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Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture

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How did a society on the edge of collapse and dominated by wandering bands of armed men give way to a vibrant Buddhist culture, led by yogins and scholars? Ronald M. Davidson explores how the translation and spread of esoteric Buddhist texts dramatically shaped Tibetan society and led to its rise as the center of Buddhist culture throughout Asia, replacing India as the per How did a society on the edge of collapse and dominated by wandering bands of armed men give way to a vibrant Buddhist culture, led by yogins and scholars? Ronald M. Davidson explores how the translation and spread of esoteric Buddhist texts dramatically shaped Tibetan society and led to its rise as the center of Buddhist culture throughout Asia, replacing India as the perceived source of religious ideology and tradition. During the Tibetan Renaissance (950-1200 C.E.), monks and yogins translated an enormous number of Indian Buddhist texts. They employed the evolving literature and practices of esoteric Buddhism as the basis to reconstruct Tibetan religious, cultural, and political institutions. Many translators achieved the de facto status of feudal lords and while not always loyal to their Buddhist vows, these figures helped solidify political power in the hands of religious authorities and began a process that led to the Dalai Lama's theocracy. Davidson's vivid portraits of the monks, priests, popular preachers, yogins, and aristocratic clans who changed Tibetan society and culture further enhance his perspectives on the tensions and transformations that characterized medieval Tibet.


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How did a society on the edge of collapse and dominated by wandering bands of armed men give way to a vibrant Buddhist culture, led by yogins and scholars? Ronald M. Davidson explores how the translation and spread of esoteric Buddhist texts dramatically shaped Tibetan society and led to its rise as the center of Buddhist culture throughout Asia, replacing India as the per How did a society on the edge of collapse and dominated by wandering bands of armed men give way to a vibrant Buddhist culture, led by yogins and scholars? Ronald M. Davidson explores how the translation and spread of esoteric Buddhist texts dramatically shaped Tibetan society and led to its rise as the center of Buddhist culture throughout Asia, replacing India as the perceived source of religious ideology and tradition. During the Tibetan Renaissance (950-1200 C.E.), monks and yogins translated an enormous number of Indian Buddhist texts. They employed the evolving literature and practices of esoteric Buddhism as the basis to reconstruct Tibetan religious, cultural, and political institutions. Many translators achieved the de facto status of feudal lords and while not always loyal to their Buddhist vows, these figures helped solidify political power in the hands of religious authorities and began a process that led to the Dalai Lama's theocracy. Davidson's vivid portraits of the monks, priests, popular preachers, yogins, and aristocratic clans who changed Tibetan society and culture further enhance his perspectives on the tensions and transformations that characterized medieval Tibet.

35 review for Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Building upon his previous work tracing the development of tantric forms of Buddhism to the fragmented sociopolitical context of early medieval India, in this book Davidson argues that those same esoteric ideologies were indispensable to the reconstruction of Tibetan society after the collapse of its empire in the ninth century. Adopted into the hereditary aristocratic clans who came to rule the region as it emerged from this anarchic interlude, the mystique of tantric Buddhist ritual and erudit Building upon his previous work tracing the development of tantric forms of Buddhism to the fragmented sociopolitical context of early medieval India, in this book Davidson argues that those same esoteric ideologies were indispensable to the reconstruction of Tibetan society after the collapse of its empire in the ninth century. Adopted into the hereditary aristocratic clans who came to rule the region as it emerged from this anarchic interlude, the mystique of tantric Buddhist ritual and erudition served to impart religious legitimacy to the political power they exercised. In turn, the autonomous charismatic personas of the tantric masters were domesticated within a controllable monastic structure, which provided an institutional basis both for medieval Tibet's segmentary political structure, and for Buddhism's survival after its effective dissolution in India by the fourteenth century. While it seems to me that the functional link between esoteric Buddhism and Tibet's political recrystalization remains somewhat questionable based upon the evidence Davidson adduces, it is nonetheless apparent that in their conjunction was the vehicle which preserved and propagated the cultural heritage of Imperial Tibet as well as that of Buddhist India.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Zu

    Another masterpiece. I will have him sign his books for me!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Todd Marek

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hamza Fazeel

  5. 4 out of 5

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  7. 5 out of 5

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  10. 4 out of 5

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  11. 5 out of 5

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  12. 5 out of 5

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  13. 5 out of 5

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  14. 5 out of 5

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  15. 5 out of 5

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  16. 5 out of 5

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  17. 5 out of 5

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  18. 4 out of 5

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  19. 4 out of 5

    Tsering123

  20. 5 out of 5

    Siddartha Sikdar

  21. 5 out of 5

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  22. 5 out of 5

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  23. 4 out of 5

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  24. 4 out of 5

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  25. 5 out of 5

    Wikimedia Italia

  26. 4 out of 5

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  30. 4 out of 5

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  31. 4 out of 5

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  32. 4 out of 5

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  33. 5 out of 5

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  34. 4 out of 5

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  35. 5 out of 5

    Chang'en

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