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The Yogin and the MadmanReading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet's Great Saint Milarepa$
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Andrew Quintman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164153

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164153.001.0001

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A New Standard

A New Standard

Tsangnyön Heruka’s Life and Songs of Milarepa

Chapter:
(p.121) 4 A New Standard
Source:
The Yogin and the Madman
Author(s):

Andrew Quintman

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231164153.003.0004

This chapter examines the standard versions of the Life and Songs of Milarepa in the context of the life of their author, Tsangnyön Heruka, during the late fifteenth century. It first provides an overview of Tsangnyön's own early life and his role in defining a new form of Buddhism in Tibet—that of the religious madman, the nyönpa. It then considers the influences and inspirations that led to Tsangnyön's writing of Jetsun Milarepa's life story. It also discusses the traditional descriptions of Tsangnyön's activities in reimagining and recrafting the biographical texts as well as their execution, production, and distribution, including his use of woodblock printing and his commissioning of related painted and ritual materials. The chapter concludes by reflecting on Tsangnyön's contributions to the biographical tradition while also reframing the yogin's portrait, in part by reinventing the genre of life writing.

Keywords:   life story, Life and Songs of Milarepa, Tsangnyön Heruka, Buddhism, Tibet, religious madman, nyönpa, Jetsun Milarepa, woodblock printing, life writing

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