Rimé Vision & History Seminar, France

On the Sources of the Rimé MovementSéminaire_Rimay_2014_pdf

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


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 Wangpo (1820-1890) run deep in the Tibetan historical consciousness, and have come to bear fruit in the digital age. Citing resonances for the Rimé sentiment among early Tibetan authors, and precedents for the preservation of the Tibetan textual tradition, we’ll consider how these historic trends shaped the mission of E. Gene Smith and the organization of Tibetan knowledge in the TBRC Library. In particular, we’ll look at our ongoing work at TBRC to preserve and model the encyclopedic knowledge of the Tibetan literary tradition, including the mapping of folk regions, tulku successions, and lineage transmissions—all based on Kongtrul’s vision.

Visualizing Early Shangpa Lineage Networks

Looking at early records of Shangpa Kagyu transmissions in the TBRC lineage module, we will trace the twists and turns of the Shangpa’s entangled history from the time of Khyungpo Neljorpa (1050-1127) to its later assimilation into mainstream Buddhist traditions with virtually no institutionalized presence in Tibet. This will enable us for the first time to visualize the early Shangpa lineage networks of esoteric transmission. In so doing, we will see a recompilation of knowledge about the early Shangpa in Tibet, untangling knots that have come to inhibit a clear historical vision of this Buddhist tradition.

The Jonang Presence in Eastern Tibet

Until recently, the Jonangpa were thought to be extinct. Though scholarship has shed some light on the early history of the Jonangpa in central Tibet during their formative period, and it is well known that the tradition thrived until its downfall in the mid-seventeenth century, little attention has been given to the survival of the Jonang transmissions from Taranatha (1575-1635) onwards. We will narrate the history of the Jonang presence in the Amdo region of eastern Tibet, based on a survey of Jonang sites and reflections from living in a Jonang monastery, to describe the continuity of the Jonang tradition up to the present.


PDF of the seminar flyer, Séminaire Rimay 2014.

The Université Rimay site page for the seminar.



Horse Year Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash

JonangAd-2013-v1According 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 this May and June,

Trip 01: Lhasa & Surrounding Yogin Caves
May 25-June 04

Trip 02: Great Horse Year Festival at Mount Kailash
June 03-June 24

For itinerary and details see, A Pilgrim’s Journey to the Heart of Tibet.



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