Transformational Embodiment in Asian Religions: Subtle Bodies, Spatial Bodies, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Transformational Embodiment in Asian Religions

Subtle Bodies, Spatial Bodies, 1st Edition

Edited by George Pati, Katherine Zubko


280 pages

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Hardback: 9780367375553
pub: 2019-11-07
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This volume examines several theoretical concerns of embodiment in the context of Asian religious practice. Looking at both subtle and spatial bodies, it explores how both types of embodiment are engaged as sites for transformation, transaction and transgression. Collectively bridging ancient and modern conceptualizations of embodiment in religious practice, the book offers a complex mapping of how body is defined. It revisits more traditional, mystical religious systems, including Hindu Tantra and Yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Bon, Chinese Daoism and Persian Sufism and distinctively juxtaposes these inquiries alongside analyses of racial, gendered, and colonized bodies. Such a multifaceted subject requires a diverse approach, and so perspectives from phenomenology and neuroscience as well as critical race theory and feminist theology are utilised to create more precise analytical tools for the scholarly engagement of embodied religious epistemologies. This a nuanced and interdisciplinary exploration of the myriad issues around bodies within religion. As such it will be a key resource for any scholar of Religious Studies, Asian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, and Gender Studies.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Notes on Transliteration

Notes on Contributors



Katherine C. Zubko and George Pati


Chapter 1: The Subtle Body of Vital Presence in Contemplative Practices of Abhinavagupta’s Trika Śaivism and Longchenpa's Great Perfection

Kerry Martin Skora


Chapter 2: Daoist Body-Maps and Meditative Praxis

Louis Komjathy


Chapter 3: Yuasa Yasuo’s Contextualization of the Subtle Body: Phenomenology and Practice

Edward Geoffrey


Chapter 4: Dismembering Demons: Spatial and Bodily Representations in the Fifteenth-Century Ekaliṅgamāhātmya

Adam Newman


Chapter 5: Subtle Body: Rethinking the Body’s Subjectivity through Abhinavagupta Body

Loriliai Biernacki


Chapter 6: Reprogramming Embodied Experiences in the Mahārthamañjarī of Maheśvarānanda

Sthaneshwar Timalsina


Chapter 7: Sensing the Ascent: Embodied Elements of Muhammad’s Heavenly Journey in Nizami Ganjavi’s Treasury of Mysteries

Matthew Hotham


Chapter 8: Bodies in Translation: Esoteric Conceptions of the Muslim Body in Early-modern South Asia

Patrick J. D’Silva

Chapter 9: The Prostituted Body of War: U.S. Military Prostitution in South Korea as a Site of Spiritual Activism

Keun-Joo Christine Pae


Chapter 10: Frisky Methods: Subtle Bodies, Epistemological Pluralism and Creative Scholarship

Jay Johnston


Chapter 11: Autophagous Bliss: The Obliteration of Spatiality in the Bodily Philosophies of Georges Bataille and the Taittirīya Upanishad.

Matthew Robertson

About the Editors

George Pati is Surjit S. Patheja Chair in World Religions and Ethics and Associate Professor of Theology at Valparaiso University, USA. His research interests include Hinduism, particularly the mediation of Hindu devotion, bhakti, through texts, rituals, and performances in the Malayalam language of Kerala, South India. He has authored two monographs, Religious Devotion and the Poetics of Reform (2019), and Hindu Bodies as Threshold (forthcoming), and has published several articles in his area of research. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Body and Religion and currently serves on steering committees for two groups at the American Academy of Religion: Arts, Literature, and Religion and Body and Religion.

Katherine C. Zubko is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and NEH Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at University of North Carolina Asheville, USA. Her areas of expertise include aesthetics, ritual, performance, dance anthropology and embodied religion in South Asia. Zubko is the author of Dancing Bodies of Devotion (2014), as well as several articles in peer reviewed journals. Zubko is the book review editor for the Journal of Hindu Christian Studies and currently serves on steering committees for two groups at the American Academy of Religion: Teaching Religion and Body and Religion.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
PHILOSOPHY / Mind & Body
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Comparative Religion
RELIGION / Eastern
RELIGION / Hinduism / Rituals & Practice
RELIGION / Islam / Rituals & Practice
RELIGION / Spirituality
RELIGION / Taoism (see also PHILOSOPHY / Taoist)
RELIGION / Islam / Sufi