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.
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