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9783895004551

Berg, Eberhard

Building the Sherpa’s New Present in the Age of Globalization

The construction of a novel tradtion as well as a collective Sherpa identity in a new place through the performance of Tibetan Buddhist ritual celebrations: a close look at the present revitalisation of Sherpa Buddhism, culture, and society

2011
21,0 x 28,0 cm, 288 S., 2 s/w Abb., 21 farb. Abb., Schutzumschlag
39,80 €

ISBN: 9783895004551

Kurze Beschreibung

The central concern of this book is a detailed examination of both the strategy and the means employed whereby the Sherpas have been successfully managing the creation of a novel tradition beyond the narrow confines of their traditional particularism and, in firm association, a new wider, i.e. all-embrasive, collectivity and a corresponding greater, pan-Sherpa identity. This achievement proves to be of crucial importance in their dealings not only with other citizens within the nation-state of Nepal but also in their diasporic communities where Sherpas celebrate their major festivals with other Tibetan Buddhists and live together with other Nepalis in a larger neighbourhood of South Asians. This innovation is being achieved at a new site in a new framework and, most significantly, through the solemn performance of certain major Tibetan Buddhist ritual celebrations. Thus, the actors clearly demonstrate their remarkable capacity to carve out a suitable niche in the globalized world of the 21st century while initiating and also realizing a veritable renaissance of Sherpa Buddhism, culture and society that, for long, seemed to be a seriously endangered species, spoilt by its own tremendous material success and its inevitably concomitant grave cultural loss and alienation and an alarming state of environmental degradation.

Ausführliche Beschreibung

This investigation is concerned with the urgent contemporary problem of how to preserve the small Himalayan community of the Sherpas’ rich cultural heritage at the time of their encounter with modernity and the forces of globalisation and their global dispersal. The author’s central concern is the question of cohesion of Sherpa society in this novel framework.

The central concern of this book is a detailed examination of both the strategy and the means employed whereby the Sherpas have been successfully managing the creation of a novel tradition beyond the narrow confines of their traditional particularism and, in firm association, a new wider, i.e. all-embrasive, collectivity and a corresponding greater, pan-Sherpa identity. This achievement proves to be of crucial importance in their dealings not only with other citizens within the nation-state of Nepal but also in their diasporic communities where Sherpas celebrate their major festivals with other Tibetan Buddhists and live together with other Nepalis in a larger neighbourhood of South Asians. This innovation is being achieved at a new site in a new framework and, most significantly, through the solemn performance of certain major Tibetan Buddhist ritual celebrations. Thus, the actors clearly demonstrate their remarkable capacity to carve out a suitable niche in the globalized world of the 21st century while initiating and also realizing a veritable renaissance of Sherpa Buddhism, culture and society that, for long, seemed to be a seriously endangered species, spoilt by its own tremendous material success and its inevitably concomitant grave cultural loss and alienation and an alarming state of environmental degradation.

Traditionally, the main socio-cultural unit of the culturally Tibetan Buddhist community of the Sherpas of Solu-Khumbu in NE Nepal was the small local community. Constituted either by one or by several clans it has been centered around their local temple. The latter was constructed by the mythical ancestor hero who after having pacified the authochtonous local spirits and transformed them into lower protective deities also invited the klu (Skt. naga) or aquatic serpent deity from the eastern province of Khams to take her abode in the newly appropriated locality and offer her aid and protection. Since then, all major annual festivals are being staged in the temple according to the distinct local tradition in the course of which the clan community also celebrates its own immigration history and the ancestors, and worships their specific local protector deities. It is in this context that the communal unity and cultural identity has been celebrated, strengthened, and reaffirmed. The author's preceding investigation (LIRI 2008) has been devoted to a thorough case study concerning this field of interest.

However, the last five decennia saw the emergence of the still growing Sherpa Valley community within the wider area of the Great Stupa of Bodnath. The center of the Sherpas’ current self-made encompassing revitalisation of Sherpa Buddhism, culture and society as well as its main stage and its major driving force is the Sherpa Seva Kendra (i.e. Sherpa Service Center) in Bodnath, the communal building (mi ‘dzom sa) of the entire Sherpa community that includes the Shar pa dGon pa (‘Sherpa Temple’). It is this historically novel institution in the context of Tibetan Buddhism, especially that of Tibetan Buddhist architecture, characteristic of the urgently needed combination of both religious and mundane needs, upon which the book’s focus is directed. Significantly, this new communal institution uniting all Sherpas within one common frame of action also serves as the main link between the Sherpas in Solu-Khumbu, in the Kathmandu Valley, and the diasporic communities scattered throughout the West, Japan, and SE Asia.

The Sherpas’ great achievement has been and still is embedded in the wider framework of the ongoing renaissance of Tibetan Buddhism in exile. In fact, clerics and laypeople alike use to emphasize that their success owes much to the guidance, advice and practical help received from the leading hierarchs of the Ancient Translation School. The collected findings clearly demonstrate firstly that also in the context of the ongoing revitalisation of Sherpa Buddhism and culture the spiritual potency of Tibetan Buddhism with its pool of ritual performances and religious knowledge continues to serve as the major cultural force and thus to provide ‘a common order of time, space, and knowledge’ (M. Kapstein 2006, p. 243) even at the time of their encounter with the forces of globalization and secularization. Secondly, the investigation’s results show that present day’s Sherpa culture, history, and society continue to be intimately tied to the Tibetan cultural world. To conclude, both the ritual and the mundane celebrations that are being held in this novel context have been greatly contributing to reaffirm and strengthen the Sherpas’ traditional pride to be a Sherpa, a Tibetan Buddhist and to belong to the wider Tibetan cultural realm.

Schlagworte

Anthropologie (62) || Buddhismus (36) || Buddhismus: Einzelne Gruppen (10) || Ethnic Studies (14) || Ethnische Minderheiten und multikulturelle Gesellschaft (4) || Gesellschaft und Kultur, allgemein (262) || Gesellschaftliche Gruppen (48) || Indischer Subkontinent (25) || Mahayana Buddhismus (10) || Nepal (17) || Religion und Glaube (209) || Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, Ethnographie (62) || Soziologie und Anthropologie (93) || Tibetischer Buddhismus (10)