A Tale of Two Boulders: A Paridrayan Perspective on Pragmatic Spirituality

Jarrod Sim

Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

This paper looks at the village of Paridrayan, an Austronesian-speaking Ravar Paiwan village in the southern mountainous region of Pingtung, Taiwan, located approximately two-hundred and three kilometres north of the Philippines. The Paiwan tribe is divided into the north (Ravar) and south (Vuculj) branches and has a strong cosmological link with the natural world, possessing unique village-specific narratives. Paridrayan has a strong oral history tradition; containing information about tribal territories, hunting sites, and historical events, among others. These are told through fictitious narratives that take place in a corporeal location, mapping both land and spirituality. The Paridrayan origin myth recounts how the tribe were born of two boulders from the Taivuvu mountain. The story then continues south of the mountain, tracing the migratory path down to Paridrayan and introduces the birth of the class system. In this and other myths, we find that locations, routes and cultural sensibilities are delineated in great detail. Through an analysis of this myth, this paper will argue for a Paridrayan spirituality that is both grounded in fact and fiction; existing in a liminal space that is as pragmatic as it is ‘animistic’, allowing for an intertwining of cartography with cosmology, and secularity with spirituality.

Biography: To come


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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