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Michael R. Sheehy is Head of the Department of Literary Research at the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC), an encyclopedic digital library of Tibetan literature founded by the late Tibetologist E. Gene Smith, based in Cambridge, MA. As editor-in-chief of digital scholarship in the library, he oversees the TBRC research team as well as collaborative projects with Harvard University and other academic partners.

For three years, Michael trained with Tibetan masters in a Buddhist monastery in the nomadic domain of Golok in far eastern Tibet. His Ph.D. is in Tibetan and Buddhist studies.  

Michael’s work emphasizes the preservation of marginalized and endangered lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. In particular, his research and writing give attention to the literary histories of esoteric movements in Tibet and their strategies of transmission; how they took shape, executed power—sustained themselves through time and across space—and make themselves apparent to us now. His forthcoming book, A History of the Jonang (Wisdom SITB) is an intellectual history of a little-known tradition of Buddhism in Tibet.

As the Founding Director of Jonang Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining the Jonang Buddhist tradition, he oversees the educational and cultural heritage preservation initiatives that the foundation hosts online and on-the-ground in Tibet.

He regularly leads group pilgrimage programs to historic and sacred heritage sites throughout Tibet, the Himalayas, and Buddhist Asia.

 

UPDATES

Rimé Pilgrimage to Kham 2015

Across the Rimé Landscape Pilgrimage to Kham, Eastern Tibet July 29 — August 15, 2015 [18 Days] A Cultural & Educational Travel Program Hosted by Jonang Foundation Led by Michael Sheehy Travel on pilgrimage to sites of the Rimé renaissance movement, to the heart of Vajrayana Buddhist revival, across the frontiers of the Kham region of eastern Tibet. Sparked in the Dege Kingdom during the latter half of the 19th century, the Rimé renaissance fused artistic, spiritual and intellectual traditions, and gave birth to a highly ecumenical...

“An Ontology for the Digital Tibetan Book”

What happens when a Tibetan book is abstracted and reduced from its material form and cultural setting? How does the practice of digitizing transform the way that we think about and handle Tibetan books? Thinking through these and related questions, this paper examines current modes of representing and accessing the digital Tibetan book. We consider what tangible features, aesthetic and codicoligical information is lost in the transformation of a book into its digital version, the E. Gene Smith ontology of the Tibetan book, and how...

Shangpa Sites on Tibet Map

The Jonang Foundation has published the historical and active sites of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition on its online map. See the post, Shangpa Sites on Tibet Map. Field work began on this project this past summer on the Jonang Foundation pilgrimage to central Tibet when we were able to locate several Shangpa sites. We hope to extend this research on and preservation of the Shangpa as an integral part of our ongoing work at the...

Rimé Vision & History Seminar, France

On the Sources of the Rimé Movement Along with Dr. Marc-Henri Deroche, we will present a three-day seminar on the Rimé movement, sparked in eastern Tibet during the 19th century by Jamgon Kongtrul and associates, but with deep roots in the Tibetan tradition. August 15 to 17, 2014 Université Rimay Domaine d’Avalaon France   Presentations during the seminar include, Kongtrul’s Rimé Vision and TBRC’s Organization of Tibetan Knowledge The roots of the Rimé project undertaken by Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899) and Jamyang Khyentse...

Horse Year Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash

According to the Tibetan calendrical cycle, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. This is the year during the 12-year long astrological cycle during which the effects of pilgrimage are considered to be multiplied manifold, particularly by circling around Mount Kailash. Pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash is a Tibetan pilgrimage tradition since the time of Milarepa in the 12th century, and continues on to this day. See, 2014 Horse Year Festival at Mt. Kailash. I am thrilled to be leading two back-to-back specialized Jonang Foundation pilgrimage programs...

The Dreams of Trinlé Wangmo

American Academy of Religion (AAR) Conference Baltimore, 2013 Writing Tibetan Women Materializing Dreams and Omens: Narrative Devices in the Autobiographical Writing of the Tibetan Yoginī Trinle Wangmo This paper presentation explores dream as it pertains to the interior life of a Tibetan woman, the seventeenth century author, Jetsunma Kunga Trinle Wangmo (c.1585-c.1668). Drawing from a rare unpublished manuscript that I acquired in eastern Tibet some years ago titled, Gsang ba’i ye shes or The Secret Wisdom, this paper reflects on Trinle...

TBRC Tibet Printery Project

We in the Department of Literary Research at TBRC have completed an initial survey of printeries (par khang) in Tibet, based on TBRC Library holdings of xylographs, and coordinated these printeries to GIS locations on the Harvard WorldMap. This is part of an ongoing project to create a TibetMap that locates cultural sites from the TBRC Place database. View the layer of Printeries in Tibet on the Harvard WorldMap. (select Printeries overlay in lefthand column) Read the full post on the TBRC blog, TBRC Tibet Printeries on WorldMap. See also the...

Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash & Zhang Zhung

We’re gearing-up for the summer excursion to Tibet this August 02-25. The trip is designed as a pilgrimage, every step of the way. We conceive it as a full-immersion educational program on the ground, in the heart of Tibet’s culture. The climax of this year’s journey will be a 3-day circumambulation around Mount Kailash or an exploration around the sacred Lake Manasarovar. We’ll take a few days to explore the art and ruins at the ancient kingdoms of Guge and Zhang Zhung. Though we’ll be accepting enrollment...

Translating Buddhist Luminaries Conference

“Translating Buddhist Luminaries: A Conference on Ecumenism and Tibetan Translation” At the University of Colorado, Boulder April 18-20, 2013 The conference includes a distinguished panel that is free and open to the public: Ecumenism in Tibet A Panel with Ringu Tulku & Visiting Scholars 7pm on Thursday, April 18th British Studies Room on 5th floor of Norlin Library at UC, Boulder Panelists: Sarah Harding, Naropa University Michael Sheehy, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center Douglas Duckworth, East Tennessee State...

Harvard Divinity School Talk

Please join us for Michael’s lecture, “A Buddhist Tradition on the Edge: The Migration and Marginalization of the Jonangpa in Tibet” Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 4:15 – 6pm At the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR), Harvard Divinity School Until recently, the Jonangpa were thought by many to be extinct. Consensus opinion was that they were a fringe movement who made their mark on Tibet’s early history, but who were vanquished in the 17th century as a consequence of their demise under the Ganden Potrang...