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The Holy Madmen of Tibet - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Holy Madmen of Tibet

David M. DiValerio


Over the course of the last millennium in Tibet, tantric yogins have been taking on norm-overturning modes of behavior and dress, including provoking others to violence, publicly consuming filth, having sex, and draping themselves in human remains. Because of this they have been called “madmen” (smyon pa), but have also achieved a degree of saintliness. This book is the first comprehensive study of these “holy madmen,” who have captured the imaginations of Tibetans and Westerners alike. Through a close examination of the madmen’s biographies, writings, and other sources, this study explores wh ... More

Keywords: Tibet, Buddhism, madness, tantra, sainthood, yogin, Kagyü, smyon pa

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199391202
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199391202.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David M. DiValerio, author
Assistant Professor of History and Religious Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI