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The Madman's Middle WayReflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel$
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Donald S. Lopez Jr.

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780226493169

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226493220.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2021

The Question of Modernity

The Question of Modernity

(p.245) Chapter 6 The Question of Modernity
The Madman's Middle Way
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the question of modernity in the Adornment. If there is a single theme that runs through the work, it is that Gendun Chopel seems to be objecting to the command delivered by Mañjusri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, when he appeared in a vision to Tsong kha pa. Mañjusri told Tsong kha pa to guard the conventional, to preserve the appearances of the world. Judging from the polemical responses it elicited, the Adornment clearly was regarded as subversive by the Dge lugs orthodoxy. Part of the perceived subversion may be traced to Chopel's concerted attempt to wrest certainty, and hence the control of enlightenment, away from its traditional scholastic moorings. The chapter also argues that the Adornment may be judged a modernist work from the perspective of its style: it is a collage of elements drawn from disparate sources, its tone vacillating between pious poetry and biting satire. In its content, however, it is highly traditional.

Keywords:   modernity, innovative, theme, command, bodhisattva, wisdom

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