Buddhist, not Buddhicized: The Gesar Epic as Lived Narrative


ACLS Project Development Grants


Philosophy and Religious Studies


Through analyzing the final episode of the Tibetan Buddhist epic King Gesar of Ling and its role in contemporary Tibetan society, this project proposes new methodological directions in Buddhist Studies that challenge the privileged focus on institutional literature. By integrating the “lived religions” approach and narratological theory from such figures as philosopher Martha Nussbaum and folklorist Bill Ellis, this project seeks to reorient the study of Buddhist popular literature towards theorizing how they function as “stories to live by”—that is texts that provide cultural “tool-kits” for Buddhists to work through doctrinal concerns, interpret their daily lives, and confront novel problems.