Sensory Biographies: Lives and Deaths Among Nepal’s Yolmo Buddhists

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University of California Press, Mar 3, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 396 pages
Robert Desjarlais's graceful ethnography explores the life histories of two Yolmo elders, focusing on how particular sensory orientations and modalities have contributed to the making and the telling of their lives. These two are a woman in her late eighties known as Kisang Omu and a Buddhist priest in his mid-eighties known as Ghang Lama, members of an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people whose ancestors have lived for three centuries or so along the upper ridges of the Yolmo Valley in north central Nepal.

It was clear through their many conversations that both individuals perceived themselves as nearing death, and both were quite willing to share their thoughts about death and dying. The difference between the two was remarkable, however, in that Ghang Lama's life had been dominated by motifs of vision, whereas Kisang Omu's accounts of her life largely involved a "theatre of voices." Desjarlais offers a fresh and readable inquiry into how people's ways of sensing the world contribute to how they live and how they recollect their lives.
 

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Contents

Kurāgraphy
vii
I
ix
II
18
III
52
IV
100
V
131
VI
150
VII
159
XIV
228
XV
234
XVI
243
XVII
253
XVIII
273
XIX
307
XX
313
XXI
326

VIII
174
IX
180
X
187
XI
199
XII
204
XIII
217
XXII
351
XXIII
373
XXIV
377
XXV
387
XXVI
391
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About the author (2003)

Robert Desjarlais is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College. His most recent book is Shelter Blues (1997), for which he won the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing.

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