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Gananath Obeyesekere

Douglas Hollan, Gananath Obeyesekere, Luís Quintais and Unni Wikan

In my most recent book, The Awakened Ones: Phenomenology of Visionary Experience (2012), I end my wandering mind with mention of my own anticipated end—a farewell, as it were, to an overlong life, much of it devoted to scholarly work on the study of religion in practice. However, I find it hard to divorce practice from a sympathetic understanding that some of us natives think of as Buddhism, for example. As for me, I would like to open our ethnographies and histories to the multiple ways in which we write and to celebrate our work and praise our foolishness, for none of us are omniscient and foolishness is part of our work and our species’ sentience. In much of my work I also celebrate comparison because for me it is hard to accept that as thinking beings we have to confine our thought to some narrow sphere.

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