A question of ethics : the creative orthodoxy of Buddhist monks in the Mongolian gold rush
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Addressing the intersections of economic opportunities and scriptural interpretation, this article examines how Buddhist monks involved in the Mongolian gold rush view the ethics of mining. Commonly regarded an act of theft and violence within Mahāyāna Buddhism, mining is locally subject to strong ethical denunciations. Drawing on historical connections and transnational devotional practices, the mining monks engage creatively with a method of meditation known as ‘breaking the mind’, which offers a competing way of knowing the world. Focusing on the universe within which they conceptualise action, they present a radical reinterpretation of ethical human life. I argue that the mining monks’ own conceptual framework highlights the analytical importance of attending to not only visible bodily action, but also people's self-reflection in our attempts to understand the place of the ethical in human life.
High , M M 2018 , ' A question of ethics : the creative orthodoxy of Buddhist monks in the Mongolian gold rush ' , Ethnos , vol. 83 , no. 1 , pp. 80-99 . https://doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2016.1140215
© 2016 Taylor & Francis. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00141844.2016.1140215
DescriptionFunding for this work was generously provided by the ESRC (PTA-030-2003-00784), the Wenner-Gren Foundation [Gr. 7376] and British Academy (PDF/2009/423).
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