The Social Life of Tibetan Biography

The Social Life of Tibetan Biography : Textuality, Community, and Authority in the Lineage of Tokden Shakya Shri

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The Social Life of Tibetan Biography outlines the growth of the Buddhist tradition of the Tibetan teacher Tokden Shakya Shri (1853-1919) through charting his biographical tradition and its influence on the development of his community. Tokden Shakya Shri's tradition is an important exemplar of interpersonal exchange on the margins between East and South Asia, connections between text and social community, and the diversity of Tibetan Buddhist practice and institutional forms at the turn of the twentieth more

Product details

  • Hardback | 252 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 498.95g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 6 black & white halftones
  • 0739165194
  • 9780739165195
  • 2,109,847

Review quote

This book examines the life and lineage of the turn-of-the-century Tibetan Buddhist teacher Tokden Shakya Shri as well as presenting the reader with considerable detail about his remarkable ability to inspire disciples to carry his teachings throughout Tibet and the Himalayan chain...The language style adopted by Holmes is well suited to this volume. She avoids an overly complex approach and delights in the whimsical...Due to her sound connections to several of Shakya Shri's living descendants, Holmes has shown herself well able to expand and add to the pioneering work of Elizabeth Stutchbury. On many occasions the narrative is enlivened by anecdote and memory, thereby adding to the sense that the life of Shakya Shri is still vital in both memory and practice in the Himalayas and beyond. What Holmes has presented us with is, in a manner of speaking, a thorough study of a highly unusual biography. The book is both of considerable value to scholars in the field as well as to those who study the 'art' of religious biography. H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online Holmes-Tagchungdarpa's analysis expands on existing scholarship ... by providing an insightful discussion of a lineage holder outside conventional monastic establishments...The book is very readable and well researched ... Overall, the Social Life of Tibetan Biography is a timely contribution to the study of life histories of Tibetan Buddhist masters that will be of interest beyond the discipline of Religious and Tibetan Studies. Asian Highlands Perspectives This engaging study deserves attention by scholars specializing in Tibetan/Himalayan Buddhisms and by a wider readership within Buddhist Studies. Moving across several spatial scales, Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa investigates the lay and monastic networks of affiliation that developed around the non-monastic adept Shakya Shri-and his posthumous biography-during the tumultuous years of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Social Life of Tibetan Biography suggestively attends to interconnections among friendship, family relations, lineage, merit-making, life-writing, visionary knowledge, status, and social power, exploring the activities and processes that forged the local Tibetan and Himalayan trans-regional projects of Shakya Shri, his students, and devotees. -- Anne M. Blackburn, Cornell University Where do religious leaders come from? How do communities endorse their authority and legitimacy, especially when new leaders depart from mainstream norms? Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa steps outside of the Central Tibetan monastic zone to explore the life and lineage of Tokden Shakya Shri, demonstrating the centrality of this supposedly marginal figure to multiple Buddhist communities. Based on rigorous, thoughtful research bringing together textual and social worlds, this book represents the best new scholarship in Tibetan studies. The Social Life of Biography is an important, inspiring contribution. -- Carole McGranahan, University of Colorado, Boulder The Social Life of Tibetan Biography is a fascinating study not only of the life and times of turn-of-the-century Buddhist teacher Tokden Shakya Shri but also of the ways in which religious biography creates communities and maps lineages. As a contribution to the broader field of the historical study of religions, the book joins Holmes-Tagchungdarpa's engaging theoretical voice to a welcome new turn in the field toward viewing religion through the lens of relationship. Her close reading of Shakya Shri's biography in its social and historical context offers a revealing view of the networks, friendships and other connections between individuals that shape religious authority, illuminating the social and spiritual working of power at a micro historical level. -- Anne Hansen, University of Wisconsin Madisonshow more

About Amy Holmes-tagchungdarpa

Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa is assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Grinnell more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Textual Networks: The Biography Chapter 2: Contextual Networks: Temporal, Spatial, and Conceptual Landscapes in the Life of Shakya Shri Chapter 3: Interpersonal Networks: The Politics of Friendship and Alternative Institutions in the Religious Education of Shakya Shri Chapter 4: Visionary Networks: Representing Visionary Power and the Miraculous in The Garland of Flowers Chapter 5: Networks of Advertising: Shakya Shri's Renovations of the Stupas of Kathmandy Valley Chapter 6: Networks of Bone Sons: The Family Lineage of Tokden Shakya Shri Chapter 7: Networks of Heart Sons: The Students of Tokden Shakya Shrishow more