The Yogin and the Madman - Reading the Biographical Corpus of Tibet's Great Saint Milarepa
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Tibetan biographers began writing Jetsun Milarepa's (1052–1135) life story shortly after his death, initiating a literary tradition that turned the poet and saint into a model of virtuosic Buddhist practice throughout the Himalayan world. Andrew Quintman traces this history and its innovations in narrative and aesthetic representation across four centuries, culminating in a detailed analysis of the genre's most famous example, composed in 1488 by Tsangnyön Heruka, or the "Madman of Western Tibet." Quintman imagines these works as a kind of physical body supplanting the yogin's corporeal relics.