Accepted paper:

Performance and text in the making of Tashiding (Sikkim, India) as a power place

Authors:

Ana Cristina Lopes (Universidade de São Paulo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss the role of prophecies, autobiographical writings, visions and rituals in the making of Tashiding as a power place. I intend to explore what I call “interperformativity,” arguing that any performance is the assimilation and transmutation of another. I hope to show that the performative quality of rituals reverberates back to autobiographical, prophetic and liturgical texts.

Paper long abstract:

Sikkim, northeastern India, figures in Tibetan Buddhist literature as a sacred hidden land. In autobiographies lamas recount their steps to “open” that land and “tame” the local gods through rituals. The “opening” of Sikkim is stipulated in prophecies, which describe it as a sanctuary where Tibetans could take refuge during political upheaval. Sikkim has indeed become a refuge for Tibetans escaping misfortunes over the last few centuries, and more recently after the Chinese invasion of their country in 1950. The consequent difficulty of entering Tibet for exile Tibetans has brought a major increase in its pilgrimage activity. Considered by Tibetans the navel of that land, the site of Tashiding annually attracts some of the most prestigious lamas living in exile, including the Dalai Lama. This paper will discuss the role of prophecies, autobiographical writings, visions and rituals in the making of Tashiding as a power place. Particular attention will be paid to the work of Lhatshun Namkha Jigme, one of the four pioneer Tibetan lamas who are said to have “opened” the land. I will focus specifically on a recent performance at Tashiding of one of his rituals by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, a lama whose activities and appeal are global in scope. In the analysis of this ritual, I intend to explore what I call “interperformativity,” arguing that any performance is the assimilation and transmutation of another. In so doing, I hope to show that the performative quality of this ritual reverberates back to autobiographical, prophetic and liturgical texts.

panel P224
Performing creativity and creating performances: dialogues and tensions on experiencing culture and making places