Discipline and debate : the language of violence in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery

Lempert, Michael

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  • Creator Michael Lempert
  • Format Books
  • Publication Berkeley : University of California Press, [2012] ©2012
  • Physical Details
    • xix, 216 pages : map ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9780520269460, 0520269462, 9780520269477, 0520269470
  • OCLC ocn739914756


  • "Before countless audiences across the globe, the Dalai Lama has tried to refashion Tibetan Buddhism into a modern religion compatible with empirical science and founded on principles of nonviolence and "universal compassion," but how exactly has this project affected monastic education in exile? This pathbreaking study traces the career of the modern liberal subject in the Tibetan diaspora in India. Focusing on monastic debate and disciplinary practices such as reprimand and corporal punishment, Michael Lempert shows how violence makes monks into educated, moral persons but in ways that trouble Tibetans who aspire to liberal ideals like individual autonomy and natural rights. Based on ethnographic and linguistic fieldwork at monasteries in India, and with close attention to the way monks interact, Lempert details the craft of liberal mimicry. He shows how efforts to act out liberal ideals--partially, fitfully, and sometimes with acute ambivalence--are part of a broader drama of eliciting sympathy from spectators in the West and enlisting their aid in Tibet's struggle with China."--Publisher's description.


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • Introduction : liberal sympathies -- Dissensus by design -- Debate as a rite of institution -- Debate as a diasporic pedagogy -- Public reprimand is serious theatre -- Affected signs, sincere subjects -- Conclusion : the liberal subject, in pieces
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