Tibetan Renaissance

Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture

Ronald M. Davidson

Columbia University Press

Tibetan Renaissance

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Pub Date: September 2005

ISBN: 9780231134712

616 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $45.00£35.00

Pub Date: September 2005

ISBN: 9780231134705

616 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $125.00£97.00

Pub Date: September 2005

ISBN: 9780231508896

616 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $44.99£35.00

Tibetan Renaissance

Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture

Ronald M. Davidson

Columbia University Press

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.
Davidson's book is important for the study of Buddhism and indispensable for Tibetan studies... Highly recommended. Choice
Offers a groundbreaking cultural history. Benjamin Bogin, Buddhadharma
This truly fascinating book is bound to create something of a storm. Martin Boord, Journal of The Buddhist Society
[An] excellent book. Nikolay Tsyrempilov, Journal of Asian Studies
In this volume Davidson has produced a noteworthy study of an important theme. D. Seyfort Ruegg, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
[Tibetan Renaissance] will influence the reading of Tibetan history for many years to come. Sam Van Schaik, Journal of the American Oriental Society
The awesome, generous Mahabharata will reward them all. History of Religions
Preface
List of Maps, Figures
Pronunciation Guide
Introduction
Chapter 1: Early Medieval India and the Esoteric Rhapsody
Chapter 2: The Demise of Dynasty and a Poorly Lit Path
Chapter 3: Renaissance and Reformation: The Eastern Vinaya Monks
Chapter 4: Translators as the New Aristocracy
Chapter 5: Drokmi: The Doyen of Central Tibetan Translators
Chapter 6: Treasure Text, the Imperial Legacy
Chapter 7: The Late Eleventh Century: From Esoteric Lineages to Clan Temples
Chapter 8: The Early Twelfth Century: A Confident Tibetan Buddhism
Chapter 9: The Late Twelfth to Early Thirteenth Century: Ethical Crises, International
Chapter 10: Conclusion and Epilogue: The Victory of the Clan Structure, Late Tantric Buddhism
Notes
Glossary
Tibetan Orthographic Equivalents
Appendix 1: Eastern Vinaya Temples, Cave Temples
Appendix 2: Translation and Text of the Root Text of the *Margaphala
Appendix 3: A Concordance of Early Commentaries on the Root Text of the *Margaphala
Notes to Appendices
Notes to the Edition
Abbreviations
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Ronald M. Davidson is professor of religious studies at Fairfield University. He is the author of Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement (Columbia) and the coeditor (with Steven D. Goodman) of Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation.