Jiats Home: Right3

About THL > Features & Spotlights > JIATS Resources > JIATS Home: right3

On the Horizon

“Monastic Ideals in Situ Penchen’s Biographies of the Buddha” by Nancy Lin

How did the Buddha’s life story get retold in Tibet, and for what ends? While the biography of śākyamuni Buddha might appear to be a familiar and innocuous subject, close readings of its Tibetan adaptations reveal a complex literary and artistic corpus in response to multiple sources. The particular concerns and projects of Tibetan authors and artists can be elicited from these adaptations and placed in the context of contemporaneous sociocultural developments and discourses. Specifically, this article examines two biographies of śākyamuni Buddha by the Eighth Tai Situpa, Situ Penchen Chökyi Jungné: one is a textual account in his catalogue to the Degé Kangyur, and the other is a pictorial design preserved in two tangkas in the Lhasa Museum. I will argue that themes of purity and solitude are developed in these two works, expressing a vision of the ideal monastic life that was a dynamic response to shifts in monastic communities in eastern Tibet (khams).

Provided for unrestricted use by the external link: Tibetan and Himalayan Library