The Two Houses
The Two Houses
Body and Building in the Ascetic Imagination
This chapter examines the body-building equation in the ascetic imagination. It first considers the body and building reference in the Dhammapada, in which the ascetic body is conceived of and alluded to as gaha, or “home/house,” as well as the destruction of that architectural edifice. It then discusses the shattering of the gaha roof in relation to asceticism and architecture, along with the idea of the body and building as two habitations of the human—an idea that provides a compelling imagery of the ascetic hut as the image of self and as a hieroglyph of home. It also explores the representation of the Buddha as housed or framed within an architectural ensemble, the usnīsa, a protuberance on the crown of the successful ascetic's head; and tāpas, understood as “body heat” or “inner heat,” and its relation to the interiorization or incorporation of the structure of sacrificial fire. The chapter concludes by contemplating on the notion of a last hut-body.
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