Yogin and the Madman, The: Reading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet’s Great Saint Milarepa (South Asia Across the Disciplines)

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Winner of the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Textual Studies and the 2015 Heyman Prize for outstanding scholarship from Yale University. Tibetan biographers began writing Jetsun Milarepa’s (1052-1135) life story shortly after his death, initiating a literary tradition that turned the poet and saint into a model of virtuosic Buddhist practice throughout the Himalayan world. Andrew Quintman traces this history and its innovations in narrative and aesthetic representation across four centuries, culminating in a detailed analysis of the genre’s most famous example, composed in 1488 by Tsangnyön Heruka, or the “Madman of Western Tibet.” Quintman imagines these works as a kind of physical body supplanting the yogin’s corporeal relics.

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