Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.731621
Title: Outside the palace, the night : spirits, landscape and perception among Buddhist laity in Ladakh, Himalayan India
Author: Pearce, Callum
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 167X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
This thesis deals with the perception and representation of spirits and landscape among Tibetan Buddhist laity in Ladakh, Himalayan India. It contrasts the conventions of Tibetan textual description of places with stories told by Ladakhi Buddhist laity, with a focus on the role played by local spirits and deities. It argues that while textual representations employing the unified and symmetrical imagery of the maṇḍala – a schematic representation of the palace of a divinity – depict the landscape as it might be known to a transcendent observer, stories about places and the spirits associated with them (lhande in Ladakhi) point to an indeterminate, fragmented and culturally unbounded world that has yet to be integrated within any single system of knowledge. This world is pieced together from multiple sources and truth claims, and from the imperfections inherent in ordinary perception; but the inconsistencies and uncertainties involved in this are not usually apparent, and are only made manifest in illness, experiences of disorder and encounters with spirits at night. These persistent uncertainties can be overcome in ritual contexts, in acts of writing or through the invocation of the faculty of divine vision: the palatial image of the maṇḍala is used to counteract the presence of the night outside. This thesis draws attention to the often overlooked role played by the limitations of perception and knowledge in understandings of landscape, and is intended to partly bridge a disciplinary divide by reconstructing the invisible context within which textual representations are created and employed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen ; Frederick Williamson Memorial Fund ; Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.731621  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Spirits (Buddhism) ; Landscapes ; Himalaya Mountains
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