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Discipline and DebateThe Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery$
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Michael Lempert

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520269460

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520269460.001.0001

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Dissensus by Design

Dissensus by Design

(p.19) 1 Dissensus by Design
Discipline and Debate
University of California Press

This chapter introduces the Sera Monastery in India and provides a context for appreciating debate's ritualized violence and mimetic power. It shows that at Sera Monastery, debate's drama, where the defendant tries to save Buddhist doctrine from challengers who threaten it, becomes a coherent ritual drama not just because it is crafted a certain way, but by virtue of the way this practice has been “placed” within a complex assemblage of discursive and educational practices, which range from daily memorization routines to the habitual ways in which monks physically handle their books. This means that the very question of what debate does at Sera demands a detour.

Keywords:   Sera Monastery, India, Buddhist debate, Buddhism, ritualized violence, mimetic power, Buddhist doctrine, ritual drama

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