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.


“Tibetan Tulku Lines and Networks”

Successive systems of reincarnation or tulku (sprul sku) are fascinating sources for the study of the social history of Tibet. The tulku, predicated on Buddhist metaphysics of rebirth, is a phenomena in which a person is recognized as embodying a previous person, in their own current body. This is technically referred to in Tibetan as one who is “recognized as having returned to existence” (yang srid ngos ‘dzin or sprul sku ngos ‘dzin).

Read the full post on the TBRC Blog.



Buddhadharma: The Best Buddhist Books 2012

Straight from the Review Editor’s Desk, we are pleased to make available our selections of the Best Buddhist Books of 2012. Our picks reflect each of the major Buddhist traditions, over half of which are translations into English.

This is the inaugural post in a new section on Buddhist book reviews hosted by Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly journal online.



“Jonang” in Oxford Bibliographies Online

See the recent article on the Jonang published in the Buddhism section of Oxford Bibliographies Online.


TBRC Workshop Tutorial Video

We recently released the most recent video tutorial, Conducting Tibetological Research in the TBRC Library. This is part of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center’s workshop video series. You can see my tutorial on the most recent features in the TBRC Library and methods for navigating the digital research library.

See @TBRCLibraryVideos on the YouTube channel here, TBRC Workshop Tutorial

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