ANTHRCUL 458 - Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Section: 003 Buddhist Practice in Nepal
Term: WN 2008
Subject: Anthropology, Cultural (ANTHRCUL)
Department: LSA Anthropology
Advisory Prerequisites:
Junior & above/permission of instructor.
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Welcome to a country where bodhisattvas need buffalo blood to fuel their cars. Where Hindu kings pay homage to Buddhist girls to stay in power. Where girls get married to the Thought of Enlightenment to prevent them from becoming widows. Where Diamond Masters offer their own bodies into the sacrificial fire they burn for their clients. – Buddhism gone crazy? Not at all. Dramatic events in the history of Buddhism on both sides of the Himalayan watershed over the last one thousand years caused various waves of refugees, traders and fortune seekers to end up in and around the Kathmandu Valley, mingling with those who were there before them and bringing with them their particular brand of Buddhism: the urban Newars, the formerly horse trading Tamang, the mountaineering Sherpa and the recently exiled Tibetans. These groups have contributed to the development of a intricate, sometimes surprising, always unique fabric of Buddhist communities borrowing, sharing and reinventing a variety of practices while competing with regard to strategies in dealing with the Hindu ruling classes or, more recently, the Maoist rebellion and the development of democratic and global market structures. In this seminar, relying on video footage, narratives, handbooks in translation and ethnographies, we will study the histories, contemporary performances and underlying scripts of events such as life crisis rituals, esoteric worship, monastic routine, meditation, chanting, dancing, healing and possession. We will encounter agents such as the Buddhist tantric priest, the Tibetan monk, the so-called Living Goddess and, last but not least, the Yeti. Drawing on anthropological theories of ritual and the ongoing discussions on the role of practice in Buddhism, we will try to understand how ritual works and how Buddhist practice is related to locality, doctrine, politics and biography.

ANTHRCUL 458 - Topics in Cultural Anthropology
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
Note: (Meets with Womenstd 428 & RCSSCI 428)
002 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: (Meets with REES 405.001)
003 (SEM)
Tu 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Note: (Meets with Asian 480.004 & History 498.001)
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