In her talk, Inger Vasstveit discusses “empowered objects” - small Buddhist objects that people wear on their person - in relation to the broader socio-political and cosmological environment in India
In this talk, I will focus on vital aspects connected to the ways Tibetans use and understand empowered objects. The term "empowered objects" refers to a wide range of small objects – infused with Buddhist powers – that people wore on their person. My interlocutors used the terms srung ba (protection) or simply byin rlabs (blessing) when referring to these objects in general. In English these objects are often termed amulets or charms. In my talk I term these objects "empowered objects" and I will present some of the objects that people commonly wore. I will also conceptualize the practice of producing and using empowered objects as a “technology” applied to cope with local, mundane concerns – such as travels, illnesses, social interactions and a possible major earthquake – and which simultaneously influenced people’s movements, perceptions and emotions. It is my argument that these powerful objects can be seen as empowering practice to maintain health and to navigate in a dynamic and capricious socio-political, physical and cosmological environment. At the same time, the practice can be understood as constitutive for the continuous making of a Buddhist lifeworld.