Tears of Devotion: Microphenomenological Interviews alongside Textual Readings

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Abstract

Subjective experience lies at the heart of Buddhist practices. There is a vast textual corpus that illuminates dimensions of these experiences from philosophical discourses and instructions on meditative practices up to individual expressions in songs, poetry, and life stories. Buddhist studies has approached subjective experiences through textual studies, personal interviews, and archival research but has not explored individual accounts of moments of experiences such as a moment of experiencing devotion for a lama. This paper aims to fill this gap through introducing a methodological approach called Microphenomenology that supports contemporary first-person experience into the dialogue of Buddhist studies. Claire Petitmengin defines microphenomenology as “a method of descriptive phenomenological psychology that allows us to become aware of the unfolding of singular lived experiences and to describe it finely, by means of interviews or “self-interviews.” I introduce an overview of this technique and propose that it can be read alongside texts such as Ratna Lingpa’s Instructions for Devotion as the Teacher and provide insight on what lies beyond the page.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBrill, Leiden
Publication statusIn preparation - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Buddhism
  • microphenomenology

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