Hope, the Future Tense, and Making (Up) Progress on the Maitreya Project
Drawing on the literature of the anthropology of futurity, this chapter engages with the articulations of hope evinced by those who desired to build the Maitreya Project statue. The chapter looks at some techniques of ritual forecasting in Tibetan Buddhism, such as oracles and casting divinations, and how these were deployed in service of the promotion of the MPI statue. The chapter also deconstructs administrative projections and missives directed at the public, and how momentum was constructed in the service of fundraising. I argue that the “future tense,” the culturally articulated gap between what is and what informants are striving towards, is a useful analytical frame for the anthropology of futurity.
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