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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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The Buddha’s House

The Buddha’s House

Chapter 3 The Buddha’s House
The Hermit's Hut

Kazi K. Ashraf

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the centrality of the Buddha's house in the ascetic imagination. If Buddhism and its various practices are ascetic in nature, dwelling is a key locus within that, and the Buddha's house is its paragon. The “Buddha's house” encompasses the range of architectural constructs and references made in the context of the Buddha's habitation. This chapter first discusses the architecture of the Buddha's house before turning to the gandhakutī, regarded as a very special “place of the Buddha” and referred to as the fragrant house and the house of absence. It then considers the cubical structure known as harmikā, the most polysemic and enigmatic object in Buddhist architecture. It also describes the Buddha's house as a significant site and subject for reflecting on the scope and limits of renunciation and on the constructive, ritual, and existential dimensions of asceticism. Finally, it explores how the Buddha's house mirrors the ascetic body.

Keywords:   asceticism, dwelling, Buddha's house, architecture, gandhakutī, house, harmikā, renunciation, Buddha, ascetic body

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