The Words and World of Ge bcags Nunnery

Tantric Meditation in Context


Ge bcags (Gebchak) dgon pa, founded in 1892 in Nang chen, Khams (Qinghai Province, PRC), is still active today with around 250 nuns practising intensive Vajrayāna rituals, yogas and meditation.
The nuns’ knowledge goal is embodied, nonconceptual awareness, yet they spend many hours daily reading texts as part of their training. By investigating the whole context of the nuns’ lifeworld and ways of learning, this ethnography questions the role of reading in Ge bcags’ tacit knowledge tradition. At a time when Tibetan learning practices are quickly modernising, this book demonstrates a Buddhist tradition whose textual knowledge is not exactly literal, but cultivated through continuous, whole person learning.

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Elizabeth McDougal, Ph.D. (2021), University of Sydney, lectures in Buddhist Studies at Nan Tien Institute. She has published on modern adaptations of Tibetan Buddhism and hidden lands (sbas yul), including Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History (Brill, 2021).
Students and scholars in Tibetan Studies, Tibetan Buddhist Studies, Buddhist Studies, Literacy Studies, Religious Studies and/or Contemplative Sciences; practitioners and casual students in the same subject areas.
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