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Echoes of EnlightenmentThe Life and Legacy of Sonam Peldren$
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Suzanne M. Bessenger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225278

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225278.001.0001

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The Religion of Sönam Peldren

The Religion of Sönam Peldren

(p.85) 3 The Religion of Sönam Peldren
Echoes of Enlightenment

Suzanne M. Bessenger

Oxford University Press

Chapter Three explores what we can surmise about the “religion” of Sönam Peldren and her supporters from a careful reading of her Life: the saint’s religious training and sectarian affiliation (or lack thereof), her religious and ritual practices, and her religious rhetoric as conveyed in the Life’s extensive quotations of what is presented as Sönam Peldren’s spontaneous verse. In exploring the text’s representation of Sönam Peldren’s religious training, practice, and rhetoric, this chapter suggests that she was most likely a popular religious figure operating in a Kagyü milieu, with both the saint and her biographers influenced by models of unconventional religious figures such as the non-monastic Indo-Tibetan Buddhist archetype of the great tantric adept and the specifically Tibetan incarnation of the archetype of the mad saint (Tib: smyon pa/ ma, or nyönpa/nyönma), as well as the distinctive religious practices such as Practice of the Observance, inner heat, songs of realization, and the tantric feast.

Keywords:   Practice of the Observance, mad saint, Kagyü, Kagyü, inner heat, songs of realization, tantric feast

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