By Bruce Kapferer
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Additional info for A Celebration of Demons : Exorcism and the Aesthetics of Healing in Sri Lanka
One, the system of Buddhist worship, is concerned with sin, rebirth, and the fate of the soul. The other, which Ames terms "magical animism," or the system which relates to the worship and placation of deities, demons, and ghosts, is directed to the handling of everyday misfortunes and frustrations (1963:46). According to Ames, the two systems of belief and practice coexist because the Sinhalese Buddhist "concept of salvation is so systematized, abstract, and other-worldly that there is need for something like healing rituals that are more specific, concrete, and mundane, much more part of the mundane world, to serve as a bridge between man and his ultimate concerns" (1964a:80).
Sinh. karuma) embodies and reflects many of the ideas which m o t i v a t e much of the Sinhalese a t t i t u d e to illness and misfortune, and is implicit in many aspects of everyday Sinhalese understanding. According to the doctrine of karma, individual experience and action is the result of previous volitional a c t s in this and former lives (Gombrich 1971b:145; Rahula 1974:32; Ling 1973). Karma is the single most powerful system of causation affecting the affairs of human beings and t h e activities of supernaturals (Gombrich 1971b:68).
For the present, my usage of the t e r m class is in accordance with my definition and not in t e r m s of the various Sinhalese conceptualizations of class. , such individuals as big businessmen, major landowners, senior government officials, wealthy lawyers and doctors), openly s t a t e t h a t demon ceremonies are contrary and inappropriate to Buddhism. Generally, middle class seek the services of a traditional exorcist as a last resort, and consider exorcism to be socially demeaning. Middle-class a t t i t u d e s to exorcism and the fact that exorcism is mainly a working-class and peasant p r a c t i c e are r e c e n t phenomena.