Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Holly Gayley

Second Advisor

Ruth Mass

Third Advisor

Lorilai Biernacki

Abstract

The songs of the 18-19th century Tibetan yogin Shabkar Tsogdruk Rangdrol provide us an excellent window with which to view the relationship, the ecology, between the ideal of a Buddhist retreatant and his solitary mountainous surroundings. At the heart of this paper is a close analysis of this relationship between yogin and retreat, but also between the inner and outer subject and object worlds of Shabkar himself. I argue that we would be mistaken to view this relationship in an overly Cartesian way, i.e. as an immutable, static subject gaining an objectifying transcendence over society and nature. Upon adopting a more emic model of Tibetan yogic experience, we understand that such a relationship is one of mutual interdependence filled with back and forth exchanges between subject and object worlds, and that neither is in any way static but is instead active, transformative and utterly permeable to the other to the point where, at the highest level of yogic realization, all distinction between the two falls away and dissolves into what Shabkar himself calls chos dbyings, the expanse of reality free from illusions of duality.

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