Pilgrimage as a Path to Faith: An Essay on a Social Construction of Religiosity
Паломничество как путь к вере: опыт социального конструирования религиозности

Elza-Bair Guchinova, Kalmyk Scientific Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, European University at Saint-Petersburg (Elista, Saint-Petersburg, Russia)
2020 State Religion and Church in Russia and Worldwide  
The article is devoted to pilgrimage and represents an anthropological interview with the researcher's comments. The interview was recorded on April 2019, in Elista, at the religious community of the Temple "Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha". The narrative shows how a pilgrimage to India is perceived by Kalmykia's believers as a means of coping with life's hurdles and of searching for its new meaning. A biographical interview illustrates the path to faith -from atheism, through ritual
more » ... in the temple and reading Buddhist literature -to pilgrimage to Dharamsala and "taking refuge" (conversion). The respondent presents her biography using a religious language that is new for her -the interview is rich with Buddhist terms. The story of the pilgrimage shows one's path to faith, in which everything goes in an extraordinary way, and the key word in this narrative is "miracle" which is a tool of verifying faith. In the (post)secular context, belief in miracles is an element of the imagined border that distinguishes practicing, believing Buddhists from those who perceive Buddhism as a cultural tradition only. Another border marker of the pilgrim's habitus is daily practices: morning and evening prayers with beads, stretches, self-control over speech and behavior.
doi:10.22394/2073-7203-2020-38-1-152-176 fatcat:ftvuorjzljbyfmylmgwj6he55a