategies of “overcoming death” in new religions might be analyzed as forming four (sometimes overlapping) categories: 1) denial (post facto denials of physical death); 2) rationalization (explanations after the demise of “immortal” messiahs); 3) preservation (of the prophet/guru’s body); and 4) translation (striving toward metamorphosis into a higher, superhuman form and the expectation that bodies of the faithful/Chosen Ones will “translate” into perfect, eternal bodies).

Denial Three examples of NRMs that not only deny the reality of death but have evaded serious efforts to rationalize it after the fact are the Rastafari in Jamaica, People Unlimited in the U.S., and Life Space in Japan. The Rastafari religion is based on the recognition of Haile Selassie as the living God for the African race. Selassie was not a Rasta, but a devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, who never publicly acknowledged the Rastafari movement. When Haile Selassie’s death was reported, the Rastas of Jamaica claimed it was a trick of the media to undermine their faith. In keeping with their immanent religion that celebrates life, many Rastafarians deny the possibility of death, except as a consequence of sin, and explain notions of an afterlife and heavenly recompense for suffering to be the White man’s teaching to deflect Africans from pursuing just rewards in this life. Thus, when someone dies, many Rastafari do not acknowledge the death or stage funerals (Chevannes 1994). People Unlimited, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, claims, “Man’s true nature and true heritage is to be physically immortal.” Previously called “The Eternal Flame,” the group started out as a religion but since the late 1980s has moved away from a religious perspective and in 1996 became incorporated as “a profit-making, self-development and coaching business,” People Unlimited Inc. Their stated purpose is to “nurture radical life extension and physical immortality,” and they preach that physical immortality is quite possible – “with the right attitude” (personal communication). Charles Paul Brown (“Chuck”) was the original founder who led the group with his wife, Bernadeane, and business partner, James Strole, in a charismatic trio appearing on the People Unlimited website. Chuck claimed that in 1959 he had experienced a “cellular awakening,” which he described as “a piercing through to the core of the cells and atoms of the body, which awaken the DNA” (Van Velzer, 2014). When Chuck passed away at

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the age of 79 in October 2014, this posed a challenge to the central tenet of the organization. His photograph disappeared from the PU webpage and their Communications Director, Joe Bardi, wrote: “While the ideas of immortality burned brightly within him, the living of it often eluded him. Too much stress and not enough exercise undoubtedly contributed to the heart disease and Parkinson's from which he suffered.” On a more upbeat note, Bardi added, “To honor his memory, we re-dedicate ourselves to living the life he envisioned . . . a life free of death” (Van Velzer, 2014). The Japanese group, Life Space, was founded in 1983 by Koji Takahashi (1938–). Takahashi claimed to channel the late Indian guru, Sai Baba. In 1993 he launched his “Vision One” seminar, in which he would reveal each client’s future and cure illnesses through “Shakty Pat” – a pouring of spiritual energy into the patient through pats on the head. In 1999, the media broadcast the “mummy incident.” Takahashi and his followers had lived for a year in a hotel in Narita, Chiba Prefecture. Responding to complaints of a foul odour, the police discovered the mummified body of Shin’ichi Kobayashi, a former Life Space member. Five months prior, Kobayashi had experienced a cerebral hemorrhage and his doctors had failed to help his condition. Takahashi then offered Kobayashi’s family the Shakty Pat cure for $67,000. Kobayashi had died shortly after the “cure” but was checked into the hotel, since Takahashi had claimed that he was still alive and would recover his health under the guru’s spiritual guidance. For five months, Kobayashi’s wife and son tended to his mummified body as if he were still alive. Takahashi held a press conference after police removed the mummy, claiming the police were endangering his life by interrupting the healing process. This excited public ridicule. Takahashi was then arrested for murder, and Kobayashi’s son was charged with abandoning a dead body. After the mummy incident, self-improvement seminars in Japan came to be associated with deviant “cults.”

Rationalization Many (late) charismatic prophets or messiahs in American history have claimed the gift of physical immortality. They have preached, variously, that Death is an illusion, or a reality that might be overcome through certain health practices (fasting, shaking, or vegetarianism), through a sinless, unselfish (often celibate) way of life, or by becoming part of the Body of the Messiah and adopting a communal way of life. A few outstanding examples of prophets and messianic leaders deemed immortal are Father Divine of the Peace Mission; John Humphrey Noyes of the Oneida Perfectionist Community; Jemima Wilkinson, “the Publick Universal Friend”; and Master Fard of the Nation of Islam. A particularly striking example of rationalization is found after the death of the great Black Hebrew messiah, Yahweh Ben Yahweh. The Nation of Yahweh (NOY) was founded in the late 1970s in Florida by Hulon Mitchell, Jr., known as Yahweh Ben Yahweh. It started out as a sectarian Black nationalist communal movement with a millenarian emphasis. Since Yahweh Ben Yahweh was believed to be God Incarnate, he was considered immortal, but he also offered

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immortality to his “worshippers” who wrote their name in the Book of the Lamb and moved into the Temple of Love to embrace a life of hard work, cleanliness, vegetarianism, and strong family values. In a 1988 speech in the Temple of Love, YBY outlined his postmillennialist plan of salvation that promises his followers physical immortality: We would be looking for a PIE IN THE SKY AFTER we DIE and yet heaven is right here on earth while you live, across the river Jordan on the planet earth depicted as a new heaven, new earth in Revelations 21:1–4. The temple of Yahweh is you – you are the living temple of Yahweh. [. . .] Research it for yourself! We are the tribe of Judah, the chosen of Israel, chosen to rule forever! But the Nation became known as a “violent cult” after a series of gruesome murders were perpetrated by several of its members (see Freedberg 1994). YBY was arrested in November 1990 and charged with complicity in the murders, with additional charges of arson and extortion. With no physical evidence linking YBY to the crimes, the jury found Yahweh Ben Yahweh “not guilty.” YBY was promptly reindicted, however, under the RICO (racketeering) law in federal court. In May 1992 YBY was convicted of conspiracy-related charges and received an eighteen-year prison sentence (Palmer 2010). Yahweh Ben Yahweh developed prostate cancer in prison and was released on parole after serving fifteen years, and he died on May 7, 2007. The Nation of Yahweh leaders have never acknowledged his death and instead broadcast his “Ascension” on their website. The NOY’s theologians then proceeded to revise their millennial theory by reinterpreting the meaning of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, as told in the Bible. It was no longer an historical event belonging to the past, they claimed. Rather, the crucifixion was a future event, the “Crucifixion of the Messiah” who is Yahweh Ben Yahweh (The Crucifixion of the Messiah, 1999, 204). The Nation of Yahweh offers a dramatic example of how an NRM might revise their myths and doctrines following the unexpected demise of its founder.

Preservation There have many cases of Christian preachers and prophets throughout the history of America’s “alternative altars” (Ellwood 1973) whose remains were carefully preserved in the expectation they would soon rise from the dead. A recent example is found in Tony Alamo, of the Alamo Christian Foundation, who predicted his late wife, Susan Alamo, would come back to life. The Alamos might be described as a “charismatic duo” who founded their church in 1969 in Hollywood, California. Tony and Susan functioned as dynamic evangelists, directing their rapidly expanding movement until 1982, when Susan Alamo died of cancer. Tony prophesied that she would rise from the dead and kept her embalmed body on display in a glass coffin for six months, then had her remains placed in a heartshaped marble mausoleum on church property. Tony Alamo had for many years been

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pursued by the government for tax evasion, and in 1991 the government raided the compound and confiscated the property, but prior to the federal raid, Alamo ordered his followers to carry away and hide his wife’s body. After a three-year legal battle, Tony Alamo’s followers finally brought Susan’s body to a funeral home and a month later she was re-interred in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The widowed Tony Alamo then began to preach the doctrine of polygamy, taking on a number of teenaged plural wives, among which was Swedish native Birgitta Gyllenhammar who later divorced him, claiming that Alamo tried to force her to have plastic surgery to resemble Susan Alamo. In 2014 a fascinating legal battle was waged in India over the frozen body of a guru, Ashutosh Maharaj, whose disciples expected would return to life. Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji, (1946–2014) was the founder and guru of Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, an ashram based in Punjab. On January 29, 2014, a team of doctors declared him dead from a heart attack. However, his followers claimed he was alive and in the state of a deep meditation associated with samadhi (enlightenment). The management of DJJS preserved his holy body by keeping it in a freezer and claimed they were fulfilling his wishes and their sacred duty as disciples. The guru’s head disciple, Swami Vishalanand, told the BBC: “He is not dead. Medical science does not understand things like yogic science. We will wait and watch. We are confident that he will come back.” The disciples claimed they watched over the body for a week at the DJJS center in Jalandhar, and that “the body did not decompose before we put it in the freezer. It was a spiritual experience. We thought of embalming it, but somebody told us that his chances of revival were less if we did it” (Panwar 2014). This decision was challenged by Jha Dalip, who claimed he was the illegitimate son of the late guru, but the court rejected his pleas after the Punjab government ruled that the guru was clinically dead, but that his followers had the right to decide how to dispose of the body.

Translation “Translation” refers to the belief that, through the practice of certain rituals or techniques, the human body can undergo, or “translate” into, a higher, superhuman form and thereby become eternal. Usually this process is based on heterodox teachings regarding the relationship between body and spirit. Summum Bonum is unusual among NRMs in that, since its beginnings, it has shown a strong focus on preparing for death. The ideas and practices of Summum Bonum might be analyzed as an eclectic syncretism of Mormon and Ancient Egyptian eschatology with the themes of Ufology. Claude Nowell (“Corky”) was a Mormon Elder, married with two children, who was working as an administrative manager for a Salt Lake City supply company when he had his 1975 initiatory experience. He found himself suddenly transported into space and entered a giant pyramid where he met the beautiful extraterrestrial Summum beings, and adopted the name of Amon Ra. Members of Summum study the ancient techniques of mummification and offer their services to the public. By 2008 Summum

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had mummified over fifty pets, costing around $12,000 each. (When I visited them in 1992 there was a display of mummified cats, dogs, and parakeets inside the forty-foot pyramid that dominates Corky’s lawn in the suburbs of Salt Lake City.) Summum also offers mummification services to humans; both as a means of disposing of the corpse and as a path to a higher level of post-mortem consciousness. One member explains: “the soul needs a safe home, a resting place to return to in between its flights in the spiritual realm” (personal communication). Summum literature explains the mummification process as a “Transference” or means to guide the soul to a greater destination following the death of the body: The Egyptians held the understanding that the body was a manifest form of the soul; a reflection of a divine inner being; a perfectly integrated, orchestrated union of entity and vehicle. Even after death, there remained an ethereal bond between the soul and body. They felt that entering a greater state of being depended upon . . . preparation and consecration of the body, ceremonial procedures . . . in the popular scene of the ‘Balance’. . . the heart of the deceased was weighed against a feather. Should the balance be unfavorable, the deceased’s desire for a glorious new life remained unattained. (Mummification and Transference, 1975–2017.) When Corky died in January 2008 he became the first human to undergo Summum’s “Mummification of Transference.” For seventy-seven days after his death, his body was submerged in a vat of mummification fluids as his officers sat beside him reading aloud from his “spiritual will” (a guide for the spirit in the next realm). The Summum website describes this unique funereal ritual as follows: “With great love [Amon Ra’s] body was carefully treated while his essence was taken through the Transference. His body is encased in a golden bronze Mummiform. On September 17, 2010, his golden mummiform was moved into the Summum Pyramid.” Another movement that held out the promise of “translation”– a spiritual-physical metamorphosis as a means to overcome physical death – was I AM, which flourished in the 1930s and 1940s in Chicago. It was led by its founders, Guy and Edna Ballard, who functioned as mediums in the tradition of nineteenth-century Spiritualism and Theosophy. The Ballards claimed to be “Messengers” for the Ascended Masters, described in the writings of Helena Blavatsky, including the likes of Saint Germain, Jesus, and Morya. Guy Ballard had announced the new “Dispensation” regarding “Ascension” in a series of recorded channeled messages or “dictations.” In his early autobiography, Guy Ballard claimed he had attained an indestructible body. But he died at the peak of his charismatic career from arteriosclerosis on December 29, 1939, in Los Angeles. His wife, waiting in vain for him to come back to life, on December 31 had his body cremated. On New Year’s Day Edna Ballard stated that Guy had completed his “Ascension” at midnight December 31, 1939: “He is now our Beloved Ascended Master of Light who can give Limitless Help to all who will accept and

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apply the Ascended Masters’ Instruction of the ‘I AM’” (The Voice of the “I AM” 1940: 26–27). The concept of “Ascension” in Guy’s initial “Dispensation” meant the ability to enter Heaven without undergoing a physical death. This could be achieved by “raising one’s body” and physically “translating” to a higher form of existence, in a manner similar to the Ascension of Jesus. Guy Ballard had instructed his followers that they all had potential for an “Ascension” if they followed his instructions. These included performing daily “decrees” (high-speed chanting); a strict vegetarian diet; and avoiding alcohol, drugs, and non-procreative sex. Guy also spoke of a chair in a mysterious temple that could assist them in attaining the necessary “vibratory” levels to achieve Ascension. But after Guy’s death, Edna Ballard modified the teachings so that “Ascension” was the process that occurred after the death and cremation of the physical body. She rationalized this doctrinal change as follows: There has been lurking in many the idea that one may make the Ascension after so-called death; but that cannot be accomplished because the call for the Ascension must be made to the “I AM Presence” and the Ascended masters from within the physical side of Life. You cannot do it otherwise, no one ever did in the world. (The Voice of the “I AM” 1940: 6) Heaven’s Gate provides another example of a group that sought to overcome death through translating the body into a higher form – in this case an extraterrestrial one. Heaven’s Gate was a UFO new religion based in San Diego, California. It was founded in the early 1970s by Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) and Bonnie Nettles (1927–1985). On March 26, 1997, police discovered the bodies of Applewhite and thirty-eight of his followers, who had committed a ritual mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craft following Comet Hale–Bopp that would transport them to Heaven (Balch 2002). While members acknowledged the reality of death for humanity’s “mammalians” (those outside their elite group), their central goal from the outset had been to escape death through “the process.” Techniques in this process included listening to tuning forks, Bible readings, celibacy, bodily covering, and rigorous work schedules. Initially, the aim was the biological evolution of the individual into a sexless immortal being resembling the slant-eyed, fetus-shaped images of extraterrestrials in popular culture. But after the death of his soulmate, Bonnie Nettles, Applewhite changed the goal of immortality to a sort of soul-upload process. When the Heaven’s Gate members embraced suicide in 1997, their aim was to “drop the body” so their spirits could rise up and join Bonnie, who Applewhite said was piloting the spaceship in the tail of Hale–Bopp.

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Conclusion A review of NRM responses to the challenge of death shows us that they respond creatively, with innovations and experimentation. In this way, they might be said to reflect trends in our larger, contemporary secular society. Garces-Foley has explored the intersection of death and religion in our culturally pluralistic, rapidly modernizing world. Today we find individuals designing their own coffins and funerals, and drawing on an eclectic range of sacred and secular source materials (Garces-Foley 2006). NRMs have gone a step further in their radical collective experimental approaches to death. When one looks closely at the different examples of new religious funerals enacted since the 1980s, one striking feature stands out – their radical, oppositional quality. As Palmer and Bromley (2007: 136) note, “Two of the most prominent characteristics of NRM myths and rituals are that they are in the process of being born, and they are oppositional in nature. NRM myths express an oppositional stance towards the myths legitimizing the institutions of the larger society – churches, state, nuclear family, government, science. . . . Mythmakers in new religions (usually the charismatic leaders) are deliberately and self-consciously heretical.” Thus, new religious creativity and originality in dealing with death appears to be rooted in a determination to be “special,” unique, and quite unlike mainstream religions. Most NRMs refuse to follow the familiar routes and routines of Christianity or Judaism or secular funeral parlours. Even when NRMs do not make extravagant claims of immortality, there is a concern to deny, or cover up the unpleasant finality of death. When a prophet dies, there is a need to maintain his/her charismatic persona. For example, when Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (a.k.a. “Osho”) died on January 19, 1990, aged fifty-eight, of causes undisclosed, his ashes were placed in Lao Tzu House at the Poona ashram, and his epitaph reads, “OSHO. Never Born, Never Died. Only Visited this Planet Earth between 11 Dec 1931–19 Jan 1990.” Because NRM myths and rituals are in the process of being constructed and are frequently revised, they may seem to outsiders, secular critics, and “anticultists” to have an artificial, self-consciously concocted, expedient quality about them. They appear to lack the dignity and authority of the myths and rituals found in tribal societies or in well-established religions where the origin of mythopoeaic thinking and doing is obscured by the mists of time. In older, or inadequately documented cultures, their sacred narrative must be accepted by their congregation (as well as by scholars) as a “given” that “just happened” (see Palmer and Bromley 2007: 136–137). What is fascinating about new religious movements is that contemporary NRM researchers have the advantage of observing myths and rituals in the dynamic process of becoming. In studying new religious responses to the unexpected intrusions of Death in their midst, we may gain fresh insights into humanity’s creative ways to construct new meaning systems, social realities, and ritual strategies, as

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“shields against terror and anomie” (Berger 1969: 55–56). Moreover, we may gain a better understanding of how and why human beings create, revise, and improvise religious practices.

References Balch, Robert (2002). “Making Sense of the Heaven’s Gate Suicides.” 209–228 in David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton (eds.) Cults, Religion, and Violence. New York: Cambridge University Press. Barker, Eileen, and Margit Warburg, eds. (1998). The New Religions and New Religiosity. Denmark: Aarhus University Press. Berger, Helen (1999). A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in the United States. Columbia, SC: South Carolina University Press. Berger, Peter (1969). The Sacred Canopy. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Bird, Frederick (1978). “Charisma and Ritual in New Religious Movements.” 173–189 in Jacob Needleman and George Baker (eds.) Understanding the New Religions. New York: Seabury. Chevannes, Barry (1994). Rastafari: Roots and Ideology. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. Chidester, David (1990). Patterns of Transcendence: Religion, Death, and Dying. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Clark, Elmer T. (1965). The Small Sects in America. New York: Abingdon Press. Cox, Harvey. (1977). Turning East: The Promise and Peril of the New Orientalism. New York: Simon and Schuster. The Crucufixion of the Messiah (no author). 1999. Seguin, TX: PEES Foundation. Dass, Ram (1971). Be Here Now. San Cristobal, NM: Lama Foundation. Downton, James, Jr. (1979). Sacred Journeys. New York: Columbia University Press. Eldershaw, Lynn P. (2004). “Collective identity and the post-charismatic fate of Shambhala International.” Ph.D. thesis, Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo. Ellwood, Robert S. (1973). Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Festinger, Leon, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter (1956). When Prophecy Fails. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. Freedberg, Sydney P. (1994). Brother Love: Murder, Money and a Messiah. New York: Pantheon. Garces-Foley, Katherine, ed. (2006). Death and Religion in a Changing World. New York: M. E. Sharpe. Holm, Nils G. (2001). “The Indian Factor in New Religious Movements: A Religio-Psychological Perspective.” 95–107 in Eileen Barker and Margit Warburg (eds.) New Religion and the New Religiosity. Denmark: Aarhus University Press. Johnson, Gregory (1976). “The Hare Krishna in San Francisco.” 31–51 in Charles Y. Glock, Robert Neelly Bellah, and Randall H. Alfred (eds.) The New Religious Consciousness. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Malinowski, Bronislaw (1948). Magic, Science, and Religion. London: Faber and West. Melton, Gordon J. (2005). “Death and the New Religious Movements.” Paper presented at the CESNUR meeting in Palermo, Sicily. Melton, Gordon J., and Robert L. Moore (1986). The Cult Experience: Responding to the New Religious Pluralism. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim’s Press. Palmer, Susan J. (2010). The Nuwaubian Nation: Black Spirituality and State Control. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. Palmer, Susan J., and David G. Bromley (2007). “Deliberate Heresies: New Religious Myths and Rituals as Critiques.” 135–158 in Bromley, David G. (ed.) Teaching New Religious Movements. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Panwar, Preeti (2014). “Dead or alive: The curious case of Ashutosh Ji Maharaj.” One India, March 13. Online: . Pike, Sarah M. (2001). Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Roof, Wade Clark, ed. (1993). A Generation of Seekers. San Francisco: HarperCollins. Tylor, Edward Burnett (1881). Anthropology: An Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization. London: Macmillan and Co. Van Velzer, Ryan (2014). “Immortality Eludes People Unlimited Founder.” Azcentral. Online: . Accessed Feb. 21, 2017. Wehrfritz, George, and Kay Itoi (1999). “The Corpse and the Cult.” Newsweek International. December 6. Online: . Accessed Feb. 21, 2017. Yankelovich, Daniel (1981). New Rules: Searching for Self-Fulfillment in a World Turned Upside Down. New York: Random House. Zeller, Benjamin E., and Robert W. Balch (2014). Heaven’s Gate: America’s UFO Religion. New York: New York University Press.

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Afterlife beliefs in the Spiritualist movement Walter Meyer zu Erpen Spiritualism defined In popular culture, the term “spiritualism” conjures images of fortune-tellers, séances, mediums, the Ouija board, and spirits in general. When capitalized, Spiritualism denotes the modern religious movement which is often referred to as a science, philosophy, and religion. As a science, Spiritualism attempts to investigate and classify the mental and physical phenomena demonstrated through mediumship as evidence of life after death. As a philosophy, it studies the laws of nature relating to both the physical universe and an unseen world. As a religion, it strives to understand and expound teachings that are consistent with the physical, mental, and spiritual laws of nature. Although Spiritualists differ on the specifics of how belief in an afterlife should be interpreted and promoted, they remain loosely united through commitment to two main tenets: 1) survival beyond bodily death of some part of the personal human mind, consciousness, or soul, which is referred to as “spirit”; and 2) the possibility of communication between spirit that has survived death and spirit still in its earthly body (Meyer zu Erpen and Lowe 1990: 71). What distinguishes Spiritualism from other religions is that mediums, as mediators between the afterlife and earth, are able to convey information that provides evidence for the survival of consciousness of a specific individual, whatever the duration of that survival might ultimately be.

Modern Spiritualist movement While belief in spirit communication through some form of mediumship dates from antiquity, the modern Spiritualist movement began in 1848 when Methodists John and Margaret Fox and their daughters experienced inexplicable rapping noises in the walls of their cottage in Hydesville, near Rochester, New York. The family discovered that intelligent communication with the spirit of a deceased pedlar was possible, and in November 1849 the first public demonstration of mediumship by the Fox sisters was held in Rochester’s Corinthian Hall.

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The most immediate antecedent to the Hydesville phenomena was the outbreak of spirit possession among American Shaker communities between 1837 and the mid-1850s. Manifestations during that era of spirit revival included visions, ecstatic experiences, and visitations by heavenly spirits. A community would be visited by the spirits of a tribe of North American Indians. With the community’s permission, the members, including men, women, and children, would become susceptible to spirit possession. The Shakers’ bodies and vocal organs would be controlled, as demonstrated through their dancing, chanting, and speech. Shaker elder Frederick William Evans, who documented those occurrences, visited the Fox family when the rappings began. Though skeptics have long considered the phenomena to have been a hoax, or the result of a paranormal poltergeist outbreak, most contemporary believers in the authenticity of the phenomena attributed the inexplicable sounds to an invisible spirit world, providing actual communication with a murdered pedlar who claimed to be buried in the cellar. In 1904, human skeletal remains were found in a decaying cellar wall in the Fox cottage, which seemed to vindicate Spiritualist claims of communication with the pedlar (Stuart 2005: 17). Others claimed that the site included animal bones which had been planted there in the intervening decades; modern researchers have failed to locate vital records to substantiate the existence of the pedlar who gave his name as Charles B. Rosna. Regardless of causation, those “raps that echoed around the world” (Gerling 1948: 4) marked the birth of the Spiritualist movement. Within years, groups were meeting in homes (later named “home circles”) throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Europe, for the purpose of investigating spirit communication. Despite exaggerated claims regarding the numbers of mediums and adherents, the influence of Spiritualism was significant. An early and prolific proponent was Andrew Jackson Davis, the “Poughkeepsie seer,” who had been influenced by Mesmer’s animal magnetism, the Swedish seer Emanuel Swedenborg, and the Shakers. Davis practiced magnetic healing during the mid-1840s and in 1847 published The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind, a book he dictated in 1845–1846 while in a trance. For his prediction about the coming Spiritualist revelation, Davis has been likened to John the Baptist.

Divisions among Spiritualists While a basic belief system and practice unites Spiritualists globally around the evidence for life after death through mediumship and distinguishes Spiritualism from New Thought, New Age, or other occult groups, doctrinal differences have resulted in ongoing schisms among Spiritualists. For example, one-time Spiritualist mediums have started other worldwide movements, including Helena Petrovna Blavatsky as one of the founders of the Theosophical Society, and Mary Baker Eddy who established the Church of Christ, Scientist.

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Typically, the most divisive debates have related to whether the concept of reincarnation is compatible with Spiritualism, and whether Spiritualists should also consider themselves Christians. Many believe that the Bible provides the most famous example of Spiritualism, in documenting the mediumship of Jesus of Nazareth who demonstrated survival of personal identity through the post-mortem materialization of his spiritual body, rather than literal resurrection of the physical body. Two influential books by a Church of England clergyman, G. Maurice Elliott, highlighted the miraculous elements in the Bible (Elliott 1938a, 1938b).

Evidence of life after death and proof of survival Psychic phenomena and their value as evidence of survival are central to claims that Spiritualism is an evidence-based religion. The quality of evidence through mediumship is highly variable, ranging from generally applicable platitudes to specific details and circumstances that convince the recipient that the medium is communicating with their loved one or friend. Likewise, countless individuals with no inclination toward Spiritualism have become convinced of survival through an unsought psychic experience. Deathbed visions, a near-death experience, the apparition of a deceased or dying friend, and direct spirit communication can profoundly influence the percipient of such experiences, even more effectively than communication through an external medium. While Spiritualists often use the terms evidence and proof interchangeably, in a legal sense, evidence of a communicator’s identity must be weighed and evaluated to determine whether it results in personal conviction (“proof”) of an individual’s survival. Many open-minded inquirers believe that the cumulative weight of evidential spirit communication provides a compelling argument for survival, a topic of ongoing debate within the fields of psychical research and survival research.

Survival research The earliest scientific investigators of Spiritualistic phenomena sought to determine whether consciousness might survive death in recognizable form; they included Philadelphia chemist Robert Hare, New York judge John Worth Edmonds, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, and British chemist Sir William Crookes. Through the early twentieth-century, much valuable research was conducted by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), founded in London in 1882, and the American branch (ASPR) founded in Boston in 1885. These early groups, led by such intellectual luminaries as the philosophers Henry Sidgwick and William James, contended that psychical research, including objective study of telepathy and Spiritualist phenomena, might help establish whether personal identity survives death.

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After 1930, psychical research turned to quantitative study of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis and away from survival research, notably in experiments conducted by Joseph Banks Rhine and Louisa Rhine at the Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory. Still, an emphasis on the question of survival has remained among some members of the SPR and other bodies formed for such investigations. As parapsychologists shunned study of mediumship, American author and medium Susy Smith refocused on life after death and in 1971 founded the Survival Research Foundation. The research of American psychologist William G. Roll, long-time director of the Psychical Research Foundation (founded in 1961), advanced understanding of poltergeist phenomena. During the 1970s, in Toronto, Canada, British mathematician A. R. G. (George) Owen and nurse Iris M. Owen conducted psychokinesis experiments, in which members of a sitter group consciously created an imaginary ghost named “Philip.” The table movements and communications that resulted suggest strongly that some séance-room phenomena are the result of a group effect. Thousands of books document evidence that human consciousness survives death. Among the best known are Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (1903) by classicist Frederic W. H. Myers; Raymond, or Life after Death (1916) by physicist Sir Oliver Lodge; and On the Edge of the Etheric (1931) by Spiritualist Arthur Findlay. The reports of Canadian medical doctor T. Glen Hamilton on some photographic evidence were compiled posthumously as Intention and Survival (1942). Arthur Berger provides a modern analysis in his Evidence of Life after Death: A Casebook for the Tough-Minded (1988). Other non-Spiritualist scholars have included psychologists William James and Carl Jung. The careful academic approach of such men contrasted sharply with that of proponents like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), whose personal crusade and popular writings made him the evangelist of the new “psychic revelation,” the St. Paul of Spiritualism, as it were (Conan Doyle 1918, 1919).

Spirit communication through mediumship A medium is the instrument through which surviving spirit intelligences are able to convey evidential messages or produce physical phenomena. Spiritualists posit that psychic faculties lie dormant in all humans, and that an individual can obtain information telepathically, or cause objects to move psychokinetically, independent of discarnate spirit. Genuine mediumship, however, must involve spirit contact. While some individuals claim both mental and physical forms of mediumship, longer years of development are needed for the latter, which also requires mental components to ensure identification of the communicator. Historically, a wide range of paranormal phenomena have been attributed to spirits. Purely mental phenomena include prophecy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the gift of tongues, trance visions, trance speech, revelation, and psychometry. Physical phenomena include laying-on-of-hands healing, spirit raps, apports, levitation of humans and inanimate objects, transfiguration, automatic and independent writing, drawing

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and painting, independent and direct-voice communications, psychic photography, and materialization of spirits through a substance called ectoplasm. Though the two types often overlap, mental phenomena involve various forms of psychic perception. Physical phenomena are more objective, typically involving the movement of objects, manifestation of sounds, transfer of healing energy, or materialization of objects or recognizable discarnate spirit. Prominent mental mediums have included Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne Leonard who convinced, respectively, William James and Oliver Lodge of the genuineness of their feats. As early as 1890, James was convinced that Mrs. Piper was an authentic trance medium based upon communication of facts and characteristics about deceased individuals that could not have been known to her (Murphy and Ballou 1960: 41). Psychical researchers often cite the early twentieth-century cross-correspondence writings, a form of mental mediumship, as strong evidence of survival in an intelligent afterlife state. When pieced together, the fragmentary messages mostly received through a group of independent automatic-writing mediums appear to originate in the minds of a team of discarnate classical scholars, including SPR leaders, determined to prove their survival. In Britain, from the late 1950s, mediums, beginning with Douglas Thorn Johnson, demonstrated spirit communication on television. Beginning in 1982 with New York medium George Anderson and extending through today with the likes of John Edward and Allison DuBois, a modern generation of mediums have been featured on North American television.

Physical phenomena Because physical manifestations are believed to require low red lighting, if not complete darkness (the ectoplasm required to produce them being described as extremely sensitive to any form of light), such phenomena have justifiably raised suspicion. The number of fake mediums caught perpetrating fraud under the cloak of darkness has caused many parapsychologists to avoid physical phenomena altogether. Several generations of Spiritualists largely ignored the phenomena, in favor of mental mediumship, until a resurgence of physical mediumship since the 1990s. Daniel Dunglas Home was arguably the best known of the early physical mediums. His psychic abilities, including levitation of heavy objects and his own body, were investigated by, among others, Sir William Crookes, who conducted the famous accordion experiment, in which Home allegedly caused the instrument to play by touching it with only one hand. Though no charge of fraud against Home was ever substantiated (Braude 1986), many researchers have speculated as to how Home may have used conjuring tricks to dupe Crookes. European researchers investigated a number of such physical mediums, among which the most convincing were the Austrian brothers Willi Schneider and Rudi Schneider, the Polish Franek Kluski, and the Icelandic Indridi Indridason. When the possibility of fraud is eliminated and though such phenomena do

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not provide convincing evidence in support of the survival hypothesis, there remains a body of evidence supporting the reality of psychokinetic movement of objects without normal means, including full, non-contact levitation of tables, chairs, and other objects (Brown 1976; Robinson 1981; Randall 1982). Popular thinking about survival is muddied and often assumes that surviving spirits are responsible for such paranormal movements. There have also been carefully controlled experiments in which ectoplasmic materializations bearing a miniature likeness of a deceased individual have been photographed on repeated occasions under conditions intended to preclude fraud (Hamilton 1942). Tables moving about a room or photographs of ectoplasm are not evidence of survival unless there is an accompanying voice, facial features, or other means to identify a specific deceased person. Spectacular as such manifestations can be, mental phenomena often provide stronger survival evidence.

Spiritualist philosophy Spiritualism is a living religion in which new inspiration is universally available through mediumship; it does not rely upon one book that must be reinterpreted for new understanding. Essential to Spiritualist belief are a form of dualism (that each living person has both a physical and spiritual body) and personal responsibility for one’s thoughts and actions. Spiritualists affirm that humanity is essentially good and reject the concepts of original sin, eternal hell, and salvation through vicarious atonement. With no central theological authority, most Spiritualists exercise common sense and refuse to accept fanciful teachings that cannot be demonstrated. Initially, Spiritualism was a secular approach to investigate whether the physical phenomena demonstrated through mediumship were genuine and could be accepted as spirit communication. Some early investigators referred to themselves as Rational Spiritualists, a label still used to distinguish individuals pursuing evidence-based Spiritualism from Christian Spiritualists, who also accept some Biblical teachings. Attempts to Christianize the movement date from at least 1854–1857 when the Christian Spiritualist was published in New York. Early exponents of Spiritualism included the great missionary and orator Emma Hardinge Britten and the automatic-writing medium Reverend William Stainton Moses; their lectures and writing became central to Spiritualist teachings. In Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the most commonly accepted statement of principles are those received from spirit through Mrs. Hardinge Britten (Hardinge 1870/1970). While the early history of the original principles is uncertain (Gaunt 2013), the “Seven Principles,” adopted by the Spiritualists’ National Union (SNU) in Great Britain, have remained unchanged since 1902. These include: 1) the Fatherhood of God; 2) the Brotherhood of Man; 3) the Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels; 4) the Continuous Existence of the Human Soul; 5) Personal Responsibility; 6) Compensation and Retribution hereafter for all the good and evil deeds done

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on Earth; and 7) Eternal Progress Open to every human soul. In the United States, the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) adopted a similar set, starting with six principles in 1899, but expanded to nine by 1944. Spiritualists maintain that those in the spirit world continue to have concern for the living. They believe that loved ones separated through death will be reunited in the afterlife (“Love lives on”), and that a loving spouse, family member, or friend in spirit will be waiting to help the survivor cross over when it is their time. Just as we seek friends with whom there is affinity, we will attract spirit companions on a similar level. Spiritualist teachings universally frown upon suicide because it deprives the spirit of life lessons when an earth life is cut short. Spirits who do not successfully complete their transition from this world to the next are “earthbound.” During times of war and catastrophe, “rescue circles” are formed to help earthbound spirits see their loved ones waiting to greet them.

Nature of the afterlife A. J. Davis’s elaboration of Swedenborg’s concept of heaven became the basis for Spiritualist belief about life in the “Summerland,” as Davis termed the highest level or sphere of the afterlife (Davis 1868). Though claims about life in the spirit world are many, the literature suggests that within a given culture of mediumship there are recurring reports by spirits that paint a similar picture. Religious studies professor Stafford Betty has produced a list of fifty common aspects of the afterlife found in multiple narratives. Common to descriptions of the afterlife are overlapping spiritual levels through which a spirit must eternally progress, akin to Swedenborg’s description of his own personal experiences (Betty 2013). The first pictorial representation of the “spheres” is attributed to the German mystic, the Seeress of Prevorst (1801–1829), who provided diagrams. These spheres have been described in both a spatial sense, in relation to Earth, and in a moral-spiritual sense. Knowledge about each sphere comes from spirits residing at that level. Though there is disagreement over details, including whether Earth is the first level, the spheres are usually seven in number (Fodor 1934: 355). Combined with the evidence for life after death offered through mediumship, Spiritualism’s propagation of the Biblical “many mansions” teaching, that there are many levels in the afterlife, offered a more comforting picture of the afterlife than Christianity’s heaven or hell.

Spirit controls Belief that each human has at least one spirit guide to assist the individual along the pathway of life is an important aspect of Spiritualist philosophy, and many mediums claim that one or more controls guide them in their work, often assisting individual spirits who wish to convey a message to a loved one. Spirit controls are associated especially with mediums who deliver lengthy oratory or evidential messages while in

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a deep trance. Most claim to have lived hundreds of years ago, in a pre-literate culture. The best known among the many controls claiming indigenous American origin is “Silver Birch” who communicated through Maurice Barbanell for sixty-one years. The spiritual teachings of Silver Birch, published in a series of popular books, remain in print, and Silver Birch was the impetus for the creation in 1932 of Psychic News, a weekly Spiritualist newspaper that continues today as a monthly magazine. While many guides downplay links to the earth life of any individual, those who have claimed a specific prior existence are largely unsubstantiated. For instance, using his middle name, “Fletcher,” the guide of American medium Arthur Ford, claimed to be a French-Canadian childhood friend from Quebec, killed as a soldier during World War I. While the control often provides little if any evidence for its authenticity, mediums such as Ford have without question believed in the reality of their guide (Rauscher 1975: 131). On the other hand, Eileen Garrett was the most tested and respected medium of the twentieth century; she was not convinced that her main controls, called Abdul Latif and Uvani, were actually independent of her own consciousness. Mrs. Garrett spent her life attempting to understand her own psychic faculties, co-founding the New York–based Parapsychology Foundation (1951). Though psychological testing has shown personality differences between the spirit guide and the conscious medium (Carrington 1957), attempts to confirm that the discarnate spirit was formerly the historical personality claimed have been unsuccessful. Even Mrs. Piper’s main control, Dr. Phinuit, who claimed to be a Frenchman, provided no evidence of his Earth life and, like the medium herself, spoke very little French. Though spirit controls are still evident among mediums, many psychical researchers contend that the control is a secondary, dissociative personality essential to the process and manifesting when the medium enters an altered state of consciousness.

Spiritism and reincarnation By 1855, mediums demonstrating table-turning and automatic writing captured the attention of French educator Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail. Over the next fourteen years, using the name Allan Kardec, Rivail dedicated himself full-time to investigations of mediumistic communications and developed a “Spiritualist philosophy” that he named “Spiritism” (Kardec 1856/2006: 30). Spiritism spread throughout Europe and is today an important religion in South America, especially Brazil, with many more adherents worldwide than Spiritualism. Spiritism incorporates the idea of reincarnation, which cannot be demonstrated through evidence-based mediumship. Though historically most Spiritualists believed in eternal progression through heavenly realms rather than cycles of rebirth, some mediums with no apparent Eastern connections, such as the American-born Cora L.V. Richmond and the Irish-born automatist Geraldine Cummins, had spirit communicators who taught reincarnation. Research by psychiatrist Ian Stevenson about the past-life

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birthmarks and memories of young children, notably in India (Stevenson 1966), may have helped Spiritualists become more open to some form of reincarnation. As Eastern philosophies were popularized in the West, more Spiritualists adopted the theory which resulted in organizational fragmentation as reincarnationists formed new groups.

Spiritualist religious services In many respects, Spiritualist church services are comparable in structure to Protestant services, opening and closing in prayer, with a sermon and reading, and hymns interspersed. The significant difference is inclusion of mental mediumship, the most accessible means of demonstrating survival, near the end of the service. Trained mediums and those in training share their gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience, or clairsentience (i.e., clear-seeing, -hearing, or -sensing). Delivered from the church platform or during a special message evening, the messages are intended to provide evidence of spirit return to congregants. In most jurisdictions, religious denominations determine who can celebrate an infant dedication/naming or funeral service, but marriage is regulated at the state, provincial, or national level. Consequently, Spiritualists officiated at naming and funeral services long before they solemnized marriages. None of those ceremonies include a demonstration of mediumship.

Spiritualist healing Healing is also an important aspect of Spiritualist practice, either before, during, or after a service, when congregants are invited to come forward for laying-on of hands. Some congregations hold a weekday healing service so more individuals might participate, and a prayer for absent or distant healing is an integral part of most services. The concept of laying-on-of-hands healing derives from Christianity and the demonstrations of Jesus of Nazareth who cured the sick. Spiritualist healing, inspired by the work of physician Franz Anton Mesmer who promulgated a system of energy transference (animal magnetism) based upon healing passes made with the hands, dates from the 1850s and involves surviving spirits as intermediaries. The American healing medium J. R. Newton was offering treatments by 1855 and claimed to be aided by Christ as well as other spirits. The NSAC defines a Spiritualist healer as one who “through his own inherent power or through his mediumship, is able to impart vital, curative force to pathologic conditions” (NSAC 1951: definition 4, 1930). Spiritualist healing does not require faith in the process on the part of the recipient and is offered as part of a series of treatments, as an adjunct to medical therapies. Within the British tradition, the extensive work of Harry Edwards promoted the concept of absent healing. Another British healer, George Chapman, claimed that

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the spirit of Dr. William Lang was responsible for the healings effected through him, but emphasized the importance of Dr. Lang’s manifestations as survival evidence. In 1947, after meeting the spirit of her father in Chapman’s healing room, Marie Lyndon Lang was convinced that it was Dr. Lang communicating (Stemman and Chapman 1978: 160). Dr. Lang’s healing was achieved through “spirit operations” conducted on patients’ etheric bodies. A close working relationship with a healing guide is also common in the Spiritist tradition of Brazilian and Philippine psychic surgeons, whose operations, regarded by many as fake, are carried out on patients’ physical bodies. Brazilian psychic surgeons Zé Arigó and João Teixeira de Faria (John of God) are among the most relevant.

Opposition to Spiritualism Negative reaction to Spiritualist practice has come mainly from religious organizations, magicians, pseudo-skeptics, and fraudulent mediums. Mainstream churches have claimed that Spiritualists communicate with demons that pose as spirit guides and impersonate departed loved ones: in short, Spiritualist phenomena are the work of Satan. In 1898, Catholics were forbidden, by papal decree, to attempt communication with the dead, in order to reinforce the common, though by no means universal, interpretation of the Bible with respect to spirit communication. In 1937, the Anglican Church in England established a committee to investigate Spiritualist claims in relation to Christian faith, but then suppressed the largely favorable report until 1979. Since 1953, influential Anglicans and other clergy have participated in the Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies. Magician Harry Houdini became famous for his exposure of fraudulent mediums. Driven by disappointment at not having been able to speak with the spirit of his mother, Houdini went so far as to have his assistant plant fake evidence against Mina “Margery” Crandon, a controversial Boston medium during the 1920s (Tietze 1973: 52–53; Jaher 2015). While many magicians have exposed fraud in Spiritualist séances, some have expressed their conviction about the genuineness of some paranormal phenomena (Hansen 2001). In Britain, mediums who communicated with spirits could be prosecuted under the Witchcraft Act (1735), and fortune-telling was outlawed under the Vagrancy Act (1824). From the early 1930s, highly publicized prosecutions resulted in the imprisonment of physical medium Helen Duncan. After years of lobbying, the Fraudulent Mediums Act (1951) repealed those statutes. The new law legalized mediumship, but allowed prosecution of individuals who gained financially through fraud. The line between genuine and fraudulent mediumship is bedeviled by what investigators term “mixed mediumship.” The Italian peasant Eusapia Palladino, widely accepted as having demonstrated genuine physical phenomena under strict control conditions, admitted to using trickery when controls were relaxed. Arthur Ford was able to deliver clairvoyant messages that gave detailed evidence of survival in

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circumstances where he could not have prepared, but later probably cheated through research in newspaper obituaries. The activities of fraudulent mediums have harmed Spiritualism more than the other opponents combined.

Conclusion Spiritualism as a modern religious movement had its beginnings in the United States in 1848. Though it originated in what was in all likelihood an adolescent poltergeist outbreak in a farming family in upstate New York, the sounds emanating from the walls of the Fox family farmhouse were interpreted as raps from the world of the dead. Whatever the truth of the phenomena demonstrated by the young Fox sisters, the desire for communication with the spirit world through mediumship spread quickly throughout the English-speaking world. In France, it morphed into a variant called Spiritism that incorporated reincarnation and became more popular, in particular, among Latin and South American cultures. Today, Spiritualist mediums offer evidence of survival of human personality in support of the religion’s main tenets, and the belief in mediums as direct intermediaries for communication with the spirit world provides a comforting view of death and the afterlife. The Spiritualist philosophy offers solace to the bereaved who will be reunited with their loved ones in an afterlife that consists of many levels where eternal progression is open to all. For the dying, it provides comfort because a departed loved one will be waiting to assist in their transition to the new state of life. For Spiritualists, the truth of their religion rests upon the genuineness of at least one psychic faculty, namely the ability of mediums to communicate telepathically with the dead. Despite the occurrence of fraud in some cases of mediumship and self-delusion by well-meaning individuals in others, there remain psychic phenomena, both mental and physical, that cannot be explained through normal means. For over 150 years, careful observations by psychical researchers, including scientists and magicians, have failed to explain away genuine mediumistic or psychic faculties. The best evidence continues to intrigue both those who believe that it points to a spirit world able to interact with our sensory reality and those who accept the phenomena as the product of some form of abnormal psychology. Regardless, recent research suggests that societal beliefs about heaven and the afterlife have been influenced by Spiritualism’s emphasis on personal survival and the possibility of spirit communication through mediumship (Singleton 2013).

References Berger, A. S. (1988). Evidence of Life after Death: A Casebook for the Tough-Minded. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Betty, S. (2013). “The World of Spirit According to Spiritualism.” In C. M. Moreman (ed.), The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and around the World. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, vol. 2, pp. 3–20.

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Braude, S. E. (1986). The Limits of Influence: Psychokinesis and the Philosophy of Science. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Brown, M. H. (1976). PK: A Report on the Power of Psychokinesis, Mental Energy That Moves Matter. Blauvelt, NY: Steinerbooks. Carrington, H. (1957). The Case for Psychic Survival. New York: Citadel Press. Conan Doyle, A. (1918). The New Revelation. London: Hodder & Stoughton Limited. Conan Doyle, A. (1919). The Vital Message. London: Hodder & Stoughton Limited. Davis, A. J. (1847). The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind. New York: S. S. Lyon and William Fishbough. Davis, A. J. (1868). A Stellar Key to the Summerland. Boston: Colby and Rich. Elliott, G. M. (1938a). Spiritualism in the Old Testament. London: Psychic Press. Elliott, G. M. (1938b). The Psychic Life of Jesus. London: Psychic Press. Findlay, A. (1931). On the Edge of the Etheric, or Survival after Death Scientifically Explained. London: Rider & Co. Fodor, N. (1934). Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press Limited. Gaunt, P. J. (2013). The Creed of the Spirits: Principles of Emma Hardinge Britten. Stansted Mountfitchet, UK: SNU Publications. Gerling, J. B., ed. (1948). Grand Souvenir Book: World Celebration of Modern Spiritualism. San Antonio, TX: Federation of Spiritual Churches and Associations, Inc. Hamilton, T. G. (1942). Intention and Survival: Psychical Research Studies and the Bearing of Intentional Actions by Trance Personalities on the Problem of Human Survival. Toronto: Macmillan. Hansen, G. P. (2001). The Trickster and the Paranormal. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation. Hardinge, E. (1870/1970). Modern American Spiritualism: A Twenty Years’ Record of the Communion between Earth and the World of Spirits. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books. Jaher, D. (2015). The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction and Houdini in the Spirit World. New York: Crown Publishing Group. Kardec, A. (1856/2006). Translated by Anna Blackwell (1875). The Spirits’ Book: Spiritualist Philosophy: Principles of the Spiritist Doctrine. Brazil: International Spiritist Council. Lodge, O. J. (1916). Raymond, or Life after Death, with Examples of the Evidence for Survival of Memory and Affection after Death. London: Methuen & Co. Meyer zu Erpen, W., and J. Lowe (1990). “The Canadian Spiritualist Movement and Sources for Its Study.” Archivaria 30: 71–84. Murphy, G., and R. O. Ballou, eds. (1960). William James on Psychical Research. New York: Viking Press. Myers, F. W. H. (1903). Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) (1951). Spiritualist Hymnal: A Revised Collection of Words and Music for the Congregation. Boston, MA: R. D. Row Music Company. Randall, J. L. (1982). Psychokinesis: A Study of Paranormal Forces through the Ages. London: Souvenir Press. Rauscher, W. V. (1975). The Spiritual Frontier: A Priest Explores the Psychic World. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company. Robinson, D. (1981). To Stretch a Plank: A Survey of Psychokinesis. Chicago: Nelson Hall. Singleton, A. (2013). “Echoes of the Past: The Influence of Spiritualism on Contemporary Belief.” In C. M. Moreman (ed.), The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and around the World. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ABC-CLIO, vol. 2, pp. 35–50. Stemman, R., and G. Chapman (1978). Surgeon from Another World: The Story of George Chapman and Dr. William Lang. London: W. H. Allen. Stevenson, I. (1966). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. New York: American Society for Psychical Research. Stuart, N. R. (2005). The Reluctant Spiritualist: The Life of Maggie Fox. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. Tietze, T. R. (1973). Margery. New York: Harper & Row.

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Death and the afterlife in the Raëlian religion Erik A. W. Östling & James R. Lewis On the fifth of March, 2004, the Raëlian religion announced the passing away of Réal Thériault, a Raëlian guide (priest). The announced ceremony was described as a moment of joy and celebration. Raël himself, the founder, was quoted as saying: Do not be like those hypocrites who say they believe in “god” and paradise and cry in despair when one of their loved ones dies. If you really and sincerely believe in life after death in a paradise, you should rejoice and joyfully celebrate the arrival of your friend or relative whom you claim to love on this planet, this world of pleasures and wonders that awaits us all thanks to science. (Raelian Movement, 2004) The inevitable decay of the physical body and the fact of death are universal to human existence and, as such, are prone to be focal points in the various religious systems humankind has constructed. This chapter will deal with the issues of death and the afterlife within the Raëlian religion, a religious group claiming over 90,000 members worldwide (Raelian Movement, 2013). While this number is without doubt exaggerated, the Raëlian religion is in all probability the largest religious group explicitly incorporating extraterrestrial entities into its system of thought (see Sentes & Palmer 2000: 86). Benjamin E. Zeller has observed that a characteristic feature of UFO religions is that “they operate at a hazy boundary between religion, science, pseudoscience, and science fiction – what I call the nexus of science and religion” (2011: 666). Similarly, as the Raëlian notions surrounding death and the afterlife are in the same nexus of ideas surrounding atheism, science, and, further, the claims of human cloning, these themes will also be addressed. Described as being materialistic or physicalistic (Chryssides 2003: 45; Partridge 2003: 21–26), atheistic (Chryssides 2003: 45; Grünschloß 2007: 224), and creationistic (Chryssides 2003; Östling 2014: 375–377; cf. Pennock 2000: 233–242), the Raëlian religion offers a rereading of the mythologies of old (especially of the Bible), and claims to offer a worldview that is in line with the scientific discoveries of visiting

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extraterrestrial human beings. In order to understand Raëlian cosmology one must examine the narrative that underpins their claims of knowledge and authority. This narrative, as a “foundation myth” or “inaugural vision” (Chryssides 2003: 57), further outlines the transformation of the founder, Claude Vorilhon, into his identity as the messianic character Raël (Chryssides 2003: 52; Palmer 2004: 35–40).

The first meeting Claude Vorilhon (b.1946) was born in Ambert, France; his mother was a fifteen-yearold girl and his father a Jewish refugee. Leaving school at the age of fifteen, the young Claude spent some years as a singer-songwriter before embarking on a career in automobile racing, becoming the editor of a racing magazine (Palmer 2004: 32–34). The event that transformed Claude into the prophetic and messianic character Raël reportedly occurred on the thirteenth of December, 1973. During a walk in the mountains outside of Clermont-Ferrand, he noticed a flying saucer descending towards him; he soon stood face to face with its diminutive pilot. This being told Claude that he had come to meet with him and asked him to return the very next day, bringing a Bible with him. For several days Claude would meet with the being, receiving a message containing the following components: (1) that all life on Earth, including human beings, is the result of a grand scientific experiment conducted by scientists from another solar system; (2) that read in the proper way, the Bible reveals that this is a scientific creation, and not the willful act of a supernatural, divine creator; (3) that when the Bible speaks of God, it in reality refers to these extraterrestrial scientists and that this is apparent when one considers the true meaning of the Hebrew word “Elohim”, which denotes these extraterrestrial beings as “those who came from the sky”; (4) that these Elohim had tried to guide humankind through the ages by sending selected emissaries such as Jesus, Muhammad, and the Buddha; (5) and that now as humankind has entered the Age of the Apocalypse or the Age of Aquarius (following the detonation of the first atomic bombs in 1945), the time is now ripe for Earthly humans to know their true origin and to show themselves worthy (by overcoming our destructive and violent tendencies) of inheriting thousands of years of scientific discoveries. Claude was told that he was the final messenger, and that, under the prophetic name Raël, he was to oversee the construction of an Embassy for the Elohim and spread the knowledge about our origins in their laboratories (Raël 1998). Raël embarked on this mission by, in subsequent years, spreading his story and gathering a following (Palmer 2004: 36–37).

Raël’s celestial journey While the abovementioned first meeting with one of the Elohim revealed where we came from, Raël’s second claimed meeting outlined the possibilities for a future scientific paradise on Earth and, further, a glimpse of the place where righteous humans

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might spend eternity (see Sentes & Palmer 2000: 100). This time, reportedly occurring on the seventh of October, 1975, Raël was invited to take an interplanetary journey to the planet of the eternals, the place where the Elohim, and their leader Yahweh, reside (Raël 1998: 135–149). As he exited the craft, Raël witnessed a world testifying to the Elohim’s creational mastery: Before me a paradisiacal landscape unfolded, and in fact I cannot find any words to describe my enchantment at seeing huge flowers, each more beautiful than the last, and animals of unimaginable appearance that were walking among them. There were birds with multicolored plumage, and pink and blue squirrels with the heads of bear cubs climbing in the branches of trees that bore both enormous fruit and gigantic flowers. (Raël 1998: 148) He would here meet with and banquet together with such prophets as Moses, Elijah, Jesus, the Buddha, and Muhammad while being served by biological robots (Raël 1998: 148–149, 152–153). Such a claim of meeting such religious figures (considered to be one’s predecessors) is, of course, a classic legitimization strategy – an appropriation of the charisma of such personages (Lewis 2010: 25–26). The Gospel of Luke in the New Testament does the same by having Jesus pray together with Moses and Elijah atop the mountain (Luke 9: 28–36). Similarly, during Muhammad’s night journey to Jerusalem and ascension to heaven, he claims to meet with Moses and Jesus, amongst others (Colby 2008: 1–2). The visit to the planet of the eternals also featured a guided tour of the machinery utilized in the creation of biological replicas. Through the use of such machinery, the Elohim can live forever in an endless succession of bodies, a practice described as “scientific reincarnation” (Raël 1998: 196). Referring to Ezekiel’s Vision of the dry bones in the valley (Ezekiel 37: 1–14), Raël recounts how he got to witness the formation of, first, a biological robot, then another robot sculpted after a picture of his mother, and, finally, a perfect replica of himself (1998: 153–155). The visit to the planet of the eternals was described by Raël as a “foretaste of paradise” (Raël 1998: 156) where he learned about the blissful existence that the 700 Elohim in the Council of the Eternals and some 8,400 recreated Earthly humans (Raël 1998: 149–150) who, for all eternity, experience an existence in a paradise, where the climate is scientifically controlled to always be pleasant and where all manual labor is handled by biological robots. The eternals can experience the self-fulfillment of doing what pleases them the most as long as it in no way brings harm to anyone else: The majority spend almost all of their time meditating, doing scientific research, making inventions and artistic compositions, and creating all sorts of things. We can live in different cities with multiple architectural styles in greatly varied sites that we can modify at will. People fulfill themselves as they wish, only doing what they like to do. Some find pleasure in doing scientific experiments, others in playing music, others in creating ever more amazing

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animals and other in meditating or doing nothing other than making love while enjoying the numerous pleasures of this heavenly environment, drinking from the innumerable fountains and eating the juicy fruits that grow all over the place at all times. (Raël 1998: 151–152) This world is described as a place of free love, where the “male and female eternals can unite freely just as they wish,” or, if it pleases them, to have biological robots that are “totally submissive” (Raël 1998: 151) created for the benefit of their pleasure. Raël would himself spend a night on this planet together with six female biological robots created according to his preferences (Raël 1998: 156–158).

Notions of death and the afterlife The Raëlian religion can be said to offer a bipartite notion of an afterlife. On the one hand, we find the aforementioned promise of an eternal life on the paradisiacal planet of the eternals for those who have lived a life deemed righteous according to the Elohims’ ethical standards. At the same time, however, this religion has at its core the notion that the human beings of this Earth are in the process of evolving scientifically towards becoming as the Elohim, a process Raël refers to as our “Elohimization” (Palmer 2004: 102; Raël 2001: 113–117). If we manage to transcend our violent and aggressive nature, and build an Embassy for the Elohim, we too will taste the fruits of their scientific achievements and transform Earth into a paradise (Raël 1998: 90–92). Ideas relating to the fact of death and to possibilities of an afterlife existence are intimately tied to notions of what constitutes a person. The history of religious ideas and systems of thought are teeming with notions of special substances, be they labeled souls or spirits, that somehow are able to make the transition into an existence in another realm after death. The Raëlian religion, with its focus on physicalism and materialism, negates any notion of the existence of a special spiritual substance and must instead claim the possibility of an eternal life in a purely material form (cf. Sentes & Palmer 2000: 96). Just as the Elohim have been mistaken as supernatural and divine, so is it a mistake to consider any life form as being animated by an ethereal substance (Raël 2002: 44–46). In an interesting passage, Raël appropriates the Spiritualist notion of communication with the dead by claiming that mediums are inadvertently getting into telepathic communication with people living amongst the Elohim (1998: 159–160). While this could perhaps be considered conceding that literal communication with certain deceased (but at the same time highly alive) humans takes place, it is also a critique of the notion of a soul or spirit. For the Raëlian, a human being is a form of sentient matter; a biological computer that is able to program itself and to reproduce (Raël 2002: 38–56; Sentes & Palmer 2000: 97). As biological machines, what seems to differentiate us from the purported biological robots of the Elohim is our sentience and ability to make our own choices

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(cf. Raël 2002: 44). As machines made out of biological matter, there is no substance that by default continues to exist after the passing away of the physical body; matter will simply return to its eternal cycle (Raël 1989: 70–72). The key to eternal life, according to the Raëlian religion, is to be found in our DNA or “cellular plan” (Raël 1998: 162). Allegorically we can describe the idea of a cellular plan as a blueprint for the creation of a specific individual, and this is not limited to realization in a pure biological form. Through this blueprint a biological replica can be produced into which the person’s personality and memory can be transferred. Raël likens this to the software (personality and memory) being instantiated in some form of hardware (e.g. a biological replica) (2001: 37; cf. Partride 2003: 26). From the above discussion, it should be evident that this is more than an allegory. Not surprisingly, Raël has developed ideas in accordance with transhumanistic notions of uploading a personality in suggesting that we could in the future live eternally inside huge computers (2001: 101–112), thus widening the scope of possible eternal life. Additionally, it should be noted that there is also an idea that a biological sample is sufficient for the re-creation of a person. In the narrative of his visit to the planet of the eternals, Raël relates being told by Yahweh that “from a sample cell like the one we took from between your eyes we can create a total replication of the individual whose cell we took, complete with the memory, personality and character” (Raël 1998: 155). Just as the notion of an afterlife is connected to the notion of personhood, such notions can (though not by necessity) be related to notions of ethics and morality. While there are examples of religions where life after death is not necessarily differentiated between the pious and the wrongdoer, the Raëlian religion follows the Christian notion of an afterlife divided between eternal bliss or eternal punishment, albeit with a characteristic technological interpretation: When the time comes to evaluate, those who went in the right direction will have the right to eternity on this heavenly planet, those who achieved nothing positive yet were not evil will not be recreated, and for those whose action were particularly negative, a cell from their body will have been preserved, which will allow us to recreate them when the time comes, so that they can be judged and suffer the punishment they deserve. (Raël 1998: 159) During his celestial journey to the planet of the eternals, Raël is told there are massive computers which are at work constantly monitoring all the human beings on Earth and recording their deeds (Raël 1998: 159), thus, when it comes to matters relating to life on Earth, emulating the omniscience of a transcendent divinity. In order to be able to create any human being the Elohim also have technologies enabling them to sample the DNA of every human being on Earth. Through these purported technologies the Elohim can recreate any human being if necessary (Raël 1998: 161). The DNA of the evil and wicked, we are told, are stored in a specific machine, waiting for the hour of judgment when “[t]hey will be recreated to undergo the punishment they

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deserve after being judged by those whom they made to suffer or by their ancestors or descendants” (Raël 1998: 155). In order to be able to be granted an eternal life of bliss the Raëlian must undergo an initiation known as the “transmission of the cellular plan” and also make sure that his or her will specifies that a part of the frontal bone, where the DNA is considered to be at its purest, is preserved after death (Raël 1989: 126, 1998: 176; Sentes & Palmer 2000: 96). The rationale behind this initiatory rite of passage is that the monitoring computers, we are told, are set up in such a way that, upon reading the message of the Elohim, the automatic sampling of the genetic makeup of a human being is terminated. In order to amend this situation one must have his or her genetic code or cellular plan transmitted to the Elohim (Raël 1998: 176). After immersing his hands in water, the Raëlian guide places his hands on the neck and forehead of the soon-to-be-initiated and the cellular plan is then, through telepathy, transmitted to the Elohim. In partaking in these acts, the Raëlian acknowledges belief in creation by the Elohim (cf. Sentes & Palmer 2000: 96), as Raël explains: “The transmission of the cellular plan is a recognition of the Elohim as being our creators, effected by each Raelian while still alive. The conservation of the frontal bone is a recognition of the Elohim as being our Creators, even after death. Together they constitute a recognition ‘in life as in death’” (Raël 1989: 28). This is further underscored by Raël’s statement that the important point is not whether a part of the member is actually saved (if for example the will of the Raëlian is neglected after death), but rather that a willful act of recognition has occurred. The Elohim’s computer would record such an act and the member would then be one who has the possibility of being granted eternal life (Raël 1989: 30).

Notions of atheism and science The Raëlian religion offers a self-image of being not only an atheistic religion (Raël 1998: 160, 210), but, further, a scientific religion (Palmer 2004: 193–203). Supernatural concepts are considered to originate from a lack of understanding. In ancient times humans were too primitive to fully understand that their creators were human beings as well, as Yahweh tells Raël during his visit to their paradisiacal world: “The more primitive a society is, the more deistic religions will flourish within it. These religions are actually cultivated by visitors from other planets, who have no other way of peacefully visiting worlds that have not yet overcome their aggressiveness” (Raël 1998: 142). Not only is the notion of a supernatural realm considered a remnant of our primitive ancestors, it is, from the Raëlian perspective, philosophically problematic. A key concept in the Raëlian cosmology is that of infinity (cf. Sentes & Palmer 2000: 95). The universe is considered to be infinite in both time and space, having always existed and will always exist. Further, infinity in space also includes the notion of scale; if we could look into the nucleus of the particles that make up ourselves and the world that surround us, we would eventually discover new inhabited worlds (Raël 1998: 81, 142).

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As Raël explains, “everything is composed of something. Nothing can be made up of nothing. If something was composed of nothing, it would not exist” (Raël 2001: 79). In the same way we are considered to be living on the particles that make up the bodies of much larger beings (Raël 1998: 81, 142–143). For Raël, infinity makes divinity an impossibility: There is no place for a white-bearded “God” to exist, supervising every action of each of the six billion humans that populate the Earth, not to mention the other planets where people like us also live in this infinite universe. So this “God,” who has supposedly created everything in infinity, must be able to supervise an infinite number of actions coming from an infinite number of living people, and listen to their infinite number of prayers. What a memory and ability to concentrate this “God” must possess! (Raël 2001: 80) As Sentes and Palmer have correctly observed, in promoting infinity Raëlianism is effectively eschewing any notion of ultimate or final causes (Sentes & Palmer 2000: 95). Raël writes: “The belief in a supernatural ‘God’ who created the universe from nothing is totally stupid, not to mention being dangerous for the development of children’s intelligence. It is not possible to do anything with nothing” (Raël 2001: 78). Instead, we are offered an infinite lineage of creative acts. Just as the Elohim created us, they were themselves created by other beings. A complete analysis of this part of the Raëlian ideology would require a thorough analysis of the concept of atheism and, as a logical consequence, also such concepts as God and gods, divinity, and the supernatural. While we will not enter into such an analysis in the present essay, a few important remarks need to be addressed. Firstly we need to mention the oft-made observation that Raëlian emic historiography is a form of narrative that can be characterized as being of the ancient astronaut hypothesis type (Grünschloß 2007; Partridge 2003: 25; Sentes & Palmer 2000: 90); indeed Andreas Grünschloß has referred to it as a “paradigmatic case” (2007: 223). Narratives about ancient astronauts characteristically work in such a way that ancient mythologies are not challenged when it comes to whatever purported truth is considered lurking behind the texts. At the same time, the narratives offer a rereading that naturalizes such ancient texts, portraying them as misunderstood recollections of ancient extraterrestrial visitations to our planet (Grünschloß 2007: 217; Partridge 2003: 25; Richter 2012: 225). Sentes and Palmer have argued that the Raëlian religion can be understood as acting from within the horizon of the “death of God” as characterized by a notion of immanence, where there is no place left for a realm that is transcendent and supernatural, and where happenings that defy our understanding are relegated to the realm of the paranormal, waiting to be explained by a future, rational scientific inquiry. While the science of the Elohim might seem to be miraculous, it is all a matter of knowledge and understanding (Sentes & Palmer 2000: 87–89, 102; cf. Grünschloß 2007: 223).

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Mikael Rothstein has made the apt observation that what is at the heart of the matter is not that the Raëlian religion is offering atheism, but, rather, that what we have here is a religion that offers themes and motifs – as for example of superhuman beings, heavenly voyages, and promised paradisiacal places – that are in line with many religious traditions (2000: 132). They are, however, presented in a language saturated with images of science and technology. Heaven or paradise is transformed into a physical place (either in the form of the planet of the eternals, or in the possible future utopian paradise we can create on Earth), and the means of attaining immortality is transformed into a scientific process of cloning and memory transfer (cf. Rothstein 2000: 133). Raël relates the words of Yahweh, saying: “After death there is nothing, unless science is used to create something” (Raël 1998: 142). The concept of science thus becomes integrated into the religion’s mythological framework; according to Sentes and Palmer, “Raëlianism replaces the supernatural with the extraterrestrial and technological in order to demystify and demythologize [. . .] simultaneously (if unconsciously) mythologizing and ideologizing science and technology” (Sentes & Palmer 2000: 86). Christopher Helland has observed regarding the Raëlian religion that [t]he application of scientific concepts is done in an attempt to relocate the Judeo-Christian myth within a valid and acceptable framework, presented to a secularized community. The difficulty with the presentation is that the scientific components remain as mythic and nonprovable as the original discourse, becoming science fiction rather than science. The rhetoric used for presenting the creation of life and humanity remains religious in nature, although the descriptive terminology employed has been altered. (Helland 2007: 281) This notion of an “acceptable framework” is in line with Lewis’s observation of the appeal to the “charisma of science” as an authoritative discourse (2010: 26), or Olav Hammer’s notion of science as “a significant Other, a basis of legitimacy and source of doctrinal elements” (2003: 204). The Raëlian appropriation of the naturalism of modern science is thus a strategy for legitimizing their specific worldview (Lewis 2010: 30–31). As such, they can be seen as an example of “scientism” as that concept has been construed by Hammer: [T]he active positioning of one’s own claims in relation to the manifestations of any academic scientific discipline, including, but not limited to, the use of technical devices, scientific terminology, mathematical calculations, theories, references and stylistic features – without, however, the use of methods generally approved within the scientific community, and without subsequent social acceptance of these manifestations by the mainstream of the scientific community through e.g. peer reviewed publication in academic journals. (Hammer 2003: 206)

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Whether or not the Elohim are understood as gods, it is clear that the Raëlian religion offers a cosmology where there is no sharp division between the creator and the created; where the difference is not of substance but of scientific knowledge and technological proficiency. Where Earthly humankind can aspire to become the creators of life elsewhere, and thus become a link in the line of successive creations that goes back beyond the Elohim and into infinity. By becoming similar to the Elohim in knowledge and power, through the process of our Elohimization, we are described as being on the brink of going through something akin to a technological apotheosis (cf. Grünschloß 2007: 224).

Clones and Clonaid In March 1997 Raël announced the purchase of a Bahamian offshore company entitled Valiant Ventures, through which the services of human cloning would be offered (Palmer 2004: 180). This service was called Clonaid, and a statement found on an archival image of the 1997 webpage states that the company would “provide assistance to would be parents willing to have a child cloned from one of them. This service offers a fantastic opportunity to parents with fertility problems or homosexual couples to have a child cloned from one of them” (Clonaid 1997). As Susan Palmer has observed, the announcement was in the wake of the news regarding the first successful cloning of a mammal, the sheep Dolly (2004: 180). In his 2001 book Yes to Human Cloning, Raël outlines his participation in the venture as something akin to being its “spiritual father” (2001: 91), but says that it was the Raëlian guide Brigitte Boisselier who was in charge of the project itself (2001: 89; cf. Palmer 2004: 178). He further stated, regarding its prospects, that “I don’t know if the Clonaid team will be the first to clone a human being, since it is possible there are dozens of other laboratories already secretly working on it. But at least they are a part of the race” (2001: 90). Just one year later, Boisselier and Clonaid would claim to have won the race in being the first to clone a human being. At a press conference, held on Boxing Day, Boisselier announced that a cloned baby girl, Eve, had been born (Palmer 2004: 187). While Clonaid would in the following years claim the birth of further cloned babies (by 2006 Clonaid claimed to have resulted in the live birth of thirteen cloned babies; see Clonaid 2006), neither Eve nor any others of them were ever brought forward to attest to these claims (cf. Helland 2007: 290). Early Clonaid press releases cite the uncertain legal status of clones and human cloning as a reason for not disclosing their identities (See Clonaid 2003, and Clonaid 2004). As Palmer has noted, the media seemed to conclude that it had all been a publicity stunt for the Raëlian religion. Indeed, as she has argued, part of the success story of the Raëlian religion has been to keep a moderate level of tension with the surrounding society (2005: 382–383). Whether or not Clonaid actually managed to create a human clone is, however, irrelevant for present purposes. Rather, what is important to note is what this purported happening signifies from the perspective of Raëlian cosmology. As Palmer states, the

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story of Eve “is a confirmation, a reenactment of the Raelian creation myth of our extraterrestrial origins” (2004: 193). As such, it can be said to signify our purported ongoing Elohimization; “[i]t is cloning that will make us equal to gods, as foreseen in the bible and the ancient writings, since immortality is the privilege of the gods” (Raël 2004: 120; cf. Palmer 2004: 198–199). Similarly, Helland has concluded that, “[f]or the Raëlians, cloning is a scientific development that has been used as a rhetorical tool for self-promotion and as a validation of their origin myth” (2007: 290). In response to the pope speaking out against ventures into human cloning, Raël made the comment that the pope was criticizing the very same technology that had been utilized in the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion (2001: 87; cf. Palmer 2004: 181). Notions of eternal life through cloning and memory transfer lend it well to discussions on the classical philosophical problem of personal identity. While this is a slightly unusual path to tread from the perspective of the historian of religions, we argue that it in this case has some merit since it is a notion that has been previously brought up in relation to the Raëlian religion, as in the case of Geogre Chryssides’s critical reflection that: The Raëlians seem [. . .] oblivious to the philosophical problems associated with human cloning. To say the least, it is questionable whether a new being who was cloned from my DNA bank after I had died would be the real “me”, or merely a replica. [. . .] The Raëlian cloning progamme, if it were ever successfully accomplished, could bring into existence a being who is – qualitatively – the same as me, but not a being who is, somehow, one and the same. (Chryssides 2003: 59; cf. Sentes & Palmer 2000: 97) When discussing identity, philosophers differentiate between what is called numerical identity, that is being the same physical object (whether or not there exist objects that are not physical will not be addressed here), and qualitative identity, the sharing of the same qualitative characteristics between different physical objects. Derek Parfit has illuminated this difference by using two white billiard balls as an example: “[T]wo white billiard balls are not numerically but may be qualitatively identical. If I paint one of these balls red, it will not now be qualitatively identical to itself yesterday. But the red ball that I see now and the white ball that I painted red are numerically identical. They are one and the same ball” (Parfit 1984: 201). Following David Chalmers, we might well imagine that a pair of identical twins could be considered qualitatively identical given a complete sharing of physical and mental characteristics; however, they would still numerically be considered to be two distinct objects in time and space (2010: 49; cf. Chryssides 2003: 59). Chryssides’s critique can thus be said to be grounded in this distinction. Criteria for personal identity over time are often versed in notions of physical or psychological continuity or connectedness (see Chalmers 2010: 49–50; Partfit 1984: 202–217); indeed Chryssides notes that there is no philosophical consensus on the appropriate criteria, but argues that the consensus is leaning toward discarding qualitative identity as a possible contender: “To be told that someone will create a replica

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of me after I die scarcely offers me hope of survival after death: it is little better than being told that a sculptor will build my statue” (Chryssides 2003: 59). Whatever notions one will hold regarding the hopes of survival through cloning and memory transfer is contingent on what criteria one holds to be relevant. Indeed as Parfit argues, through musings on these kinds of thought experiments “[w]e discover our beliefs about the nature of personal identity over time” (1984: 200), and in the long run what kind of entities we hold ourselves to be. While, to the authors, it seems that this is not an issue addressed in Raël’s writings, it can be reiterated that from the Raëlian perspective there is nothing more to a person’s existence besides its DNA code (or cellular plan) and its memories. A possible key to understanding Raël’s position on these matters might be found in Yahweh’s alleged words to Raël upon presenting him with a replica of himself: At this moment there are two of you who are listening to me, and the personalities of these two beings are beginning to be different, because you know that you are going to live and he knows that he is going to be destroyed. But that does not bother him, since he knows he is nothing but yourself. This is more proof, if proof is needed, on the non-existence of the soul – or a purely spiritual entity unique to each body – in which certain primitive people believe. (Raël 1998: 155) While Chryssides argues that the possibility of multiple clones existing simultaneously defeats any notion of survivability after death through cloning (2003: 59–60), it is clear from the above quote that Raël does not necessarily see multiplicity as a problem. Discussions about personal identity are of course highly relevant and interesting from the perspective of the philosophy of mind or from a theological one. However, while it is true that religions often seem to promote ontologies or mythologies that from an outside perspective might seem incoherent, for the historian of religions, the task should not be to criticize religious systems of thought for lack of coherency or for not being sufficiently versed in the philosophical issues they might raise.

Concluding words We have in this short essay aimed to outline the ideas relating to the physical death and the purported notions of an afterlife through cloning presented by the Raëlian religion, and further how these ideas intersect with Raëlian conceptions about materialism and atheism. While it is apparent that we are here dealing with a religious system of thought that has eschewed all classical concepts of special spiritual substances, it is at the same time apparent that this is a religion that has at its core retained classic themes and motifs and can thus be said to reformulate classic aspirations of the possible overcoming of death in a technological language.

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References The Bible (2002). Zondervan King James Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Chalmers, D. J. (2010). “The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 17.9–10: 7–65. Chryssides, G. D. (2003). “Scientific Creationism: A Study of the Raëlian Church.” In C. Partridge (ed.) UFO Religions. London: Routledge. 45–61. Clonaid (1997). “Welcome to CLONAID.” Online: . Accessed Jul. 1, 2014. ——— (2003). “EVE’S PARENTS DECISION.” Press Release, Jan. 7. Online: . Accessed Jun. 10, 2015. ——— (2004). “Clonaid: News.” Online: . Accessed Jun. 10, 2015. ——— (2006). “Human cloning discussion at the UN.” Online: < https://web.archive.org/ web/20060106050557/http://www.clonaid.com/news.php>. Accessed Jul. 1, 2014. Colby, F. S. (2008). Muhammad’s Night Journey: Tracing the Development of the Ibn Abbas Ascension Discourse. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Grünschloß, A. (2007). “‘Ancient Astronaut’ Narrations: A Popular Discourse on Our Religious Past.” Fabula 48.3–4: 205–228. Hammer, O. (2003). Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age. Leiden: Brill. Helland, C. (2007). “The Raëlian Creation Myth and the Art of Cloning: Reality or Rhetoric?” In D. G. Tumminia (ed.) Alien Worlds: Social and Religious Dimensions of Extraterrestrial Contacts. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. 275–290. Lewis, J. R. (2010). “How Religions Appeal to the Authority of Science.” In J. R. Lewis & O. Hammer (eds.) Handbook of Religion and the Authority of Science. Leiden: Brill. 23–40. Östling, E. A. W. (2014). “‘Those Who Came from the Sky’: Ancient Astronauts and Creationism in the Raëlian Religion.” In J. R. Lewis & J. Aagard Petersen (eds.) Controversial New Religions. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 368–382. Palmer, S. J. (2004). Aliens Adored: Rael’s UFO Religion. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. ——— (2005): “The Raëlian Movement: Concocting Controvery, Seeking Social Legitimcy.” In J. R. Lewis & J. Aagard Petersen (eds.) Controversial New Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 371–385. Parfit, D. (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Partridge, C. (Ed.) (2003). UFO Religions. London: Routledge. Pennock, R. T. (2000). Tower of Babel: The Evidence against the New Creationism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Raël [Claude Vorilhon] (1989). Let’s Welcome Our Fathers from Space: They Created Humanity in Their Laboratories. Tokyo: AOM Corporation. ——— (1998). The True Face of God. The Raëlian Religion. ——— (2001). Yes to Human Cloning: Eternal Life Thanks to Science. Vaduz: Raelian Foundation. ——— (2002). Sensual Meditation: Awakening the Mind by Awakening the Body. Nova Diffusion. ——— (2004). The Maitreya: Extracts from His Teachings. Vaduz: Raelian Foundation. Raelian Movement (2004). “Raelian funerals organized in memory of the first deceased Raelian priest.” Press Release, Mar. 5. Online: . Accessed Oct. 13, 2016. ——— (2013). “Raeliens to commemorate 40th anniversary of Rael’s encounter with those who created life on Earth.” Press Release, Dec. 10. Online: . Accessed Oct. 13, 2016.

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Richter, J. (2012). “Traces of the Gods: Ancient Astronauts as a Vision of Our Future.” Numen 59: 222–248. Rothstein, M. (2000). UFOer og rumvæsener: Myten om de flyvende tallerkener. København: Gyldendal. Sentes, B., & S. Palmer (2000). “Presumed Immanent: The Raëlians, UFO Religions, and the Postmodern Condition.” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 4.1: 86–105. Zeller, B. E. (2011). “At the Nexus of Science and Religion: UFO Religions.” Religion Compass 5.11: 666–674.

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Part 2

GENERAL BELIEFS AND PRACTICES

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Heavens and hells Eileen Gardiner

Introduction Heaven and hell are the words used in English to indicate the world after death, eternal places above and below the earthly realm. At the dawn of the Common Era in the West, heaven was characterized as the celestial dwelling place of the gods wherefrom they might occasionally descend to the earth to intervene in the affairs of humankind. Hell was the underworld, a chthonic place where, along with fallen gods, the shades and shadows of mortals resided after death. From the beginning of the Common Era to the present day, conceptions of these places have evolved. In the West, heaven has come to mean the dwelling place of God, the Eternal Being, shared by angels. It is a place that welcomes good and blessed mortals – from saints to purged sinners – to live after death in a community of peaceful harmony. Hell has come to mean an underworld chaos of torment ruled over by the devil and his minions – malevolent creatures sometimes associated with fallen angels – where the irredeemably wicked are consigned and tortured eternally after death. These two words – heaven and hell – are also used to translate the names of a host of otherworld places, particular to many different religions and cultures, recorded in visual representations and written documents across four millennia. The terms are often conflated with various otherworld locations, including, in the West, paradise and limbo. Paradise is sometimes fused or confused with heaven, but commonly in Western tradition, paradise is considered synonymous with the Garden of Eden, the setting for the creation of the first parents and their fall from grace. Generally hell is also believed to encompass limbo, at the entrance to hell, where good non-Christians, from the Patriarchs to unbaptized children, were once consigned. A third space between heaven and hell is purgatory where sinners not fully deserving hell would be punished, purged, and purified before being finally released into heaven. Purgatory as a separate conceptual place from hell originated in the Western tradition about 1,000 years ago, but it has strong similarities to hell in cultures that embrace cyclic time, reincarnation, or metempsychosis.

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Modern belief in the otherworld These terms – heaven and hell – and their history are complex and reflect continually changing ideas about the afterlife and its promises or threats. Current concepts reflect current anxieties and are at the end of a long line of ideas, both religious and cosmic, that have shaped them. These notions derive from each individual culture’s own cosmography, cosmology, iconography, and mythology. In various parts of the world, their significance as imaginative ideas might now actually outweigh their significance as religious ones. While many may no longer give credence to an afterlife of heaven and hell, almost all can understand the literature, films, and even cartoons that refer to these places. They are part of everyday culture. According to surveys from between 1994 and 2014 – from organizations like Gallup, Harris, Beliefnet, LifeWay Research, the Baylor University Department of Sociology, and the Roper Center for Public Opinion – American belief in heaven and hell hovers around 76% and 65% respectively with considerable variation depending on education level, gender, and political and religious affiliation. Earlier surveys, from 1991 and 1993, from the International Social Survey Program and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, compared these beliefs in the United States against those in European nations and found only Northern Ireland to have comparable levels. Other countries, from Italy to Norway, showed on average 22.4% as opposed to 63.1% (US) belief in heaven and 12.8% as opposed to 49.6% (US) belief in hell.

Origins of the idea of an otherworld The earliest evidence for otherworlds coincides with the earliest written records. These places are connected to humankind’s persistent posing of questions and constructing of answers about the nature of the universe and humankind’s place in it. Cosmologies, which explain the origin and development of this universe, almost universally include the heavens and the earth, and sometimes also a nether world. In many cosmologies the beings who inhabit or would inhabit the celestial spheres are responsible for the formation of the cosmos. The cosmology most familiar to Western readers is the creation story from Genesis (1.1–3) in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light. From Chinese mythology comes the story of Pan Gu: Long, long ago, when heaven and earth were still one, the entire universe was contained in an egg-shaped cloud. All the matter of the universe swirled

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chaotically in that egg. Deep within the swirling matter was Pan Gu, a huge giant who grew in the chaos. For 18,000 years he developed and slept in the egg. Finally one day he awoke and stretched, and the egg broke to release the matter of the universe. The lighter purer elements drifted upwards to make the sky and heavens, and the heavier impure elements settled downwards to make the earth. (Walls, Walls, and Guo, 1984, 1–2) Some creation narratives – for instance from Norse (Wägner, Macdowall, and Anson, 1917), North America Witchita (Dorsey, 1904), and West African Mossi cultures (Guirma, 1971) – have survived in forms that are more reticent about the formation of the heavens and a netherworld, describing a void that is replaced by the habitable earth and the empyrean, with any possible netherworld often ignored. In general these myths are classified according to the scheme of creation: from nothing, from chaos, from the depths, from a primeval entity or entities, or from the emergence of humanity itself from an underworld or womb. The creation of heaven is almost always linked with the creation of earth, and while the latter is destined to become the abode of humanity, the former is destined to become the abode of the eternal beings, including either the monotheistic single divinity or a polytheistic congregation of gods, depending on the culture. An underworld or inferno is rarely mentioned in conjunction with the first emergence of the distinct realms of the universe. We find it, however, in Greek cosmology where it is home to the Titans, Gaia’s giant children, who were defeated by the Olympians. In his Theogony (lines 116–19), Hesiod (1914, 87) describes this place, called Tartarus: Verily at first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundation of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth. Once the origins of the universe were accounted for, mythologies explained the nature, history, and customs of humanity most often in relationship to their gods. These mythologies also expanded the ideas associated with otherworld locations. Heaven for the most part remained a dwelling place of the gods located in the sky, and thus the cause of many natural and human phenomena: the rising of the sun, the behavior of the moon, love, and war. But the world below the surface of the earth developed particularly as a place connected to the earthly cycles of life and death, fertility and regeneration. From the tablets of Gilgamesh and the coffin texts of Egypt to Norse and Greek legends, we find death and rebirth associated with underworld beings like Ereshkigal, Osiris, Hel, and Hades. (Campbell and Green, 1995, 192–93). Over time, otherworld places were transformed from the dwelling places of the gods and the source for natural cycles into habitations for humanity in the afterlife – as in Jewish tradition concerning Sheol – and even later transformed into places of punishment and reward for mortals, as in Christianity and Islam.

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The concept of time in the otherworld Various cultures and religions treated the otherworld, as it developed into a habitation for humans after death, in different ways according to their notions of time. In systems favoring cyclic time and reincarnation, as in ancient Egyptian religions, Buddhism, and Hinduism, hell became a place of transformation, wherein a mortal might be purged, punished, and purified to reenter the cycle of the living. (Flood, 1996, 76–77; Matsunaga and Matsunaga, 1972, 103). In Egyptian religions, the cycle of rebirth for evil mortals could be interrupted by total annihilation in Tuat or Duat, the land of the dead, where normally worthy souls would follow an established path toward rebirth. In Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, there is no annihilation, only rebirth. Here the hells are complex structures with various levels assigned for various types of sins (see Gardiner, 2012, xiii–xiv, 2013, x–xi). Special punishments are meted out according to the nature and magnitude of those sins, before the individual is reborn according to its karma. Thus, segmented hells probably first arose in the east. The number of hells could vary widely, and in Tibetan Buddhism, for instance, they total an astonishing 272 individual hells (eight cold hells above the eight standard Buddhist hot hells, each with sixteen secondary hells) (Matsunaga and Matsunaga, 1972; see also Gardiner, 2012, xi–xii). This notion of segmented hells probably traveled west and came to influence European notions of hell as early as the mid-twelfth century. The real Western parallel to these Eastern hells, however, is found in Christian notions of purgatory, also developing in the mid-twelfth century. Purgatory holds the souls who are neither good enough to immediately attain heaven upon death nor bad enough to deserve eternal perdition. These denizens of purgatory travel through a series of torments and are punished according to their sins. They are then released to their eternal reward, whereas the souls in cyclic religions are released back into the world, sometimes as humans, but sometimes as less than that, as dogs or frogs or beetles. In cyclic time, hell itself is surmised to continue for all time – there is no point at which it becomes extraneous in a never-ending world – and although individuals do not spend eternity there, they can spend what seems like the equivalent of eternity. Descriptions of Buddhist hell-time, for example, teeter on the brink of unending time. The Sutra on the Eighteen Hells (Chinese, 100–200 CE) describes the length of suffering in just one single hell, out of sixteen total possible hells, as 80,000 years. Since each day in hell is said to be equal to 30,000 earthly years, individuals can ultimately be sentenced to a single hell for trillions of years (Gardiner, 2012, 22–24). Heaven, or nirvana, on the other hand, represents release from all time, cyclic or otherwise. In religions favoring linear time, as in Christianity and other teleological religions from Zoroastrianism to Judaism and Islam, the otherworld is an eternal and final destination. Heaven for the most part is described and depicted as static, with each individual assigned a fixed place based on its previous life. Upon release from purgatory, souls might gradually move up from the outer perimeters toward the center and godhead until they reach their appointed place. Purgatory, by necessity, is associated with movement, since a soul is expected to progress through a series of punishments before

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being released into heaven. Verbal and visual descriptions of hell almost always depict continual movement through a recurring circuit of punishment, although even here a certain stasis can be evident in some descriptions where sinners are consigned to the single punishment most fitting some overarching sin. The notion of eternal punishment in hell is sometimes mollified in certain religions and sects. One Zoroastrian belief is that with the Frashegird, the final judgment at the end of 9,000 years, hell will completely disappear and the souls therein will either be annihilated or enter heaven. Some Islamic thought, on the other hand, holds that hell has not yet even been created and might only appear at the end of time.

Western otherworlds At the dawn of the Western Common Era, Christian notions of heaven and hell were significantly impacted by Jewish, Greek, and Roman ideas (see McDannell and Lang, 2001, 14–22; Miller, 2010, 43–51; Bernstein, 1993, 21–83; Turner, 1993, 20–39). Over time, a variety of otherworld notions from other cultures blended with Western ones. These connections are often difficult to trace because documents detailing transmission do not exist, but observed similarities make exchanges of afterlife ideas probable. For instance, apocalyptic ideas found in Zoroastrianism and some Jewish sects can be found in Western notions of the otherworld, particularly of hell. The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament do not provide clear notions of either heaven or hell. (Russell, 1997, 40–41). In these texts, covering almost a millennium, dating from approximately 745 BCE to 110 CE, heaven is the dwelling place of God with the Patriarchs and Prophets and clearly above the earth. It is the place from which Jesus descended to intervene in the affairs of humanity. References to hell in these books reflect the old Greek notions of Hades as an underworld dwelling place for the dead. However over time, Biblical references to hell became associated and conflated with references to Gehenna, an actual place of fire and human, particularly child, sacrifice outside Jerusalem. Only in the New Testament story of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) – a story found in Egyptian folk literature and known in Palestine by the end of the first century CE (Fitzmyer, 2007, 1126–1127) – is it possible to discern the concept of individual punishment and reward immediately after death in the otherworld. These ideas would become the essence of our contemporary interpretations concerning the afterlife. Early Christian creeds document a belief in heaven firmly established in the first centuries of the Church. The earliest ones, the Nicene Creed of 325 and the NicenoConstantinopolitan Creed of 381 (Schaff, 2002, 1:24–29), do not mention hell or purgatory. They speak of heaven as created by God and as the place from which Christ descended, to which he ascended upon his death and whence he will descend again to judge the living and the dead. The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed adds the element of eternity to the idea of the “kingdom of heaven,” as well as the important eschatological concepts of a “resurrection of the dead” and a “world to come,” both of which

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have a considerable bearing on the developing medieval notions of the otherworld. The Apostles’ Creed, probably dating from no earlier than the second half of the fifth century, repeats these previous ideas and adds the first indication of doctrinal belief in an underworld, stating that Christ “descendit ad inferos,” the word “inferos” meaning simply the “underworld” (Schaff, 2002, 14–22). That phrase was translated and interpreted as “descended to the dead” or “descended into hell,” from which derives the Christian “harrowing of hell” narrative (Turner, 1993, 66–70) found in the works of early Church writers, such as Tertullian, Origen, and Ambrose. Here Jesus rescues pre-Christians, from Adam and Eve to Noah and Moses, from a dark underground free from any pain, except the pain of separation from God. In addition, this creed introduces the idea of a bodily resurrection of the dead, followed by the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Unfortunately this text is not specific as to whether the forgiveness of sins and eternal life will be extended to a select few, all Christians, or humanity as a whole. Only in the late fifth or early sixth century did the Athanasian Creed specifically include the idea of afterlife punishment, claiming that those who do evil will descend “in ignem aeternum” (into eternal fire) (Schaff, 2002, 34–42). While doctrine, creed, and teaching maintained a cautious reticence on the details of the spaces of the afterlife, they provided a canvas on which fertile imaginations in the medieval period could construct tableaux of punishment and pain or delight and transcendence. These were often based on nothing more than dreams and visions, of which many remained quite skeptical. Those who chose to explore these ideas were often influenced by otherworlds described in the apocalyptic literature from the days of the Jesus movement into the early Church. Such texts included the Apocalypse of Zephaniah or Anonymous Apocalypse (Coptic, 100 BCE–c. 70 CE; see Wintermute, 1983–85, 508, 510, 513–515), the Apocalypse of Peter (Greek/Ethiopic, mid 2nd C.; see Hennecke, Schneemelcher, and Wilson, 1963–65, 2: 663–683), the Apocalypse of Ezra (Greek, 150–850; see Wahl, 1977), and the Apocalypse of Paul (Greek, early 3rd C.; see Hennecke, Schneemelcher, and Wilson, 2: 755–798 & Gardiner, 1989, 13–46). Such late ancient otherworlds provided rich, complex, and paradoxical landscapes. But they did not entirely reflect the notions and debates about heaven and hell emerging among the Fathers of the Church and early medieval theologians.

The medieval origins of the otherworld in Christian literature and art By the sixth century, narratives of otherworld experiences began to appear regularly in literary and historical sources. One of the earliest is the Vision Sunniulf, which is found in the History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours and is dated to the late sixth century (Dalton, 1927, 2: 142). Sunniulf, abbot of the monastery of Randau, has a vision of people immersed in a river of flame up to different parts of their bodies. A narrow bridge crosses the river to a great white house, but many fall from the bridge in attempting to cross it. Shortly after this vision was recorded, Pope Gregory the Great (540?–604)

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included three short visions of the otherworld – the Vision of Peter, the Vision of a Soldier, and the Vision of Stephen – in his Dialogues (593–94). From succeeding centuries, numerous visions and their various translations survive in hundreds of manuscripts: at least thirty-seven otherworld visions derive from before the year 1000, and at least thirty-one from between 1000 and 1500. The Vision of Tundale (Picard and de Pontfarcy, 1989), provides an important example of medieval vision literature. Written in 1149 and translated into fifteen languages, it tells of an Irish knight whose body lies lifeless for three days while his guardian angel leads him on a tour of hell and heaven. He is severely punished in a hell strictly segmented into particular punishments for particular sins. The text describes infernal features like pits, mountains, and valleys of fire, mountains of ice, narrow bridges, furnaces and ovens, a horrible beast who tortures fornicators, the forge of Vulcan, and finally the very pit of hell. Here Tundale sees Lucifer, who suffers more severely than all others in hell. After hell, Tundale proceeds on a rising path meeting better and still better souls inhabiting open fields and pavilions. Finally rising over walls of precious stones and metals, he finds a field of joy, fragrant and full of flowers, and the Fountain of Life. Aside from the complex and highly literary otherworld of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which it foreshadows in many aspects, the otherworld of Tundale’s vision is perhaps the most fully and consistently developed Christian medieval description of the otherworld and probably remains closer to the imaginative constructs of most medieval Christians than Dante’s. These visions have been compared to modern accounts of near-death experiences, and they share much with them, especially the visionary’s sense of a life-changing event (Zaleski, 1987). Most modern near-death experiences prioritize a celestial destination. But hellish monsters and landscapes are also familiar to modern audiences because they are recycled in literature and film in genres like horror and apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. Turning to another body of medieval literature, the commentaries of medieval university professors – the “scholastics” – we notice how their notions of heaven present an instructive counterbalance to the richness of literary visions and visual representations. While the artistic expressions often describe or depict souls in heaven between the time of death and before the Last Judgment, the theological formulations were often more concerned with the nature of heavenly existence after that point. According to the scholastics, this existence would be the true fulfillment of God’s plan. After the Last Judgment all that was superfluous, inefficient, or faulty – that is, the entire natural world, everything from animals to air, would no longer exist. By applying the classical tools of logic and dialectic, they determined that heaven would most likely be a large concave structure to encompass the bodies of the blessed physically resurrected at the Last Judgment. There they would experience sensual pleasure, despite the absence of the physical stimuli that we normally associate with it. Music would flow in praise of God, despite the absence of the air necessary to carry sound (Minnis, 2016, 140–207). Ironically, this scholastic heaven resembles not the heaven of the ancient

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Greeks and Romans, whose philosophy they adopted, but the nirvana of Buddhists and Hindus: the absence of, and freedom from, everything. The agglomeration of images, symbols, metaphors, and similes; the geographical and topographical constructions; and the detailed narratives and depictions created during the Western Middle Ages present a fairly exhaustive picture of otherworld possibilities. Little of substance was added during ensuing centuries. With the end of the Middle Ages in the West and the coming of the Protestant Reformation, ideas about hell might not have changed much, but threats of eternal damnation from Protestant pulpits surpassed anything preserved in medieval sermons. Reformation focus also shifted from vivid descriptions of the geography of the otherworld to an obsession with sin in this world.

Non-Christian traditions of the otherworld Christian otherworld traditions do not exist in isolation. They incorporate earlier ones and seem also to have adopted ideas from, and transmitted ideas to, other contemporaneous cultures. Hinduism and Buddhism have similarly powerful otherworld beliefs and a literature with vivid descriptions. They maintain that a cycle of continual rebirth is aimed at leading individuals to perfection and its concomitant oblivion. The nirvana, or nothingness, that is achieved at the end is not described in the literary sources, but the punishments that punctuate the cycles of rebirth recur vividly in numerous texts from the Rig-Veda and the Puranas to the Discourses of the Buddha and the Sutras. One particular tale from the late sixteenth century combines Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian thought. The Voyage to the Western Sea of the Chief Eunuch San-Pao by Lo Mou-teng tells the story of Wang Ming who wanders on a strange shore where he meets his dead wife and her new husband (Duyvendak, 1952, 263–311; Gardiner, 2012, 119–127). The new husband takes Wang Ming on a little tour, and it quickly becomes clear that his former wife is living on the outskirts of hell, a place called Fengdu. They visit the Tower of Viewing, from which the dead can see their former lives, and the Tower for Mounting, which only the faultless can ascend. They pass Blazing Fire Mountain and Lance and Knife Mountain, the Dam of Despondency, the River of Blood, and finally the Palace of Spiritual Radiance. After walking five more miles they come to the entrance to the eighteen hells, presided over by Yama (or Yen-lo). Of these eighteen, Wang Ming visits only eight with his guide, who is peremptorily summoned to a tribunal. The eight hells that Wang Ming does visit include: the Hell of Wind and Thunder, where knives slash sinners guilty of the ten heinous crimes; Thunderbolt Hell, where demons beat the wicked on a millstone; Hell of the Fire Wheel, where souls are burned on the wheel; Hell of Dark Cold, with a pond with flesh-eating fish; Hell of the Oily, where oil dripping from a dragon’s mouth disintegrates sinners; Hell of the Basin of Scorpions, which has a deep pit full of snakes that tear sinners apart; Hell of Pounding the Mortar, where sinners are pounded into a paste, then made into a ball; and Hell

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of the Saw, where sinners are sawed in half (Gardiner, 2012, xxxi). Sinners are constantly restored to their initial form so they can undergo the torture again and again until they move on to the next hell. And while there seems to be no notion of endless suffering, the length of punishment is like an eternity because each sinner can undergo a punishment for the equivalent of 100 × 1,000 × 10,000 kalpas where a kalpa is equal to 432 million years. The Hindu Vamana Purana, which dates from as early as 300 CE, provides a list of over twenty-five different hells, which are repeated in a variety of forms throughout Hindu literature (Dimmitt and van Buitenen, 1978, 49–52; Gardiner, 2013, xviii–xix). It also mentions the faults that might consign a sinner to a particular hell. For instance, people who steal yak-tail fans are sent to Karambhasikata Hell, those who serve a row of seated guests unequally will go to Vibhojana Hell; stupid backbiters and people who take brides are thrown into Vrakabhaksa Hell. This purana also details certain punishments: “sinners who copulate on holy days and those who have intercourse with another’s wife must embrace a red-hot spike with a pointed top. . . . Those who remarry widows, those who violate virgins . . . must eat ants and worms” (Gardiner, 2013, 29–30).

The purposes of heaven and hell When we consider the visions and ideas of past times and different cultures, we generally assume a literal belief in the places of the afterlife, but we have clear evidence that historically many authors understood that they were dealing with metaphors, knowing that the things of the otherworld and afterlife were completely unknowable. Their descriptions were meant, as often as not, to be artistic rather than literal. Like Dante’s Divine Comedy, these works were conscious literary constructs that served moral and theological purposes. Various reasons have been offered to explain the existence of these otherworld constructs (Bremmer, 2002, 1–10; Casey, 2009, 13–21). One is that the otherworld was invented by established religion to frighten the gullible. The aim in advancing such an afterlife of punishment and reward ranged from a cynical effort to extort money from individuals to a moral one to force them into ethical behavior. And even the modern era is not without its share of individuals who lament the loss of heaven and hell, not because they themselves believe in them, but because for so long these places efficiently enforced subservience or moral virtue, especially among those most likely to believe in such places – the uneducated and the poor (Walls, 1992). Another reason often put forward for the creation of otherworlds is as a response to injustice among beleaguered groups. Apocalyptic expectations of punishment and reward in an afterlife satisfy the need for a final vindication of long-held beliefs, faith in divine redemption, and second-hand vengeance against oppressors and outsiders alike. One group decries its persecution by evil others and imagines a hell where they will be interminably and justly punished, while it recognizes itself as the exceptional elect who have been destined for heaven throughout all history.

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Sociology, anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, medicine, and biochemistry have attempted to explain various aspects of belief in, and even experiences of, an afterlife. However, heaven and hell are so thoroughly cross-cultural and cross-denominational that they bear a universal significance that defies easy interpretation within the framework of any single given culture or religion.

References Bernstein, Alan E. (1993). The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Bremmer, Jan N. (2002). The Rise and Fall of the Afterlife. New York: Routledge. Campbell, Stuart, and Anthony Green, eds. (1995). Archaeology of Death in the Ancient Near East. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Casey, John. (2009). After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dalton, Ormonde Maddock, trans. (1927). Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon. Dimmitt, Cornelia, and Johannes Adrianus Bernardus van Buitenen, eds. and trans. (1978). Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Dorsey, Georges A. (1904). The Mythology of the Wichita. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution. Duyvendak, Jan Julius Lodewijk (1952). “A Chinese Divine Comedy.” T’oung Pao 41.4–5 (1952): 263–311. Fitzmyer, Joseph A. (2007). The Gospel According to Luke X–XXIV. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Flood, Gavin D. (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. Gardiner, Eileen. (1989). Visions of Heaven and Hell before Dante. New York: Italica Press. Gardiner, Eileen. (2012). Buddhist Hell: Visions, Tours and Descriptions of the Infernal Otherworld. New York: Italica Press. Gardiner, Eileen. (2013). Hindu Hell: Visions, Tours and Descriptions of the Infernal Otherworld, 2nd ed. New York: Italica Press. Guirma, Frederic. (1971). Tales of Mogho: African Stories from Upper Volta. New York: MacMillan. Hennecke, Edgar, Wilhelm Schneemelcher, and Robert McLachlan Wilson. (1963–65). New Testament Apocrypha. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. Hesiod, Hugh G. Evelyn-White, and Homer. (1914). Hesiod, the Homeric Hymns, and Homerica. London: W. Heinemann. Matsunaga, Daigan, and Alicia Matsunaga. (1972). The Buddhist Concept of Hell. New York: Philosophical Library. McDannell, Colleen, and Bernhard Lang. (2001). Heaven: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Miller, Lisa. (2010). Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife. New York: Harper. Minnis, Alastair J. (2016). From Eden to Eternity: Creations of Paradise in the Later Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Picard, Jean-Michel, and Yolande de Pontfarcy. (1989). The Vision of Tnugdal. Dublin: Four Courts Press. Russell, Jeffrey Burton. (1997). A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Schaff, Philip. (2002). Bibliotheca Symbolica Ecclesiæ Universalis: The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

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Turner, Alice K. (1993). The History of Hell. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company. Wägner, Wilhelm, M. W. Macdowall, and W. S. W. Anson. (1917). Asgard and the Gods: The Tales and Traditions of Our Northern Ancestors. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company. Wahl, Otto, ed. (1977). Apocalypsis Esdrae, Apocalypsis Sedrach, Visio Beati Esdrae, Pseudepigrapha Veteris Testamenti Graece 4. Leiden: E. J. Brill. Walls, Jan, Yvonne Walls, and Huairen Guo. (1984). Classical Chinese Myths. Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Company. Walls, Jerry L. (1992). Hell: The Logic of Damnation. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. Wintermute, Orval S. (1983–85). “Apocalypse of Zephaniah.” In Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, J. H. Charlesworth, ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. 497–515. Zaleski, Carol. (1987). Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times. New York: Oxford University Press.

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The classical definition of reincarnation, and the most concise, appears in the Bhagavad Gītā 2.22: “Just as a man, having thrown away his worn-out clothes, takes on other new ones, so does the embodied [dehī: the jīva or “soul”], having abandoned worn-out bodies, connect with other new ones.” Long (1948, 149) gives a more precise definition by introducing three restrictions: 1) that the location of the body is in this world, (i.e. the earthly sphere); 2) that the body must be occupied for more than a temporary period; 3) that the transmigrating soul must be “that which creates an individual.” These restrictions are based upon the Greek and, to a lesser extent, South Asian teachings of reincarnation or metempsychosis. However, these restrictions are not as universal as assumed. “World” (mentioned in no. 1 above) often represents the entire cycle of existence (saṃsāra), including the heavens and hells, in the ancient South Asian religions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The soul may not be the underlying component or principle of personality, or for that matter the equivalent to, or carrier of, the personality (Buddhism); and in two Hindu philosophical traditions (Buddhist and Sāṃkhya) the “soul,” however conceived, may not even be considered the transmigrating principle. In addition, the question arises whether the terms designating reincarnation are to be considered absolute synonyms: that is, whether they possess the same meaning and nuance in all contexts. Based upon the evidence presented, it would be better to consider terms such as metempsychosis, reincarnation, and transmigration as partial synonyms because of variations of the rebirth process as understood among many cultures and traditions of the world. Because of the multiplicity of attitudes toward rebirth, it is only natural that commentators (arbitrarily) assign one or the other term for rebirth to specific rebirth processes, an assignment, however, that is to be expected to vary from writer to writer. A good example of this appears in Mills and Slobodin (1994, 301), who regard transmigration as specifically human-to-animal rebirth, whereas according to the Buddhist scholar Henry C. Warren, the term is referring to a simple passing over by a soul from one life to the next (Warren, 209 and 234–41).

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Terminology The common term for the re-embodiment of the “soul” either at conception – or at some period between conception and birth – is “reincarnation.” Prior to 1901, however, two other terms were far more prominent: metempsychosis and transmigration. “Reincarnation” surpassed “metempsychosis” in the number of occurrences in print in 1901, “transmigration” only in 1915 based upon Google Books Ngram viewer. Furthermore, reincarnation appears rather late in the English language: 1845 according to the Oxford English Dictionary and 1829 according to Google Ngram (Herbert, vol. 4, no. 1, 329) and then only seldom until 1885, when it begins to assume broader popularity. It is no surprise, therefore, that “reincarnation” is neither present in Webster’s 1875 Dictionary nor the fifth edition of Stormouth’s Etymological and Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language (1879), although the former contains metempsychosis and transmigration, and the latter these same terms in addition to metensomatosis and palingenesis. What caused the rapid rise in popularity of “reincarnation” was due in part to the adoption of the term within Theosophical publications by such authors as Helena P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, W. Q. Judge, A. P. Sinnett, C. W. Leadbeater, Camille Lemaître, William Scott Elliot, and James M. Pryce, to name but a few. Yet, early occurrences were not as frequent in Theosophical literature as one might expect, the reason being that it was introduced as a secondary issue in the first major Theosophical treatise, H. P. Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled (1982, I. 179, 345–47, 351, 357; II. 145, 563). Therein, reincarnation was not yet regarded as an integral part of Theosophical teaching because it was limited to a process affecting only a small portion of the population, such as those experiencing childhood deaths or suffering congenital mental defects (1982, I. 351). Such a teaching most likely originated with the early Jewish Kabbalists, who understood gill or “the wheel” (transmigration, i.e., reincarnation) as a process limited to those guilty of sexual transgressions and offenses pertaining to procreation or the lack thereof (Raphael, 317). Aside from this distinction, “reincarnation” and “metempsychosis” were more likely to be understood in the broad sense of a human body “tenanted by a pre-existing soul, which has selected it for its tabernacle, and entered it from without” (Trent, 334). It is not from etymological information that distinctions arise among the terms used for rebirth. For instance, metempsychosis refers to the condition (-osis) of ensouling (-empsych-) another (meta-) (body). “Transmigration” (trans- “across,” “over,” “beyond”; migrâre “move” [from one place or condition to another]) represents in the broadest sense the transferal from one state, location, or body to another. The latter term, therefore, connotes the process rather than that which undergoes the process suggested by the former term. Whether the ensouling takes place within a body of the same species as the previous body is nowhere suggested in the etymological information of either term.

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Two other terms are sometimes used as substitutes for transmigration, metempsychosis, or reincarnation: metensomatosis and palingenesis. Palingenesis (“rebirth”) is the chosen term adopted by Schopenhauer to designate the “esoteric doctrine of Buddhism” (Schopenhauer, III. 300). Buddhism, he states, rests upon a moral basis, i.e. on the will and not the intellect, the latter possessing the faculty of memory. If Will is the substance and eternal part of the human entity, then it is more accurate to denote the process of rebirth or new birth as “palingenesis,” for such new births “constitute the succession of the life-dreams of a will which in itself is indestructible” (Schopenhauer, III. 300). The issue whether “rebirth” is more appropriate than “reincarnation” in Buddhism is taken up by Carl Becker, who argues that rebirth “suggests a causal continuity between one birth and the next without requiring that the two be identified as the same person” (Becker, 7). The argument is based upon the teaching of impermanence in Buddhism as opposed to the presence of the same eternal soul that inhabits a succession of bodies introduced in the contemporary Brāhmaṇical Upaniṣads. The use of “rebirth” to designate a continuation of life after death conforms to the term employed in the language of the ancient Buddhist texts, Pāli: punabbhava “re-becoming” or “renewed existence” and the derivative ponobhavika “leading to rebirth,” among other terms. However, Sanskrit and Pāli terms employed in the Hindu and Buddhist domains, although etymologically identical, refer to different understandings of the implications of rebirth. For instance, Sanskrit punarjanman “rebirth” (punar “re-” or “again”: = Greek palin) and Pāli punabbava are clearly identical in meaning, but punarjanman clearly implies the embodiment of the soul according to the Bhagavad Gītā (4.9 and 8.15), while the Buddhist notion of rebirth does not. Pragmatics, and not etymology, best define this difference. The last term, “metensomatosis,” “process of successive embodiments,” does not necessarily refer to the soul being embodied, only that embodiment occurs. Taken in this sense, it is also an accurate term for Buddhist rebirth. Whereas the Buddhist does not identify the soul as embodied, the Neoplatonist Plotinus refers metensomatosis to the change of an already embodied soul to a new body (Plotinus, I. 9). On occasion “pre-existence” is included among the synonyms for rebirth, but the emphasis of course is not on future births but on the regression of lives already lived. This belief does not disprove the ultimate creation of the soul, only that the soul pre-exists the current body. Nor does it offer certitude that the soul will survive the current body. The one teaching that it contradicts is traducianism, the teaching that the soul is produced by the seed or root-stock (tradux) of the parent (i.e., materialistic traducianism) or from the parent soul (spiritual traducianism or generationalism) (A. B. 1879, 1–10).

What undergoes rebirth? The issue of personal identity becomes the central focus of any discussion of reincarnation. Is it the same “personality” that is reborn? If so, is the personality aware of its previous existences? What is meant by the personality or the “I”? The philosophical

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difficulty that arises with reincarnation is what Paul Edwards declares to be an extreme form of dualism (Edwards, 1996, 15; cf. Edwards, 1997), one akin to Descartes’s declaration that the soul is utterly distinct from the body and that this soul or self is “that by which I am what I am” (Edwards, 1996, 101). The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (4.3.7) suggests a similar opinion, asserting that the self (ātman) is the light within the person’s heart, therefore the consciousness overseeing the vital functions. The soul then is the “animating principle” (O.E.D.: “spirit”) and the “knowing subject” (Deussen, 401) of the individual, which entails all mental faculties. The view that the soul animates the body is obvious in the Hebrew term nefesh (Gen. 2:7) or sometimes ruaḥ “breath,” and similar to the “life-soul” or vitality (mugua to the Wind River Shoshoni) of the Native North Americans (Hultkrantz, 149), the “real organ or function-soul of the body, the ‘motor’ responsible for the vital manifestations of the individual and the evincing itself, accordingly, in the respiration, the activity of the heart, the beat of the pulse, the circulation of the blood and the muscle-movements” (Hultkrantz, 149). The mugua is closely related to the breath, which might be looked upon as “a concretization of the idea of the life-stuff ” (Hultkrantz, 180). Similarly, the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast view the breath (ahom or honhom) as evidence of the soul (okra) in the person, since in- and out-breathing is God or the action of God, who is portrayed as the air. Breath then represents life and the cessation thereof is death. Breath, though not identical with the soul, is the intangible evidence of the presence of soul; the tangible evidence is mogya or blood (Ephirim-Donkor, 71–73). Loosely related to this belief is the Upaniṣadic equation of breath (prāṇa) with the transcendent principle, Brahman (Kauṣītaki Upaniṣad 2.2; see Olivelle 1998) and its equivalent to life-duration (āyu) and, by implication, discerning self (ātma-prajñā) (Kauṣītaki Upaniṣad 3.2). The usual term for soul or self in Sanskrit – ātman – very likely has etymological foundations in breath if it is based upon the root an; so too the Greek psyche (ψυχή), which may also be rendered “breath-soul” since it is based upon the verb ψυχω “I blow” (Onians, 93). The association of life or life-force with “soul” may require in some instances the elimination of dualistic assumptions and beliefs affiliated with those terms found in Greek, Sanskrit, and Hebrew. Terms such as psyche, ātman, and nefesh may refer to body-mind-life: in other words, the whole individual. The early Hebrews viewed the nefesh as a unitary being: “man does not have a nefesh, he is nefesh, he lives as nefesh” (Raphael, 56). Similarly, in the Vedas and Upaniṣads, the ātman not only referred to soul but could also include the body, as is evident in the term sarvātman-[sarva-ātman-] in Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa XI. 5. 6. 4, which might be translated as the “whole self ” – the former representing all the components (body, mind, vital force) that make up the individual or even by implication what is suggested in the reflexive pronoun (which ātman also represents). Correspondingly, in the New Testament, psyche may also refer to the whole person (Matt. 11:29) or the physical life of a person (Matt. 6:25). In the context of reincarnation, such expansive views of the aforementioned terms cannot be applied since it is obvious that the body does not survive. This dualism,

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however, is tempered by Ian Stevenson’s (1997, 181f.) discussion of physical evidence such as birthmarks and birth defects that may have been transmitted from a previous life. This process, which he coined as “diathanatic” (“carried through death”) includes certain memories, attitudes, and “residues of physical injuries or other markings of the previous body” (182). The procedure for influencing the future body suggests a discarnate personality during the intermediate state between death and rebirth somehow indirectly by influencing the selection of parents or fertilized ova, or directly by influencing the new body (183). The question whether memories of past lives or of selected incidents in past existences are genuinely recalled is one of importance since the lack of recollection for the majority of the population often mitigates against the belief in the possibility of reincarnation. This issue is raised by a number of authors, including Edwards (1996, 99–105), Wright (21–26), and Stevenson (1974, 9–11, 348–52). Stevenson (1997, 182) suggests that the loss of some or most of the manifesting attributes belonging to the previous personality is to be explained by distinguishing “personality,” – referring only to what is manifested in the present life- from “individuality – representing the totality of characteristics in previous lives”. The presumption is that nurture, or external experiences, and genes may both be contributing factors to manifesting certain features defining the personality. (For the possible Theosophical underpinnings, see Farthing, 1994.) It is further noted that many will not connect their personality attributes to previous lives but rather simply to one’s natural development. Pre-natal memories have been discussed and debated since the time of the ancient Greeks. Tertullian (160–225 C.E.) accuses Pythagoras (570–495 B.C.E.) of teaching metempsychosis and also claiming that he recalled former existences as Æthalides, Euphorbus, the fisherman Pyrhus, and Hermotimus (Tertullian, Ch. 28). Empedocles (492–432 B.C.E.) discusses the recollection of past lives in Fragment 117: “For I was once already boy and girl, Thicket and bird, and mute fish in the waves.” Plato (429–347 B.C.E.), in his Phaedo, mentions Socrates’s doctrine that knowledge is but recollection so that all we know is but a remembrance of all that was learned in a previous life. In the Meno, recollection (anamnesis) is an important concept in establishing previous states of existence of the soul and proof of its immortality, or more accurately, eternality. Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas in his Quaestiones de Anima (Questions on the Soul) commented on the views of Aristotle and Plato, agreeing that the human soul is a rational and intellectual entity that operates on an immaterial level, but he disagrees with Plato that the soul was the human being that used or controlled the body, somewhat akin to the human body’s relation to its clothes. Viewing the human being as an “incarnate spirit,” he states that human souls acquire “immaterial knowledge of the intellect from that knowledge which comes from sensing material things” (Robb, 48). The issue of the relationship between body and soul is raised throughout the book, but one question (no. 14) apropos the discarnate soul knowing all natural things is especially appropriate, for Thomas argues that the embodied human soul, because it is united to a body, can turn to “lower things” (i.e., “the intelligible species [i.e., specific nature] that are appropriate to its possible intellect”) as opposed to the discarnate soul

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turning solely toward “higher beings from which it receives an influx of universal intelligible species” (Robb, 217). The foregoing discussion may be summarized, following Thomas Aquinas, by stating that the soul is regarded as the principle of life (i.e., animate vs. inanimate), knowledge, and movement (Summa Theologiæ, Part I, Question 75), but keeping in mind the myriad views on the relation between the soul and body – many of which are discussed by Thomas – it is anything but a closed argument.

The process of rebirth The disparity of opinions pertaining to the soul and its relation to the body raises a number of issues. Can rebirth take place without a soul or with a soul accompanied by some other “entity”? Is the soul as reincarnating entity eternal, immortal, or neither? Is there an intermediate existence for the reincarnating entity? Is reincarnation generally believed to be a universal process in the same way as death is universal, or is it a process reserved for some? Is there a moral dimension to reincarnation, and if so, is it universally applied? Is there a progressive or regressive element in the reincarnation experience? The answers to all these questions are in the affirmative, since wide-ranging opinions exist within the various communities holding to this teaching. It is found in the New Age and modern movements such as the various Theosophical societies inspired by Blavatsky, the Church Universal and Triumphant, the Association of Research and Enlightenment and the clairvoyant Edgar Cayce, and the Spiritism of Allan Kardec. Within the Abrahamic religions, reincarnation is present in Jewish Kabbalah; the Unity Church within the New Thought movement of Christianity; and the Druze, Alevi, and Nusayrīyah within the Islamic tradition. In ancient times the Greeks discussed the teaching, as did the Celts. Tribal societies such as the Amerindian peoples, tropical African tribal communities, and Australian aboriginals also hold to this teaching. Because of this disparity of cultures and philosophies, it is impossible to suppose one consistent teaching on reincarnation, or to argue that one interpretation should take precedence over all other interpretations, or even to assign its origin to one area of the world or to one people. Perhaps the most significant question regarding rebirth is the first given above: Can rebirth take place without a soul or with a soul accompanied by some other “entity”? The process of a soulless rebirth is associated with the Buddhist teaching of anātman or “non-soul.” Usually, an argument against the use of the terms “reincarnation” or “transmigration” is raised because of the lack of an incarnating entity and the assumption that these terms suggest such an entity (Nyanatiloka, 1947). The classic teaching in the Buddhist sūtras is of a conditioned conscious process that goes through the round of rebirth (Majjhima-nikāya, sutta 38). Since this dependent consciousness is imbued with the force of kamma, this karmic energy (kamma-vega) serves as the blueprint of defining the personality and physical characteristics of the individual undergoing rebirth.

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The absence of a substantial and permanent soul in Buddhism and its emphasis on the transferal of consciousness in some respects unites an ancient teaching with modern discussions of consciousness, the out-of-body experience and its seeming dissociation with the brain (van Lommel, 161–204; Fontana, 406–25), and the complex philosophical arguments on this same topic (Chalmers, 2003). The brain in Buddhism was not considered the seat of consciousness, so the latter, consisting of the four mental aggregate processes making up the individual – that of sensation (vedanā), recognition (saññā), kinetic tendencies (saṃkhārā), and basic consciousness (viññāṇa) – were considered processes continuing after the physical death of the body. It is not surprising that there were tendencies to reintroduce, in some form, the semblance of a soul to maintain some connection with the personality. The extreme view, the insertion of a “person” or permanent self (puggala), was introduced by the early Personalist School (Sanskrit Pudgalavāda) – reported and refuted by the author of the Theravādin Abhidhamma work, Kathā-vatthu (“Points of Controversy”), Book I. Such a view has been vigorously contested by the commentators and defenders of the orthodox teaching. Judging from the numerous occurrences of Buddhist commentators defending against the possibility of a permanent self, many within Buddhism must have succumbed to such a teaching. Indeed, it does appear that the imperishable soul was reintroduced in early Chinese Buddhism (Park, 177–222). Contrariwise, in the dualistic Hindu philosophical school of Sāṃkhya, which postulates a Spirit (Puruṣa) and Primal Matter – the latter unmanifested matter (Pradhāna) capable of assuming manifested or evolved matter (Prakṛti), both gross and subtle – we find that it is not the Spirit that transmigrates (saṃsarati), but rather the subtle body (liṅga). The subtle body consists of all evolutes emanating from the Pradhāna minus the gross elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. The explanation for “material transmigration,” as given by the primary text of Sāṃkhya, the Sāṃkhya-kārikā, which states that whereas manifested matter (Prakṛti) is mobile and the Spirit is conscious, rebirth or reincarnation possesses only the feature of mobility. But since the Spirit is conjoined with Prakṛti, it becomes part of the rebirth process. What is defined as personality actually refers to the product of selected evolutes of Prakṛti, which, exhibiting consciousness, are ultimately reflected from the non-individualized consciousness of Spirit, analogously as the moon reflects the sun’s rays. The outcome of such experiences is represented by the term karma, which is nothing but the accumulation of past actions – mental, verbal, and physical – resulting in a mass of predispositions or impressions, many of which will be activated in the present or future life. Similar to this view is the notion of gandhabba (Sanskrit gandharva) in Buddhism. In the Theravādin Majjhima Nikāya (I.266–67), the Buddha states that rebirth requires both the union of mother and father and the being to be reborn. This being, the gandhabba, is not a disembodied spirit but a psychic or mental being propelled by karma, according to the commentary to the Majjhima. This description, as it appears in Theravāda Buddhism, suggests an impermanent being composed of mental aggregates imbued by karma that will be reborn immediately upon the death of the old body. Elsewhere, however, the gandhabba is considered an “intermediate being.”

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An intermediate being (what Stevenson suggested above) implies an intermediate existence for the reincarnating entity, an existence between death and rebirth. This is the implication of the Sautrāntika Abhidharmakośa and its Commentary (bhāṣya), a work by Vasubandhu (4th c. C.E.). The early schools of Buddhism, of which the Sautrāntika was one, were divided in their view of the existence of an intermediate realm (antarābhava) between death and rebirth. Schools such as the Sammitīyas and Pubbeseliyas accepted it, while the Theravādins, Lokottaravādins, and Mahīśāsakas denied it. This intermediate, or the “between,” is also known as the bardo in Tibetan Buddhism and in the well-known text popularly known as the Book of the Dead, or the Bardo Thodol (The Great Book of the Liberation through Understanding in the Intermediate State). In recent times, the issue of whether the soul is reincarnated immediately or after a period of time is taken up by Allen Kardec in his The Spirits’ Book (Le Livre des Esprits). A great deal of information is given about the soul, spirit, and reincarnation. By definition, the spirit is an intelligent, extra-corporeal being of the creation (Para. 76), meaning that it is the individuality of extra-corporeal being (i.e., “matière quintessenciée,” somewhat analogous to subtle matter: Para. 82) and not universal intelligence. It is enveloped in a vaporous, semi-material substance known as the perispirit (périsprit) (Para. 93). When incarnated, it is known as a “soul” (Para. 134). Reincarnation has as its aim “expiation” or “the progressive improvement of mankind” (Para. 167). The foundation of this teaching is “the justice of God, and revelation,” that is, a means toward perfection by experiencing the trials of a corporeal life (Para. 171). Once all impurities are eliminated, there is no longer a need for reincarnation (Para. 168). If reincarnation for Kardec reflects the justice of God, it is viewed by Hinduism and Buddhism as the result of an autonomous force that defines future lives. For Buddhism, karma is viewed as the equivalent to one’s intentions (cetanā). Such intentions lead to good, bad, or mixed results that define the totality of one’s physical and mental existence, which may occur on any level of existence – whether the species is human or extra-human. If karma is a force that defines the outcome of the mental and physical characteristics of the entity, Jainism views karma in a more materialistic fashion, suggesting that it (karma) is subtle matter that attaches to the soul (jīva), thus causing embodiment to gross matter. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all emphasize the consequences based upon moral or immoral actions that may lead to the quality of existence on the human or non-human level. A major change in the teaching of reincarnation involves the nature of future existence. Can a human be born as an animal or insect in a future existence? This is accepted in Hindu texts such as the Dharmaśāstras and Purāṇas and also by Buddhism, Jainism, and the Greek philosophers. Kardec, however, emphasizes the progression of spirits from an initial state of simplicity and ignorance to a state of perfection (Para. 114–16). Once the spirit enters a human body, it cannot regress to an animal one (Para. 611–613). A few years after Le Livre des Esprits was published (1860), the same teaching was adopted by Blavatsky, who wrote that nature never regresses in its

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evolutionary process, so a human can never be reborn as an animal “except morally, hence – metaphorically” (Blavatsky 1886, 183). Such is also the case for the Druze (Obeyesekere, 313 and 408, n. 100). On the issue of reincarnation being experienced by all or some, it is clear that the majority of references refer to its being universally experienced. Exceptions include the soul that reaches perfection (Kardec, Para. 170–71), which is a common teaching in the South Asian religions, or the example of the Puruṣa or Īśvara that was never entangled with afflictions or karma (Yoga Sūtra, I.24). In Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled (1982, 351), “reincarnation,” defined as “the appearance of the same individual, or rather his astral monad (“the body of the deceased personality”: 1886, 178), twice on the same planet” is considered an exception caused by some “crime or accident” such as the death of infants, “congenital and incurable idiocy,” and abortion. Reincarnation allows a second chance for the being to “carry out the purpose of the creative intelligence” (Isis, 351).

Conclusion Reincarnation in the popular and most expansive sense of the term represents a transferal of an essence or substance from one body to another. As general as this is, it remains an unsatisfactory definition since it has been shown that the entity transferring from one body to another is not necessarily a substance and that the body or vehicle that receives this “substance” is not necessarily material, at least according to the broadly accepted understanding of matter. Variations of the process of transferal, which we in general term reincarnation, may be identified by the use of synonyms that have been arbitrarily assigned to represent the variants of this process, such as the examples of “transmigration” and “metempsychosis.” Whether these variations are considered substantive is left to the interpretation of the investigator. It is true that Mills and Slobodin identify three types of reincarnation – human-to-human, human-to-animal, and human-to-animal-to-human – which allows us to identify the variations, but it is not clear whether they are restricting these varieties only to communities and tribes under their investigation or whether it is meant to be a general description. I assume it is the former. Certainly, Bertholet (1909) nearly a century earlier identified the first two types of transmigration, which he employed in place of reincarnation, but he also expands its meaning to include human-to-plant and human-to-inanimate object. From this perspective, Obeyesekere appears to agree with Bertholet by dividing reincarnation into “parallel-species reincarnation” and the more comprehensive term “cross-reincarnation.” In reality, he is responding to Mills’s and Slobodin’s classification but emphasizes in addition that the Amerindian view of a “homology between human and animal” should be given more emphasis (44). Aside from this discussion, a question persists whether the vehicle or body should be considered the defining feature of reincarnation. Perhaps it is the purpose or force

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behind reincarnation in the first place, which includes the role of karma in some systems, justice in others, or entirely natural or familial purposes in still others. Whatever its underlying rationale, future investigators of this doctrine must be prepared to view it from a broader and more open perspective if they are to gain new insights and significance.

References A. B. (1879). “The Soul, and the Theory of Evolution.” The University Magazine, III (Jan-June): 1–10. Aquinas, St. Thomas. (1920). Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas. Second and revised edition. Translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Becker, Carl B. (1993). Breaking the Circle: Death and the Afterlife in Buddhism. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press. Bertholet, D. Alfred. (1909). The Transmigration of Souls. Translated by Rev. H. J. Chaytor. London and New York: Harper & Brothers. The Bhagavad-Gītā (1966). Commentary and translation by R. C. Zaehner. London, Oxford, and New York: Oxford University Press. Blavatsky, H. P. (1886). “Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits.” The Path, 1.8: 232–45. In H. P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings. Compiled by Boris de Zirkoff. Vol. VII: 1886-1887. 2nd edition. Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1974. Pages 176–99. Online: . Accessed Feb. 27, 2017. ———. (1982). Isis Unveiled. Los Angeles: The Theosophy Company. Chalmers, David J. (2003). “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature.” In Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind, edited by Stephen P. Stich and Ted A. Warfield. Malden, MA: Blackwell. pp. 102–42. Deussen, Paul. (1966). The Philosophy of the Upanishads. Translated by Rev. A. S. Geden. New York: Dover Publications. Edwards, Paul, ed. (1997). Immortality. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ———. (1996). Reincarnation: A Critical Examination. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Empedocles. (1908). The Fragments of Empedocles. Translated by William Ellery Leonard. Chicago: Open Court. Ephirim-Donkor, Anthony. (1997). African Spirituality: On Becoming Ancestors. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. Farthing, Geoffrey A. (1994). When We Die. San Diego, CA: Point Loma. Fontana, David. (2005). Is There an Afterlife? Ropley, Hants: O Books. Herbert, Algernon. (1929). Nimrod: Discourse on Certain Passages of History and Fable, Vol. 4, Part 1. London: Richard Priestly. Hultkrantz, Åke. (1953). Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians: A Study in Religious Ethnology. Stockholm: The Ethnographical Museum of Sweden. Īśvarakṛṣṇa. (2012). Samkhya Karika with Gaudapadacarya Bhasya. Translated and edited by Brahmrishi Vishvatma Bawra. Brahmrishi Yoga Publications. Kardec, Allan. (1898). The Spirits Book. Translated by Anna Blackwell. London: George Redway. Lommel, Pim van. (2010). Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience. Translated by Laura Vroomen. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Long, Herbert S. (1948). “Plato’s Doctrine of Metempsychosis and Its Source.” The Classical Weekly, 41.10: 149–55. Majjhima Nikāya (Sutta 38: Mahātaṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta). Edited by V. Trenckner. Vol. 1. Published for the Pali Text Society by Luzac & Company Ltd., 1964. Translation: The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha. Translated by Bhikkhu Ñānamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995.

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Mills, Antonia, and Richard Slobodin. (1994). Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief among North American Indians and Inuit. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Nyanatiloka, Mahathera. (1947). “Karma and Rebirth.” In Fundamentals of Buddhism: Four Lectures by Nyanatiloka Mahathera. Online: . Accessed Oct. 13, 2016. Obeyesekere, Gananath. (2002). Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth. Berkeley: University of California Press. Olivelle, Patrick. (1998). The Early Upaniṣads. New York: Oxford University Press. Onians, Richard Broxton. (1951). The Origins of European Thought: About the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time, and Fate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Park, Jungnok. (2012). How Buddhism Acquired a Soul on the Way to China. Sheffield, UK: Equinox Publishing. Patanjali. (2009). The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Translated and edited by Edwin F. Bryant. New York: North Point Press. Plotinus. The Six Enneads. Trans. Stephen Mackenna and B. S. PageFourth Tractate, paragraph 9. Online: . Accessed July 16, 2014. Points of Controversy. (1969). Translation of the Kathā-vatthu. Translated by Shwe Zan Aung and Rhys Davids. London: Luzac & Company. Raphael, Simcha Paull. (2009). Jewish Views of the Afterlife. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Robb, James H., trans. (1984). Questions on the Soul [Quaestiones de Anima by St. Thomas Aquinas]. Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press. The Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa (1900/1963). Second edition. Translated by Julius Eggeling. Delhi, Patna, Varanasi: Motilal Banarsidass. Schopenhauer, Arthur. (1906). The World as Will and Idea, Vol. 3. Translated by R. B. Haldane and J. Kemp. London: Kegan Paul, Trench Trübner & Co. Stevenson, Ian. (1974). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. ———. (1997). Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Westport, CT: Praeger. Stormonth, James. (1879). Etymological and Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language. Fifth edition revised by P. H. Phelp. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons. Tertullian, A Treatise on the Soul [De Anima]. Translated by Peter Holmes. Online: . Accessed Jan. 24, 2015. Trent, A. G. (1880). “The Soul and the Stars.” University Magazine: A Literary and Philosophic Review, 5: 334–46. Warren, Henry Clarke. (1963). Buddhism in Translations. New York: Atheneum. Webster, Noah. (1875). A Dictionary of the English Language. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Company. Wright, Leoline L. (1975). Reincarnation. Wheaton, IL: The Theosophical Publishing House.

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Mysticism Thomas Quartier

The border of death is one of the most obvious limitations of human existence. A fulfilled life lived or not, it is unavoidable that human existence ends, at least in a biological sense. All spiritual traditions try to address the inevitability of dying and death by offering perspectives that reach beyond the obvious end of one’s physical life. Dying not only means saying farewell, but at the same time “the dying process is approached as a moment of transformation and opportunity for growth” (Cattoi & Moreman 2015, 2). Traditions offer practices to prepare for this transformation and beliefs that impart meaning to the process of dying. Death is a motor for practices of spirituality and a source of symbolic meaning, often in the sense of a hereafter. The “contrast experience” (Schillebeeckx 1993) of the end of worldly life offers a glimpse of the mystery of life, death, and a possible afterlife. However, in modern society it has become less evident how these practices and their symbolic meanings relate to a person’s own death. The potential sense-giving perspective on death has become progressively problematic for two reasons. First, due to increasing medical knowledge and treatment possibilities, the border of death seems to be less of a mystery to the contemporary terminally ill and their loved ones. Second, due to secularisation the articulation of the mystical dimensions of death by spiritual practices and symbolic meaning seems to have become more difficult, leading to a tendency not to identify with religious traditions for many people with no explicit religious affiliation. What would these practices helping to prepare for the border of death be? What beliefs can articulate the mystery surrounding death? These questions direct us to the relation of death and mysticism. Mysticism in this regard refers to the path of a person towards a transcendent reality not perceivable by the senses or human knowledge. It is common to mystical traditions that “the consciousness of the person is transformed, not because of a different content, but because the centre of gravity of a person’s personality is gradually moved towards the divine” (Blommestijn 1986, 2384). Death is a focal point during the circle of life that evokes a need and offers an occasion for mystical experience. However, the question is whether the loss of personality connected to mysticism can be reconciled in a culture directed at a person’s individual personality as ultimate value. Against this background, contemporary experiences of death often stress the continuity between earthly life, death,

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and life after death. Many dying do not prepare for their self-loss anymore, as is the case in most religious traditions, but rather create their “post-self ,” their ongoing identity here on earth among their significant others (Wojtkowiak 2012). For the bereaved, this means that through the “continuing bonds” with loved ones, they attempt to retain contact and communicate with the dead (Klass & Walter 2001). Despite this tendency, the experience of loss remains disturbing for human thought and construction. For this reason, the relationship between death and mysticism is important, especially in contemporary society where there is once again a growing awareness of death and its spiritual meaning (Bregman 2003). To get an appropriate view of the mystical experiences of dying and bereaved persons, three elements for their mystical transformation are key: first, practices of life directed to death; second, symbols of death directed to (after-) life; and third, mystagogical guidance of the transformation. To investigate the relationship between mysticism and death concretely, we can select two examples: Buddhism and Christianity (see Quartier 2015). This does by no means mean that other religions or worldviews do not offer practices, symbols, or guidance directed to the mystical experience of death. On the contrary, it is common to all spiritual traditions to show mystical paths towards and through death (Cattoi & Moreman 2015). For a contemporary understanding of mysticism and death, a hermeneutical investigation of spiritual traditions from a comparative angle is useful. This can be illustrated by the two perspectives of Christian and Buddhist spirituality that demonstrate many parallels when considering the contemplative practice (Henry 2002). It is a form of reciprocal illumination that sheds light on the concept of mysticism in relation to death (Sharma 2006). In what follows, I will first clarify the relation between mysticism and thanatology. I will then give some impressions of Christian and Buddhist monasticism with regard to their practices representing death within life. This is followed by two dying-narratives, from Benedict of Nursia and the Buddha, that offer a symbolic expression of the mysticism of death. Finally, a possible perspective for mystagogical counselling of the dying and bereaved will be shown from Christian and Buddhist practice. With these explorations we hope to clarify the complex relationship between mysticism and death, without fully exploring the traditions mentioned.

Mysticism and thanatology Thanatological reflection on death relies on different disciplines, such as psychology, cultural anthropology, religious studies, and theology. In all cases, certain aspects of the dying process, the moment of death, or the mourning cycle are analysed regarding their structure and meaning. However, it is also possible to see death as a source of wisdom. The study of death as such is then broadened to include hermetic content only accessible for the persons directly involved: the dying and the mourning. The relationship between internal and the external perspective is evident here; the outsider can only rely on external signals given by those directly involved and can never fully share the

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experience. The groups closest to the dying are caregivers and loved ones who can share the experience in the intimate setting of physical or spiritual care. According to many experiences, the last days before death can be enormously rich because one faces death openly. Between the moment of diagnosis and the moment of death, “a world can open up,” as we learn from spirituality studies (Waaijman 2003, 110). What is meant by this world opening up? This is particularly difficult to articulate, as there is often no immediate vocabulary available to describe the deeply personal and intimate experience. Gestures and words accompanying transformative moments around death quickly risk not being recognised by the dying, their loved ones, or the caregivers in attendance. The strength of symbolic repertoires is to transcend the merely rational level of describing human experience. This means that symbols can unite the hermetic experience of the dying with the emotions of loved ones and traditional meaning systems. However, if the symbols are too strongly determined by meaning systems not shared by all involved, they can quickly become hieratic and inaccessible. As soon as they are fully recognised, the risk is that they are too immanent, become trivial, and do not access the world opening up in the face of death (Quartier 2012b). The issue of finding a suitable symbolic repertoire is common to all cultural environments (Venhorst 2013). Spiritual counselling can help in these situations to respect the mystical experience of death, avoiding hieratism and trivialisation. Thanatology must include a mystical analysis to do justice to the richness of the dying process and to offer a key to suitable symbolic repertoires. The reason is sourced in mysticism’s original meaning, which is related to the Greek myo (closing of eyes and mouth) and myeo (being initiated in the mysteries). The adjective mysticos describes someone who has been initiated into the mysteries (mystes, mystatgogos, mystagogia) about which they remain silent (myo). In this definition of mysticism three important dimensions can be distinguished (Waaijman 2003, 353–355): first, a process of growth and development, often linked to ascetic exercises; second, a mystery that transcends language and human sensual perception; and last, the help of guides who lead the person along a mystagogical path. These three dimensions of mysticism are directly related to the elements mentioned previously: practices during life, symbolic meaning of death, and mystagogical guidance. The following questions are relevant: Which practices of spirituality help initiation into the mystery of death during life? Which symbolic meaning sheds light on the experience of the mystery at death? What can mystagogical guidance add to the initiation in the mystery?

The practices directed to death are vivid in spiritual ways of life, such as monasticism. What do monks do to lead a life already anticipating the border of death and touching upon its mystery? The symbolic meaning can be found in dying-narratives of holy persons whom the followers perceive as having reached a supernatural state of being that reveals the mystery of death (Quartier 2012a). Saint Benedict and the Buddha are striking examples, as previously mentioned. The mystagogical guidance of dying

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and bereaved persons evolves from the intimate experience shared with dying persons. How these questions are answered depends on the mystical tradition. Mystical experiences can mean the path of a person towards a transcendent reality. It can also mean the purification of human desire, directed to a person’s true nature and away from self-fulfilment, or aimed at an intuition which differs from ordinary experience and is often linked to strong emotions. After a long period of neglecting death (Ariès 1981), a growing awareness of the importance of experiencing and sharing the processes surrounding death can be found today, including the mystical dimensions. Every spiritual tradition offers practices of spirituality and symbolic meaning of dying. The two traditions selected offer practices and symbols for life towards death and death towards life. In Christianity, the resurrection of Christ means the transition (pascha) from death to life. The death of Jesus is the immanent reality on this side of human perception, whereas on the other side is God’s life-giving power. This can be experienced in life by following Christ fully. It can also be expressed by paschal symbols in the process of dying. The central motive of self-loss is linked to the motive of entering the salvation earned by Christ. In Buddhism, you can reach the transformation to nirvana even during your lifetime, if you systematically leave behind everything related to the longing for life, the source of all suffering. Again, self-loss is of eminent importance. That mystical core can be arrived at in a concentrated way during the dying process. Meditatively you can reach different states of consciousness that leave earthly perception and personal identity behind. You can learn to see death as a natural process and accept it. This transformation of death to new life is not only linked to a general cosmological process, but also to the individual’s cycle of life, death, and new life again, mostly through reincarnation (Waaijman 2003, 103). What are the significant practices of spirituality for a mystical relation to death? What symbolic meaning reveals the mystery of life and death more specifically? And how is mystagogical guidance given in Buddhism and in Christianity? The following examples endeavor to clarify these questions.

Practices: living towards death There are special ways of life that incorporate death in their very essence. Living towards death characterises monastic life in various traditions. Monks are ascetic virtuosi (Riesebrodt 2010) who follow a special vocation to become sensitised to the mystery related to human finitude. For this reason, the life of Christian monks is often interpreted as not being located in the world as it is perceived to be. Monks are identified entirely with their way of life, consequently when entering the monastery, they “die” for the world, at least as individual personalities (Agamben 2013). Symbolically speaking, Buddhist monks can also be seen as “living dead”; they extricate themselves from the limitations of time. In this regard, the monastery can be viewed as a “timeless world” that follows its own set patterns quite separate from the world. A good example is the independence of biological age. The day of entering the monastery is decisive for

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the monk’s position within the community, not the date of birth, which differs from the convention in society. Entering the monastery is seen as “spiritual death” (Van der Velde 2013). The “life” of a monk can be a representation of “death” for society. At the same time a monastery, Christian and Buddhist, is a place where a monk permanently copes with death. By not neglecting death, it becomes a natural goal of life, incorporating a mystical search for what follows after death. The motivation to strive for a life towards death is usually the hereafter. In Benedictine tradition, the oldest form of Western Christian monasticism, death has to be present in everyday life to avoid poor behavior. Any reward will follow death. The Rule of Saint Benedict says in the sixth century: “Live in fear of judgment day and have a great horror of hell. Yearn for everlasting life with holy desire. Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die” (Benedict of Nursia 1998, 4: 44–47). This is an anticipation of eternity that can never be reached by merely functional practices or by applying ascetical techniques. These techniques initiate monks, but it is only through grace that they can grasp a glimpse of eternity during their earthly life, which will be fully revealed after death. A major part of monastic engagement is prayer. This pillar of monastic life is directed towards God and can benefit the living and the dead with regard to the eternal being. For this reason, during the Middle Ages monasteries were places of intense prayerful anticipation of death and life after death. Monks were also requested by many members of society to pray for the deceased. One possible reason can be their mystical openness towards eternal life. Their practices are fruitful for the salvation of all people, within and beyond the monastery. Logic can never form the basis for the trust in the mystical quality of monastic life with regard to the border of death. A basic sense for the mystery is formed by ascetic practices and by prayer. In Buddhism, many texts remind the disciples of the Buddha of the transitory nature of embodiment: “Now that you know that the body is riddled with disease, how can you rely on force? The world has no essence, it is unhealthy and unsure; forces in a world that is so temporary, will perish” (Saundarananda IX, 16). When monks are seen as “living dead,” as previously indicated, this is due to their outer appearance, as Van der Velde points out: “Their head is shaved, their garments originally consisted of shrouds or other cloth found in cremation grounds, closely imitating the Buddha” (Van der Velde 2013, 241). The monastic way of life, similar to Benedictine spirituality, is an anticipation of death. It is a mystery why humans would act as if dead during their lifetime. As with Christianity, monks are predestined to benefit the living as well as the dead who did not lead an ascetic life with regard to their afterlife. You can improve your karma by donating to monks. As they sometimes can enter the various hells belonging to Buddhist eschatological images during their meditation, they are perceived as representatives of death and asked to guide persons on their way through physical death, e.g. by presiding over funerals, particularly in Japan. The societal relevance of leading a life that is already touching on the mystery of death is visible in areas where monasteries form stable centres of meditating on death and accepting physical death as a part of life and not disturbing the spiritual path. Remaining stable in anticipating death can be a strong impulse against injustice,

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directing people to their ultimate goal of life whilst being independent of earthly conflicts and catastrophes (Quartier 2014). The forms of monastic life demonstrate that mysticism and death can be related on a spiritual path in three ways: Death can be anticipated by ascetic practices during life; The anticipation of death is linked with a mystical search for the hereafter; Persons not committed to a religious way of life can benefit from life towards death.

Symbolic meaning: die towards life Being initiated into a mystery not perceivable by the senses can be the culmination of a dying process. Obviously not every dying person bears witness to this process in an articulated manner. That is why dying-narratives of holy persons can be found in every spiritual tradition. They are on the one hand part of the hagiography of the persons, stressing their qualities and holiness. On the other hand they often offer a symbolic meaning which can be inspiring and transformative for listeners and readers, sometimes during their own dying process or that of a loved one (Labov 2013). Dying-narratives in Christianity and Buddhism illustrate the mystical dimension of the dying process by showing experiences of a mystery that could not be expressed in purely discursive argumentation. In both traditions, the mystery of life after death becomes a symbolic reality in the narratives of the holy persons. What are the mystical dimensions of Buddhism and Christianity aiming at in dying-narratives? In Buddhism, human experience of dying and death is taken seriously, even by the Buddha himself. Narratives seek to avoid people being alienated from the mystery by their perceptions, feelings, and experiences. All illusions need to be removed from the dying person, so he or she is able to be fully receptive for nothingness (Heinrich 2005, 153). This is what a dying-narrative can express for anyone confronted with death. The mystery initiated when dying is in a literal sense empty: an emptiness that we in our usual state of mind cannot grasp. A comparable path to the mystery can be seen in Christian mysticism of dying. Dying is seen as the final process of self loss, whereas in life people are all too often directed towards their own ego. However, nothingness is not the goal of the path but God. Christianity, like the other Abrahamic traditions, offers an attitude to be receptive for the Other. God is expressed in Christian dying-narratives. When truly independent of yourself, God reveals the mystery of eternal life (Sölle 2011, 21). Both traditions have different images of personal eschatology: what happens to human beings after death. The images of reincarnation and nirvana differ strongly from theological concepts such as the resurrection or the immortal soul. However, the process of self loss is common to both traditions, Christianity and Buddhism. Mystical experience in that respect offers a contemplative horizon that can be articulated in different eschatological systems, but both cases transcend the border of death. From the Buddhist tradition, the dying-narrative of the Buddha is a striking example. It is described in detail in the Maha-parinibbana Sutta, written several centuries

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after the actual death of the Buddha. After the description of several months of retreat, the narrative describes the Buddha dying, the cremation, and the division of relics (Thomas 1996). In a mystical sense, the narrated dying process is critical. Although the Buddha was already enlightened during his earthly life, he still needed to die, as everything that has a beginning also has an end. Still, his death was not a usual death, as the disciples in his immediate vicinity desired to know what would happen to the Buddha at the boundary of death. It is interesting to read that the whole meditative journey can be observed during the last moments of his earthly life, starting with several meditative stages until the sphere of nothingness. We read that the Buddha was “rising out of the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, and attained to the cessation of perception and feeling.” After having gone back again through the different stages “and, rising from the fourth jhana, the Blessed One immediately passed away” (Maha-parinibbana Sutta, chapter 6). Four elements are remarkable in this narrative. First, during his dying process, the Buddha passes the stages of spiritual growth that you would aim at on a spiritual path; second, he actually does achieve the highest mystery; third, he returns to earlier stages of the spiritual path; fourth, the stages can be perceived by the disciples surrounding him. These elements clearly point to the mystical nature of the Buddha’s dying process. The initiation in the mystery happens in a compressed manner, and the mystery reached by the enlightened dying person is nothingness, not graspable by logic and/ or reason. Still, it is related to earthly life. The cyclical nature of life is symbolically expressed by the return to the lower stages of consciousness. Of course, the disciples do not attempt to guide the Buddha, as would be the case in spiritual care. The role of guide and follower is altered here: the dying teacher guides the disciples, and this is expressed by the notion that they can perceive his journey. In a mystical sense the narrative indicates that the border of death remains a mystery, even after the final stage within the symbolic frame of reference, here the “sphere of nothingness,” is reached. The disciples can relate to the relics of the Buddha and participate in the symbolic expression of his mystical journey because he also pointed to the way back. Within the Christian tradition, the death of many saints is described carefully in hagiographic writings. One striking example is the death of Benedict of Nursia narrated by Gregory the Great (540–604) some decades after his actual death (Puzicha 2012). For Western monasticism he stressed the cenobite life and consequently died among the community of brothers. The fact that the saint is aware of his death can be found several times in early Christian monastic literature. However, that he dies standing is unique in this genre. A final stage of the mystical path is revealed. Benedict suffers bodily pain, but by drawing strength from his brethren and the Christian sacrament of Holy Communion, seen as sustenance for his journey (viaticum), he eventually reaches the realms of heaven. When his disciples saw his path to heaven, they are told in a mystical vision: “This is the path on which Benedict, beloved of the Lord, will make his way up to heaven. Thus they who were absent understood from the sign given them that the holy man had died. They did so, just as the disciples who were present saw it with their own eyes” (VB 37, 2–4).

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The parallels with the death of the Buddha are obvious: first, the actual dying brings the saint close to the mystery by practicing faith, which means community life and Christian sacraments; second, the path to heaven is ultimately reached. The Christian imagery of heaven and the path towards it echoes the nothingness in the dying scene of the Buddha. However, there is also a difference here: the symbolic meaning of the life after death is expressed indirectly in this narrative (heaven); although the brothers see the path, they are not given a glimpse of heaven, nor do they observe the saint in heaven. This is the third element, the perception during his earthly life is purely directed to the body which becomes an earthly representation for the path to eternal life. Then an intermediary helps to explain the symbols they see. Again, the dying person is not counselled here in a mystagogical sense, but the beloved ones who are left behind receive mystical meaning. The differences between the two narratives reflect a different perception of time in the two traditions, as well as a variant understanding of transcendence and the Divine. Yet, four parallel features can be distilled as below: Dying towards life can be interpreted as a mystical path; Mystery is reached by the dying person; The experience is linked to earthly reality; This can be perceived directly or indirectly by the bereaved.

Mystagogical perspectives for dying and bereaved In both the traditions of life towards death and the narratives of dying towards life, those surrounding the monks or the holy persons involved find support and strength in their confrontation with finitude. Modern forms of spiritual care often search for practices that offer a structure in the sometimes chaotic situation of people confronted with death, helping them to deal with their contingency. The practices and narratives shown here might open a mystagogical perspective for caregivers to help the dying and bereaved persons to discover the relation between death and mysticism (Quartier 2010a). The link between contemplation and care today is explicitly expressed in Engaged Buddhism. According to Joan Halifax, the call for a continuous mystical path towards and beyond death is central to Buddhist practice: “The Buddha taught that we should practice helping others while cultivating deep concentration, compassion, and wisdom. He further taught that enlightenment is not a mystical, transcendent experience, but an ongoing process, calling for three fundamental qualities: fearlessness, intimacy and transparency; and that suffering diminishes when confusion and fear transforms into openness and strength. [. . .] I discovered care giving as a path, and as a school for unlearning the patterns of resistance, so embedded in me and my culture. Giving care, I learned, also enjoins us to be still, to let go, listen, and be open to the unknown” (Halifax 2009, 4). In the process of care, both the dying person and the caregivers, professionals or loved ones, can progress along the path of mysticism in confrontation

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with death. This is not a path of a given dogma that can be simply taught as one single, fixed experience. “Being with dying,” according to Halifax, starts with “not knowing,” “bearing witness of the suffering (duka),” and being inspired for “loving action.” The mystery of death can enrich life by acting in a peaceful way and shed a light on crossing the border of death. The combination of contemplation and action is also typical for what in Christian spirituality is termed mystagogical. According to Waaijman, three steps are important for mystagogical counselling: first, tearing down the limitations of human receptiveness for the Divine; second, letting God be the principle of the will and the knowledge of the person; third, finding the person’s particular place in the spiritual community (Waaijman 2003, 580). These three steps are reminders of the three principles mentioned by Halifax, although there is a major difference, too: in Christian mystagogy the Divine is articulated by the presence of Jesus Christ in life, whereas in Engaged Buddhism the emptiness of not knowing brings the human person to a personal, existential witness of the mystery of death. Both paths have three steps in common: Liberation of the bias towards the mystery of death; Finding a glimpse of the mystery in Divine revelation or human suffering; Acting in an inspired way towards loved ones.

As many Western societies do not have a dominant pattern of practices and narratives surrounding death, the steps towards the mystery often remain unarticulated today. Mystical traditions can help caregivers to find practices and images to help the dying or bereaved to find a repertoire for the path that is finally directed towards crossing the border of death (Quartier 2010b), and rely on the mystical wisdom of spiritual sources.

References Agamben, Giogrio (2013). The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life. Redwood City: Stanford University Press. Ariès, Philippe (1981). The Hour of Our Death. Translated by Helen Weaver. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Benedict of Nursia (1998). The Rule of St. Benedict. Edited by Timothy Fry. New York: Vintage Spiritual Classics (RB). Blommestijn, Hein (1986). “Progrès – progressants.” In Marcel Viller, Charles Baumgartner, and Andre Rayez (eds) Dictionaire de spiritualite 12, 2383–2405. Paris: Beauchesne. Cattoi, Thomas, & Moreman, Christopher M. (2015). Death, Dying, and Mysticism. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Gregory the Great (2009). The Life of St. Benedict. Translation and commentary by Terrence G. Kardong. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press (VB). Halifax, Joan (2009). Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death. Boston: Shambala. Heinrich, Rolf (2005). Leben in Religionen, Religionen im Leben. Interreligiöse Spuren. Interreligiöse Begegnungen Bd. 1. Münster: LIT Verlag.

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Henry, Patrick, ed. (2002). Benedict’s Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict. London: Continuum. Klass, Dennis, & Walter, Tony (2001). “Processes of Grieving: How Bonds Are Continued.” In Stroebe, Margaret S., Hansson, Robert O., Stroebe, Wolfgang & Schut, Henk (eds.), Handbook of Bereavement Research: Consequence, Coping, and Care. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 431–448. Labov, William (2013). The Language of Life and Death: The Transformation of Experience in Oral Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Maha-parinibbana Sutta (1998), Last Days of the Buddha. Dighanikaya 16 PTS: D ii 72, chapters 1–6 translated from the Pali by Sister Vajira & Francis Story. Online: . Accessed Feb. 23, 2017. Puzicha, Michaela (2012). Kommentar zur Vita Benedicti. St. Ottilien: EOS Verlag. Quartier, Thomas (2010a). “Deathbed rituals: Roles of spiritual caregivers in Dutch hospitals.” Mortality 15, 107–121. Quartier, Thomas (2010b). “Mourning rituals between faith and personalization.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 10, 334–350. Quartier, Thomas (2012a). “Memento mori. Liturgische Spiritualität, monastisches Totenritual und moderne Trauerkultur.” Yearbook for Liturgy-Research 28, 223–244. Quartier, Thomas (2012b). “Monastische Thanatologie. Lebens- und Todessymbolik in der Regula und Vita Benedicti und ihre Bedeutung für den modernen Kontext.” Studies in Spirituality 22, 127–148. Quartier, Thomas (2014). “Monastic martyrs of compassion: Murdered trappist monks in Algeria and the different meanings of martyrdom.” Mortality 19, 224–242. Quartier, Thomas (2015). “Kontemplation als Zeugnis des Leidens. Inter-spiritueller Dialog mit dem engagierten Buddhismus.” Acta Comparanda 26, 35–44. Riesebrodt, Martin (2010). The Promise of Salvation: A Theory of Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Schillebeeckx, Edward (1993). The Human Story of God. Spring Valley: Crossroad Publishing. Sharma, Arvind (2006). Religious Studies and Comparative Methodology. The Case for Reciprocal Illumination. New York: State University of New York Press. Sölle, Dorothee (2011). Mystik des Todes. Freiburg i.Br.: Herder. Thomas, Edward J. (1996). The History of Buddhist Thought. New York: Routledge. Van der Velde, Paul (2013). “Over My Dead Buddha! Death and Buddhism.” In Eric Venbrux, Thomas Quartier, Claudia Venhorst, and Brenda Mathijssen (eds.), Changing European Death Ways. Münster: LIT. 239–258. Venhorst, Claudia (2013). “Lived Eschatology: Muslim Views on Life and Death.” In Eric Venbrux, Thomas Quartier, Claudia Venhorst, and Brenda Mathijssen (eds.), Changing European Death Ways. Münster: LIT. 259–281. Waaijman, Kees (2003). Spirituality: Forms – Foundations – Methods. Leuven: Peeters. Wojtkowiak, Joanna (2012). “I’m Dead, Therefore I Am”: The Post Self and Notions of Immortality in Contemporary Dutch Society. Nijmegen: Radboud University Press.

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The American cemetery Albert N. Hamscher

Cemeteries are a valuable source for investigating a broad range of subjects concerning the collective values and attitudes of generations past. The inscriptions and images on tombstones, monuments, and other objects of funerary art provide insights into views on death, the relationship between the living and the dead, religious beliefs, and gender and class distinctions. Ethnic influences are often evident, as is the desire of planners and local authorities to offer citizens opportunities for cultural enrichment and to instill civic pride and patriotism. The physical design of a cemetery can reveal as much about prevailing business practices as it does the evolution of the landscaper’s craft. One observes as well regional differences in cemetery design and traditions of memorialization. On all these matters, cemeteries in the United States present a kaleidoscope of diversity. There are well over 100,000 cemeteries in this country, and no two are exactly the same; each has its own unique character. In cemeteries of long standing, design elements often evolved over time. Nevertheless, a rich heritage of diversity should not obscure basic patterns that can be traced over time (Sloane 1991). It is these patterns rather than their multiple variations that are the subject of this chapter.

Early developments Beginning in the colonial era and extending into the early nineteenth century, certain types of burial grounds were widespread. Some among them have left few visible signs because they were often small, isolated, and largely devoid of permanent markers. Examples include pioneer graves, domestic burial grounds, and potter’s fields reserved for strangers and the indigent. A more enduring legacy is the churchyard, where adherents of different faiths were interred in land adjacent to their church, meeting house, or other place of worship. In large cities, burials occurred not only in the churchyard, but also in subterranean family vaults located beneath the church itself and extending outward underneath the churchyard and nearby streets. As villages and towns grew in size, residents also founded nonsectarian burial grounds that were not affiliated with a particular faith. As a rule, these places as well as churchyards were unenclosed spaces

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used for markets, fairs, and other public activities; in some localities, farmers leased the right to pasture animals. In brief, well-established burial grounds were well integrated into community life and ensured a close and ongoing relationship between the living and the dead. Markers and their inscriptions reinforced this contact with didactic messages that stressed the inevitability of mortality and the certainty of divine judgment. Popular images included death’s heads, hourglasses, skeletons, crossed bones, and the grim reaper. Likewise, inscriptions such as “remember death” urged the viewer to concentrate on our ultimate fate. These motifs were especially favored by New England Puritans in light of their spiritual concerns about predestination, the elect of God, and the inherent depravity of the human condition (Stannard 1977: 96–134). In the mid-eighteenth century, and coinciding with the Great Awakening and its emphasis on resurrection and a joyful afterlife, images softened and became more optimistic with the appearance of the soul effigy and the winged cherub, both signifying the ascent of the soul to heaven. During the revolutionary period and into the 1820s, the predominant designs were the urn and the willow tree (Dethlefsen and Deetz 1966). The shift to these secular and less personal symbols of mourning likely reflected the Greek Revival movement in architecture that linked the infant American republic to the ancient democracy of Athens. The rise of Methodism and Unitarianism also might have played a role, although this possible connection and its theological underpinnings warrant further research. As images evolved, so too did epitaphs, which became less grim and more hopeful and reassuring.

The rural cemetery movement Although Americans remained respectful to the memory of their dead, by the early nineteenth century many urban burial grounds had deteriorated into overcrowded, unkempt, and neglected spaces that were targets of vandalism. At the same time, periodic outbreaks of yellow fever raised concerns that in-city graveyards exuded a noxious miasma that endangered public health. The combination of health considerations and a growing distaste for unsightly disorder resulted in the creation of new “rural” (or “garden”) cemeteries located outside of towns. As these names imply, these places offered a natural topography and picturesque landscape with curving roads, footpaths, streams, and an abundance of trees, flowers, and shrubs. Spacious lots enclosed by iron fencing and stone coping accommodated family memorials and artistic monuments. The archetype of the design was Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which opened in 1831 and in subsequent decades was widely replicated throughout the North, South, and Midwest. All these cemeteries attracted numerous visitors (Linden-Ward 1989). Several factors contributed to the popularity of the rural model. The attachment to nature associated with Romanticism facilitated acceptance, as did the public’s interest in agriculture, horticulture, and English-style gardens. For urban residents, a tranquil,

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natural setting provided a respite from the bustle of city life, a place of leisure and recreation prior to the proliferation of municipal parks. Proponents also believed that a natural landscape, even if shaped by the human hand, encouraged meditation on large questions of life and death. In this Age of the Common Man, elites considered the rural cemetery to be a cultural institution whose monuments and statuary would instruct ordinary citizens about art, history, and patriotism (French 1975). As the rural design spread westward, civic boosterism emerged as a prominent theme. Even in small towns, local authorities hoping to attract investment and new residents viewed the rural cemetery as a symbol of civilization and sophistication, a sign that the community possessing one valued culture and good taste (Volkman 1987; Ambler 1992–3). Rural cemeteries exhibit what I call the six Rs: regret over the passing of a loved one; remembrance of earthly ties; respect for the dead body lying in a restful place; the hope of reunion in the afterlife; religion in the sense of a “natural theology” revealed in a landscape conducive to moral uplift; and romanticism in its general meaning expressed by such hopeful symbols as a finger pointing upward, two hands clasped with the word “farewell,” heaven’s gate, and an open bible. Epitaphs celebrated family solidarity as they offered consolation for grief. The rural cemetery took root in an emotional environment that the French historian Philippe Ariès has called “Thy Death.” Ariès argued that during much of the nineteenth century, strengthened bonds of affection within the family made the loss of loved ones more difficult to accept, and their interment in less than a respectful, safe, and inviting place suitable for remembrance increasingly intolerable (Ariès 1974a: 55–82, 1981: 409–556). The rural cemetery reflected these sentiments. Indeed, it was with the rural model that the word “cemetery” – derived from the Greek for “sleeping chamber” or “place to sleep” – became standard usage.

The lawn-park model If rural cemeteries thus served a wide spectrum of purposes, by mid-century critics claimed that they had become a clutter of close-packed fences and overembellished monuments, mausoleums, and statuary that obscured the original intention to provide a pristine, garden-like setting. Cemetery planners developed an alternative model – the “lawn-park” design – whose paradigm was Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened in 1845 and was remodeled along lawn-park lines in 1855. Widely imitated, the lawn-park cemetery was commonplace throughout America by the end of the century, especially in the Midwest (Farrell 1980: 99–145). Nature remained a central feature of the lawn-park design. But greater emphasis was placed on an open, unimpeded view of gently rolling hills and verdant lawns and meadows punctuated, when possible, by small lakes: a vista, in sum, that was more pastoral than picturesque. Fencing and coping no longer enclosed family lots and grave mounds were eliminated. Planners also reduced the number of roads and footpaths. Mass-produced and standardized individual markers were set close the ground – a height of no more than six inches was the ideal – and their inscriptions were briefer and

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less sentimental. Monuments, mausoleums, and statuary still occupied the landscape, but they were dispersed in order to give prominence to space and light. An inevitable consequence of all these design elements was a greater distancing between the living and the dead. The park-like environment subdued the presence of death and expressions of sorrow. A retreat from the overt recognition of death was consonant with the erosion of religious certainties in this era of scientific inquiry and progress. For many Americans, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in particular raised doubts about the existence of the soul and an afterlife. In a related development, the horrific carnage of the Civil War undermined confidence in a benevolent deity even if during the decades immediately following the war a belief in salvation and reunion with departed loved ones provided some measure of comfort (Faust 2008: 137–210). Lawn-park cemeteries were notable for two additional developments. First, boards of directors increasingly turned to professional managers – “superintendents” – to oversee daily operation. These men viewed the cemetery as a business that required efficiency, rational organization, and a close attention to income and expenditure. Committed to the lawn-park concept, superintendents implemented regulations that limited the options available to lot-holders on matters of plantings, the size and ornamentation permitted on markers and monuments, and all other aspects of landscape appearance. The founding of the Association of American Cemetery Superintendents in 1887 illustrates the growing influence of the new managers. As another example of professionalization, trained landscape architects displaced amateur horticulturists for the preparation of detailed design plans. Second, with the lawn-park model the cemetery became an entrepreneurial enterprise financed by banks and private individuals seeking monetary gain. Salesmen solicited purchasers of lots, as did advertisements in newspapers and streetcars. The park-like layout increased the number of lots available for sale. Fees for services such a digging a grave and making arrangements for graveside ceremonies also enhanced profits. Both of these major developments in the operation of cemeteries – professionalization and commercialization – persist to the present day.

The memorial park By the early twentieth century, the lawn-park cemetery, like its rural predecessor, had begun to deviate from its original conception. As lawn-park cemeteries filled with interments, the commitment to provide an uncluttered vista of open lawns waned. Standardized markers and family monuments crowded the landscape, flower beds became overly conspicuous, and many mausoleums were larger and more ostentatious than initially anticipated. The most recent major stage in cemetery design aimed at rectifying these shortcomings: the “memorial park,” whose prototype was Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California (established between 1913 and 1917). By 1935, more than six hundred memorial parks had been established, mostly in the West, Midwest, and South. Many hundreds more opened in the two decades following World War II (Hamscher 2002).

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As in the lawn-park model, a broad expanse of lawns as well as the efficient and profitable use of the land were the guiding principles in the construction of the memorial parks. But their operators were determined to preserve and expand upon these basic elements of cemetery design. Paths have been replaced by gently curving roads suitable for the automobile. Instead of small sections of plots, graves are grouped in large sections called “gardens” (“Garden of the Good Shepherd,” “Devotion,” “Garden of the Old Rugged Cross,” and so on). Statuary is limited to a single piece in each garden called a “feature” – a bird bath, a flag pole, an etched Jesus in stone, and so forth. In some cemeteries, one can detect care, if not always refined artistic taste, in the selection and construction of these pieces. In others, however, the work is shabby by even the most generous aesthetic standards: a giant Jesus lacking in elaborate detail; a poorly painted scene of the Last Supper; or the Lord’s Prayer engraved in rough cement. In order to facilitate maintenance and mowing, markers of granite or bronze are flush to the ground; they commonly record only the most obvious vital statistics (name with birth and death dates). Detachable urns are set in the markers and when upright often contain artificial (thus reusable) flowers. Shrubbery is confined mostly to the signature piece in each garden. If mausoleums exist for above-ground burial, these structures do not obstruct the view of the lawns. Perhaps the most notable feature of the memorial park is the disengagement of the living from the dead. Indeed, the dead themselves are the least intrusive element in the landscape. The dialog between the worlds of life and death is muted. Nature, in and of itself, is no longer a source of instruction and consolation. When urns are not upright, the cemetery has the appearance of a golf course, a soccer field, and, of course, a park. This distancing from death had its origins in the lawn-park cemetery, but it is immediately evident in the memorial park. Memorial-park cemeteries also reveal important developments in American life. Because at the time of their establishment memorial parks were for-profit, private entrepreneurial enterprises, they offer insights into business practices and consumer behavior. To be sure, the hallmarks of selling the memorial park to the public – the concept of “pre-need” sales, the establishment of perpetual care funds, sales in the home, and advertising of services – were not new to the twentieth century. Business strategies such as these accompanied the introduction of the lawn-park model. But the commercialization of death promoted by the operators of the memorial parks combined these practices in a particularly effective way to appeal to a population that was increasingly mobile and eager for one-stop shopping for plots, markers, and the vault or liner. Payments for a plot in small monthly or annual installments made expenditure easier to bear. Should a client move far from the place of purchase, a plot and related services were guaranteed by another memorial park that was a member of a large, national association – an early example of “portability.” There were other selling points as well. Infants could be buried free of charge in “Baby Land” (most memorial parks have such a section). The memorial park also tapped into an egalitarian impulse: with only flat markers permitted, a person of modest means need not rest in the shadow of a wealthy neighbor’s elaborate headstone or family monument. Although many of the decorations in a memorial park reflect an optimistic, nondenominational Christianity, all

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potential customers were eventually welcome. If at first many memorial-park contracts contained racial exclusion clauses – these were not uncommon in the history of the American cemetery – they disappeared in the 1950s. To reduce the memorial park to an exercise in crass commercialism, however, would be a mistake. Like the founders of rural and lawn-park cemeteries in the nineteenth century, early developers of memorial parks wanted their cemeteries to attract visitors. There, the public would experience cultural enrichment and participate in celebrating patriotism, traditional moral values, and the promise of joyful immortality. Forest Lawn, for example, has a “Court of Freedom” that, over the years, has acquired copies of ancient and Renaissance sculptures as well as authentic pieces of American academic art (sculptures by Saint-Gaudens and Remington, for example). In the 1970s, Forest Lawn ran newspaper advertisements informing local residents that “Michelangelo lives in California” and inviting them to “See La Pietà this weekend. In Glendale. Free.” Religious paintings and stained glass windows have images that are hopeful and reassuring. In keeping with the notion that a park is a place where people gather for pleasurable pursuits, by 1929 more than twelve hundred marriages had been celebrated at Forest Lawn. In large memorial parks with adequate financial resources, operators continue to promote the cheerful optimism associated with Forest Lawn. But in all memorial parks, death itself – and visible reminders of the dead – are de-emphasized. Memorial parks are a striking example of the feeling of unease and discomfort that characterized American attitudes toward natural death in the twentieth century, a discomfort that Philippe Ariès hoped to capture in a memorable phrase – “forbidden death,” “death denied,” death as a “taboo,” even “the reversal of death” (Ariès 1974a: 85–107, 1974b, 1981: 559–601). The sentiment has revealed itself in many ways. Elements of denial have become commonplace in our vocabulary: people pass away rather than die; coffins became caskets; undertakers became morticians, then funeral directors, and so on. The very term “memorial park” avoids the use of the word “cemetery.” The importance of funeral rites has diminished considerably. Attending burial services in the cemetery used to be a community affair with family, friends, and even casual acquaintances present. These days, viewing an interment has become a private affair reserved for the immediate family and a few intimates. As once widely accepted rituals have disappeared, guidelines for proper conduct in the face of death are absent. Relating one taboo to another, in 1965 anthropologist Geoffrey Gorer compared grief in modern times to masturbation, an almost shameful act that requires privacy (Gorer 1965: 128). It is true that in recent decades, reformers have attempted to restore a sense of dignity in the act of dying. The hospice movement, which promotes death at home rather than in a hospital, is a notable example. But the avoidance of the subject of natural death remains widespread in society at large. The causes of this alienation from natural death are deeply woven in the fabric of modern life. Changes in demographic patterns played a crucial role. As the twentieth century progressed, infant and child mortality declined, life expectancies rose, and death became concentrated in the elderly segment of the population. The average citizen simply did not have to deal with death as frequently as previous generations

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did. The visibility of natural death also declined as the place of death shifted from the home to the hospital, where medical professionals working in a bureaucratic environment presided over the process of death. Still other professionals – funeral directors and cemetery operators – stepped in after death occurred. Advances in medical science also had psychological implications. Because skilled physicians and therapeutic drugs have pulled many seriously ill people from the abyss, natural death appears to be avoidable. When it does occur, it can be easily interpreted as unfair, as a failure. In all periods of American history, religious beliefs have been inextricably connected to the public’s confrontation with death. Since the early nineteenth century, religious discourse has been progressively stripped of an obsession with the possibility of damnation. As a result, a theology of hope and reassurance offered relief from the anxiety associated with death. In an increasingly secular society, however, the potential of religion to provide solace is reduced because religion itself no longer occupies a central place in the lives of many Americans. Advances in scientific knowledge have raised doubts for some about the immortality of the soul. The promise of a blissful afterlife can no longer be assumed. The erosion of traditional assurances also emerged as a significant trend in the nineteenth century – recall the impact of Darwin’s theory of evolution and the legacy of the Civil War – but it intensified in the twentieth. In an atmosphere of uncertainty, death loses the profound meanings once ascribed to it – it becomes simply an interruption without overarching purpose. It should now be clear how well the memorial park reflects the public’s withdrawal from natural death. The absence of standing headstones and the paucity of other visible reminders of the dead, the reassuring religious images that pose no threat to complacency, the spacious lawns that invite thoughts of leisure and recreation, and the rarity of benches at grave sites that encourage visitors to pause and contemplate all bear witness to the disengagement of the living from the world of the dead and from death itself.

The revival of personalization Since the opening of the memorial parks, there have been no major changes in cemetery design. But within cemeteries, innovation has occurred on grave markers (Hamscher 2006). Beginning in the 1970s, personalized headstones have become increasingly prevalent. On many recent grave markers, one or more images record a notable aspect of the deceased person’s life and interests. Some stones convey an appreciation for the natural beauty of the immediate geographical location – a prairie sunset in the Midwest, a mountain or desert vista in the West. Others reveal the person’s occupation, such as the different logging motifs in the Northwest. In all regions of the country, one can observe references to hobbies, sports, and other leisure activities: motorcycles, recreational vehicles, horses, musical instruments, golf clubs, knitting needles and yarn, and so on. Personalized images can even be found on the small, flat markers in the memorial parks.

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The current interest in personalized markers is not as novel as it might first appear. The rich variety of images on Puritan stones in the colonial era, the different symbols related to family lineage and solidarity on nineteenth-century stones, and a long tradition of occupational imagery as well as military, fraternal, and benefit society emblems all show that historically many Americans wished to make an artistic statement on their markers about what they valued in life. Vivid expressions of individuality in the contemporary cemetery seems to be out of place because they stand in sharp contrast to the uniform, plain stones that characterized cemetery landscapes from the 1930s to the 1960s. But when today’s personalized stones are viewed in the broad sweep of American history, they signal a revival of a tradition rather than an abrupt appearance of an unprecedented sentiment. Nevertheless, contemporary designs do mark a break with the past in several fundamental ways. The pictorial images on many modern stones exhibit an attention to detail that few earlier stones can match. This sophistication of portrayal reflects enhanced technological possibilities, such as photo-engraving techniques, computerassisted design (CAD) systems, hand-etching with diamond-tipped engraving tools, and the precise burning of images on the surface of stones with laser beams. Equally important, the images on stones are in many cases frankly secular and private in their meanings. Modern stones exhibit in striking fashion a preoccupation with the “here and now” rather than the “hereafter.” Automobiles and baseball gloves displace the cross and the Star of David. In addition, the images focus on the self, on one’s particular interests, on one’s “lifestyle.” The aim is not to draw the observer into a public arena of commonly shared values about, for instance, religion and the family. Instead, the observer is simply informed that the deceased person enjoyed engaging in certain activities. Larger community concerns give way to a snapshot of individual biography. “I” displaces “we.” This is not to say that all modern stones express this sentiment or that headstones in the past uniformly proclaimed adherence to religious, family, or community concerns. One can discover a variety of expression even in cemeteries that have stones dating to a limited time period. The fact remains, however, that the pictorial representation of the self defined in secular terms is largely, if not exclusively, a modern phenomenon that sets the present age apart from previous ones. This form of memorialization was compatible with several broad currents of American culture in the post-war era. One was the resurgence of individualism, especially since the 1960s, a development that reflected a general sense that the spirit of conformity that infused American society in the late 1940s and 1950s bred an anonymity in modern life that stifled individual creativity and that, to cite a common expression, “reduced people to numbers.” The social movements of the 1960s – feminism, civil rights, protests against the Vietnam War – and the emergence of a youth culture centered on “baby boomers,” many of whom challenged the conventional values of their parents, did much to sharpen the critique of conformity and to offer in its place a cultural ethos of individualism and self-expression. Trends in consumer culture reinforced the expression of individuality. The proliferation of computers and sophisticated software accustomed the public to the sensory appeal of graphic design that eventually

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extended into the cemetery. For their part, monument makers promoted personalization as a way to remain relevant in the marketplace: the spread of the memorial parks and the increase in cremation without memorialization threatened to make their craft obsolete. Two aspects of contemporary religious experience facilitated the acceptance of secular portrayals on markers. The first has been the emergence of the view that God is a friend who can be trusted to tolerate many different paths to spiritual growth rather than a judge intent on the punishment of sin. If all is right with the Lord, so to speak, there is little need to advertise this confidence – or to propitiate a stern, divine taskmaster – with traditional religious symbols that for many people have no doubt lost some of their emotional appeal. Surely, a benign and non-threatening Creator will countenance a modest expression of playfulness on a headstone in place of images whose extensive use over many years has rendered them banal and devoid of vitality. The second has been a search for spiritual fulfillment that is less reliant than in the past on traditional religious organizations and their formalized sets of rules. Increasingly, religion has become yet another vehicle for self-expression. A highly personalized narrative of religious experience allows for a diverse array of symbols, even secular ones, in the cemetery. Finally, we return to the central issue of attitudes toward death. On the one hand, personalized markers exemplify the public’s withdrawal from natural death. Pleasant images of a life well lived remove some of the sting of death. A visual reminder of life, not a statement about death and its aftermath, becomes a prominent feature of the cemetery. The existence of the deceased is extended backward in time, not projected to the future. Death cannot be entirely banished, but its presence can be muted and made subordinate to themes that privilege living over dying. On the other hand, by giving center stage to an individual’s life and interests, a pictorial stone reflects an effort by ordinary people to extract their dead from the barren anonymity of the memorial parks and, in traditional cemeteries, from the dreary sameness of stock monuments. In this sense, the current interest in personalization, which at root is the reemergence of a deeply ingrained American tradition, contests the prevailing mood of death avoidance. Familiar images of worldly pursuits enable the living to reconnect with the world of the dead. The cemetery of the future will reveal whether this renewal of a bond that was once widespread in American culture signifies a broader retreat from “forbidden death.”

References Ambler, Kathy (1992–3). “A Place Not Entirely of Sadness and Gloom: Oak Hill Cemetery and the Rural Cemetery Movement.” Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 15: 240–53. Ariès, Philippe (1974a). Western Attitudes toward Death from the Middle Ages to the Present. Trans. Patricia M. Ranum, Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ——— (1974b). “The Reversal of Death: Changes in Attitudes toward Death in Western Societies.” Trans. Valerie M. Stannard, in David E. Stannard (ed.) Death in America, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 134–58.

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——— (1981). The Hour of Our Death. Trans. Helen Weaver, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Dethlefsen, Edwin, and Deetz, James (1966). “Death’s Heads, Cherubs, and Willow Trees: Experimental Archaeology in Colonial Cemeteries.” American Antiquity 31: 502–10. Farrell, James J. (1980). Inventing the American Way of Death, 1830–1920. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Faust, Drew Gilpin (2008). This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. New York: Vintage Books. French, Stanley (1975). “The Cemetery as Cultural Institution: The Establishment of Mount Auburn and the ‘Rural Cemetery’ Movement.” In David E. Stannard (ed.) Death in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 69–91. Gorer, Geoffrey (1965). Death, Grief, and Mourning in Contemporary Britain. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Hamscher, Albert N. (2002). “‘Scant Excuse for the Headstone’: The Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas.” Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 25: 124–43. ——— (2006). “Pictorial Headstones: Business, Culture, and the Expression of Individuality in the Contemporary Cemetery.” Markers: Annual Journal of The Association for Gravestone Studies 23: 6–35. Linden-Ward, Blanche (1989). Silent City on a Hill: Landscape of Memory and Boston’s Mount Auburn Cemetery. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press. Sloane, David Charles (1991). The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Stannard, David E. (1977). The Puritan Way of Death: A Study in Religion, Culture, and Social Change. New York: Oxford University Press. Volkman, Nancy J. (1987). “Landscape Architecture on the Prairie: The Work of H. W. S. Cleveland.” Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 10: 87–110.

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Cremation Douglas J. Davies

Cremation holds a significant place in anthropology as a major ritualized mode of dealing with the universal concern of treating dead bodies. Here some anthropologists with distinctive approaches to cremation are discussed from the later nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries. E. B. Tylor’s 1871 foundational “introduction to the study of man and civilization,” entitled Anthropology, briefly commented on cremation while offering no theoretical analysis. His classical education ensured mention of “the burning of Patroclus,” one heroic figure of Homer’s Iliad, whose cremation and cremated remains were notable in antique mythology. Tylor’s comparative approach also sketched the care of cremated remains in ancient times as well as the Indian practice of suttee (or sati), the conjoint cremation of a husband’s corpse with the still-living wife (1871: 347).

Social facts of death Tylor’s descriptions are quite different from the early French anthropologists and sociologists whose theoretical approach was more productive in considering death, funerary practices, and cremation as “social facts.” Emile Durkheim (1858–1917), Marcel Mauss (1872–1950), and Henri Hubert (1872–1927) all discussed issues of death, and also of sacrifice, but Robert Hertz (1881–1915) contributed most to the study of death and cremation. These scholars fostered the creative journal Année Sociologique and developed an essentially sociological scheme of thinking about society and its members, a key issue for cremation rites. In terms of theoretical advantages and disadvantages, Durkheim’s circle tended to focus on social facts and their need for sociological rather than psychological analysis (Moscovici 1993). This meant that funeral rites tended to be approached differently by sociologists and anthropologists than by psychologists and grief counselors. Though Durkheim does, almost despite himself, show some concern with funerary emotions, Hertz is less theoretically doctrinaire and allows for emotional dynamics. One key to understanding Hertz’s Durkheimian approach lies in setting his notion of double-burial alongside Durkheim’s concept of Homo duplex. Homo duplex refers to

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a human being as “double,” consisting of bodily life framed and pervaded by “society.” Language and the cultural classification of all around us enters into our sense of identity and understanding the world, as Durkheim’s “sociological theory of knowledge” argued at the beginning of his influential The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1915), as was also evident in his influential study of suicide (1897) describing types of suicide according to the deep integration or alienation of a person from their social relationships.

Hertz – cremation and double burial Hertz’s essay, “The Collective Representation of Death,” brought cremation alongside other forms of corpse-disposal in such a seminal tour de force that Oxford’s great anthropologist, Sir Evan Evans-Pritchard (1902–1973), described Hertz’s work on death as one of “two of the finest essays ever written in the history of sociological thought” (Needham 1973: ix). Double-burial depicts an initial “wet-phase” covering the body’s biological decomposition, and then a “dry-phase” when ritual activity with the bones realigned the identity of the dead. Each affected community organization and the emotional dynamics of bereaved community members. Durkheim’s Homo duplex illuminates Hertz’s statement that “death destroys the social being grafted upon the physical individual” ([1907] 1960: 77). “Grafting,” a highly suggestive horticultural term indicating the joining of one plant portion with another living plant, illustrates Hertz’s concern both with a “social being” and a “physical individual,” and the way they are bound together in ordinary life. This lays the theoretical foundation for considering the destruction-transformation of the social being aligned with the physical corpse during funerary rites. This “double” period of transformation is one in which the “social graft” is undone and Homo duplex is simplified. The dry remains do not simply fall out of social relevance but represent the deceased in new ways when accorded status as ancestor or given some other afterlife identity. Moreover, Hertz is fully alert to physical remains as carriers of “memories . . . images . . . desires,” and “hopes.” Here he is more “psychological” than Durkheim and speaks of a “double mental process” of “disintegration and synthesis” for the living ([1907] 1960: 81–82). These thoughts influence the living as they reframe their dead through ritual and also engage with them in their more private thoughtworld and its grief.

Grief and society Grief is complex. The dynamic force that once energized a person’s daily life may now seem absent. Bereaved people may appear socially inept, with different cultures acknowledging this and supporting them in their own fashion. Social expectations echo their emotional experiences as society marks their temporary loss of motivation

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for life. When Hertz acknowledged this in a double mental process of “disintegration and synthesis” he echoed both the Homo duplex and social grafting motifs and their “disintegration.” Many societies acknowledge the sense of peril that may surround the experience of death, expressing it in a variety of beliefs of how the dead relate to and may even afflict the living, especially if their death is deemed abnormal or a “bad death.” Underlying Hertz’s view of funerary rites is his theoretical conviction that society imparts its own character of permanence to the individuals who compose it: because it feels itself immortal and wants to be so, it cannot normally believe that its members, above all those in whom it incarnates itself and with whom it identifies itself, should be fated to die. (Hertz [1907] 1960: 77) “Society” is, then, the prime mover and, while it is easy to criticize this reification of “society” as apart from the people who constitute it, that is a mistake. For, in terms of the sociological theory of knowledge, it is actual human beings who think like this and possess the impression of something bigger than themselves that existed before them and will exist after them. People seem to be “possessed by” the sense of something bigger than themselves. When another human being dies the outcome for the living is how to understand that death, how to engage with their own emotional responses, and how to realign duties and continue with life. All these changes involve time.

Time, death, and cremation Time is foundational in social life and, for Hertz, is the key dynamic when comparing earth-burial with cremation. Decay is speeded up in cremation; cremation involves a difference of duration and not a kind of funeral rite ([1907] 1960: 43). “Duration” was, as it happened, pinpointed by Judge James Fitzjames Stephen in an 1884 British Court Case concerning Dr. William Price who was arrested after having “informally” cremated his infant son, named Iesu Grist (Jesus Christ in Welsh) on a hillside in Industrial South Wales (White 2005a, 2005b). Stephen pronounced cremation as not illegal in England and Wales as long as the practice did not disturb the peace. His lengthy judgment spoke of cremation achieving over a matter of hours what earth burial achieved only after months or years. Such legal opinion offers valuable data for anthropological analysis, revealing its own cultural perspective on ritual innovation. This outcome was set against Stephen’s historical knowledge of Greco-Roman texts, his experience as a judge in British India with its own forms of traditional cremation, and his lifelong friendship with Sir Henry Maine (1822–1888), whose Ancient Law (1861) placed him amongst what some see as a progenitor of nineteenth-century anthropology (Stephen 1895). Price and Stephen’s encounter offers its own case of cultural creativity prompted by an innovatory cremation.

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Feelings – emotions Hertz, then, whether by slow or fast funerary rites, brings emotions into the discussion of cremation. “The feelings which the living feel towards the bones after” funerary rites of double burial or towards cremated remains after incineration “differ from those inspired by the corpse.” He notes, though, how death can seem to engender “evil energies” in an overshadowing “dark period” of loss, yet bereaved people often experience a transition from “repulsion and disgust” to feelings of “reverent confidence” as funerary rites proceeded ([1907] 1960: 50–57). This transition from repulsion-disgust to reverent confidence remains valuable for grief theories. Crucially, he argues that cremation is usually “neither a final act, nor sufficient in itself” but one that “calls for a later and complementary rite,” for “the meaning of cremation” was not primarily in destroying the body but in recreating it and making it “capable of entering a new life” ([1907] 1960: 42–43). Two key notions of destruction and creation now confront each other, and can be grasped theoretically through the Durkheim-Hertz sociological theory of knowledge. That cremation involves the destruction of a human body should not be too hastily overlooked for it is a complex ritual-symbolic process, not only in well-known traditional Indian practice but also in modern cremation and secular contexts. Traditional burial, including local traditions of exhumation and keeping bones in ossuaries, generally allowed processes of decay to proceed invisibly. While there might be funerary rites aimed at preventing the dead from returning to the community there was seldom actual destruction of the corpse. Where destruction did take place, as in some Tibetan contexts of dismembering the corpse, it possessed its own ideological-religious explanation. Modern cremation involving the nineteenth-century introduction of mechanical burning had destruction as its goal even though issues of ongoing life might furnish its own religious explanation.

Words against death Human, meaning-making animals are seldom content with half-explanations, and destruction is seldom allowed to dominate as I have suggested by the motif of “words against death.” I speculate that the “rhetoric of funerary rites” seeks to establish an overall meaning to death (Davies 1995: 1). Others have developed this idea for funerals led by family members and other eulogy-providing speakers (Bailey and Walter 2016). Just how that meaning is achieved depends upon such cultural resources, and here Claude Levi-Strauss’s valuable notion, derived from his discussion of totemism, of something being “good to think” is worth borrowing (1962: 89). He notes that ordinary human life is seldom conducted on the basis of abstract logic or purely theoretical rationale, but in terms of narratives, including myths or other imaginative accounts of human activity. Groups tend to think of themselves indirectly, perhaps by identifying themselves with some animal, plant, or other “totemic” marker. So it is that “totems” are “good to think.”

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Ashes as “good to think” Applying this analysis to modern cremation enhances explanations both of the destruction and retention of “the body.” In terms of destruction, cremation served many atheists by providing little scope for continued relations with “the dead.” To think of the dead as destroyed reinforced belief that this life was all there is in terms of personal destiny. But, ironically perhaps, cremation also provided a good way for believers in an afterlife to see the end of the body and the freeing of the soul or life-force for its ongoing destiny. Either way, the destruction of the body enhanced ideas of human destiny. Still, retention remains significant since the destructive process leaves behind cremated remains, or cremains in American usage. Modern cremators make it easy to collect the ashes of an individual cremation and to return them to the next of kin. Today, an enormous variety of shapes and forms of ash containers exist as does some considerable diversity over what to do with them. The issue of cultural context and local habit affects developing practice. For example, Metcalf and Huntington (1991) cited Hertz when considering modern funerary practices in the United States but paid minimal attention to cremation, perhaps because modern American cremation rates had reached only approximately 9% by 1979, and expanded to only 19% by 1991. Still, by 1979, a columbarium had been constructed at Arlington National Cemetery capable of holding some 50,000 niches for cremains (Phipps 1989: 69–71). The architectural feature of columbaria, a term derived from the Latin for dovecote and indicating the presence of multiple niches, has been one feature of the material culture of funerals in which the late nineteenth century mirrored classical antiquity. Those dates of 1979 and 1991 were, elsewhere, markedly higher in rates of cremation, with the United Kingdom leading the western European field, recording 65% and 70% respectively (Davies and Shaw 2005: 451, 454).

Ashes and identity The rise of British cremation, which by 2016 stands at approximately 75% of national deaths, prompted its own analysis in terms of Hertz’s double burial as an approach hitherto “completely ignored in the analysis of Christian cremation rites” (Davies 1990: 39). Without Hertz, the significance of the shifting pattern of British use of cremated remains may not have been recognized. I came to interpret this often informal activity with ashes as a process of the “retrospective fulfilment of identity,” contrasting it with the traditional future-focused fulfilment expressed in Christian theological terms of eschatological fulfilment of identity (Davies 1995: 28–33). Cremated remains could now be interpreted as a symbolic medium whose multivocality included a sense of the interpersonal bonds that helped constitute a significant part of the identity of living kin. Cremated remains became available symbolic material open to use within traditional and highly formal funeral ceremony conducted by religious leaders, or highly informal acts conducted by an individual or group of family and friends. In the latter case the

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location of remains became highly significant in terms of the life interests, work, leisure, and relationships of the deceased, including holiday sites, or sporting venues. Some British soccer clubs even made provision for the remains of dedicated fans. Many other societies have maintained much greater control and keep explicit regulations over cremated remains, including the time period before which they had to be formally interred. In this sense cremation’s product in ashes could serve as its own symbolic means of indicating wider aspects of social and cultural life, including that of the law and of existing religious authority. Still, from roughly the 1970s in the United Kingdom, and now increasingly so in other countries, remains are taken to sites relevant to the deceased person’s former life activities and relationships, keeping remains at home, in the garden, at a site of sporting or holiday interest. In some societies, as in China or Sweden for example, laws regulate such activities but some of these are often now changing to grant people a greater degree of freedom to “use” the remains as they wish; some remains may even be turned into jewelry (Davies and Mates 2005: 56–64, 393–394). Modern, technological cremation is often quite different from, for example, the case of traditional cremation in India. Parry’s magisterial Death in Banaras combined complex ethnographic work with historical and textual study to uncover the multilayered significand of death and cremation at this myth-based city with its potently symbolic river Ganges. He reveals the extensive multivocality of cremated remains that includes their strong generative power set within a scheme of the destiny of the burnt flesh and bones that incorporates positive ideas of future life and fertility (Parry 1994: 184–188). By sharp contrast, cremation is rare in traditional African contexts as also in traditional Australian societies (Gaynor Macdonald 2008: 127). In both cases, issues of kinship and ongoing relations with the dead find greater affinity with burial than cremation, though the matter of facilities and costs also play a part.

Dividual personhood, ashes, and identity This question of identity, relationships with the dead, and cremation can now, finally, be linked with a theoretical perspective derived from McKim Marriott’s (1976) anthropological work on Indian material. Here, as always with death, much depends on the driving theory of personhood and of the links between “individual and society.” He approached personhood not through the notion of the individual but of the “dividual,” a notion that ill-fits much western sociological-philosophical thought of the postmodern “self” existing as an insular agent in a world of similar discretely separate selves. Marriott’s view is of composite or partible personhood with each person constituted through a great variety of relationships with others as well as with things and places. He speaks of “substance-codes” that make up a person and include “parentage, marriage, trade, payments, alms, feasts” as well as “words” and “appearances” (1976: 111). Other scholars, including anthropologist Marylin Strathern (1988) and archaeologist Chris Fowler (2004), have taken up this “New Melanesian Ethnography” (Smith 2016: 670), albeit not specifically for interpretation of cremation.

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Here, however, we can take Strathern’s formulation of dividuality in which “persons are frequently constructed as the plural and composite site of the relationships that produced them” (1988: 13). Developing that argument we can propose that ashes may, in the deconstructed outcome of cremation, reflect the various “parts” of life that constituted the person when alive. This might help explain contexts where remains are divided between family members, or where some go to one site associated with the life of the deceased and others to other sites of significance as when the remains of China’s Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping were distributed throughout the People’s Republic of China in 1976 and 1997 respectively, or when the same thing happened in India when Mahatma Ghandi was cremated in 1948 (Davies 2005: xxiv). While this idea of the partible person or dividual somewhat echoes Durkheim’s Homo duplex, it takes it further. The dividual approach also invites further analysis of a potential “dividual theory of grief ” that would also echo Hertz’s approach to bereavement. Many other issues could be invoked in such analyses as when cremated remains are buried in woodland, ecological, natural, or “green” burial sites, prompting people to speak of “giving something back” to nature (Davies and Rumble 2012: 97–119), language that reflects Mauss’s reciprocity theory. In all of this we can see how anthropological modes of thought have been brought to bear on cremation, with much left to discuss in the future.

References Bailey, Tara, and Tony Walter (2016). “Funerals against Death.” Mortality 21.2: 149–166. Davies, Douglas J. (1990). Cremation Today and Tomorrow. Nottingham: Grove Books. Davies, Douglas J. (1995). Death, Ritual and Belief: The Rhetoric of Funerary Rites. London: Cassell. Davies, Douglas J., and Lewis H. Mates (2005). The Encyclopedia of Cremation. Aldershot: Ashgate. Davies, Douglas, and Hannah Rumble (2012). Natural Burial, Traditional-Secular Spiritualities and Funeral Innovation. London: Continuum. Durkheim, Emile (1915). Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. London: Allen and Unwin. Durkheim, Emile ([1895] 1938). Rules of Sociological Method. Translated by Sarah A. Solvay and John H. Mueller and edited by George E. G. Catlin. New York: The Free Press. Fowler, Chris (2004). The Archaeology of Personhood: An Anthropological Approach. London: Routledge. Gennep, Arnold van. (1913). “É. Durkheim – Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. Le système totemique en Australie.” In W. S. F. Pickering (ed.) Durkheim on Religion. London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 205–208. Gennep, Arnold van ([1909] 1960). The Rites of Passage. Translated by M. K. Vizedom and G. Caffee. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Marriott, McKim (1976). “Hindu Transactions: Diversity without Dualism.” In Bruce Kapferer (ed.) Transaction and Meaning: Directions in the Anthropology of Exchange and Symbolic Behaviour. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues. 109–142. Metcalf, Peter, and Richard Huntington (1991). Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Needham, Rodney (ed.) (1973). Right and Left: Essays on Dual Symbolic Classification. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Parry, Jonathan (1994). Death in Banaras. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Phipps, William E. (1989). Cremation Concerns. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

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Smith, Benjamin R. (2016). “Sorcery and the Dividual in Australia.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22.3: 670–687. Stephen, Leslie (1895). The Life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen. London: Smith, Elder and Co. Strathern, Marylin (1988). The Gender of the Gift. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. White, Stephen (2005a). “Dr. William Price.” In Douglas J. Davies and Lewis H. Mates (eds.) Encyclopedia of Cremation. Aldershot: Ashgate. 349–351. White, Stephen (2005b). “James Fitzjames Stephen.” In Douglas J. Davies and Lewis H. Mates (eds.) Encyclopedia of Cremation. Aldershot: Ashgate. 387–389.

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Mummification Heather Gill-Frerking

Introduction A mummy is a human or animal body in which soft tissue, such as skin, muscle, fat, ligaments, or organs, are preserved. There is some debate within the discipline of mummy studies as to whether a skeleton with only hair remaining should be considered a mummy, but many researchers also include those bodies in the definition. Mummies are unique examples of human remains: rather than following the normal processes of decomposition after death, something inhibits decay, or actively contributes to preservation, of a body. While most people associate mummies with ancient Egypt, mummification occurs in a wide array of natural environments and cultures, and is found throughout the world. Examples of natural and/or human-prepared mummification have been found on every continent, including Antarctica.

Natural and artificial mummification Natural After death, most bodies follow a process of decomposition that leads to skeletonization and, eventually, complete disintegration. In order for decomposition to occur, both water and oxygen are necessary – when either element is missing, parts of a body may be preserved. In some environments, the normal processes of decay are inhibited by extreme temperature, aridity, or other elements, and preservation of some soft tissues may occur. Under these conditions, human and animal remains may preserve without human intervention. This is known as “natural mummification.” Several environments may prevent decomposition and allow the preservation of soft tissue. These include extremely arid hot and cold environments, such as the Atacama Desert in Chile or the Antarctic; mineral salts, such as Iranian salt mines; and the acidic, anaerobic peat bogs of northwestern Europe. Mummies have been found in all of these environments.

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Any hot or cold arid environment lacks moisture, which is necessary for normal decomposition, so natural mummification through desiccation can occur. Factors such as the presence of clothing or other fabrics, and the position of the body after death, can affect whether or not a body will mummify, and may even increase the chances of mummification (Aturaliya and Lukasewycz 1999). Fabric near the body, such as clothing made with artificial fibers, or other wrappings (e.g. plastic tarps), prevents moisture from escaping from the body. The water retained in the body will encourage decomposition; dry tissues are more likely to mummify. Furthermore, research has shown that when the body is in a supine position, there is more decomposition than when it is upright (Aturaliya and Lukasewycz 1999). Many of the well-preserved mummies from South America, for example, were wrapped in layers of woven cotton textiles and placed in a seated position. This may have improved the quality of mummification by encouraging air circulation around the body, preventing decomposition and encouraging desiccation. Naturally desiccated mummies have been found in various places in South America, Asia, North America, and Africa. Some of the earliest mummies from ancient Egypt date to the Predynastic period, before a formalized state with Pharaonic rulers was established. Unlike the bandage-wrapped Egyptian mummies with which most people are familiar, Predynastic mummies were naturally desiccated when moisture leached out of the body following burial in the hot, dry sand of the Sahara. Later Egyptians saw the preserved bodies and attempted to replicate the preservation that had been created by nature, but it took centuries before they developed sophisticated, and successful, methods of mummification. Some of the most beautiful naturally mummified bodies are from South America. Desiccated mummies have been found in Colombia, Bolivia, and throughout Peru and Chile. Hair and skin are remarkably well preserved; some South American mummies have been found with tattoos (e.g. Gill-Frerking et al. 2013). Many of these mummies were wrapped in multiple layers of colorful, elaborate textiles woven from alpaca or llama wool, and artifacts such as shells, amulets, or silver figurines accompanied some. Naturally desiccated mummies have occurred in the aridity of the southwestern region of the United States. In Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, several individuals were naturally mummified in rock shelters and caves, where the bodies had been protected from the weather, and the ambient humidity was exceptionally low. In Asia, desiccated mummies have been discovered in the Taklamakan Desert of Xinjiang, China, along the route of the Silk Road. These mummies, some with braided hair and elaborate tattoos, were found in colorful garments. Although the total number of mummies from this area may be in the hundreds, only a few have been excavated and studied, in part to protect the remaining mummies and preserve them for future generations. Both humans and animals have been naturally mummified in extreme cold and dry environments. Natural desiccated mummies have been found in Antarctica, Greenland, Alaska, Canada, and the high Andes. Although no human mummies have been discovered in Antarctica, mummified seals are common (Dort 1971). Several human

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mummies have been preserved in Greenland, including six adult Inuit women and two children thought to have perished in a fifteenth-century boating accident and placed in two graves in a rock shelter near Qilakitsoq. Numerous studies were conducted on these mummies, and their well-preserved seal clothing (e.g. Hart Hansen 1989, Møller 1989, Pedersen and Jakobsen 1989, Tauber 1989). As part of these studies, ancient DNA analysis confirmed that some of the mummies were related: a grandmother, her two daughters, and their two children in one grave, and two sisters with a daughter of one of the two in the other grave (Gilbert et al. 2007). Several mummies of children were recovered from sites in the high Andes, between Chile and Argentina. During the time of the Inca (AD 1400 to 1532), a ritual of human sacrifice called “capacocha” was practiced. In this ritual, exceptionally beautiful children were gathered from throughout the empire and brought to the Incan capital, Cuzco, in modern-day Peru. The children were celebrated with feasts, dressed in ceremonial raiment, and then taken to various ceremonial centers throughout the empire to be sacrificed. These rituals occurred for significant cultural events, such as the installation of a new emperor, or in response to natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions or droughts (Andrushko et al. 2011). The children were sacrificed to the gods at high altitude and placed in pits at the sites with numerous artifacts, including tiny silver llama figurines. The extreme cold and aridity at these sites led to the exceptional preservation of these children. Environments with some minerals, including salt and copper, may also preserve soft tissue. In Canada, copper jewelry contributed to the preservation of an infant (Schulting 1995). At the Chehrabad salt mine in Iran, several mummies, dating to around 2,000 years ago, were discovered during mining operations. Recent research has shown that the combination of nearly pure rock salt, the arid environment, and rapid burial after death was responsible for the preservation of the five individuals (Niknami et al. 2014). One unusual mummy that may have been preserved due, in part, to mercury, was discovered in China in 1972. The body of an adult woman, sometimes referred to as “the Marquise of Dai,” was recovered in an amazing state of preservation. There may have been multiple factors that contributed to the preservation of the body, and the complete mechanism of mummification for this woman is not completely understood. Buried during the time of the Han Dynasty, around 2,000 years ago, the woman was the wife of an important politician. She was buried in a series of four nested coffins, at the bottom of a shaft tomb that was around sixty feet deep; the coffins were further sealed by a layer of clay, which made the tomb area generally anaerobic, cold, and impermeable to water (Jianming 2004). The woman, who was around fifty years old when she died, was buried in silk robes and wrapped in layers of silk, some of which were red. At the time, the dye used to make the vivid red color for silk, cinnabar, included mercury. In addition, there were more than eighty liters of liquid of an unknown composition in the coffin. This unusual mummy must be placed in a special category, which includes only a few examples, known as a “Mawangdui wet corpse.” It is possible that the mercury from the cinnabar in the red silk combined with the liquid to deter decomposition,

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and allowed mummification. One other possibility is that the woman, who suffered from a number of diseases, including coronary heart disease, gallstones, tuberculosis, and intestinal parasites (Wei 1973), was taking medication which may have included mercury in its ingredients. A few hundred mummies have been discovered in waterlogged, acidic, anaerobic peat bog environments in northwestern Europe, although fewer than fifty of these mummies still exist today. Known as “bog bodies,” these mummies, many of which date to about 2,000 years ago, may have very well-preserved soft tissue, but the bones are usually severely demineralized, causing them to be flattened, distorted, or even absent. The cause of preservation in peat bogs is not fully understood: while it is often attributed to the presence of tannic acids (Micozzi 1991) or the breakdown of the mosses in the peat (Painter 1991), other environmental factors may be important, including the presence of the water or the lack of oxygen (Gill-Robinson 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002). At one unusual Bronze Age site, Cladh Hallan in the Outer Hebrides of the British Isles, skeletons showed evidence of burial in an acidic environment, such as peat, but they were then excavated and reinterred centuries later, with at least some preserved soft tissue (Parker Pearson et al. 2005). Many mummies have been found preserved in church and family vault crypts throughout Europe, from Norway to the southern tip of Italy. For the most part, these mummies, which often date from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, have been naturally preserved as a result of natural air flow in the crypt, although some mummies were embalmed prior to being placed in the crypts, including some from the Capuchin Crypt of Palermo (Piombino-Mascali 2015, Piombino-Mascali et al. 2009). In some cases, church or family records provide names, birth and death dates, and occupations, so it is possible to put names to the mummies. Many crypt mummies have been studied, with some fascinating results. Many of the eighteenth-century individuals mummified in a church crypt in Vác, Hungary, died of tuberculosis or related complications (Pap et al. 1999). A group of seventeenth-century mummies from a family crypt at Sommersdorf Castle, in southern Germany, were well preserved because of the constant flow of air, despite reported looting of the crypt by Napoleon’s army (Gill-Frerking 2014). A recent study of several eighteenth- to nineteenth-century crypt mummies from Lithuania found evidence of cardiovascular disease (Piombino-Mascali et al. 2014) and tuberculosis (Piombino-Mascali et al. in press). Artificial In some cases, mummification would not have occurred without assistance from humans. As part of the preparation of the dead, many cultures used methods designed to preserve the body after death. This is known as “artificial mummification” or “anthropogenic mummification.” The methods of mummification vary greatly between cultures and regions of the world, often depending on the purpose of the mummification ritual. The earliest known anthropogenic mummies were prepared by the Chinchorro culture from southern Peru and northern Chile. Some of these mummies date as far back

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as 7,000 years. The Chinchorro changed their mummification style over the course of several millennia, and the process often involved evisceration or removal of skin and other soft tissues to varying degrees, and covering the body with red ochre or mud, sometimes using sticks to reinforce the body and, in some cases, skin wrappings (Arriaza 2005). The best-known anthropogenic mummies are those from ancient Egypt. The process used to mummify the dead varied widely in different regions and during different time periods. Despite this variation, there were a number of elements that were usually present: partial evisceration of some internal organs, the use of a salt and baking soda–like substance known as “natron,” treatment of the body with oils and resins, and bandaging of the corpse. Several mummies were discovered in caves, rock shelters, and rock crevices in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Although there is some variation in the method of mummification between the various islands, these mummies were generally prepared by eviscerating the internal organs; stuffing the abdominal and pelvic cavity with grasses; rinsing the body; drawing the knees up to the chest of the body; and drying the body, before wrapping the entire corpse in the skins of aquatic birds. The wrapped body was then laid on a grass mat, encased in sealskin or basketry and tied with cords (Dall 1875). Unfortunately, many of the mummies excavated in the Aleutians in the mid1930s no longer exist: the soft tissue was removed from the bodies shortly after excavation, in order for the bones to be studied (Aufderheide 2003, 79). One other fascinating group of artificial mummies is found in North America. Known as “sideshow mummies,” these bodies were prepared using embalming techniques that included arsenic, for durability. The mummies then traveled throughout the United States as part of carnival sideshows during the nineteenth century (Conlogue et al. 2008). There are many other examples of artificial mummies throughout the world, including political figures and shrunken heads. Famous political figures, such as Vladimir Lenin, Chairman Mao Tse Tung, and Eva Peron were embalmed to allow their followers to mourn them and revere them long after their death. The shrunken heads of South America were prepared by the Shuar and Achuar tribes of Ecuador, in order to keep the heads of their enemies as trophies, and to allow them to retain the souls of the vanquished (Peers 2011). Combination Some exceptional mummies have been preserved through a combination of both natural and artificial methods. While the procedures used by the members of the culture would probably have been somewhat effective, the conditions in the natural environment helped to preserve the body. Some of the most interesting mummies preserved through a combination of human action and environmental condition are the Pazyryk mummies of the Altai region of Siberia. An unknown preservative material was injected into the soft tissue to act as an

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embalming substance. Sometimes organs or muscles were removed. In at least one case, the skull was filled with pine needles and soil; in another, horsehair padding was placed in the chest cavity of a woman in order to maintain the shape of the body. The bodies were buried in coffins in areas of permafrost (Rudenko 1970). The amalgamation of the preparation of the body after death and the cold environment of the permafrost led to the excellent preservation of several mummies. The skin was so well preserved on at least two of the mummies that elaborate, extensive tattoos were clearly visible (Brilot 2000).

Purpose of artificial mummification There are usually two main reasons for mummification as part of the burial ritual: either to preserve the body for an afterlife, or to ensure that the corporeal remains are available to the family or community of the deceased after death. The true intent behind some cultures’ decision to mummify the dead is unknown. Prehistoric cultures have no written records, so interpretations of mummies are often based on archaeological and/or ethnographic evidence, leaving many gaps in researchers’ knowledge, although occasionally records were made by visitors to the culture, such as the journals of Spanish explorers and clerics who conquered the Inca. For the deceased The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to go into the afterlife whole. Mummification was practiced as a means of keeping the physical body in good condition after death. The elaborate mummification process, which included evisceration, treatment with natron, and the application of resins, was designed to ensure the survival of the corporeal body in the afterlife. In fact, once mummified, a body was supposed to be even more perfect than it had been in life (Ikram 2003, 23). The process of mummification was for the benefit of the dead, not the surviving members of the community. Another interesting example of mummification for the benefit of the deceased individual is that of the self-mummified Buddhas of Japan. At least eight deeply religious men in Japan, all monks who followed a doctrine specific to the Shingon school of Buddhism, were mummified. These individuals are unusual in that they began the mummification process before their death, and are considered to be self-mummified. The men followed very rigorous, restrictive diets for years prior to their death and spent their life in meditation at a mountain location specifically reserved for this ascetic practice (Hori 1962). Over a period of two to four years, the strict diet caused the loss of extensive body fat and muscle and, when the man reached a point nearing death, even the consumption of water declined until the individual died extremely dehydrated (Aufderheide 2003). In some cases, the bodies may have been dried after death, using candles, but it is possible that the bodies reached a state of such extreme dehydration

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that decomposition was inhibited after death (Aufderheide 2003). Although the mummies were dressed, and prayed to as religious symbols, these men wished to reach an elevated spiritual state in death, and the mummification that occurred was primarily for the monk, not the members of his religious community. For those left behind The Anga of Koke Village in Papua New Guinea have dried and smoked the bodies of the distinguished dead for many years. In this case, the mummification was for the surviving members of the group, who liked to mummify their ancestors for two reasons: so that the dead would watch over the living from the high ledges on which they were placed, and so that the ancestors could be consulted about important matters, such as politics (Beckett et al. 2011, 12). The specific actions of the ritual had been lost during a period when missionaries influenced the area. Recently the Anga worked with anthropologists to revive the practice, so that the son of the reigning village chief could learn how to mummify his father in the traditional manner (Beckett et al. 2011). It was important to the Anga to reconstruct their old cultural practices so that they could maintain the connection with the ancestors. This type of mummification is not for the dead, but for the living. Another example is from one of the earliest cultures to develop artificial mummification, the Chinchorro of Chile. The practice of artificial mummification in the Chinchorro culture began around 7,000 years ago, and the very first to undergo this ritual were infants and children. It has been suggested that the members of the group were exposed to toxic levels of arsenic in the water, leading to miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature births, and so the Chinchorro developed artificial mummification as a way of dealing with the deaths of the children, while keeping them close within the group (Arriaza 2005). Furthermore, since the Chinchorro’s religious beliefs were grounded in the duality of the body and soul, like the Egyptians, it was important for the physical body to be preserved for the afterlife (Arriaza 2005), albeit using very different methods. In the case of the Chinchorro, it is likely that artificial mummification developed for both the individual, who needed a body for the afterlife, and for the remaining members of the community, especially in the case of those mourning the death of infants and young children.

Analysis of mummies What can be learned from the study of mummies? Mummies provide an opportunity to study an individual from a specific culture, at a specific point in time. When mummies are found in their original location, the archaeological and cultural context helps researchers develop an accurate interpretation of the individual. Many mummies that have been studied were removed from

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their archaeological context during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. At that time, a “collector culture” was pervasive in Europe and North America, and tourists and other collectors purchased archaeological artifacts, skeletons, and mummies for private collections, or to establish private natural history museums. Sadly, there is still substantial profit in the sale of artifacts, skeletons, and mummies, to the detriment of both the specimens and cultural heritage. Without the archaeological context, interpretation is based solely on the physical remains of the body, and any accompanying textiles or artifacts. Through the analysis of the body, researchers are often able to estimate age-at-death, determine sex, and identify evidence of disease or injury. In rare cases, it may be possible to determine a cause of death. Researchers are also interested in identifying exactly how the body became mummified, and the current state of preservation of the mummy. How are mummies studied and interpreted? Mummies are, first and foremost, human beings, and must be treated with respect at all times. In the past, examination of a mummy often involved autopsy and sampling of many of the internal organs and tissues of the mummy for examination using microscopy; these procedures were, of course, destructive. More recently, however, researchers are relying on the use of state-of-the-art medical imaging, especially computed tomography (CT) scanning. There are several methods that can be used to study mummies. The least invasive is macroscopic analysis, in which every physical aspect of the mummy is examined and recorded in minute detail, through careful visual inspection. The “gold standard” method of analysis in mummy studies, however, is medical imaging. Through radiography and CT scanning, it is possible to examine a mummy internally and externally, in three dimensions, without having to unwrap or autopsy the individual. While medical imaging is not entirely non-destructive, since the body is exposed to low doses of radiation, it does provide the best possible opportunity to study the mummy with the least risk to the mummy. One other advantage of medical imaging is the ability to develop virtual three-dimensional (3D) models, to make visualization of the mummy, and any special features, easier for both scientists and the general public. These virtual models can be included in museum exhibitions, for example. It is also possible to use 3D printing technology to create physical models of artifacts concealed within wrappings, or of anatomical structures, such as the cranium of a South American mummy which may display evidence of cultural artificial cranial modification. Some research questions can only be answered by taking physical samples from the skin, hair, muscle, bone, or internal organs of a mummy, which is both invasive and destructive. For example, it is often important to know the time period from which the mummy originated. This is especially true in the case of mummies in institutional collections, when the original archaeological context is unknown. The best method to determine this date is through radiocarbon dating, for which a physical sample from the mummy is required.

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Other invasive and destructive testing includes stable isotope analysis, in which samples are tested for the presence of specific elements, such as oxygen and strontium. This information may allow researchers to determine aspects of the diet, or the geographic origin of the individual. One important example is the Iceman. The mummy of a 5,500-year-old Iceman was found high in the Öztal Alps of northern Italy, but it was believed that he had originally come from a different region. In order to determine where the Iceman had lived prior to his death, scientists analyzed the composition of isotopic elements in his teeth and bones. They concluded that the man had migrated from a valley region about 60 km southeast of where the mummy had been found (Müller et al. 2003). Ancient DNA analysis has also enabled researchers to increase the accuracy of the interpretation of mummies. For example, recently researchers identified the complete genome of the Iceman. From this, it was possible to determine that the man had blood type O, was lactose intolerant, and probably had brown eyes (Keller et al. 2012). The ability to analyze the genetic material of mummies, which is very difficult and not always successful, is a significant development in the study and interpretation of mummies.

Public perception and mummies Mummies fascinate many people; visitors are often intrigued by mummies displayed in museum exhibitions. For some, there is a perhaps macabre interest in the public display of the dead. For others, there is a strong connection to the individuals and the information that can be learned from the physical remains of the bodies. Humans often seek immortality, and perhaps mummies offer a form of corporeal immortality. Mummies also provide museum visitors with a window to the past and an opportunity to realize that the people of the recent past are no different from those living today: they had families, jobs, hobbies, and familiar health problems, like arthritis. There is often a question as to whether or not it is ethically appropriate to show human mummies in museums and other exhibition venues. While potential visitors must decide for themselves whether or not they are comfortable viewing mummies, respectful exhibition of mummies can provide insight into the daily lives of individuals from the past.

Conclusion The word “mummy” is a term that is broadly applied to any human or animal that has preserved soft tissue. Mummification may be caused by nature, created by humans, or some combination of these two circumstances. Mummification occurs throughout the world and, in the earliest cases, the processes of body preservation are millennia old. The variety and uniqueness of mummies reflect the complexity of humans in the past: mummies are perhaps the most tangible connection to the past for people living today.

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Digital memorials Candi K. Cann

Death is an inherently social experience, and the way in which death is understood and grieved is, in part, socially and culturally constructed and managed (Christensen and Willerslev 2013: 5). Digital memorials are online spaces created to remember and honor the dead, and serve the dual aim of making sense of death and perpetuating bonds with the dead. Because of their primarily public nature, the study of digital memorials offers a unique opportunity to examine mourning responses to death. Traditional grieving patterns focus on sense-making, which includes understanding, processing, and remembering the dead through thinking about the death, positing questions about the death, and offering lamentations about the dead. These various aspects reflect an attempt to come to a gradual acceptance of a death and help the bereaved navigate a world without the deceased. Digital memorials offer one approach to sense-making following a death, providing a sympathetic forum through which to grieve and understand the death, while renegotiating the world of the living without the deceased. However, digital memorials also seem to have an additional function in which the dead are gradually reinserted into the realm of the living in such a way that the deceased participates in the realm of the living in a way that accommodates their new status as a dead person. Ranging from personal postings written to the deceased themselves to reorienting the living to a world in which the deceased are no longer present and responsive, memorialization online primarily serves to assist with the bereavement process and help the living live in a world without the dead (Christensen and Gotved 2015). This chapter describes the variety, history, and role of digital memorials in contemporary American mourning and examines whether and how digital memorials contribute to, or actually detract from, the grieving process.

Types of digital memorials Digital memorials generally fit one of three categories: funeral industry–driven memorial sites such as online obituaries and guest books; spontaneous memorials emerging out of social network sites (SNS) such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram; and online support network (OSN) memorial websites intentionally started as support

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networks for the bereaved. A last category of digital memorial, the digital avatar, is expanding in popularity, but is still fairly new in both technology and usage. The digital avatar is a programmable likeness that someone creates and stores on a website that records the voice, face, gestures, and expressions of a person, and then leaves for one’s family and friends to interact with online after one has died. Thus far there is limited research on the digital avatar’s utilization and emphasis on the grieving process as the software is still in an early development stage, but it is beginning to be more widely available.

Funeral industry digital memorials Funeral companies leading the trend of offering internet memorials have traditionally been large industry franchises, with companies such as Service Corporation International (one of the largest funeral home companies in the United States, with approximately 13% of the funeral industry market revenue) offering internet memorialization packages with software platform support at the national level. Older and smaller funeral establishments generally do not offer internet services as part of their funeral package, though as the internet becomes more pervasive, and as these companies struggle to be competitive, the number of funeral companies offering an internet memorial as part of their services continues to grow (Cann 2014: 107–109). Funeral industry memorial sites function as online guestbooks or repositories for obituaries, with little changing in the shift from the on-site funeral to an online guestbook. The funeral industry digital memorials usually list the funeral services being held at a particular funeral home over the course of a month or two (after which they are permanently and digitally archived). Once the visitor clicks on the deceased’s name, she is brought to the deceased individual’s site, where an obituary of the deceased, along with any videos and photos that the family and friends have chosen to upload, is generally available. The obituary, and frequently the photos selected to accompany the obituary narrative, are most often the same as those published in the newspaper following the person’s death. Funeral home memorial websites do not differ much from the formal memorialization process already in place, constructing a narrative arc of the deceased person’s life (generally told in the third person) and usually listing the primary relations of the deceased. In this way, the funeral home memorial tends to privilege the natal family of the deceased as one of primary importance, constructing the biographical narrative in a factual manner, rather than an affective one. The obituary narrates the linear timeline of a person’s life, including biographical data such as birthplace, death place, and names and ages of remaining family, even though the deceased may or may not have remained close with her biological family. Additionally, the obituary constructs a narrative based on fact, yet often separated from motive or interpretation. The primary aim of the obituary is to notify the public of the death, to re-map the deceased person’s place into the past, and to notify the public of the bereaved family’s changed grieving status.

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One of the initially touted benefits of the funeral industry memorial page is that it presents a feasible way to allow grievers to be present regardless of proximity or distance, and to this aim, many of these sites also permit and encourage the lighting of virtual candles, the giving of virtual gifts such as flowers and teddy bears, and the writing of messages to the deceased. In this way, the virtual memorial site replicates the funeral home experience of bringing gifts to the casket, and/or lighting candles in honor of the deceased. That being said, the more informal language and the tendency to use the second person present tense when speaking to the deceased (e.g. “I miss you so much, Jan! May you rest in peace”) seems to have gradually made its way onto the virtual guest books of the online funeral home sites, and in this way the shifting language and practices brought about by mourning on SNS (as will be discussed below) is transforming the more formalized practices of the funeral home. Additionally, funeral homes are now making more use of visual rhetoric as part of their services, employing video funeral services as a way to increase distance participation and visitation, and allowing visitors to their sites to occasionally upload their own pictures and videos to the funeral home website. When examining the funeral industry digital memorials, it is important to note their monetary function. Just as social network sites have incorporated ads and shopping into their news feeds, funeral homes have also made good use of the possibilities of a virtual marketplace, most often providing links to florists and other funeral-appropriate gift shops in return for fee-based advertising space. Ad space on sites is generally determined by the number of page views or visitors to the site per month, so funeral homes can easily add to their overall revenue, in addition to allowing higher functionality of their websites, by offering ad space to services and products related to the funeral. Visitors to funeral websites can not only offer virtual candles and teddy bears to the deceased, but can also purchase real flowers and tangible gifts to give at the funeral ceremony. In addition, monetary donations, particularly when the family of the deceased has asked for contributions to a particular charity in memory of the deceased, are also often an option on these funeral industry digital memorials. Links to a charity’s webpage can be posted on the memorial site, and friends and family of the deceased can simply click on the link and offer a donation in addition to or in lieu of other monetary gifts. These monetary donations range widely: donations utilized to offset medical and funeral expenses, donations to favorite charities of the deceased, monetary purchases of gifts to be offered at the funeral home ceremony itself, and finally, monetary contributions given to the family of the deceased. More recent developments in the funeral industry offer interactive tombstones that allow the embedding of a barcode that can be read by a smartphone, which allows the bereaved to interact with the deceased through pre-recorded video or audio clips and favorite quotes or narratives predetermined by the deceased themselves or selected by the family for those visiting the gravesite (Cann 2013). Many of the barcodes simply link to the already existing funeral industry memorials, and thus are fairly easy to link to the infrastructure of funeral home memorial websites. These barcodes allow visitors to the gravesite to access many of the stories and memories of the deceased within a

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virtual community of the bereaved. Additionally, the barcodes offer a GPS location for the headstone itself, which offers the added benefit of locating the tombstone with ease, while maintaining a geographical relationship with the deceased following their death. These bar codes and internet links on tombstones are a bridge between the physical and virtual realms – visitors to the site visit the physical location of the corpse while simultaneously expanding beyond the grave to a virtual realm on the internet. Located at the site of the buried or cremated corpse, barcodes on tombstones link the material corpse to a virtual realm where the dead remains alive through video, pictures, conversations, and memories of the bereaved (Kong 2012: 430). The technology is not difficult to utilize and allows for a richer experience of the visit to the tomb. However, thus far, the digital memorials of the funeral industry have not moved far beyond their obituary function. In the future, this technology will probably expand, with more and more tombstones offering instant access to virtual memorials through smartphone technology, though tombstones will probably cease to rely on barcode recognition and move to a more advanced type of software linking smartphones to the internet. In Asia, many cemeteries and column bariums already offer these services as a government-driven effort to decrease foot traffic to cemeteries for ancestral holidays. In the United States, where the expense of interment falls to the family, this technology has not enjoyed as much success, but with the internet increasingly becoming an integrated part of everyday life, it is highly likely that tombstone memorials will increase in both utilization and popularity.

Social network site (SNS) digital memorials Social network site digital memorials include memorials posted (usually spontaneously) on SNS such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Although traditional bereavement customs and language on SNS originally emerged spontaneously, over time particular grieving rituals seem to have been almost universally adopted by those on these sites. These customs generally include: 1) the posting of a picture of the bereaved with the deceased, 2) the posting of a message or messages to the deceased on his/her SNS, and 3) regular visits to the page or feed of the deceased on particular holidays, such as the birthday of the deceased or on the anniversary of the person’s death (Cann 2014: 105–131). While there are those today who do not use social media, these social network platforms are now so commonplace as to be integrated even into educational curriculums; thus, the online mourning customs emerging today are in fact developing a syntax of mourning that will continue to be used for years to come. That being said, all of these online rituals of grief remain subject to the platform constraints, and these parameters are also shifting the ways in which people express and understand their grief, and affecting real-life mourning processes. On Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, mourners commonly post pictures of themselves with the deceased, marking the relationship between the bereaved and the deceased, and notifying the bereaved person’s audience of her right to mourn. On

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Facebook, this is usually a changing of the profile picture, while on Instagram, it is often the posting to the Instagram feed of the mourner and deceased together (while still alive), for the purpose of identifying to one’s social network that one is grieving. The practice of posting a picture of oneself with the deceased originally was a picture of the poster and the deceased when they were still living, as a mark that they knew the deceased and therefore had a right to mourn. This has more recently shifted, however, especially on image-driven sites with little to no accompanying written messages (such as Instagram or Twitter) to pictures of the poster at the funeral itself. More recently, this practice has begun to shift to the posting of “funeral selfies” – most often pictures of oneself crying or in funeral clothes, though occasionally the posting of oneself with the corpse itself. The function of the “funeral selfie” has the same purpose as the first custom of posting one’s picture with the deceased, however. It is essentially a declarative statement (through visual imagery) that the poster has the right to mourn – and in that sense, is not unlike other visual rhetoric, in which the poster posts about important events in her life through the posting of visual images. In this way, the funeral selfie is not unlike nineteenth-century post-mortem photography, and may be as much a social commentary on innovative uses of new technologies as it is on mourning. On Tumblr or Twitter, the poster often will post a picture of himself with the deceased while they were still alive and/ or write a message to the dead, such as “RIP Christopher! You will be missed!” This short message (fitting the constraints of the SNS platform) allows for followers to see at once that the poster is grieving. The practice of writing directly to the deceased is not a new one per se, but rather the previously private conversations that people had with the dead (in their heads, written in journals or diaries, and at the tombstone) are now written on public social media platforms and occur with an audience. In other words, what is new about these postings is the fact that they are occurring in public space, not that they are occurring at all. The functional purpose of these postings to the deceased is to re-negotiate the world without the deceased, and they represent a desire on behalf of the living to find a way to reinsert the deceased, in their new status, into the realm of the living. By posting one’s thoughts and feelings to the deceased, the mourner is also learning to re-negotiate their new relationship. The deceased will never respond to the bereaved, and yet, the virtual network provides a space, both public and universally accessible, in which to remember and memorialize. The last notable custom on digital SNS memorials is the trend to visit and revisit the pages on birthdays, death anniversaries, and in the first few months following the death. The “continuing bonds” theory essentially espouses the notion that people use social media to continue their relationships with the dead, as one way in which they can integrate their new bonds with the dead as deceased individuals. In this way, grievers can move forward with the dead reintegrated into their lives (Klass, Silverman, and Nickman 2014; Walter, 2014) in such a way that the bereaved are able to adjust to their loss while reorienting their lives in their new status as grievers. Grieving then is seen as a continuing process, rather than a one-time event (Christensen and Gotved 2015). Social media thus can give some grievers a way to “stay in

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touch with the dead” that allows them to simultaneously function in the real world without the deceased. The irony of the utilization of SNS memorials to grieve the deceased, however, is that many people find it disruptive and disturbing when, for example, they log into their Facebook or Twitter account and are confronted with pictures or messages of their friends and family with the deceased. While some users of SNS find posting their grief online to be a soothing practice, others are disturbed by the fact that they are “interrupted” by grief while utilizing SNS, particularly when many of these messages are deeply personal, upsetting, and may be accompanied by photos of the deceased. Those who prefer to manage their grief quietly and privately may not be comfortable with the blatant social nature of digital memorials. Finally, traditional hierarchies of mourning are often not replicated in SNS memorials, as families, for example, may not have the exclusive or primary position in online bereavement. Some may find this loss of recognition as the primary griever disturbing, rather than comforting (Cann 2014: 120–121).

Online support network (OSN) digital memorials Online support network (OSN) memorials have undergone little change since their initial emergence on the web in the late 1990s, largely continuing to function as support (either emotional or financial) for the bereaved and providing resources and support for mourners who generally share something in common. Usually these sites center around a shared type of loss, such as the loss of a child or a teen, or the death of a loved one to a commonly experienced disease or circumstance, such as suicide, cancer, or drunk driving. These sites function slightly differently from the guestbook of funeral home memorial sites in that they serve to inform, educate, raise financial capital, and provide resources to the bereaved, in addition to serving as memorials themselves. Thus, the OSN memorial operates on several levels, utilizing the memorial format to capitalize resources and generate social networks. The online support network memorial is unique in that it forms a virtual support community based on a specific shared experience surrounding death, different from those formed spontaneously on SNS memorials centered on the bereavement of a particular individual. Online support network memorials often deal with issues that pertain to disenfranchised grief (murder, accidental death, suicide, etc.) and other types of death that the general public is either uncomfortable with or doesn’t have the resources to manage. The intended audience, then, of OSN memorials is different from both funeral industry memorials and SNS memorials. OSN memorials are often geared towards a community built only on shared experience, but not of affinity, class, or kinship relations. Examples of online support network digital memorials include sites such as “The Smallest Angels” or the “We Remember with Love SIDS Network,” both websites for those grieving the loss of infants and children who have died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which offer resources and online memorials and also collect monetary donations for research on SIDS. At the other end of the spectrum are politicized memorials, such as Ghostbikes.org, which

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links online visitors to material memorials in various locations throughout the world, and whose purpose is not only to remember and memorialize, but to publicize and politicize bicycle fatalities. These two very different types of OSN memorials both serve to provide resources that might not otherwise be provided to the bereaved, and yet the audiences are specifically geared towards a shared experience of death (either of an infant or of an unexpected bike fatality). The audience of OSN memorials is thus quite different than either funeral industry or SNS digital memorials in that the OSN memorials function as communal mourning and grieving sites, as well as political and educational platforms. Thus, while SNS digital memorials function to provide an audience for highly individualized and stylized grieving, OSN memorials have a social networking purpose beyond the individual deceased persons.

Digital avatars Not in the category of digital memorials, but serving a similar function, are the newly emerging digital avatars, which will continue to grow in popularity as the software for creating them improves and people become more comfortable with their use. By uploading biographical data and organizing it into recognizable and mappable information, companies such as Lifenaut claim to be able to create a digital likeness with which one can interact. While these digital avatars are currently seen as experimental, some companies, like Eterni.me, are intentionally curating digital information in order to “be remembered forever.” Users interacting with the avatars are prompted to type in a question or a comment to which the digital avatar will respond based on all the catalogued information. Because the person creates the avatar with pictures, video, and voice, if there is enough information, the computer-generated avatar responds to the typed question based on what the person would have said. However, one needs to spend a fair amount of time interacting with one’s avatar in order for the avatar to reach any kind of true likeness to one’s real-life self; otherwise, the results may in fact be more frustrating than comforting. Obviously, the avatars that have been the most intentionally mapped and curated will be the most accurate digital representations of the person creating them, but the implications seem far-reaching, and potentially dangerous to the mourning process. Though at first glance one might be able to utilize the continuing-bonds theory discussed earlier as one way to point to a healthy utilization of interaction with the digital avatar in the grieving process, the difference is that the avatar functions in a more personal space (though platform software and demand may eventually shift to make them more publicly accessible), so the griever is not interacting with the dead in a space in which all acknowledge the death of the deceased. Additionally, while the other three categories of digital memorials – funeral industry, SNS, and OSN memorials – all seem to provide a positive outlet and location in which to conduct the bereavement process, digital avatars may actually inhibit or prolong mourning through a denial of death. Digital memorials serve to relocate the dead while helping to provide a network of support in a world that does not always allow the bereavement process to occur, allowing

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people a digital space to mourn that does not impinge upon real life. Digital avatars, however, may not actually relocate the deceased as much as deny them their place as the dead. Because the technology is so new, however, it remains to be seen whether these avatars are helpful or harmful in the bereavement process.

The future of digital memorials Software platforms are becoming increasingly vigilant regarding the safety of digital assets. Facebook, for example, most recently unrolled its new policy of appointing a “legacy contact,” essentially an online executor responsible for memorializing a person’s Facebook page in the event of death. Generally, a person goes into their security settings on Facebook, appoints someone as their legacy contact, and that person is responsible for posting one last message, and/or changing the profile photo of the site, and then the page will be memorialized. The other option given by Facebook is to have the page permanently deleted. Digital memorials are also asset and data treasure boxes with a wealth of online information for hackers to then utilize or sell for purposes of fraud. Also, without an accurate count of which sites are in fact sites of the dead, it can cause a revenue drain, with companies paying for ad and banner space on pages that may no longer be used. Facebook, for example, is estimated to have approximately two million Facebook pages of the deceased that have not been memorialized or deleted; some estimate this rate at a far higher number of between ten and twelve million. However, without proper memorialization or deletion of pages of dead users, it is extremely difficult to tell how many pages actually belong to users that are no longer alive. Because of issues like this that make it difficult to account for the total number of the online dead, it will not be long before bureaucratic procedures regarding the dead online will become standard procedure. This is not necessarily negative, however, as it will help to move the practice of digital memorialization into the mainstream. Just as obituaries have developed a formal discourse and narrative for the dead, online rituals will become more formalized over time as well. Digital memorialization will remain software and platform dependent, as mourning must be expressed according to the constraints of each internet platform. However, as the virtual realm continues to increasingly inhabit the material, and digital realms continue to invade our cultural imaginations, particularly in regards to death, the afterlife, and navigating a world with and without the dead, digital memorials will not only become mainstream, but may also help develop new ritual frameworks that may supersede local culture and tradition.

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Maciel, Cristiano, and Vinicius Carvalho Pereira, eds. (2013). Digital Legacy and Interaction: PostMortem Issues. New York: Springer International Publishing. McCartney, Patricia (2014). “Online Obituaries and Memorials.” MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing 39.3: 206. Moncur, Wendy, and David Kirk (2014). “An Emergent Framework for Digital Memorials.” In Proceedings of the 2014 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, chaired by Ron Wakkary and Steve Harrison, 965–974. DIS ’14. New York: Association for Computing Machinery. Moreman, Christopher M., and A. David Lewis, eds. (2014). Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age. Santa Barbara: Praeger. Naidu-Silverman, Ereshnee (2014). “Mayibuye! Let Us Reclaim! Assessing the Role of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Rebuilding.” CUNY Academic Works. Online: http://academicworks.cuny. edu/gc_etds/456 Robards, Brady (2014). “Digital Traces of the Persona through Ten Years of Facebook.” M/C Journal 17.3. Available at: . Date accessed: 19 Feb. 2017. Rossetto, Kelly R., Pamela J. Lannutti, and Elena C. Strauman (2014). “Death on Facebook: Examining the Roles of Social Media Communication for the Bereaved.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 32.7: 1–21. Staudt, Christina, and J. Harold Ellens, eds. (2013). Our Changing Journey to the End: Reshaping Death, Dying, and Grief in America. Santa Barbara: Praeger. Steinhart, Eric Charles, and Palgrave Connect (Online service) (2014). Your Digital Afterlives: Computational Theories of Life after Death. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Stillion, Judith M., Judith Stillion, and Thomas Attig (2015). Death, Dying, and Bereavement: Contemporary Perspectives, Institutions, and Practices. New York: Springer Publishing Company. Walter, Tony (2014). “New Mourners, Old Mourners: Online Memorial Culture as a Chapter in the History of Mourning.” New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia 21.1–2: 10–24. Whissel, Kristen (2014). Spectacular Digital Effects: CGI and Contemporary Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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LIMINAL STATES AND LIMINAL BEINGS

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Near-death experiences Gregory Shushan

The phenomenology of NDEs Near-death experiences (or NDEs) are sometimes reported by individuals who are resuscitated from a period of clinical death or near-death. The experience typically involves sensations of consciousness temporarily leaving the body, rising upwards and seeing one’s own “corpse” below, entering darkness or a tunnel, emerging in bright light, meeting deceased friends or relatives, encountering a being of light radiating love and acceptance, a panoramic life review with a sense of moral evaluation or selfjudgment, reaching a border or limit, and ultimately returning to the body. Other commonly reported features include feelings of peace, joy, unity, universal understanding, heightened senses and clarity, seeing or entering other worlds (commonly idealized mirror-images of earth) often seen as one’s true “home,” time and thought accelerating, ESP and telepathic communication with other spirits, loud noises, music, vivid colors, being instructed or deciding to return, and lasting positive effects on the subsequent life of the NDEr. While those who have such experiences usually interpret them in spiritual or religious terms, both naturalistic and metaphysical explanations of the NDE have been put forth, and the phenomenon has been the subject of much philosophical and religious speculation concerning the possibility of survival beyond physical death, mind-body dualism, religious beliefs in an afterlife, and our understanding of the nature of human consciousness. Because one of the key issues in NDE studies is determining the degree to which it is a universal human occurrence, defining the experience is important. Since death and dying are obviously universal, the nature and meaning of NDEs should be universal as well. If the NDE is not the same for everyone, this requires explanation regardless of whether we believe the experience is simply epiphenomena of a compromised brain, or that it is an actual indication of what happens to human beings when (and after) we die. However, while even the most skeptical researchers generally accept that NDEs occur, they do not always agree on which elements actually define the experience. American psychologist and medical doctor Raymond Moody, who coined the term “near-death experience” in his 1975 bestseller Life After Life, identified fifteen “stages” which have been used as the basis for nearly all subsequent NDE research (including

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the development of the widely used “Greyson scale”) (Greyson 1999). In fact, Moody was describing a composite experience, for no NDE he recorded included all the elements, and only a few had as many as twelve. Rather than a single experience, the NDE is best regarded as a collection of typical sub-experiences: a variable combination of a number of possible elements from an established repertoire, the details of which differ on a case-by-case basis for reasons which remain largely obscure. There is some evidence that the manner in which a person almost dies impacts the experience. Those who attempt suicide tend not to have a life review, for example (Ring 1980: 194). Stevenson and Greyson (1996) suggested that, in conjunction with psychological and cultural factors, the duration of an NDE may help account for differences. For example, the life review may come at a later stage in the dying process. This is supported by the findings of some researchers (Sartori 2008), though it conflicts with those of others (Grey 1985; van Lommel et al. 2001). There is also a human tendency to elaborate events into sequential narratives, so it is difficult to determine whether or not the order of the various NDE elements is always consistent (Grey 1985). The same year Moody’s book was published, a German study by Lutheran minister Johann Christophe Hampe (1975) independently identified the NDE and its main elements. Unlike the examples Moody cites, however, Hampe’s NDErs returned to the body the same way they left it (i.e., through a tunnel). He also reported only a few encounters with deceased relatives, and none of a loud noise (cf. Fox 2003: 55ff). An even earlier popular book (Delacour 1973) also independently confirmed NDEs, though uniquely described NDErs claiming the ability to control or influence the “afterlife” environment (not unlike a lucid dream). These idiosyncrasies suggest that some elements are experienced only in particular cultures (in this case, German and French), an idea supported by later studies of historical and non-Western NDEs (see below on NDEs, history, and culture). Some NDEs are distressing, though their phenomenology appears to correspond thematically to the more typical positive examples, in an apparently inverted way. Thus, the individual feels fear and panic during the out-of-body-experience (OBE), is filled with despair, enters darkness and a void, encounters an evil presence, and sees hellish places. It is unclear if there are, in fact, fundamentally different negative and positive NDEs, or if it is simply a matter of individual perception and interpretation of the same kind of experience (Greyson & Bush 1992; Serdahely 1995). Badham (1997) notes that in contrast to positive NDEs, however, negative examples are more dreamlike, do not normally hold the same significance for the NDEr, and are not remembered with the same vivid clarity over time. Like any experience, NDEs are also subject to the vagaries of memory and narrative. An OBE, for example, is not always explicitly reported, though obviously it is a journey of the soul, not the body, which is being claimed. It may thus be presumed that any individual who has had an NDE believes that he or she did, in fact, leave the body. Darkness is another element which might easily go unmentioned if the more interesting and memorable element is the contrasting radiant light. Zaleski (1987) and Couliano

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(1991) stressed that NDE and “otherworld journey” narratives are literary artifacts. Like any literature, they are at least partly products of intertextuality, meaning that they are situated within a narrative genre and thus follow certain literary conventions. Ultimately, the extent to which interpretation and narrative – by both NDErs and researchers – affect conclusions regarding the phenomenology of NDEs is unclear. Ring (1980) demonstrated that sex, religion, degree of religiosity, and other demographic factors do not have a significant bearing on the occurrence of NDEs. This has been confirmed by van Lommel et al. (2001), who also found no correlation between the occurrence of NDEs and resuscitation technique, types of drugs administered during surgery, fear of death, foreknowledge of NDEs, or education. Nor is the NDE by any means a rare phenomenon. It occurs in approximately “10% of people who come close to death, or who survive actual clinical death” (Fenwick 2005: 2), and in a higher percentage specifically of cardiac arrest survivors (12–18%) (van Lommel et al. 2001). Thousands of books and articles have been written on the subject, and tens of thousands of reports have been collected from around the world. While these estimates are significant, so is the fact that it leaves roughly 90% who do not report having had NDEs. It is not clear whether the experience simply does not happen to everyone who nears death or who is clinically dead for a time, or whether some do not remember the experience or do not report it for other reasons (e.g., fear of being ridiculed or doubted). Conversely, NDEs (or at least phenomenologically consistent experiences) can occur in individuals who are not actually near death at all but believe themselves to be, such as when falling from a height without being in any real mortal danger (Stevenson et al. 1990). NDEs are complex, multi-faceted phenomena which can be approached from various different disciplines and perspectives, using diverse theories and methodologies. It is not simply a question of “are they real or not,” but of the various ways in which they can be understood. As Zaleski (1987: 181) pointed out, “a comprehensive theory of near-death experience” would require a synthesis of “all of the medical, psychological, philosophical, historical, social, literary, and logical factors.” Theories integrating a number of such factors while still taking seriously the testimonies of NDErs have been put forth by McClenon (1994), Kellehear (1996), Badham (1997), Paulson (1999), and Shushan (2009), among others. In attempting to account for both similarities and differences between accounts, such theories present models which accept the idea of a structurally universal NDE, combined with a number of other considerations such as local cultural contexts and religious beliefs; cognitive, psychological, and neurophysiological findings; and in some cases (e.g., Badham, Shushan) philosophical and metaphysical speculations.

NDEs, science, and survival after death From the pioneering work of various psychologists and medical researchers (e.g., Ring 1980; Sabom 1982; Grey 1985), the field of near-death studies has evolved to focus on the key areas of obtaining empirical scientific evidence, cross-cultural comparisons, the

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relevance to philosophy and religion, and the implications for healthcare and psychology. However, for many the issue of whether or not the NDE constitutes evidence for survival after physical death remains paramount. While pro-survival perspectives are often criticized for conflicting with known laws of science and for drawing conclusions from unverifiable accounts of personal experiences, scientific-materialist perspectives are criticized for a priori reductionism, and for dismissing or ignoring challenging evidence instead of adequately addressing it. Various researchers have attempted to explain the NDE in materialist terms, though none appear to have fully succeeded. Some argue that it results from a deprivation of oxygen in the brain (hypoxia or anoxia; e.g., psychiatrists Nathan Schnaper and Richard Blacher [see Sabom 1982: 209, 239], and psychologist Susan Blackmore [1993]). Opponents of the theory, however, argue that oxygen deprivation causes confusional states quite unlike the hyper-lucidity reported by NDErs, and in fact does not produce effects comparable to the NDE at all (Fenwick & Fenwick 1995: 213). Hypercarbia (excessive carbon dioxide in the brain) is also enlisted as a materialist explanation of NDEs, and actually can produce NDE-like effects (Klemenc-Ketis et al. 2010). There is, however, evidence that carbon dioxide is actually lowered during NDEs (Sabom 1982: 244). The theory that NDEs result from temporal lobe epilepsy is similarly problematic. Proponents of the theory (e.g., Blackmore 1993: 217) argue that during life-threatening episodes the temporal lobe is stimulated in ways which could cause the typical effects of an NDE (e.g., triggering memories resulting in a life review, releasing endorphins causing feelings of well-being). However, neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick (2005: 2) counters that “No epileptic seizure has the clarity and narrative style of an NDE . . . all epilepsy is confusional.” Furthermore, in terms of memory and the brain’s ability to construct mental models, “it should be quite impossible to have an NDE when brain function is really very seriously disordered, or the brain is seriously damaged (Fenwick & Fenwick 1995: 205). Still others have argued that NDEs are caused by anesthetic drugs, such as ketamine (e.g., Jansen 2001). However, it has been shown conclusively that individuals not under the influence of such drugs still have NDEs (Fenwick 2005), leading to a general loss of support for this kind of theory. A related idea is that the brain itself produces a ketamine-like substance, causing the effects of NDEs. A leading expert on ketamine, psychiatrist Karl Jansen (2001), pointed out that a similarity between NDEs and ketamine experiences does not indicate that NDEs are not genuinely “spiritual.” Rather, the drug may simply enable access to the same spiritual “reality” as the NDE. Though while ketamine experiences can indeed resemble NDEs (particularly in causing out-ofbody sensations and impressions of visiting other realms), such drugs are also known to cause feelings of disorientation and fear, the very antithesis of the clarity, peace, and joy reported by most NDErs. Conversely, other NDE features (darkness and light) are absent from ketamine experiences (Fox 2003: 146). The most comprehensive attempt to explain the NDE in reductionist terms remains that of psychologist Susan Blackmore (1993: 262–4), who argues that the NDE is the hallucinatory result of a combination of neurophysiological and psychological events

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occurring in the dying brain. Some of her key claims are that the feelings of joy and peace are the result of natural opiates being released in the brain as it shuts down; the tunnel, light, and sound are a result of anoxia; the life review is due to “seizures in the temporal lobe and limbic system where memories are organised”; and the OBE is the brain’s attempt to “model reality.” All this is combined with “prior knowledge, fantasy, lucky guesses and the remaining operating senses of hearing and touch.” The intense reality of the NDE is allegedly caused by the brain’s attempt to retain the disintegrating construct that is the personality and consciousness. Blackmore subscribes to the notion that the self is an illusion created by the brain, which attempts to maintain that illusion even in the dying process. However, though her theory rests heavily on the brain as a functional instrument, Blackmore does not explain the purpose or function of this protective mechanism. Furthermore, in keeping with her commitments both to Western materialism and Zen Buddhism, she takes for granted that the self is illusory. Blackmore also sees the tunnel experience as “neural noise” caused by a malfunctioning visual cortex, resulting in impressions of light growing increasingly larger and the sensation of moving through a dark tunnel towards that light. This is also problematic. As a supposed neurophysiological occurrence, the “tunnel” should be universal, though cross-cultural evidence shows that this is not the case. It is not reported in Indian NDEs or in small-scale societies, and indeed the tunnel per se is actually uncommon even in Western cases (Stevenson et al. 1994). Individual and cultural variations between NDEs should not occur if the experience is caused by a neurophysiological process, and this creates a serious problem for “all-in-the-brain” explanations such as Blackmore’s (Kellehear 1996; Serdahely 1995). Blackmore has also been criticized for “massaging” her data into an erroneous claim that the tunnel is in fact experienced in India, in order to bolster her dying brain hypothesis (Stevenson et al. 1994; Kellehear 1996). Another theory suggests that NDEs can be explained by “REM intrusion” – the activation of the dream state in the mind of the NDEr resulting in hallucinatory visions. Long and Holden (2007), however, countered that REM intrusion experiences and NDEs differ fundamentally (noting particularly that the hallucinatory, dreamlike REM state is inconsistent with NDE states), and that the theory cannot explain “visual” NDEs in th