Description : Tibetan biographers began writing Jetsun Milarepa's (1052–1135) life story shortly after his death, initiating a literary tradition that turned the poet and saint into a model of virtuosic Buddhist practice throughout the Himalayan world. Andrew Quintman traces this history and its innovations in narrative and aesthetic representation across four centuries, culminating in a detailed analysis of the genre's most famous example, composed in 1488 by Tsangnyön Heruka, or the "Madman of Western Tibet." Quintman imagines these works as a kind of physical body supplanting the yogin's corporeal relics.
Description : Throughout the past millennium, certain Tibetan Buddhist yogins have taken on profoundly norm-overturning modes of dress and behavior, including draping themselves in human remains, consuming filth, provoking others to violence, and even performing sacrilege. They became known far and wide as "madmen" (smyon pa, pronounced nyönpa), achieving a degree of saintliness in the process. This book offers the first comprehensive study of Tibet's "holy madmen" drawing on their biographies and writings, as well as tantric commentaries, later histories, oral traditions, and more. Much of The Holy Madmen of Tibet is dedicated to examining the lives and legacies of the three most famous "holy madmen" who were all of the Kagyü sect: the Madman of Tsang (author of The Life of Milarepa), the Madman of Ü, and Drukpa Künlé, Madman of the Drukpa Kagyü. Each born in the 1450s, they rose to prominence during a period of civil war and of great shifts in Tibet's religious culture. By focusing on literature written by and about the "holy madmen" and on the yogins' relationships with their public, this book offers in-depth looks at the narrative and social processes out of which sainthood arises, and at the role biographical literature can play in the formation of sectarian identities. By showing how understandings of the "madmen" have changed over time, this study allows for new insights into current notions of "crazy wisdom." In the end, the "holy madmen" are seen as self-aware and purposeful individuals who were anything but insane.
Description : Explore new research on the religious and cultural traditions of the Himalayan Buddhist world. Over decades, hundreds of American undergraduates spending a semester abroad have been introduced to Tibetan culture in India, Nepal, and China by Hubert Decleer. A number went on to become prominent scholars in the field at institutions such as Yale, Berkeley, and Georgetown, and as a tribute to him they have put together this collection of cutting-edge research in Himalayan studies, bringing together contributions of this new generation with those of senior researchers in the field. This new research on the religion and culture of the Himalayan Buddhist world spans a broad range of subjects, periods, and approaches, and the diversity and strength of the contributions ensures Himalayan Passages be warmly welcomed by scholars, travelers, and Tibetan Buddhists alike. Highlights include: Donald S. Lopez, Jr. tells the story of Gendun Chopel's unusual visit to Sri Lanka in 1941. Leonard van der Kuijp examines the Bodhicittavivarana, an ancient work on the enlightened resolve to free all beings. Kabir Mansingh Heimsath compares Western and Chinese curatorial approaches to Tibetan modern art. Alexander von Rospatt illuminates the fascinating history and artistic details of the famous Svayambhu stupa in Kathmandu. Sarah H. Jacoby translates the short autobiography of Sera Khandro, the celebrated female Tibetan mystic of a century ago. Additional contributors include Franz-Karl Ehrhard, Ernst Steinkellner, Jacob P. Dalton, Iain Sinclair, Anne Vergati, Punya Prasad Parajuli, and Dominique Townsend.
Description : Imagine watching an action film in a small-town cinema hall in Bangladesh, and in between the gun battles and fistfights a short pornographic clip appears. This is known as a cut-piece, a strip of locally made celluloid pornography surreptitiously spliced into the reels of action films in Bangladesh. Exploring the shadowy world of these clips and their place in South Asian film culture, Lotte Hoek builds a rare, detailed portrait of the production, consumption, and cinematic pleasures of stray celluloid. Hoek's innovative ethnography plots the making and reception of Mintu the Murderer (2005, pseud.), a popular, Bangladeshi B-quality action movie and fascinating embodiment of the cut-piece phenomenon. She begins with the early scriptwriting phase and concludes with multiple screenings in remote Bangladeshi cinema halls, following the cut-pieces as they appear and disappear from the film, destabilizing its form, generating controversy, and titillating audiences. Hoek's work shines an unusual light on Bangladesh's state-owned film industry and popular practices of the obscene. She also reframes conceptual approaches to South Asian cinema and film culture, drawing on media anthropology to decode the cultural contradictions of Bangladesh since the 1990s.
Description : Surrogacy is India's new form of outsourcing, as couples from all over the world hire Indian women to bear their children for a fraction of the cost of surrogacy elsewhere with little to no government oversight or regulation. In the first detailed ethnography of India's surrogacy industry, Amrita Pande visits clinics and hostels and speaks with surrogates and their families, clients, doctors, brokers, and hostel matrons in order to shed light on this burgeoning business and the experiences of the laborers within it. From recruitment to training to delivery, Pande's research focuses on how reproduction meets production in surrogacy and how this reflects characteristics of India's larger labor system. Pande's interviews prove surrogates are more than victims of disciplinary power, and she examines the strategies they deploy to retain control over their bodies and reproductive futures. While some women are coerced into the business by their families, others negotiate with clients and their clinics to gain access to technologies and networks otherwise closed to them. As surrogates, the women Pande meets get to know and make the most of advanced medical discoveries. They traverse borders and straddle relationships that test the boundaries of race, class, religion, and nationality. Those who focus on the inherent inequalities of India's surrogacy industry believe the practice should be either banned or strictly regulated. Pande instead advocates for a better understanding of this complex labor market, envisioning an international model of fair-trade surrogacy founded on openness and transparency in all business, medical, and emotional exchanges.
Description : The core of this book is a complete translation of the most famous biography of the great adept Tangtong Gyalpo, King of the Empty Plain (1385-1464), whose impact on the religious, artistic, and technological history of Tibet is unrivaled.
Description : Despite the rapid spread of Buddhism—especially the esoteric system of Tantra, one of its most popular yet most misunderstood forms—the historical origins of Buddhist thought and practice remain obscure. This groundbreaking work describes the genesis of the Tantric movement in early medieval India, where it developed as a response to, and in some ways an example of, the feudalization of Indian society. Drawing on primary documents—many translated for the first time—from Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tibetan, Bengali, and Chinese, Ronald Davidson shows how changes in medieval Indian society, including economic and patronage crises, a decline in women's participation, and the formation of large monastic orders, led to the rise of the esoteric tradition in India that became the model for Buddhist cultures in China, Tibet, and Japan.