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Fragmentation and Recovery
  1. Buddhism in Tibet - KTD
  3. Tibet’s history and culture
  4. The Political and Religious Culture of Early Tibet
  5. Defining Religion and Politics in a Buddhist Context

Buddhism, though, continues to flummox us.

Buddhism in Tibet - KTD

People are often shocked that it could be central to the violence of Sri Lanka or Myanmar , or the more than a hundred self-immolations that took place in Tibet in the early s—self-inflicted acts of political violence that confounded both the Chinese government and many onlookers in the West. Tightly organized around some sixty items, the show is accompanied by a catalog of photos and essays by some of the leading scholars in the relatively new field of Tibetan studies. Together, the exhibition and the book go a long way toward demystifying Tibetan Buddhism, art, and politics, showing how closely they have been intertwined over the past thirteen hundred years.

Probably only the Rubin, with its extensive collection of Tibetan art and its deeply informed curatorial staff, could pull off such a show. The exhibition and catalog offer an unsentimental, non-Orientalist perspective on Tibet, in which violence is a normal part of the political and religious discourse, as elsewhere in the world.

  • Bibliography;
  • Cameron Warner - Research - Aarhus University.
  • Thucydides War Narrative: A Structural Study (Joan Palevsky Imprint in Classical Literature).
  • Buddhism in China | Asia Society.
  • Lucky Star.
  • An Outline of Tibetan Culture | Cultural Survival.
  • Mitigation of Dangers from Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards: Prediction, Prevention, and Preparedness.

That is a boldly challenging view, though—especially in the West, where the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, enjoys a popular image as an irreproachable man of peace. But this overlooks the fact that the Dalai Lama began adult life as a theocrat leading a government with an army; only later did he transform himself into a Gandhi-influenced proponent of nonviolence who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. Religion and politics have been inextricably linked in Buddhism since its beginnings in ancient India.

The Tibetan Empire and the Formation of Buddhist Civilisation in the Highlands

This is especially true of Tantric Buddhism, which emphasizes rituals and magic. Although today Indian Buddhism manifests mainly as a protest movement against the hierarchism of Brahmanical Hinduism, in earlier times its practice was characteristically associated with small republics and royal courts.


Buddhist monks were active on both sides, lending their spiritual authority to this power-struggle by use of rituals and the invocations of deities like the wrathful Acala. This was a multicultural empire, incorporating Greek medicine, a writing system based on Sanskrit, record-keeping drawn from the Tang, and silver-working from the Sogdians.

Monks and nuns play a key role in their communities, providing guidance and education. They are often very active in protecting and promoting Tibet's environment, language and culture. Almost all Tibetans are deeply devoted to the Dalai Lama and his exile and treatment by the Chinese government are sources of grief and anger. Tibetans' allegiance to the Dalai Lama and to Tibetan Buddhism is seen as a danger to the occupying Chinese state and, as a result, all aspects of religious practice are closely monitored and controlled.

Tibet’s history and culture

Simply possessing an image of the Dalai Lama can result in arrest and torture. Monks and nuns are frequently targeted by security restrictions and they make up a significant proportion of political prisoners in Tibet. China plans to replace the current Dalai Lama with its own puppet after he dies. Please take action now to resist this plan and protect religious freedom in Tibet. Tibet is rich in tradition and some Tibetans, particularly nomads, have lifestyles that have changed little over generations.

It is also a modern country with many urban Tibetans living busy city lives.

Communications are very important to Tibetans and the use of mobile phones and the internet is extensive, including in some of the most remote parts of Tibet. While China attempts to prevent Tibetans accessing foreign media and influences, Tibetans work hard to circumvent restrictions and engage with the world beyond their borders.

Many young people are seeking new ways to resist China's rule and to preserve Tibetan culture. Moving across the Tibetan plateau whilst raising yaks and other livestock has been a way of life in Tibet for centuries. Since the early s, China has sought to enforce its control on Tibet by destroying the nomadic way of life.

The Political and Religious Culture of Early Tibet

It has moved more than two million Tibetan nomads from the land they have lived off for generations to barrack-like urban settlements. Torn from all they know, nomads face poverty, unemployment and social exclusion. Tibetan nomads have protested resettlement programmes and also Chinese mining and damming projects which threaten their environment. Often they resist construction that threatens to damage sacred lakes and mountains. Tibetans speak a number of languages. These are completely separate from Chinese languages, and all of them are currently threatened by the aggressive promotion of Mandarin Chinese as the official language of business, education and government.

Artists explore contemporary issues, by integrating the centuries old traditional Buddhist influences with modern imagery.

Buddhism and Empire The Political and Religious Culture of Early Tibet Brill's Tibetan Studies Libra

Journey across the Himalayas This lecture will focus on the Buddhist areas of the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas. The once spiritual domain of Tibetan culture and religion, spanning miles from Ladakh in the west to Bhutan in the east.

Many of these countries lay on the ancient trade routes connecting India with Central Asia, and although isolated became important centres of Buddhist art and culture, housing vast repositories of sacred art in their remote monasteries and temples. The Arts and Crafts of Kashmir For many people, Kashmir conjures up a beautiful valley surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, for others it is a land of conflict.

But what is less well known is that it has been of historic artistic importance for nearly years. This lecture introduces the astonishing diversity of arts and crafts produced in this tiny area, influenced by Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic cultures. It explores Buddhist sculptures, Hindu temples, great Islamic gardens, paintings, calligraphy, Moghul carpets and Kashmir shawls.

Despite its troubled history, Kashmir has fostered a unique environment of artistic diversity and religious co-existence. The Sacred Art of Mongolia Mongolia is a vast country of rugged mountains, rolling steppes and awesome desert, lying in the heart of Central Asia. Its people are predominantly nomadic herdsmen and yet they have produced a highly sophisticated artistic tradition, which reflects their nomadic and spiritual culture. The most profound and long lasting influence on Mongolian art is that of Vajrayana Buddhism, which inspired a rich and vibrant artistic tradition. This flourished for centuries under the patronage of the Khans, but in the 20th century it was all but annihilated by Soviet-inspired communism.

Defining Religion and Politics in a Buddhist Context

This lecture explores this rich tradition of sacred art and comments briefly on the renaissance present in Mongolia today. The first lecture will be an introduction to Buddhism and the transmission of Buddhist art and architecture into the Himalayas. The second lecture will focus on the rich symbolism of Tibetan art and explain how to interpret the common images, themes and motifs.