DO RITUALS DO? AND HOW DO THEY DO IT? COGNITION AND THE STUDY OF RITUAL
Modern studies of myth, make it clear that it is an error to interpret the meaning of myths as "symbolic representations" of society, that religion is the ideological superstructure of an economic, historical, or biological infrastructure. This chapter illustrates theory works of Buddhist mythology known as Theravada Buddhism. Buddhism, given the above definition, is a religion. The Buddha, contrary to Durkheim and others, is not a historical person who lived and died sometime around 450 bce. Buddhism from this perspective is a degenerative historical process moving from a rational philosophy taught by an ascetic to an irrational religion practiced by the masses. Lack of space prohibits a critique of what has been said about the meaning of nibbna. The Buddha and the King are the models, par excellence, of this relation in the Pli canon. When the Buddha of our era was born it was foretold that he would become either a great universal ruler or an enlightened one.