Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History

Transformations of sbas yul through Time


In an era of environmental crisis, narratives of ‘hidden lands’ are resonant. Understood as sanctuaries in times of calamity, Himalayan hidden lands or sbas yul have shaped the lives of many peoples of the region. Sbas yul are described by visionary lamas called ‘treasure finders’ who located hidden lands and wrote guidebooks to them. Scholarly understandings of sbas yul as places for spiritual cultivation and refuge from war have been complicated recently. Research now explores such themes as the political and economic role of ‘treasure finders’, the impact of sbas yul on indigenous populations, and the use of sbas yul for environmental protection and tourism. This book showcases recent scholarship on sbas yul from historical and contemporary perspectives.

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Frances Garrett is Associate Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist at the University of Toronto. She has published on intersections between tantric practice, ritual knowledge and medical theory, as well as on the Gesar epic.
Geoffrey Samuel is Emeritus Professor at Cardiff University, Wales, U.K. and Honorary Associate at the University of Sydney, Australia, where he directs the Body, Health and Religion (BAHAR) Research Group. His academic career has been in social anthropology and religious studies. His current research interests include Tibetan yogic health practices, Tibetan medicine, and the dialogue between Buddhism and science.
Elizabeth McDougal, PhD candidate (due 2020), University of Sydney, has two Masters in Buddhist Studies and Indian Philosophy from University of Sydney and Banaras Hindu University, respectively. She has worked as a Tibetan-to-English translator for ten years and published several articles on the modernization of Tibetan Buddhism.
Geoffrey Samuel, Frances Garrett and Elizabeth McDougal

Note on the Locations of the sbas yul

Part 1: Introducing the sbas yul

Photo Essay: The Terrestrial Buddha Realm of sbas yul Padma bkod: A Visual Pilgrimage
Ian Baker

1 Hidden Lands of Tibet in Myth and History
Geoffrey Samuel

Part 2: The sbas yul over Time: Historical Perspectives

2 Healing Mountains and Hidden Lands
Frances Garrett

3 Did sbas yul Play a Part in the Development of Tibetan Book Culture?
Hildegard Diemberger

4 Early Echoes of sbas yul Padma bkod in the Lifestory of Thang stong rgyal po
Annie Heckman

5 Padma bkod through the Lens of Two Pilgrimage Guidebooks: Walking the Body of Rdo rje phag mo
Barbara Hazelton

6 “A Great and Small Padma bkod”: Guidebooks and Individual Journeys
Franz-Karl Ehrhard

7 Prophecy and Fantastical Reality in Sle lung Bzhad pa’i rdo rje’s Journey to Padma bkod
Tom Greensmith

8 The Shapeshifting Goddess: The Consecration of Padma bkod’s Yang Sang Chu Region by the 20th-Century gter ston, Bdud ’joms drag sngags gling pa
Elizabeth McDougal

Part 3: The sbas yul in the Modern World: Ethnographic Perspectives

9 The Arising of Padma bkod in the Western World
Samuel Thévoz

10 Voices from the Mountainside: Vernacular sbas yul in the Western Himalaya
Callum Pearce

11 Pachakshiri: A Little-Known Hidden Land between Tsa ri and Padma bkod in the Eastern Himalaya
Kerstin Grothmann

12 How Is This Sacred Place Arrayed? Pacification, Increase, Magnetism, and Wrath in the Establishment of an Eastern Himalayan sbas yul
Amelia Hall

Photo Essay: Glimpses of a Hidden Land: The sbas yul of Yol mo
Jon Kwan with Khenpo Nyima Dondrup

Part 4: Two Guidebooks to the Hidden Land of Padma Bkod

’Ja’ tshon snying po’s Guidebook to the Hidden Land of Padma bkod
Translated by Barbara Hazelton

Bdud ’joms gling pa’s Hidden Sacred Land of Padma bkod
Translated by Barbara Hazelton

Scholars and students in Tibetan and Himalayan studies, Buddhist studies, religious studies and anthropology.
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