Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Question of Indianness

Photo taken by Aryeh Sorek, at Kushinagara, India, 2008

Today's blog entry exists for no other purpose than to direct you to another website where you can download a copy of a paper originally written for the 11th International Association of Tibetan Studies held in August of 2006 at Königswinter, Germany, where a more primitive version of it was delivered aloud. The title of this paper is, "Padampa's Animal Metaphors and the Question of Indian-ness (Theirs and His)." It will not be published in the proceedings of that conference. It is being published here instead. For free. After you click on the following link, go way down to the bottom of the page that will open for you to try and locate a tiny "icon." Click on that "icon" once or twice once you find it. A PDF file should open for you. Save a copy to your hard disk if you want. Send the link to friends if you think they will find it interesting.  Cite it to your heart's content, just as if it were a published paper as, in a sense, it is.

Or, if you are one of those rare and unusual persons who would prefer to read "online," you can just read it without downloading the paper (personally, I recommend downloading the PDF file and printing it out before beginning to read... I think that you, like me, are probably spending enough time staring at screens).

I ask readers to have patience if they should happen to notice that I've repeated myself a little bit here and there.  I invite discussion.  As always.  And if something doesn't make sense, I can try to do better.  No guarantees.

Padampa said to Menyag Köndrag,

If you have a heartfelt idea to practice Dharma, your better refuge is taking a Lama. The chief object of virtuous practice is benefitting others. The chief object of the precepts is arousing certainty. The chief object of learning and reflection is to tame your own mind. The chief object of realization is to dissolve reifications. In so far as these things are grasped upon for other reasons, they are causes for (falling further into) the vicious circles of sangsara.
— Conch Shell Fragments

snying nas chos bya bsam yod na skyabs gnas kyi dam par bla ma zung | dge sbyor gyi gtso' bor gzhan don gyis | gdams pa'i gtso' bor nges shes bskyed | thos bsam gyi gtso' bor rang rgyud thul | rtogs pa'i gtso' bor bden 'dzin shig | ched du bzung tshad 'khor ba'i rgyu yin no gsung ||  ||

མེ་ཉག་དཀོན་གྲགས་ལ་དམ་པའི་ཞལ་ནས། སྙིང་ནས་ཆོས་བྱ་བསམ་ཡོད་ན་སྐྱབས་གནས་ཀྱི་དམ་པར་བླ་མ་ཟུང་། དགེ་སྦྱོར་གྱི་གཙོའ་བོར་གཞན་དོན་གྱིས། གདམས་པའི་གཙོའ་བོར་ངེས་ཤེས་བསྐྱེད། ཐོས་བསམ་གྱི་གཙོའ་བོར་རང་རྒྱུད་ཐུལ། རྟོགས་པའི་གཙོའ་བོར་བདེན་འཛིན་ཤིག ཆེད་དུ་བཟུང་ཚད་འཁོར་བའི་རྒྱུ་ཡིན་ནོ་གསུང་།།  །།

Dkar po dung gi cho lu.   Zhijé Collectionvol. 2, pp. 424-5. 


  1. I got it; many thanks. It will take me a while to read through it, though. :-)

  2. Before year's end I just wanted to respond to the observations on "the integrity of those who inhabited the borderlands between cultures" and "granting authenticity to their voices." Clearly one of the things you most admire was Padampa's willingness to learn and speak in the language of those he taught. (I understand he spent some time in what is now China; did he know a Chinese dialect also?) In another place you indicate that, nonetheless, Padampa never tried to present himself other than a stranger---the proverbial guy from the proverbial other country. Is it possible to resolve this contradiction? Was Padampa trying to immerse himself in marginality or was he trying to bridge cultures? Was he trying to address societal realities of the day, or was he trying to resolve some conflict within himself?

    Any thoughts welcome.

  3. Dear Person,

    One of the beauties of the Peacemaking (Zhijé) Collection is that it provides you with enough quality sources to somewhat justify the confidence to ask and even answer such questions. It would require a very skilful use of it to get there, but I do think it's possible to make at least a good start. Perhaps I'll post the 'Ethnicity' paper before too long. Thank you for the beautiful questions. Wish I could run with them, but a slower approach might give better results. We'll see about it.



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