Chapter

 The Encounter with Buddhism

Charles Ramble

in The Navel of the Demoness

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195154146
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868513 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195154146.003.0006
  The Encounter with Buddhism

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The encounter between Himalayan communities and Buddhism is sometimes oversimplified both in ethnographic studies and in the autobiographical accounts of missionary lamas. Buddhism has come to Te not as a set of abstract moral and dogmatic precepts but through different clerical institutions. The religious needs of the community have long been served by Nyingmapa tantric priests from an adjacent settlement. The archives of two such families reveal the insecurities of certain prominent figures in their competition for patronage. The apprenticeship and the civic duties of these priests is examined. The Sakyapa school of Buddhism, the dominant monastic tradition in Mustang, was once influential in Te. However, the community of monks eventually lost its religious character and evolved into a class of traders.

Keywords: Buddhism; autobiographies; lamas; Nyingmapa tantric priests; archives; Sakyapa; monks; Mustang; trade

Chapter.  16896 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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