Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture

Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture

by Ronald M. Davidson
     
 

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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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Buddhadharma - Benjamin Bogin
Offers a groundbreaking cultural history.

Journal of The Buddhist Society - Martin Boord
This truly fascinating book is bound to create something of a storm.

Journal of Asian Studies - Nikolay Tsyrempilov
[An] excellent book.

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London - D. Seyfort Ruegg
In this volume Davidson has produced a noteworthy study of an important theme.

Journal of the American Oriental Society - Sam Van Schaik
[Tibetan Renaissance] will influence the reading of Tibetan history for many years to come.

Choice
Davidson's book is important for the study of Buddhism and indispensable for Tibetan studies... Highly recommended.

Buddhadharma
Offers a groundbreaking cultural history.

— Benjamin Bogin

Journal of The Buddhist Society
This truly fascinating book is bound to create something of a storm.

— Martin Boord

Journal of Asian Studies
[An] excellent book.

— Nikolay Tsyrempilov

Journal of the American Oriental Society
[ Tibetan Renaissance] will influence the reading of Tibetan history for many years to come.

— Sam Van Schaik

History of Religions
The awesome, generous Mahabharata will reward them all.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231508896
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
06/19/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
616
File size:
22 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

Matthew T. Kapstein
Ronald Davidson's Tibetan Renaissance marks a real rebirth for the study of Tibetan cultural history. Drawing on an extraordinary range of original sources, most of them previously unstudied, Davidson traces, in convincing detail, the peculiar blend of conservative monasticism, transgressive esotericism, and political and economic interest that characterized the formation of Tibetan Buddhist lineages and institutions during the early second millennium. With Indian Esoteric Buddhism, Davidson's previous book, Tibetan Renaissance completes a duet that substantially transforms our understanding of Buddhism during its last phase in India and its continuation in Tibet, an exemplary contribution to the history of religions.

David F. Germano
Davidson has illuminated the period of the Tibetan Renaissance for a modern audiencewith a brilliant scholarly study of rare clarity, originality and wisdom. He deals with doctrine, ritual, institutions, and life narratives with equal insight and flair to build an intimate yet broad portrayal of one of the most fascinating periods of religious innovation and collective transformation in the history of the world. This work sets a new standard for the integrated historical study of Tibet Buddhism.

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Meet 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.


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