Browse results

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ritual Prognostication in the Tibetan Bon Tradition
In Divination in Exile, Alexander K. Smith offers the first comprehensive scholarly introduction to the performance of divination in Tibetan speaking communities, both past and present. While Smith surveys a variety of ritual practices, the volume focuses on divination and its associated rites in the contemporary Tibetan Bon tradition. Drawing from multi-site ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Himachal Pradesh and the translation of previously unpublished Tibetan language materials, Divination in Exile offers a valuable, social scientific contribution to our understanding of the perception and usage of ritual manuscripts in contemporary Tibetan cultural milieus.
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.
Codicological and Historical Studies of an Archaeological Find in Mustang, Nepal
In 2008, an international team of climbers discovered a large collection of Tibetan manuscripts in a cave complex called Mardzong, in Nepal’s remote Mustang district. The following year, the entire cache—over five thousand folios from some sixty different works of the Buddhist and Bön religions, some more than seven centuries old—were removed to the safe keeping of a monastery, where they were later examined by experts from different disciplines. This book is the result of their findings. The authors present what they have been able to discover about the content of these manuscripts, their age, the materials with which they were made, the patrons who commissioned them and the scribes and artists who created them.
Contributors include: Agnieszka Helman-Ważny, Charles Ramble, Nyima Drandul Gurung, Naljor Tsering, Sarah Skumanov, Emilie Arnaud-Nguyen and Bazhen Zeren
Tibetan History under Mao Retold
Conflicting Memories is a study of how the Tibetan encounter with the Chinese state during the Maoist era has been recalled and reimagined by Chinese and Tibetan authors and artists since the late 1970s. Written by a team of historians, anthropologists, and scholars of religion, literature and culture, it examines official histories, biographies, memoirs, and films as well as oral testimonies, fiction, and writings by Buddhist adepts. The book includes translated extracts from key interviews, speeches, literature, and filmscripts. Conflicting Memories explores what these revised versions of the past chose as their focus, which types of people produced them, and what aims they pursued in the production of new, post-Mao descriptions of Tibet under Chinese socialism.
Contributors include: Robert Barnett, Benno Weiner, Françoise Robin, Bianca Horlemann, Alice Travers, Alex Raymond, Chung Tsering, Dáša Pejchar Mortensen, Charlene Makley, Xénia de Heering, Nicole Willock, M. Maria Turek, Geoffrey Barstow, Gedun Rabsal, Heather Stoddard, Organ Nyima.
Author: Diana Lange
Diana Lange's patient investigations have, in this wonderful piece of detective work, solved the mysteries of six extraordinary panoramic maps of routes across Tibet and the Himalayas, clearly hand-drawn in the late 1850s by a local artist, known as the British Library's Wise Collection. Diana Lange now reveals not only the previously unknown identity of the Scottish colonial official who commissioned the maps from a Tibetan Buddhist lama, but also the story of how the Wise Collection came to be in the British Library. The result is both a spectacular illustrated ethnographic atlas and a unique compendium of knowledge concerning the mid-19th century Tibetan world, as well as a remarkable account of an academic journey of discovery. It will entertain and inform anyone with an interest in this fascinating region. This large format book is lavishly illustrated in colour and includes four separate large foldout maps.
Mahāmudrā in India and Tibet presents cutting-edge research by European and North American scholars on the Indian origins and Tibetan interpretations of one of the most popular and influential of all Tibetan meditation traditions, Mahāmudrā, or the great seal. The contributions shed fresh light on important areas of Mahāmudrā studies, exploring the Great Seal’s place in the Mahāyāna Samādhirājasūtra, the Indian tantric Seven Siddhi Texts, Dunhuang Yogatantra texts, Mar pa’s Rngog lineage, and the Dgongs gcig literature of the ’Bri gung, as well as in the works of Yu mo Mi bskyod rdo rje, the Fourth Zhwa dmar pa Chos grags ye shes, the Eighth Karma pa Mi-bskyod rdo rje, and various Dge lugs masters of the 17th–18th centuries.
Contributors are: Jacob Dalton, Martina Draszczyk, Cecile Ducher, David Higgins, Roger R. Jackson, Casey Kemp, Adam Krug, Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, and Paul Thomas.
Glimpses of Tibetan Divination: Past and Present is the first book of its kind, in that it contains articles by a group of eminent scholars who approach the subject matter by investigating it through various facets and salient historical figures.
Over the centuries, Tibetans developed many practices of prognostication and adapted many others from neighboring cultures and religions. In this way, Tibetan divination evolved into a vast field of ritual expertise that has been largely neglected in Tibetan Studies.
The Tibetan repertoire of divinatory techniques is rich and immensely varied. Accordingly, the specimen of practices discussed in this volume—many of which remain in use today—merely serve as examples that offer glimpses of divination in Tibet.

Contributors are Per Kværne, Brandon Dotson, Ai Nishida, Dan Martin, Petra Maurer, Charles Ramble, Donatella Rossi, Rolf Scheuermann, Alexander Smith, and Agata Bareja-Starzynska.
Comparative Remarks on Tibetan Dice and Mālā Divination: Tools, Poetry, Structures, and Ritual Dimensions
Divining with Achi and Tārā is a book on Tibetan methods of prognostics with dice and prayer beads ( mālā). Jan-Ulrich Sobisch offers a thorough discussion of Chinese, Indian, Turkic, and Tibetan traditions of divination, its techniques, rituals, tools, and poetic language. Interviews with Tibetan masters of divination introduce the main part with a translation of a dice divination manual of the deity Achi that is still part of a living tradition. Solvej Nielsen contributes further interviews, a mālā divination of Tārā and its oral tradition, and very useful glossaries of the terminology of Tibetan divination and fortune telling. Appendices provide lists of deities and spirits and of numerous identified ritual remedies and supports that are an essential element of a still vibrant Tibetan culture.
Knowledge and Context in Tibetan Medicine is a collection of ten essays in which a team of international scholars describe and interpret Tibetan medical knowledge. With subjects ranging from the relationship between Tibetan and Greco-Arab conceptions of the bodily humors, to the rebranding of Tibetan precious pills for cross-cultural consumption in the People’s Republic of China, each chapter explores representations and transformations of medical concepts across different historical, cultural, and/or intellectual contexts. Taken together this volume offers new perspectives on both well-known Tibetan medical texts and previously unstudied sources, blazing new trails and expanding the scope of the academic study of Tibetan medicine.
Contributors include: Henk W.A. Blezer, Yang Ga, Tony Chui, Katharina Sabernig, Tawni Tidwell, Tsering Samdrup, Carmen Simioli, William A. McGrath, Susannah Deane and Barbara Gerke
With Grammar of Duhumbi (Chugpa), Timotheus Adrianus (Tim) Bodt provides the first comprehensive description of any of the Western Kho-Bwa languages, a sub-group of eight linguistic varieties of the Kho-Bwa cluster (Tibeto-Burman).
Duhumbi is spoken by 600 people in the Chug valley in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, India. The Duhumbi people, known to the outside world as Chugpa or Chug Monpa, belong to the Monpa Scheduled Tribe. Despite that affiliation, Duhumbi is not intelligible to speakers of any of the other Monpa languages except Khispi (Lishpa).
The volume Grammar of Duhumbi (Chugpa) describes all aspects of the language, including phonology, morphology, lexicon, syntax and discourse. Moreover, it also contains links to additional resources freely accessible on-line.