Holders of the Lotus: Revelation, Landscape, and Identity among Buddhist Visionaries in Contemporary Tibet
For the last guest-lecture in our TibHim-series this semester we are happy to invite you to the talk by Dr. Antonio Terrone (Northwestern University)
Terrone’s talk explores the developments of Tantric Buddhist visionary activities in Eastern Tibetan areas of present-day People’s Republic of China (PRC). It focuses on the factors underlying the resurgence of Buddhist charismatic leaders and their ongoing practices of Treasure (terma) revelation. It argues that despite the weakening of Tibetan monastic leadership and power under Chinese political control, other forms of religious authority based on nonmonastic charismatic leadership have thrived. Special attention is devoted to the rise of Buddhist encampments (chögar) led by Treasure revealers and the role of Han Chinese Buddhist devotees interested in Tibetan Buddhism. This analysis of visionary movements in Eastern Tibet suggests that Treasure revealers operating outside monastic institutions are at the forefront of a movement of preserving traditional forms of Buddhist training and practice in Tibet, responding to the pressures of modernity, and upholding a specifically Tibetan religious vision against the secularizing forces of the PRC.
Terrone received his PhD from Leiden University in 2010 and is currently a lecturer at the Department of Religious Studies at Northwestern University (IL). He has done extensive fieldwork in China, Tibet, India, and Nepal studying Tibetan Buddhism and researching the Tibetan Buddhist revelation tradition (gter ma) in contemporary Tibet. His work has resulted in a number of publications including the book “Buddhism Beyond the Monastery: Tantric Practices and their Performers in Tibet and the Himalayas” (Brill, 2009) co-edited with Dr. Sarah Jacoby.
The guest lecture is organized by the interfacultary Research Seminar in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies (TibHim) funded by Religion in Pluralist Societies PluRel).