Disgust occupies a particular space in Buddhism where repulsive aspects of the human body are visualized and reflected upon in contemplative practices. The Indian tradition of aesthetics also recognizes disgust as one of the basic human emotions that can be transformed into an aestheticized form, which is experienced when one enjoys drama and poetry. Buddhist literature offers a particularly fertile ground for both religious and literary ideas to manifest, unravel, and entangle in a narrative setting. It is in this context that we find elements of disgust being incorporated into two types of Buddhist narrative: (1) discouragement with worldly objects and renunciation, and (2) courageous act of self-sacrifice. Vidyākara’s anthology of Sanskrit poetry (Subhāṣitaratnakoṣa
) and the poetics section of Sa skya Paṇḍita’s introduction to the Indian systems of cultural knowledge (Mkhas pa rnams ’jug pa’i sgo
) offer two rare examples of Buddhist engagement with aesthetics of emotions. In addition to some developed views of literary critics, these two Buddhist writers are relied on in this study to provide perspectives on how Buddhists themselves in the final phase of Indian Buddhism might have read Buddhist literature in light of what they learned from the theory of aesthetics.
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