ASIAN 480 - Topics in Asian Studies
Section: 004 Girls, Monks and Diamond Masters: Buddhist Practice in Nepal
Term: WN 2008
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Credits:
3
Repeatability:
May be elected four times for credit. 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.

ASIAN 480 - Topics in Asian Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
20317
Open
5
 
-
Tu 3:00PM - 6:00PM
002 (SEM)
P
22744
Open
1
 
-
M 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: Meets together with HISTART 489 section 006
003 (SEM)
P
23699
Open
8
 
-
W 2:00PM - 5:00PM
004 (SEM)
P
26297
Open
7
 
-
Tu 10:00AM - 1:00PM
Note: This course meets together with ANTHRCUL 458 section 003 and HISTORY 498 section 001
005 (SEM)
P
28913
Open
9
 
-
F 1:00PM - 4:00PM
Note: This course is for students who can read Japanese newspapers with a dictionary
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