8. Redescribing Two Old Tibetan Prayers with J. Z. Smith
Lewis Doney [+]
University of Bonn
Lewis Doney describes how reading Smith prompted him to reassess his earlier work on Old Tibetan prayer which betrayed, as Doney admits, a “search for origins, for causality and for specialness”. Taking clues from Smith, Doney reorganized, reassessed, and recontextualized his data—an epigraph on a bronze bell and a song of praise captured in a single manuscript copy—to then redescribe them as largely elite constructions of ideal Buddhist worlds, or “maps” whose divergence from each other suggests that both may be seen (or again, redescribed) as reflecting the movement of Tibetan religious literature from a more locative to an increasingly utopian map of reality.