China's occupation of Tibet during the 1950s and after radically changed conditions for Tibetan pilgrimages to the holy land of India. It also dramatically transformed the meaning of India for Tibetans. From 1959 on, India became a land of exile for Tibetans, with a small but significant Tibetan Diaspora population of approximately 85,000 resident as political refugees within the boundaries of the Indian state. During the very period in which access to India has become so restricted or problematic for the vast majority of modern Tibetans in China, Tibetan activity at India's major Buddhist holy places has become more intense than at any previous point in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. This chapter investigates exactly how the geography of the Buddha in India has been recognized, valued, and utilized by Tibetan refugees in their efforts to establish and maintain a new society in Indian exile, and how certain Buddhist holy sites have played a central role in the pursuit of specific political, social, and cultural goals of the Tibetan Diaspora.
Keywords: China; India; Tibet; exile; refugees; Tibetan Diaspora; holy sites; Buddhism; geography; Buddha
Chapter. 15491 words. Illustrated.
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