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Introduction 1. The problem: asceticism and urban life Part I. Context: 2. The social elite 3. Economic conditions 4. Urbanization, urbanism and the development of large-scale political structures 5. Brahmins and other competitors 6. Folk religion and cosmology: meeting of two thought worlds Part II. Mediation: 7. The holy man 8. Preparation of the monk for the mediatory role: evidence from the Sutta Nipata 9. The Dhammapada and the images of the Bhikkhu 10. The mediating role as shown in the canon 11. Exchange Conclusion Bibliography.