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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10928/300

Title: Manifestations of the Mountain : Preliminary Remarks on the Utopian Study of Potalaka in Pre-modern East Asia
Authors: Döll, Steffen
Issue Date: Nov-2012
Publisher: 成蹊大学アジア太平洋研究センター
Abstract: This paper proposes to examine Potalaka, the mythical dwelling place of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, as a spatial configuration where utopias, be they religious, philosophical, political, or literary, are presumed to be actualized. It shows that all over Eastern and Central Asia the topos of Potalaka was deployed within actual landscapes. This served the purpose of establishing continuities between utopian space and this very world: the distance between the two, it was believed, could actually be overcome by physical travel. Further, already existing features in natural and cultural geographies were sublimated and/or subdued: it became possible to localize the incorporation of concepts from Daoism or Japanese folk religion into an overarching Buddhist cosmology. On the other hand, descriptions of Potalaka mountains rely heavily upon terminology and imagery prefigured by Daoist and Confucian discourse. This characteristic allowed for the closing of the gap—this time, an ideological one—between utopias from different traditions. And while it is invariably Buddhism that claims the leading role for itself, the interaction between Chinese and Japanese conceptions led to a kind of mutual idealization—the somewhat surprising constellation of the one being the other's utopia.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10928/300
Appears in Collections:No.37

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