Dreaming the Great Brahmin

Dreaming the Great Brahmin : Tibetan Traditions of the Buddhist Poet-Saint Saraha

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Dreaming the Great Brahmin explores the creation and recreation of Buddhist saints through narratives, poetry, art, ritual, and even dream visions. The first comprehensive cultural and literary history of the well-known Indian Buddhist poet saint Saraha, known as the Great Brahmin, this book argues that we should view Saraha not as the founder of a tradition, but rather as its product. Kurtis Schaeffer shows how images, tales, and teachings of Saraha were transmitted, transformed, and created by members of diverse Buddhist traditions in Tibet, India, Nepal, and Mongolia. The result is that there is not one Great Brahmin, but many. More broadly, Schaeffer argues that the immense importance of saints for Buddhism is best understood by looking at the creative adaptations of such figures that perpetuated their fame, for it is there that these saints come to life.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 165.1 x 241.3 x 20.3mm | 476.28g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195173732
  • 9780195173734
  • 1,409,421

Review quote

This is a splendid contribution to the growing body of materials about Saraha and his famed treasury of tantric songs with a special focus on the Tibetan creation, and recreation, of both over the centuries. Schaeffer examines both in the larger contexts of Tibetan literature, history and aesthetics, tracing the development of the figure of Saraha and his esoteric poetry in Tibetan narratives, ritual cycles, visions, iconography, and polemical debate. He reveals
Saraha's famous anthology, The Treasury of Doha, to be a rich, creative and fluid communal tradition that had an organic life in Tibet, rather than a static composition with origins lost in an Indian past. This wonderful blend of the social analysis, aesthetics, and translation is an important work for
Tibetan, Buddhist, and Tantric studies. * David Germano, University of Virginia *
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About Kurtis R. Schaeffer

Kurtis R. Schaeffer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. He is the author of Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun (OUP, 2003).
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