Journal Article

The Aesthetics of Excess

Maria Heim

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 71, issue 3, pages 531-554
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfg076
The Aesthetics of Excess

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This article explores South Asian Buddhist analyses of feelings and their roles as intermediaries between the external world and moral choices and motivations. Specifically, I consider emotions that, in their extremity, may not at first appear to play a significant role in motivating moral action and yet are evoked frequently in Buddhist narrative: fear, horror, grief, and awe. I argue that the texts suggest a “moral naturalism” whereby the external world is structured morally. Feelings of fear and horror, insofar as they take their cues from such a moral structure, can provide trustworthy moral guides for those sensitive to them.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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