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The Hermit's HutArchitecture and Asceticism in India$
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Kazi K. Ashraf

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835835

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835835.001.0001

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Home in the Ascetic Imagination

Home in the Ascetic Imagination

Chapter 2 Home in the Ascetic Imagination
The Hermit's Hut

Kazi K. Ashraf

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the centrality of home in the ascetic imagination. It first considers two episodes in the Buddha's life that relate the fraught relationship with home: the first is known as the “great departure” and the second is the Buddha's return to his hometown after gaining enlightenment. It then discusses the idea of home in the ascetic context by focusing on two paired notions: home and house, and home and homelessness. It also explores ascetic ideology in relation to the notion of grhya, a term used for home in Vedic literature, and describes two kinds of ascetic retreat of a more permanent sort that gradually came into existence out of the experience of rain residence: the āvāsa and the ārāma. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the paradox of home: it appears and reappears in readjusted, reformed, and recalibrated configurations, its very definition seemingly steering the fate of asceticism.

Keywords:   home, ascetic, Buddha, great departure, house, homelessness, grhya, retreat, āvāsa, ārāma

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