Dr. Constanze Pabst von Ohain
Doctoral Fellow: April 2013 - März 2016
Focus Area: Constructions of "the Beautiful"
Visualising Techniques in Early Indic Yogācāra Literature: a Study of the Samāhitā Bhūmiḥ (3rd–4th cent. CE)
This PhD project investigates aesthetic concepts that have been constructed within ancient Indian Buddhism, or those that have been adapted and further developed by it from general Indian aesthetic ideas. The term 'aesthetic' shall be examined under two aspects: the ‘aesthetic of representation’, focusing on the role of visuality and the usage of particular images, such as the bodies of spiritually advanced figures, and the ‘cognitive aesthetic’, dealing with approaches to sensual perception, embodiment, and aesthetic recognition. From this perspective it shall examine the mechanism of meditative practices, including the ‘visualising’ techniques that are described in the early Yogācāra literature of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which appeared between 300 and 500 CE in North India.