Monday, May 15, 2017

Challenges of a shared sacred landscape

Our Kailash project has been written up on the grant spotlight page of the Henry Luce Foundation, its funder. I wouldn't have written about it in quite the way they do -

The center of the universe—according to many Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, and Bonpos—can be found at the heart of the Himalaya where the borders of China, India, and Nepal converge. It is the home of Shiva; it is the site where Buddhist sage Milarepa defeated the Bon shaman Naro Bon-chung; it is the birthplace of the world.

- but overall it's a nice description. (Yours truly is even quoted, though I can't remember where/when I said what was quoted; the syntax sounds like me, though!) Apparently they don't feature most of the grants they disburse in this way, so it's a sign we're doing something right!

Figuring out how to write about it is something I'll have to work out for myself soon. I'm to be the editor-in-chief of the volume coming out of our project, tentatively titled "Challenges of a Shared Sacred Landscape." Our larger argument will be that the Kailash Sacred Landscape is a "landscape in motion," which has always been characterized by often competing flows of people. My part, beyond editing the various submissions, will be to explore how and why Kailash as "center of the universe" allows and even encourages the elision of contexts and causes exemplified by, for instance, the lines just quoted.

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