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Religions 2017, 8(10), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100202

Performative Framing: Dza Patrul Rinpoche’s Performative Pedagogy

Department of Theology, Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 16 September 2017 / Accepted: 18 September 2017 / Published: 23 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pedagogy and Performance in Tibetan Buddhism)
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Abstract

This essay explores the pedagogy of Dza Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887), a well-respected Buddhist teacher from Eastern Tibet, by considering examples where Patrul frames his teachings as oratorical performances. Patrul operates under the guiding pedagogical principle that self-promoting performance is good teaching. The term “performance” describes the competitive exchanges that appear in certain of Patrul’s writings, where the quality of the sermons in question is at issue. Patrul habitually directs focus to his teachings’ delivery, including instances where his lessons emerge out of conversations between invented characters. Patrul puts the oratorical capacity of his protagonists under a microscope and accentuates the artistry of their teachings. In so doing, he draws attention back to his own mastery, prolixity, cunning, and wordplay. His style allows him to communicate content while demonstrating competence and creativity. By telegraphing these qualities, he interests students in aspiring to similar expertise and provides them with opportunities to generate devotion towards him. According to Patrul, devotion is a crucial mechanism for learning, as it transforms and empowers each step of students’ progress along the path to awakening. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tibet; Buddhism; pedagogy; performance; devotion Tibet; Buddhism; pedagogy; performance; devotion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Schapiro, J. Performative Framing: Dza Patrul Rinpoche’s Performative Pedagogy. Religions 2017, 8, 202.

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