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|[EMBARGOED] In-between bodies: the biographical process of Tibetanised lamas
|School of Social Sciences : Anthropology and Development Studies
|This study is concerned with the social and religious life of deceased Tibetan Buddhist lamas. I argue that posterior forms – corpses, relics, reincarnations or hagiographical representations – extend the biographical process of the lama’s trajectory of lives. My focus then is on continuities beyond a singular body. The dissertation draws attention to quintessentially Tibetan understandings of the lifecourse and of the body as an interwoven complex of multiple forms. This dissertation is an ethnographic account of the social relations and exchanges that took place between posterior embodiments of lamas and their devotees in a multi-sited study of lay and monastic settings in the Darjeeling Hills, India. I look at how these relations are constituted, maintained, and acted upon in day-today life. In contrast to more traditional liturgical, textual-based accounts I contextualise the seemingly esoteric and exotic aspects of Tibetan Buddhist culture within the everyday, embodied and sensual sphere of religious praxis. My interest is in both the minutiae of everyday interrelations between lamas and their devotees, specifically noted in ritual performances and the enactment of lived tradition, as well as the sacred hagiographical conventions that underpin local knowledge. The death and transformation of Buddhist lamas, together with their memorialisation through textual, bodily and performative practices, are examined by way of phenomenological approaches to intersubjectivity and embodiment. Drawing on the institutionalised tradition of hagiography, stories of saintly death, and the devotional practices of monastics and laity, I contend that devotees engage different modalities of the lama’s presence to effect a distinctive interexperience of time, space and biography.
|Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, Discipline of Anthropology, 2008.
|This thesis is currently under Embargo and not available.
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