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The Aesthetics of Disgust in Sanskrit Buddhist Literature 梵文佛教文學中厭惡的美學

Shenghai Li, National Taiwan University
Goodman Lecture
Date:
April 20
Time:
2:00 am—3:30 am UTC

Buddhist writers made significant or even earliest known contributions to several areas of Sanskrit literature, including court epic, mixed prose and verse, drama, and anthology. Did Buddhist scholars make any intervention in the Sanskrit theory of aesthetics? This talk will turn to the aesthetics of disgust as a point of departure. It will be shown that elements of disgust were often incorporated into narratives of renunciation and self-sacrifice, contributing to the aesthetic experience of peace and compassionate heroism recognized by the Sanskrit theoretic tradition.

We will rely on the work of Abhinavaguta to analyze the aesthetics of Buddhist literature. Although self-conscious and sustained comments by Indian Buddhists were rare, Vidyākara’s Subhāṣitaratnakoṣa, an anthology of Sanskrit poetry, and Tibetan polymath Sa skya Paṇḍita’s Entrance Gate for the Wise offer glimpse of engagements. These texts show how Buddhist intelligentsia in late Indian Buddhism might have reflected on aesthetics and may reveal something about an emerging Buddhist approach.

Time: 10:00 am (Taipei)