The Holy Land Reborn: Pilgrimage and the Tibetan Reinvention of Buddhist India

The Holy Land Reborn: Pilgrimage and the Tibetan Reinvention of Buddhist India

by Toni Huber
     
 

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The Dalai Lama has said that Tibetans consider themselves “the child of Indian civilization” and that India is the “holy land” from whose sources the Tibetans have built their own civilization. What explains this powerful allegiance to India? In The Holy Land Reborn¸ Toni Huber investigates how Tibetans have maintained a ritual

Overview

The Dalai Lama has said that Tibetans consider themselves “the child of Indian civilization” and that India is the “holy land” from whose sources the Tibetans have built their own civilization. What explains this powerful allegiance to India? In The Holy Land Reborn¸ Toni Huber investigates how Tibetans have maintained a ritual relationship to India, particularly by way of pilgrimage, and what it means for them to consider India as their holy land.
Focusing on the Tibetan creation and recreation of India as a destination, a landscape, and a kind of other, in both real and idealized terms, Huber explores how Tibetans have used the idea of India as a religious territory and a sacred geography in the development of their own religion and society. In a timely closing chapter, Huber also takes up the meaning of India for the Tibetans who live in exile in their Buddhist holy land.
A major contribution to the study of Buddhism, The Holy Land Reborn describes changes in Tibetan constructs of India over the centuries, ultimately challenging largely static views of the sacred geography of Buddhism in India.

Editorial Reviews

Per Kvaerne
“It has been repeated endlessly that for Tibetans, India is a ‘holy land,’ the place of origin of their Buddhist faith. Toni Huber has delved behind cliches and slogans and explored the cultural and historical realities of Tibet’s relations with India in the past as well as its present-day transformations. His book is a fascinating contribution to the study of Tibetan Buddhism, and to the history of religions and ideas in Asia in general. He cloaks his erudition in a lucid and eminently readable text, imparting new insights to the reader, counterbalancing prevalent facile and romantic ideas about Tibet.”—Per Kvaerne, University of Oslo, Norway

Sheldon Pollock
“The transformation of fluid space into bounded place, with knife-edged and therefore inevitably bloody borders, has been the work of modernity. In this engaging metageography of southern Asian Buddhism, Toni Huber rediscovers another world—India as a Tibetan place—demonstrating the deep, if sometimes confused and contested, connections that Tibetans have reinvented over ten centuries, whether through travel visions, pilgrimages, or exile. He thereby provides an exquisite demonstration of the fact that the certitudes by which people live their lives are as real and consequential as the hard truths of modern science.”—Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University

Janet Gyatso
“A fascinating work of scholarship on the Tibetan obsession with the ‘holy land’ of India, at once entertaining and edifying. Even that most stable-seeming of realities, physical location itself, is here shown to be a product of cultural creation. In this case what is more at issue than the Indian subcontinent itself is how the imagination of its Buddhist sacred sites shaped the landscape of Tibetan Buddhism, on the other side of the Himalayas.”—Janet Gyatso,

Harvard Divinity School

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226356501
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
09/15/2008
Series:
Buddhism and Modernity
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Toni Huber is professor of Tibetan studies at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin. He is the author or editor of five books, including most recently Nomads of Eastern Tibet.

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