Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun

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9780195152982: Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun

Orgyan Chokyi (1675-1729) spent her life in Dolpo, the highest inhabited region of the Nepal Himalayas. Illiterate and expressly forbidden by her master to write her own life story, Orgyan Chokyi received divine inspiration to compose one of the most forthright and engaging spiritual autobiographies of the Tibetan literary tradition. Her life story is the oldest of only four Tibetan autobiographies authored by women. It is also a rare example of writing by a pre-modern Buddhist woman, and thus holds a unique place in Buddhist literature as a whole. Translator Kurtis Schaeffer prefaces the text with an illuminating study of the life and times of Orgyan Chokyi and an extended analysis of the hermitess's view of the relation between gender, suffering, and liberation. Based almost entirely on primary Tibetan documents never before translated, this fascinating book will be of interest to those studying Buddhism, gender and religion, and the culture of the Tibetan world.

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About the Author:

Kurtis R. Schaeffer is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.


"A significant contribution toward filling the lacuna of research on female-authored Himalayan Buddhist sources."--Sarah H. Jacoby, The Journal of Asian Studies

"This book is a must-read for specialists and an appropriate text for undergraduates in courses dealing with Buddhism, women and religion, or the Tibetan and Himalayan regions."--HOICE

"Kurtis Schaeffer has made an important contribution to Tibetan and Buddhist studies by making this extraordinary autobiography of a female hermit in the Himalayas available for a wide readership." --Journal of the American Oriental Society

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