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Indian AsceticismPower, Violence, and Play$
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Carl Olson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225315.001.0001

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Miracles, Play, and Power

Miracles, Play, and Power

(p.169) 7 Miracles, Play, and Power
Indian Asceticism

Carl Olson

Oxford University Press

This chapter continues a consideration of the notion of play begun in the previous chapter. Narrative examples of ascetics performing miracles, a form of play, are reviewed in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It is argued that miracles are a form of play that is indicative of a non-rational aspect of religious culture, inviting witnesses to leave ordinary life and experience something awesome and providing an interlude within ordinary life. Play and miracles share features that are repetitive, secretive, and incongruous, and offer a possible blissful experience, but in the final analysis miracles are a truncated form of play.

Keywords:   miracle, play, power, healing

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