Chapter

The Precious Guru in the Punjab

in The Holy Land Reborn

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226356488
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226356501 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226356501.003.0009
The Precious Guru in the Punjab

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During their long acquaintance with India, Tibetans had often discovered that prevailing political, economic, and social conditions in India governed both the vitality of the Buddhist holy land and their access to it as pilgrims. Both the demise of Indian Buddhism in the thirteenth century and Tibet's revival of religious contacts with Bengal in the eighteenth century had been facilitated by major transformations in the political landscape of South Asia. This chapter explores how, on the one hand, a dramatic change in political affairs in Tibet itself during the nineteenth century completely thwarted the potential new wave of Tibetan pilgrimage to colonial Bengal. It also shows, on the other hand, how at the same time an ongoing series of displacements and migrations of local populations on the Tibetan plateau eventually led to the opening of new frontiers for Tibetan reinvention and colonization of the terrain of the Buddha in India. This time, the focus of Tibetan activities was to be India's northwestern region of Punjab, the traditional heartland of the Sikhs and their religious life and history.

Keywords: Punjab; India; pilgrimage; Tibet; Buddhism; Bengal; displacements; migrations; Sikhs; political affairs

Chapter.  6550 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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