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Grant number like: FA-57071-13

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Bryan J. Cuevas
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL 32306-0001)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2013 – 12/31/2013

Translation and Analysis of "The Life of Ra Lotsawa," a 13th-Century Biography of a Tibetan Buddhist Saint

I am completing the first full translation and study of a 13th-century Tibetan-language biography of one of Tibet's most notorious Buddhist saints, the "lord of sorcerers" Ra Lotsawa (b. 1016). Ra Lotsawa is the paradigmatic sinister yogin, who deployed his supernatural abilities to best his competitors and to gain worldly power and spiritual influence. His classic biography is one of the longest surviving Buddhist life narratives in Tibetan literature and is widely popular. Buddhist sorcery has been a legitimate expression of religious and political action throughout Tibetan history. Yet scholarship has tended to separate the religious from the magical, the political from the religious, and to dismiss the role of magic in Buddhist history and institution building. My book will advance discourse in the humanities about significant links between religion and violence, magic and politics, and the role of religious biography in the construction of sociopolitical identities.