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 Drawing from a rare unpublished manuscript that I acquired in eastern Tibet some years ago titled, Gsang ba’i ye shes or The Secret Wisdom, this paper reflects on Trinle Wangmo’s autobiography not merely for the value of its content, but for its literary modes and virtues. In so doing, we read Trinle Wangmo as a Tibetan belletrist, giving attention to aesthetic qualities and tones that define her writing, and to particular literary features that make her writing-style compelling. More so, we explore the interiority of Trinle Wangmo’s autobiographical writing through her usage of dream and dream interpretation as a literary device employed to author her life story.

Trinle Wangmo was a Tibetan princess and yoginī. A close disciple to Tāranātha (1575-1635) as well as a primary figure in the transmission of the zhentong lineage, Trinle Wangmo was one of the primary female adepts of the Jonang order of Buddhism in Tibet.

See the full listing of Tibet & Himalayan papers.



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 TBRC post, TBRC Cultural Sites on WorldMap.


A full communication about this project will be delivered at the International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS) conference in Mongolia,

Charting Par khang Culture: Towards an Analytics of Early Xylographic Literary Production in Tibet

Among Digital Texts: Remembering Gene Smith
Tibetan Information Technology (II): Digital Libraries, Archives, and Resources




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.

Mt. Kailash

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 until early July, the cost of the trip goes up after June 01.

See the full itinerary and details.

See the main page of Jonang Foundation.


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

Sarah Harding, Naropa University
Michael Sheehy, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center
Douglas Duckworth, East Tennessee State University

Holly Gayley, University of Colorado at Boulder

In nineteenth-century Tibet, a circle of Buddhist luminaries worked tirelessly to collect a compile a wide range of teachings in order to preserve their distinctive practice traditions. These collections and the ecumenical impulse they represent have been important to preserving Tibet’s unique tantric heritage in the diaspora. What was the approach to ecumenism among these luminaries? How has their approach and legacy impacted Tibetan Buddhism as it has grown and taken root beyond the Tibetan plateau? How should we understand the ongoing significance of their work?

See details here,

Center for Asian Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder
Tsadra Foundation Blog


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

sheehy_jonang_hds_cswr_2013Until 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 centralized government. It was thought that their obituary was written by their conquerors; that their distinct views and practices only survived via alternative Tibetan orders such as the Nyingma, Sakya, and Kagyu. This was the storyline that dominated the conversations about them, conversations driven by Western Tibetologists as well as by Tibetans who lived outside the influences of the remote valleys of Dzamthang, Gyarong, Ngawa, and Golok—on the margins of the far eastern Tibetan frontier, where the Jonangpa have lived for centuries. Reconsidering popular narratives that have come to dominate perceptions of the Jonangpa, we will examine the history of this marginalized Buddhist tradition from their post-Taranatha (1575-1635) era up to the contemporary tradition. Special attention will be given to select biographies and writings of several of the major figures that contributed to a 19th century renaissance of Jonang scholasticism in Amdo. In doing so, we will chart the migration of the Jonangpa from their seat at the center of the Tibetan cultural world to its periphery.


“The Drepung Catalog and Related Publications”

The 2004 release of the two volume Drepung Catalog was without a doubt a monumental publication event in the recent history of Tibetan studies. The twenty thousand plus titles of rare texts that were published in the catalog gave us a new vision of Tibetan literary output.

Read the full post on the TBRC Blog.

*This is part of a series of TBRC blog posts on rare Tibetan texts. Forthcoming posts will be on the Drepung library collections, reviews of recent publications and catalogs, and notes on other rare Tibetan textual materials being documented.

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