Britain and Tibet 1765-1947: A selected annotated bibilography of British relations with Tibet and the Himalayan states including nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, revised and updated to 2003 by Julie G. Marshall (Routledge) This bibliography is a record of British relations with Tibet in the period 1765 to 1947. As such it also involves British relations with Russia and China, and with the Himalayan states of Ladakh, Lahul and Spiti, Kumaon and Garhwal, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Assam, in so far as British policy towards these states was affected by her desire to establish relations with Tibet. It also covers a subject of some importance in contemporary diplomacy. It was the legacy of unresolved problems concerning Tibet and its borders, bequeathed to India by Britain in 1947, which led to border disputes and ultimately to war between India and China in 1962. These borders are still in dispute today. It also provides background information to Tibet's claims to independence, an issue of current importance. The work is divided into a number of sections and subsections, based on chronology, geography and events. The introductions to each of the sections provide a condensed and informative history of the period and place the books and articles in their historical context. Most entries are also annotated. This work is therefore both a history and a bibliography of the subject, and provides a rapid entry into a complex area for scholars in the fields of international relations and military history as well as Asian history.
Julie G. Marshall is a research associate in Asian Studies at La Trobe University in Melbourne where she was formerly Head Reference Librarian. She has published numerous bibliographic works in the field of social sciences and has travelled widely in the Himalayan Region including Tibet.
Excerpt: A hundred years ago, in 1904, a British mission under Francis Younghusband, along with a formidable military escort commanded by Brigadier-General James Macdonald, entered Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Thus nearly 150 years of British attempts from their Indian base to establish formal diplomatic relations with the ruling Tibetan theocracy culminated in the deployment of massive armed force. While the Younghusband venture failed to achieve nearly all its stated objectives, it undoubtedly marked the opening of a new era in Central Asian history the full consequences and complexities of which have yet to be revealed in full. To the steadily growing band of students of the history, nature and consequences of Anglo-Tibetan contacts, in which the Younghusband mission features so prominently, Julie Marshall's revised and enormously expanded version of her bibliography of works relating to British relations with Tibet from 1765 to 1947, of which the first version appeared in 1977, cannot fail to be of outstanding value. Its publication is indeed an appropriate event in the Younghusband centenary.
There is a paradox of sorts inherent in the very concept of 'British relations with Tibet' in that, strictly speaking, no such formal relations ever existed. The missions to Tibet despatched by Warren Hastings, of George Bogle in 1774-75 and Samuel Turner in 1783, never reached the seat of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa (and, indeed, never endeavoured to do so): they were directed towards the court of the Panchen Lama in Tashilhunpo where their immediate, if informal, successes produced no obvious lasting results. Warren Hastings' hope that George Bogle might, through the Panchen Lama, establish on behalf of the East India Company some kind of direct contact with the Chinese Emperor Ch'ienlung, proved incapable of realisation. No more successful were efforts in the post-Hastings era to work in the opposite direction and seek relations with Tibet by way of China, a policy which was pursued with increasing degrees of energy from the 1860s and which, indeed, was inherent in some of the diplomatic arguments used to justify the Younghusband mission.
From the end of the eighteenth century until 1904 the British authorities in India, while establishing their influence to varying degrees in the Himalayan states of Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, failed to proceed (beyond tentative contacts with Tibetan officials along their northern border) towards their formal diplomatic presence in any of the major centres of Central Tibet. In this the Chinese were unable, and, indeed, unwilling, to offer much assistance. Younghusband's Lhasa Convention of 1904, which would have created something very like a British Residency in Lhasa, was to all intents and purpose repudiated by the British Home Government. The British Trade Agency at Gyantse could well be classified, whatever its practical consequences were, as but part of a set of purely trading arrangements along the border between British India and Chinese territory. The various visits to Lhasa by the British Political Officer in Sikkim, which started in the 1920s, could be described as just that,
friendly visits across the border by the senior British frontier officer: in due course they gave rise, in the 1930s, to a permanent presence in Lhasa of a British official, but he was formally no more than an assistant to the Political Officer in Sikkim, and never turned into a fully accredited British diplomatic representative to the Dalai Lama as the ruler of Tibet.
In fact, of course, the British presence in Tibet after 1904 was considerable, be it exercised from Sikkim, Gyantse (and other Trade Marts) or Lhasa itself. The Government of India, however, despite its perceived geopolitical requirements, was never able to persuade its masters in London that Tibet was not in some way or other a part of the Chinese world even though it could add complexities to the definition of the precise nature of that Sino-Tibetan relationship (suzerainty versus sovereignty for example). When, soon after the British had departed the Subcontinent in 1947, the Chinese returned to Central Tibet in some force in 1950-51, the Government of independent India was not slow in acknowledging the fact of a Chinese Tibet (in, for instance, the Agreement between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China on Trade and Intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India, signed in Beijing on 29 April 1954). India has frequently been criticised for this step: it must be admitted, however, that it probably had no alternative. The major Indian failure was to see that an admitted Chinese Tibet called for an agreed China-India border in the Himalayan range, an error which was destined to have the most profound consequences. Independent Indian attitudes in this respect, of course, derived directly from the practical evolution of a long history of British contacts, formal and informal, with the Tibetan borderlands combined with a profound reluctance on the part of the British Government of India (in contrast at times to the British Foreign Office in London) to strengthen in any way the Chinese presence, or right to a presence, in Tibet while being at the same time unable to deny categorically that right.
By 1904 the British Government of India under the Viceroyalty of Lord Curzon had decided that it required some kind of formal relationship with the enormous tracts of Tibetan territory which lay beyond its Himalayan northern border. There were many in the British Government in London, which were after all Curzon's masters, who were not convinced by the arguments from India, not least the suggestion that the Tibetans, that is to say the XIIIth Dalai Lama and his officials, were in contact with agents of the Russian Tsar while refusing all overtures from the British. Curzon experienced some difficulty in producing a catalogue of reasons for preemptive action against Tibet, reasons which were not always founded upon the most solid of facts; but a case of sorts was cobbled together and Younghusband in due course arrived in Lhasa, killing numerous Tibetans along the way. The whole affair became extremely controversial, and so it has remained a hundred years on, as witness the many items on this subject listed by Julie Marshall. The real issues, however, were clear enough.
Was Tibet an independent entity or was it part, in some way or other, of the Chinese Empire? If part of China, then the Chinese authorities in Beijing could, and should, make their Tibetan subjects comply with the requirements of AngloChinese diplomacy, including some kind of formal British representation in Tibet. If independent, de facto if not de jure, then it was reasonable for its
British Indian neighbours to expect that Tibet would accept a form of diplomatic contact at least equivalent to that which it was in the process of maintaining with the Russians. In other words, what was the status of Tibet? In a somewhat oblique manner Younghusband established that Tibet was, if anything, part of the Chinese world in that the diplomatic instruments which emerged from his mission involved the Chinese as parties and were effectively repudiated by the Dalai Lama (who fled Lhasa before Younghusband's entry). This conclusion was reinforced, albeit again rather obliquely, by the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907 (for example, Article 11 of the Tibetan section where we find: 'in conformity with the admitted principle of the suzerainty of China over Tibet, Great Britain and Russia engage not to enter into negotiations with Tibet except through the intermediary of the Chinese Government'.
A Chinese Tibet, however, presented the British Government of India with real problems. First: in practice it did not end the Russian contacts (certain categories of which, indeed, were expressly authorised in the 1907 AngloRussian Convention). The Government of India had to hand surprisingly little intelligence on this point, but it had its suspicions, many of which have been confirmed in recent years following the opening of Russian archives. Second: the Tibetans, even with the Dalai Lama in exile, showed no great enthusiasm for Chinese rule; and in 1912 they effectively expelled the Chinese from Central Tibet. Third: in the years immediately following the Younghusband mission the Chinese in Central Tibet did not show themselves, in British eyes at least, to be ideal neighbours. When, following the fall of the Chinese Empire, in 1912, the Chinese regime in Central Tibet collapsed, there were powerful arguments for the British Government of India to avail itself of this opportunity to bring about something like an independent Tibet, under British protection (perhaps on the analogy of the trend in Outer Mongoloia visa vis the Russians), in place of Chinese 'suzerainty' (whatever that word might mean). Such reasoning, however, did not appeal to the Home Government, not least because they implied a repudiation of one key part of the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention, an instrument which was still perceived as one of the foundations of British foreign policy. A major consequence of British policy in these years immediately before the outbreak of World War 1, therefore, was to frustrate any attempt by the Government of India to redefine the status of Tibet. Consequent ambiguities in British attitudes and actions have become a fruitful source of evidence for the existence after 1912 both of an independent Tibet and of a Tibet which remained legally part of China even if temporarily detached from it. Many, perhaps the majority, of the potential users of Julie Marshall's bibliography will be engaged, directly or indirectly, in the search for confirmation of one or other of these two interpretations of the Tibetan position.
A major consequence of the diplomatic problems posed by the Tibetan status, problems that can be traced back to at least the last years of the eighteenth century, was the failure (for a variety of reasons) of the British Government of India to secure an agreed definition of its many thousands of miles of common (or potentially common) border with Tibet along the Himalayan range. By 1947, in fact, only a single (and short) stretch of border, that between the British protected state of Sikkim and Tibet, had been defined by a remotely valid
international agreement, the Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890 relating to Sikkim and Tibet, and this was to all intents and purposes repudiated by the Tibetans (who from time to time reiterated their attitude in various ways right up to the end of British rule in India in 1947) on whose behalf it had been signed by the Chinese. The so-called Simla Convention of 1914, and the associated Anglo-Tibetan notes of March 1914, would have provided a definition of sorts for the Indo-Tibetan border from the east of Bhutan to Burma, a stretch of several hundred miles which became known as the McMahon Line. Unfortunately, these diplomatic instruments are all of highly doubtful validity and were never accepted unconditionally either by the Chinese or the Tibetans (even if the latter had possessed the legal right to engage in bilateral agreements without Chinese participation). This question of the whereabouts of the borders of British India, which received extraordinarily scant public attention up to 1947, suddenly in the 1950s turned into the great Sino-Indian boundary dispute which resulted in a major war, albeit brief, in 1962. The argument over the whereabouts of the Sino-Indian boundary became in the late 1950s one of the key fundamentals in the structure of diplomacy in mainland Asia (and, though today, in 2004, no longer critical, is still with us and may yet again disrupt the relations between China and India, the two most populous states on the Planet). The Sino-Indian boundary dispute, with its roots firmly established in the British period, has given rise to a virtual international academic industry (by no means confined to India and China), to the workers in which Julie Marshall's revised bibliography, listing as it does a mass of material on this topic which has appeared since 1974, will surely be welcomed as a most valuable research tool.
The British approach to its northern border tracts contributed to the background of another of the great Asian boundary and territorial disputes of modern times, that between India and Pakistan relating to Kashmir. The connection between the Sino-Indian boundary question and the Kashmir problem has not received the recognition that it merits, but its existence cannot be doubted. A significant, sector of the border tracts in dispute between India and China, and, indeed, the area where the issue first detonated in significant armed conflict, the Aksai Chin, actually forms part of what both India and Pakistan (in 1947 at least, and probably far more recently) considered to be the
legitimate territory of the old Princely State, under the British, of Jammu &
Kashmir. Indeed it constitutes up to perhaps as much as 25% of the claimed
area of that State which, in common with the bulk of the northern limits of
British India elsewhere, possessed singularly ill-defined external boundaries. It
is interesting that Julie Marshall's bibliographical approach points towards this
The State of Jammu & Kashmir was created from the 1840s under British influence very largely as a buffer between the north-western edge of the British Indian Empire and territory which either belonged to China or was, or could be, within the sphere of the expanding Russian Empire. How all this evolved in practice has in recent years become the subject of considerable popular interest, the so-called 'Great Game'. Until the Curzon-Younghusband era Tibet was not generally seen as a 'Great Game' tract, the key area for which involved the North-West Frontier and the world of Islamic Central Asia. In fact, of course,
this could never be entirely separated from the Buddhist world of Tibet, as Kipling's Kim (the key text for most 'Great Game' enthusiasts) makes clear enough. The problem facing the British was somehow to frustrate the inexorable march of Russia (or, at least, Russian influence) through Central Asia towards Afghanistan and then, by way of the convenient Khyber and Bolan Passes, into British India. Once sitting on the British borders in the north-west, the Russians could get up to all sorts of mischief: even if their armies never flooded down through the passes to the Indo-Gangetic plains, their very presence on the borders could seriously challenge British prestige. The same, of course, could be said of Tibet if the Russians ever turned up there, as indeed seemed to be the case on the basis of extremely unsatisfactory intelligence reaching British India at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the alarm of the Curzon-Younghusband school of imperial strategists.
By the time of the Younghusband mission to Lhasa of 1904 the Russian advance had been halted, if only for the time being, along the Oxus and in the Pamirs. British India was shielded by a series of buffers of varying efficacy, Afghanistan, Jammu & Kashmir, and what was often called Chinese Turkestan (Sinkiang or Xinjiang). In the decade leading to the Younghusband mission the continuance of Chinese rule in Xinjiang was seen by many British strategists as a crucial element in the security of India's northern border. The Chinese position in Xinjiang, however, was not too secure. There had been a prolonged rebellion against Chinese rule in the second half of the nineteenth century and it still seemed possible that the Russians, their ambitions refreshed, might cross the line of the Pamirs established in 1896 to take over western Xinjiang (just as the eastern part of the Province could well be approached from the Ili). Russian influence in Central Tibet, approaching it, perhaps, from Mongolia across a narrow corridor of Chinese territory in Gansu Province, could well turn out to be a useful aid to any Russian advance into Xinjiang directly from Russian-controlled territory. This was undoubtedly one fear behind the Younghusband mission. Once in Tibet, the Russians would be lurking behind or along some two thousand miles of India's northern borders, ill defined as they were and hitherto free from serious external threat.
In the 1920s, with the collapse of the authority of the Chinese Central Government, Xinjiang very much looked as if it would drift away from the rest of China and, so it seemed in the 1930s, pass under the influence of the Soviet Union which had already been demonstrating, to the alarm of some officials in British India, a renewed interest in Tibet. By the end of the decade some British observers concluded that in Xinjiang Russian influence was de facto paramount and that some kind of formal Soviet occupation of the region was far from impossible, perhaps, indeed, imminent. If so, of course, Tibet would be wide open to those very forces which had worried Curzon and Younghusband three decades earlier, now combined with that Communist ideology so threatening to colonial rule. In the late 1930s, indeed, the Russian threat in Xinjiang gave rise to an event unique in the long history of the 'Great Game': in March 1938, so the evidence rather suggests, a Russian force (or, at least, a force commanded by a Soviet agent) actually made its way across a small corner of Chinese Xinjiang from the Soviet Pamirs into the extreme north of British Indian territory, in
Hunza which had only just been brought under direct British administration with the lease in 1935 from the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir of the Gilgit region.
In the event the Russian threat died away. We know now that, at least in the specific Tibetan context, the whole project was effectively cancelled by Stalin when many of the key Russian players were eliminated in the purges that so devastated Soviet politics in the later 1930s. The Russian menace quietly disappeared, at least in Kashgaria (western Xinjiang). In its place, in the post-independence era, came a Russian alliance with the major successor to British India, an outcome which, one suspects, few British imperial statesmen and officials would have anticipated. As far as Xinjiang is concerned, and probably India as well, the Russian archival sources remain firmly closed: there is much about all this yet to discover.
In the 1930s the British Indian Foreign Office, inspired by its Deputy Foreign Secretary Olaf Caroe, was particularly alarmed by developments in Xinjiang. Apart from the 1935 Gilgit Lease referred to above (very much the handiwork of Caroe) there were two further immediate consequences, the decision to establish, albeit by subterfuge, something like a permanent British mission in Lhasa, and the resolve to bring about a definition of the northern Indian borders, particularly along the Assam Himalaya (the McMahon Line), to create a frontier more suitable for British strategic requirements. The Caroe doctrine shaped the way in which Tibet was treated in some British official sources where attempts were made to demonstrate a degree of Tibetan independence from China (in the negotiation, for example, of the Simla Convention of 1914 and the associated notes) which was certainly not supported either by the official British view in London and Beijing or, indeed, by the Tibetan authorities themselves. Caroe and his disciples had a profound effect upon much western writing on Tibet during the last years of the British Indian Empire, and more recently a great deal of scholarship has been devoted to attempts to correct Caroe-inspired distortions (some of which hovered, to put it mildly, on the verge of outright forgery). Olaf Caroe, however, continued to influence opinion long after both his retirement and the demise of the British Indian Empire. He was an active, and widely respected, advocate both of Tibetan independence and of the rightness of the case of independent India in its border arguments with China. He had also been the teacher of many of the first generation of independent Indian diplomats, not least K.P.S. Menon whose impact on Indo-Tibetan relations was to be profound indeed.
Much of British Indian policy towards Tibet, not least in the Caroe era which covered most of the period between 1934 and 1945, took place in an atmosphere where the interest of the general public (and not only in India) in Indian border problems received no official encouragement. Had the old fifty year rule for disclosure of British records been maintained, the implications of the papers on the final years of the British Indian Empire would only now be beginning to be understood. The change to the thirty-year rule, which may well be considered the greatest political achievement of Harold Wilson, started to bring into the public domain a mass of material just when the first version of Julie Marshall's bibliography was published in 1977. In the almost three decades that have elapsed since then a vast amount of research into the extraordinary riches of the
British archives relating to the now departed British Indian Empire, the records of the old India Office (now in the British Library) and of the Foreign Office (in the National Archives, formerly PRO, at Kew), has seen the light of day, to which has been added material from both Chinese and Russian archives (as well as a number of other lesser caches of official sources, for example Japanese and German).
At no point in the long history of British contacts, or attempted contacts, with Tibet which is the subject of Julie Marshall's bibliography did the British Government in London, or its diplomatic representatives in China, ever give specific recognition to the independence of Tibet (however that entity might be defined, which in itself was a by no means simple task). The British, however, did take a number of steps, particularly after 1912, which might indeed have contributed towards the establishment of Tibetan independent survival in the twentieth century, not least in attempting to promote some kind of modern education both in Tibet and for Tibetans abroad, and in providing the Lhasa authorities with the basis for a modern army, including some artillery and the capability of a measure of arms manufacture. Unofficially, more extreme measures may have been attempted. In the face of the obvious obstacle to change presented by certain elements of the Tibetan theocracy, there is some evidence of at least one endeavour by British officials directly in contact with Tibetan affairs to promote political reform if need be by some kind of coup d'etat. In the event, political institutional reform proved impractical and military training totally ineffectual. Tibet never became a state remotely like Outer Mongolia, capable of preserving its independence against China. Outer Mongolia, moreover, probably survived only because of the far from happy legacy of western, in this case Soviet, rule or domination. There was no such legacy in Tibet. Even if the British Indian Government had actually attempted the incorporation of Tibet within the general sphere of the British Empire, it is highly unlikely that its successors after 1947 could have maintained, or indeed would even have attempted to maintain, this particular legacy in the face of the revived Chinese power that emerged in 1949 with the Communist victory over the KMT Nationalists.
A peculiar feature of the subject covered by Julie Marshall's bibliography is that with time it has not only become of greater interest to historians and other students of the past but also has acquired an increasing contemporary relevance. As we have noted above, the questions of Tibetan status and the nature and whereabouts of the Sino-Indian borders are still very much with us. The crucial geopolitical importance of the 'roof of the world' in Central Asia, to which Sir Halford Mackinder (Democratic Ideals and Reality) pointed rather ineffectively in 1919, is now very widely accepted indeed. The modern history of armed conflict may well have been ended in Europe by the march of liberal democratic capitalism (though a glance at the Balkans makes one wonder), but it is certainly still very much there in the middle of the Asian landmass, that same field on which the 'Great Game' was played. Tibet lies at the heart of that field, where the spheres of influence of China, India, Pakistan, Russia and its former Central Asian Republics, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, even Myanmar (Burma), and the United States (whose presence here would certainly have astounded Younghusband and
Curzon and probably startled Mackinder as well). Whatever it was in Kipling's day, the 'Great Game' has become a mass sport with a huge following. Its background will continue to be studied and Julie Marshall's revised bibliography consulted as an essential work of reference (as indeed was the original version for those fortunate enough to have been able to lay their hands on a copy).
A final observation is called for. Julie Marshall's bibliography, in its original 1977 form and more so in the present revision, is astoundingly comprehensive. Nearly every aspect of Tibet and its external contacts, as well as those of Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, be it political, geographical, religious, cultural or, indeed, almost anything else, is dealt with in great depth. Practically every work in English is listed, certainly everything of any significance, and a great deal in French (and some other European languages are at least touched upon). The arrangement is subtle and Julie Marshall's comments, which judiciously separate the grain from the chaff, are invaluable. We have here something far more than a piece of dry librarianship: it is in its own right a scholarly study of the highest quality.
Alastair Lamb February 2004.
The first edition of this bibliography was published in 1977 by La Trobe University Library with the title Britain and Tibet 1765-1947: the background to the India-China border dispute. A select annotated bibliography of printed material in European languages. It contained material published up to mid-1974. Since its publication there has been an enormous growth of interest in Tibet and its relations with China and the West, and in the evolution of the Sino-Indian border as it evolved during the British rule in India. This has led to a wide-ranging critical reappraisal of the subject and of all aspects of Tibetan history, politics, religion and culture.
This revised and updated edition contains material published up to 2003 and also includes earlier works excluded from the original edition. It also includes some important theses that have not subsequently been published. Due to recent research new chapters have been added to cover such subjects as the Japanese in Tibet and Soviet Russia's interest in Tibet during the 1920's. As in the first edition each chapter, and subsection of a chapter, is introduced by a brief historical summary and each entry is annotated except for items of a strictly biographical nature or where their content is clear from the title. The vast majority of items have been seen by the compiler. When a copy of an item has not been personally inspected an asterisk appears before the entry and information on the source of reference is included.
Only material in European languages (including a select number of Russian publications) is included. Book reviews of important works are also included. These follow the main entry of the work concerned. Foreign translations of works originally appearing in English are omitted. Of other translations only those into English from other languages are included.
Comments on events especially in the nineteenth and early twentieth century often appeared anonymously. All these articles are grouped at the beginning of each chapter arranged by date of publication.
The spelling of names has been left unchanged in the entries, but in the annotations and notes the form of spelling most common in modern books has been used, e.g. Panchen Lama, not Tashi Lama or Teshoo Lama. I have also generally retained the Wade-Giles system of Romanisation of Chinese rather than change to the current Pinyin, and in the transliteration of Chinese, Tibetan and Indian names I have continued to use the form common during the British period and used in the contemporary sources, e.g. Shigatse not Xigatse, Peking not Beijing. I have also used the term 'British' in the annotations to refer to both Britain and British India.
The preparation of the original edition of this bibliography involved the use of many libraries in Australia and overseas, especially in England. The preparation of this revised and updated edition has benefited greatly from the advent of electronic databases and the ability to access major overseas collections such as the Library of Congress, other major American libraries, and libraries in Europe, as well as publishers' catalogues on the Internet. As most of the material included in this revised edition has been published since 1974 I have been able to consult the majority of items in Australian libraries.
Stein's Tibetica Antiqua by Rolf A Stein, translated by Arthur P
McKeown (Brill's Tibetan Studies Library: Brill Academic Publishers) represents the seminal work on Tibetan religious history by one of the foremost Tibetologists of the twentieth century. Herein, Stein discusses the
cultural and religious interactions among Tibet, India, and China
which resulted in what we now consider `Tibetan Buddhism' from the
point of view of our earliest sources, the Dunhuang manuscripts.
Stein first discusses the basic tool of religious language, and the extent to which translations from Chinese, often apocryphal, scriptures competed with translations from Sanskrit. Stein also analyzes evidence for the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet, as well as what a pre-Buddhist religion may have looked like, as distinct from modern Bon. Here, these groundbreaking articles are for the first time in the English language. They have been substantially updated, and supplemented with additional material from Stein's lectures at the College de France.
Many of Stein's categories are as persistent a problem now as they were for him, though perhaps more widely discussed. This is particularly true for his concern with what he variously terms "popular religion" and "nameless religion." This encompasses what many now name "domestic religion," or what J.Z. Smith called the religion of "here."' Smith could rightly state that "popular religion" represents a "dubious place-holding category" (325), and Stein recognized it as such. Smith defines domestic religion as "focused on an extended family, [it] is supremely local. It is concerned with the endurance of the family as a social and biological entity, as a community, as well as with the relations of that community to its wider social and natural environs" (326). In Stein's writing on the bon po religion, funerary rituals made up the greater part of their significance. When he writes about the criticisms of "excessive worship" charged against Daoists, he notes that the polemics are not so much between Confucians and Daoists as between individual adherents within Confucian and Daoist schools to "official and semi-official behavior, codified institutions and 'popular' customs (which are not limited to the people, but are partaken by all the layers of society)" (p. 322). In this, Stein recognizes the defects of "popular" in the sense of "folk" religion. However, any other category large enough to be generalized has similar deficiencies, including "domestic" or "family" religion.
Stein's ultimate concern, though, was not with the popular or domestic religions of antiquity. He recognized that he had no access to them. He had textual evidence from the past and ethnographic evidence from the present. The texts constituted a testament to the interpretation or remembrance of the nameless religion among members of the official religions. He was concerned with the continuities and relationships among these categories. In the Tibetan context, this lies with the relationships among (and within) bon, Bon, and Buddhism.
Each of these groups were—in time, place, or membership—both semi-official and official, domestic and civic, religions of "here, there, and anywhere."
The Tibetica antiqua series was an obvious and long-overdue object of translation. I am aware that the third and fifth articles have been translated by Peter Richardus, and published already in the collection edited by Alex McKay, History of Tibet.' Aside from any question of the quality of translation of those articles (which may have only been provisional), they suffer in other respects. Rendering these articles into English requires not only the translation of Stein's French, but also his Tibetan and Chinese. Stein used a French system for transliterating Tibetan, which has here been changed to the widely accepted Wylie system. Further, he used the ÉFEO transcription of Chinese terms, which has here been rendered into Pinyin. Stein attempted to provide Chinese characters wherever possible in these articles, which were generally restricted to a separate, sometimes handwritten appendix, presumably due to the formatting restrictions of the day. I have here attempted to provide the Chinese characters next to the pinyin wherever possible without being too repetitive.
Further, these six articles were intended by Stein as a set, and they often refer to each other, especially to Tibetica antiqua I, which can be viewed as laying the groundwork for the others. Therefore, it was imperative to translate all the articles in a single volume which could be indexed. Finally, I have in certain cases provided some updating. For instance, where an article or criticism by Stein elicited a response from another scholar, I have tried to include a reference to that article in a separate footnote, or as an addition to a previous footnote. Stein's own footnoting system is somewhat idiosyncratic, and to leave it unchanged I have had to take recourse to what may seem like a slightly burdensome additional system. All footnotes that are not Stein's are lettered rather than numbered. All notes added by the editor are marked as such (-ed.). Cristina Scherrer-Schaub has also been kind enough to provide some very useful comments and criticisms of these articles. Her emendations are marked by her initials (-C.S-S.). These references are by no means exhaustive, but will hopefully be useful.
I have made a small number of changes to the original articles, including correcting as many typographical errors as I could find. For ease of reading, I have shortened further a number of Stein's abbreviations, p. tib. becomes PT [not to be confused with a common abbreviation for dPa'o gTsug (PT), which I write Dpa'o Gtsug] and I.O. becomes ITJ. Given the sheer number of times Stein references the call numbers of Dunhuang manuscripts the longer P. tib. and IOL Tib J references would be too unwieldy. In addition, I have altered Stein's Chinese reconstructions from Kalgren's 1950 scheme to Baxter's 1992 schema.'
It was suggested to me that I change Stein's references to the Tibetan kings to Tibetan "emperors." While I agree that in general the Tibetan btsan po should be translated as "emperor," and rgyal po as "king," I have not changed Stein's references to the Tibetan "king." There are a few reasons for this. One superficial reason is that Beckwith's research on this topic was as yet unknown to Stein when he wrote Tibetica anti-qua I, and replacing "king" with "emperor" would be anachronistic, as well as perhaps representing a dangerous precedent for how much "updating" would be appropriate.
A more significant reason for not changing "king" to "emperor" is in deference to Stein's theoretical schema. For Stein, the term "king" is not simply a hierarchical ranking, above kinglet and below emperor. It is an abstract, structural entity that partakes of a number of relationships, with ministers (as well as the relationship king: minister : heaven : earth, etc.), mountains and sky, deities (as lha and lha sras) and other worldly beings, his own sacred being (sku bla), his good government (gtsug lag), ancestor-kings, the idea of the king's body, the king as Bodhisattva, etc. When Stein uses the term "kinglet" or "minor king" it is almost always with reference to the twelve kinglets who elected the first, mythic king of Tibet, thus making the use of the term "kinglet" a structural necessity. When Stein uses the term "emperor" (almost always restricted to the Tang emperors), this term is never used in relation with Tibetan "kingship." When referring to Chinese royalty, Stein generally also uses the term "king," especially when making a structural or theoretical point. As a result of this, to parse Stein's use of "king" into "emperor" and "king" would constitute a disservice, and an undermining of his conceptual framework.
The inclusion of Stein's contributions to the Annuaire de college de France from 1967-70 was suggested by one of the readers from Brill's Tibetan Studies Library. Rather that just translate the sections relating to Tibet, I decided to translate them in full. The Annuaire provides a concise demonstration of Stein's method and theoretical framework as they relate to his project of comparative religion. Stein never makes strong comparative statements linking Chinese Daoism and Confucianism with Tibetan Buddhism and Bon, but he does make occasional references from one to the other, and the reader can see that he is constantly informed by a wide field of sources—religious, geographical, philological, and ethnographic.
Born June 13th, 1911 in Switzerland, Rolf Stein was the second of three children. The family moved to Berlin, where his older brother studied Latin and Greek at the Gymnasium, but left to study Mathematics, English and French at the Oberschule. Not wanting to make the same mistake, his parents enrolled Stein immediately at the Oberschule, but he wanted to study Latin and Greek. So he had to learn Latin on his own. He was not too fond of mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, but the French and English were to prove useful. His older brother died at 18. This strongly affected Stein, who left school for a year.
In Berlin, Stein was fascinated with astrology, and frequented a bookstore specializing in esotericism and occultism. A friend of the proprietor, a Russian emigrant and Egypto-phile let Stein read his hieroglyphics, and the young Stein worked to translate them. In searching for other scripts which might help him in the deciphering, he found Chinese. As the business of his father was far from prosperous, Stein began learning Chinese in order to become an interpreter. He later published an article on the Egyptian inscriptions, but was not forthcoming on where to find it.
He first trained in Otto Francke's sinological seminar in Berlin with fellow students Stefan Balazs and Wolfram Eberhard (1909-1989). When Eberhard graduated but couldn't live as a Jew in Berlin after the rise of the Nazis,5 Stein decided to leave for France as he knew the language and literature, thanks to the collection of his maternal uncle (and his education at the Oberschule). He emigrated to Paris in 1933, and did not return to Germany for 44 years. In 1977, he accepted an honorary degree from the University of Bonn in person. In Paris, his knowledge of Chinese impressed teachers and fellow students. He received his degree in Chinese in 1934, and in Japanese in 1936. He studied Chinese and Japanese at the École Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes and followed the seminar of Granet (1884-1940) on ancient China and Mestre on Indochina at the 5th section of the École des Hautes Études. He worked on Tibetan under the tutelage of Jacques Bacot (1877-1965) and Marcelle Lalou (1890-1967), and attended the lectures of Paul Pelliot (1878-1945), Henri Maspero (1883-1945) and Sylvain Levi at the College de France. In the milieu of Marcel Mauss (sociology)(1872-1950), Marc Bloch and Lucien Febre (social history), and Georges Duman (linguistics). Stein (in East Asia) seems to have followed the daunting example of Dumézil.
Granet was his greatest influence, admired for his great intelligence and extreme lucidity. It was he who encouraged Stein to combine Chinese studies with the study of Tibet and Mongolia. He and Bacot were like fathers to him, introducing him to people and getting him jobs in libraries and collections. One of these contacts, Michel Calmann (1891-1976), was probably responsible for speeding through naturalization papers and saving Stein from deportation to the German camps.
Having applied for French nationality so as not to be a citizen of the Third Reich, he acquired French nationality only days before the outbreak of war in 1939. In June, 1940, the Académie des Inscription et Belles-Lettres proposed Stein as a member of the École Française d'Extrême-Orient. The nomination was quashed by the anti-Jew laws promulgated by the Vichy government. He was then sent to Vietnam as a Chinese and Japanese translator. When he arrived in Indochina, however, headquarters was not aware of his translating post and mobilized him to active service with the mountain artillery. He subsequently served translating Japanese papers at the Hanoi ÉFEO, without pay (Vichy had removed his name from the rolls and deprived him of his salary). Despite amoebic dysentery and time spent as a Japanese prisoner of war, the years in Indochina did provide him with the opportunity to witness the last vestiges of refined mandarin culture, as well as peasant and montagnard religion, first hand. These experiences were to perfuse his subsequent work.
Following interventions by Paul Mus and Paul Demiéville, Stein was installed as a member of the École Française in 1946 (retroactive to 1941), and sent to China. He resided in Chengdu, Kunming, and Beijing until 1949, making trips to Inner Mongolia, Amdo and Yunnan. Mindful of the counsel of Granet and Mestre, he continued his work on Tibetan and Mongol studies, as well as the aboriginal cultures of the Sino-Tibetan borderland.
In 1949, at the request of Paul Demiéville, he returned to Paris to take up an appointment as Professor of Chinese at the École Nationale des Langues Orientales Vivantes. In 1951, appointed professor at the fifth section of the École des Hautes Études. His chair, Religions de la Chine et de la Haute Asie, was formerly held by Granet. In 1957, its title was changed to Religions comparées de l'Extrême-Orient et de la Haute Asie, reflecting the special nature of his interests.
Stein began to focus on the Gesar epic in the 1950s (though his research on Gesar goes back to the '40s), regarding it as a privileged point of access into Tibetan culture. This culminated in his monumen tal Recherches sur l'épopée et le barde au Tibet in 1959, in which he demonstrated his unequalled understanding of Tibetan literature.
In the 1960s, he turned to the study of Buddhism and Daoism, and moved away from the aboriginal religions per se. In 1960, he brought Dagpo Rinpoche from Kalimpong so students would be familiar with spoken as well as written Tibetan. He returned to Sikkim, India and Nepal to acquire books and information, never neglecting the importance of contemporary sources, oral or written. In 1966, Stein was appointed Professor at the College de France. While there, he began an intellectual exchange with fellow-professor Claude Lévi-Strausse.
While his early career emphasized indigenous or nameless religion, usually overshadowed by Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism, his work gradually turned to these religions. Once, he stated that if he had to start all over again, he would take Buddhism as the principal subject as Buddhist worship and belief effectively constitute the common fund of communal Asian culture. He was able to bring together his concerns with Buddhism and social practice in his 1972 publication 'Brug pa kun legs, le yogin. Concomitantly, he became ever more interested in the source of this communal culture, looking to Dunhuang manuscripts to illuminate the early workings of Buddhism and Daoism in Tibet and East Asia. In a work which synthesized the differing viewpoints which occupied his research on Tibet, he published La civilisation tibétaine in 1962, substantially revising and augmenting it in 1981.
Throughout the 1970s, his lectures at the College de France dealt with tantrism, particularly Sino-Japanese and Tibetan. Regarding Tibet, he was concerned especially with non-canonical Rnying ma tantras, many of which he viewed as perhaps not having been translated from Sanskrit, but composed in Tibetan, and so demonstrating the originality of Tibetan culture. Because of his background and expertise, Stein could trace the often Byzantine diffusion of tantric influence in East and Central Asia both synchronically and diachronically.
Much of Stein's genius lay in demonstrating the importance of synthesizing diverse genres of literature, as well as recognizing synthesis in that literature itself. He underscored the desideratum of utilizing Chinese sources for the comprehension of the history and civilization of Tibet. As well, he highlighted the necessity of combining rigorous philological and ethnographic methods in the study of Tibetan literature. One should consider that he published classic works on the Gesar epic and historical geography in the same year. At the same time as he was lecturing on the non-canonical Rnying ma tantras and publishing on the mystic and social critic 'Brug pa kun legs, he was writing this monument to careful philological and historical analysis, Tibetica antiqua.
The wealth of material presented here, despite its being 'just' part of Stein's impressive work, is literally amazing.' The felicitous initiative of Arthur McKeown of translating into English Tibetica Antigua (together with the related résumés of Stein's teaching) makes accessible to the scholars and educated persons a fundamental corpus of writings for the history of Tibet. If we try to pierce the impetus given by Stein to his oeuvre, we note that he constantly proceeds by way of successive approaches to the subject-matter, while never departing from that "vision elargie" inherited from his teachers.
The tendency towards specialization that has characterized the field of Asian studies from the second half of the past century up to the present has provided (and still continues to provide) a large and varied amount of inestimable instruments (edited documents, catalogues of primary sources, indices, unpublished works, data-bases etc.). On the other hand, the fact of "distributing" the knowledge of the field of Asian studies among current themes has impressively contributed to the number of essays built upon common etic models shared with social sciences at large. Stein's intellectual project navigates between the Scylla and Charybdis of these two methodologies if taken to the extreme, that is, between the kaleidoscopic image resulting from refracting the problem into discrete elements and the uniform image built upon overly relying on (if not conforming to) fashionable theories. In the words of Michel Strickmann (1981: vii) the themes set forth by R.A. Stein "... call for a synoptic approach to the subject, overleaping the traditional bounds imposed on Asian cultures both by their own, internal tradition and by the majority of western interpreters. Stein's youthful vision of the basic, if complex, interrelationship between 'high culture' and the 'nameless religion' of the people became the lattice structure for all his subsequent works. His writings represent adventurous French scholarship at its finest, mingling erudition with intuition in a manner all too seldom found in the Asian studies of other lands."
In the essays presented here, Stein focuses on Tibet. In his own words, he is not primarily and essentially concerned with history, although this last intervenes and surfaces relatively often. His analysis, reconsidered from a distance (twenty years or so separate his teaching on the subject and the publication of Tibetica Antigua) the themes of his research, excellently combining "erudition and intuition", brings about a polymorphous reading of socio-political facts, that is religious and social practices and institutions.
Despite the inevitable restatements that the attentive and informed reader will be confronted with, the essays presented here continue to be a precious source of information for the history of Tibet, and a remarkable example of an original methodological approach. Rolf Stein, a Tibetologist and Sinologist, stresses the problematic related to both fields of investigation. The Indianists and the specialists in Indo-Tibetan studies find food for thought. This material is a field to explore; indeed the groundbreaking themes that Rolf Stein developed in the wake of his teachers remains, in part, unknown.
The background of the dynamic and material that we may see in Tibetica Antigua is partially inspired by two fundamental works published by Stein the same year (1959), Recherches sur l'épopée et le barde au Tibet and Les tribus anciennes des marches sino-tibétaines. The Gesar Epic represents an inextinguishable field where myths, narrative motives, toponyms, ethnonyms, institutional patterns, not to speak of cross-borrowings meet. To this wealth of material, Stein adds the study of the Dunhuang documents, and his extensive recourse to indigenous literature, Chinese, Tibetan, and Mongol, aims at tentatively trying to distinguish the possible dynamic instantiated between indigenous practices and beliefs versus "les religions constituées", namely Buddhism. Stein was aware of the difficult task of disentangling the influence, impact and contribution of Buddhism on "local" religions. From this point of view the relatively recent prodigious rise of Buddhist studies in the field of the manifold aspect of its transmission outside India, and the parallel success of the studies on Tibetan indigenous religion and social practices, have given a better understanding of some aspect of the phenomenon. Nonetheless the problematic is still puzzling the field of Asian studies.'
Stein's monumental first essay (TA I) concentrates upon the IndoTibetan and Sino-Tibetan vocabularies that result from the translation of Buddhist literature into Tibetan based upon a Chinese or an Indian text. His analysis takes its stand upon a selection of Dunhuang manuscripts (Mss), focusing in particular upon the Mss of the so-called Chinese-Chan (p. 5), that first attracted the attention of Marcelle Lalou, whose pioneering work was eventually retaken by the Japanese scholars (p. 5). The problematic is extremely complex and Stein proceeds his inquiry in advancing a working hypothesis carefully considered according to the pro and contra arguments. In brief, he is cautious and critical in recognizing the limits of theoretical presuppositions. But his incisive and relevant remarks are made so much en passant that it is as if they escaped notice. With much accuracy Stein notes extremely pertinent facts, despite his "strangeness" to Indian and Buddhist textual history precluding him from a further step. Examples may be chosen at random, such as the following (p. 10): "Another case which leaves one perplexed; 'Chan Writing' (ITJ 709.11) studied by Kimura. This text utilizes the Ind.[ian] voc.[abulary], but preserves at the same time the Chin. ese] voc. [abulary] from the translation of the Lankavatara-sutra when it cites it". As a matter of fact this may well result from a common practice of editing texts and translating technique, mentioned for instance in the Dag yig mkhas pa'i `byung gnas of 1Can skya Rol pa'i rdo rje and confirmed by the study of textual transmission.5 Other facts may intervene in order to explain the seeming discrepancy attested by the two vocabularies. Stein indeed notes (p. 25) that "the Chinese vocabulary of the original texts was not [always] uniform". In fact, the translation made from a Chinese version could also and indirectly stand upon Indian versions earlier than that actually used by the team of Indian panditas and Tibetan lo tsa bas in the process of translating the Indian text into Tibetan. This fact is crucial in many respects. Indeed, if we know the exemplars or copies of Buddhist texts in Tibetan translations, attested among the Dunhuang Mss, as well as the canonical Tibetan translations, we know nearly nothing about the precise identity of their Indian antecedents. And still, we proceed by comparing relatively uncomparable matter. This, at times imperceptible, shift in meaning may be occasionally responsible for at least part of the hiatus that we may observe between the Indian- and the Sino-vocabularies. But there is more. What is indeed remarkable is the fact that if the terminology may be seen as different, apparently, there is in the target language no phrase marker that could give a hint of the source language. Other factors may be involved, such as bi- or multilingual-ism, noted by Stein, and abundantly attested in Dunhuang and Central Asian documents. Or also, the interpreting process intervening in the course of translating (cf infra p. 22-3), that the manual destined to the team of Tibetan and Indian translators, the sGra sbyor barn po gnyis pa, explains in detail. Relying on the longstanding tradition of the Indian principles of Buddhist exegesis and grammar, this sample of erudite lexicography offers a varied pattern of interpreting the Indian term to be translated into Tibetan. And the Buddhist Chinese tradition equally records the precise procedure of the translating process.
The inquiry becomes particularly dense when Stein compares and analyzes the two vocabularies with respect to cosmology, mythology, social structure, territorial and institutional practices, or local/ indigenous beliefs. Worth noting and extremely didactic particularly nowadays is the fact that Stein never indulges in reductionism. He punctuates his work by illuminating short phrases, words of a wise man, underlining the complexity of the encounters and reciprocal influences among several societies, if not cultures (p. 66): "There were loans. Yet certain analogies may be explained either by coincidence, or by a common archaic ground".
Some topics touched on in TA I, at times very briefly, will receive an elaborate treatment in TA when in TA II, Stein centers his analysis upon JO 506 and explores the symbolic code concealed behind the "use of metaphors for honorific distinctions". While noting that the Old Tibetan Chronicles and the Annals, as well as secular Dunhuang documents and Tibetan inscriptions (Stein cites the 1Hasa rdo ring recording the treaty between Tibet and China in 821/2) attest the use of honorific ensigns (yi ge) in the civil and military administration of Imperial Tibet, Stein reads this material in the light of indigenous Chinese and Tibetan historiography, following the common trend of his fellows historians, in this case Géza Uray and Giuseppe Tucci. Thus, the current use of all sources available (archive documents, epigraphy, indigenous literary narrative, historiography, etc.) makes possible the combined study of "facts" and "beliefs".
Centering upon the first 14 lines of IO 506 , Stein translates and comments upon this literary piece, presumably also tainted with irony, and addressed to the taste (and strive...) for "honorifences" which characterizes at that epoch (as today...) officials and functionaries, and where the ensigns are in this case attributed to the "brave" religious following the Buddhist teaching and prescriptions. The descriptions of the precious material for ensigns and the images represented on seals are tropes that may be linked with other Dunhuang fragments, some of them attesting to the institution of grades among military and civil officers.' Stein compares the methaphoric and administrative use of enseigns as found in the Dunhuang documents and their record in later narrative and stresses upon the common pattern shared by their use in administrative matter and their metaphorical use in poetry.
In TA III, Stein proposes a re-reading of some fundamental elements concurring to the royal theory as this may be gathered from some Dunhuang documents clustering round the Chronicles, and studied by Ariane (Macdonald) Spanien in her groundbreaking essay "Line lecture des P. T. 1286, 1287, 1038, 1047 et 1290. Essai sur la formation et l'emploi des mythes politiques dans la religion royale de Sronbcan sgam-po". While Stein is right in underlining the importance and complexity of dating the Dunhuang manuscripts, a desideratum that still continues to be seriously considered, his review is, at least in part, tainted with ad hominem critique. Much of this attitude is due to his personal style that may at time sound abruptus, and expressed with acrimonia. Stein as we already saw is extremely cautious and in analyzing 'facts' that are not limited to archive records but include also myths, legends, and stylistic forms he fixes his careful attention upon the elements of the theory in question. For him the study of documents, narrative, historical sources, myths and narrative may reach a fair level of "vraisemblance", not of truth. And the variety of sources although they may and shall be studied together, cannot be treated in the same way, and the conclusion that we may gather from them must be carefully balanced (p. 120) "We may suppose it, but not affirm it. We must also take account of the vocabulary in a given era. One and the same word, perfectly Tibetan and early, may cover different notions, sometimes even foreign ones."
With Stein's virulent critique of Ariane (Macdonald) Spanien's position concerning the pre-Buddhist religion (as opposed to the royal religion) termed by him "populaire" (pp. 124-126) the reader is confronted with the extreme complexity of the problematic. It is here that one may wonder how far the "vision dumézilienne" could have been appropriate. Even apart from other consideration, this would imply the fact of discarding India, being an integral part of the Indo-Iranian area, thereby facing a paradox. Indeed, quite a number of the themes central to the problematic may be noted in India as well. It is here that the "vision dumézilienne" should be abandoned in favor of the "vision élargie" evoked earlier and appealing to the analogy of the models considered with regard to the diversity of their applications.
Stein, without his knowing, comes fairly near to this (cf. na. p. 128, n. 23): here everything is Indian and/or Indic. He admits not knowing the Indian text attesting mi chos and lha chos. Yet, he provides very interesting material that naturally leads to the answer, the treatment of which however far exceed the present scope.
As material contributing to clarify the complexity of the interrelation between indigenous tradition and foreign influences, the remaining essays concentrate upon the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet, the indigenous religion and the 'organized' Bon po, and finally the presence of Chinese Classics in the Tibetan manuscripts from Dunhuang. The last decades saw a renewal of the studies on Tibetan Dunhuang religious and secular documents, and new material is now accessible. Parallel to this, the so called Bon po studies are in full bloom, and the Buddhist multi-lingual communities of Dunhuang and Central Asia pierce the screen of anonymity. Leading scholars in these fields, such as Annemarie Blondeau, Anne Chayet, Samten G. Karmay, Kuo Liying, Per Kvaerne and Yoshiro Imaeda that the reader will find on his path through the essays presented here, have continued, enlarged and opened the work of their master Rolf A. Stein whose oeuvre, destined to last, represents an inextinguishable source of inspiration for Asian scholars, and more. ---Cristina Scherrer- Schaub
One Hundred Thousand Moons: An Advanced Political History of Tibet by Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa and Derek F. Maher (Brill's Tibetan Studies Library: Brill Academic Publishers) DRAWING ON A VAST ARRAY OF HISTORICAL AND biographical sources, this volume elaborates Tibetan political history, arguing that Tibet has long been an independent nation, and that the 195o incursion by the Chinese was an invasion of a sovereign country. The author situates Tibet's relations with a series of Chinese, Manchurian, and Mongolian empires in terms of the preceptor-patron relationship, an essentially religious connection in which Tibetan religious figures offered spiritual instruction to the contemporaneous emperor or other militarily powerful figure in exchange for protection and religious patronage. Simultaneously, this volume serves as an introduction to many aspects of Tibetan culture, society, and especially religion. The book includes a compendium of biographies of the most significant figures in Tibet's past.
Author: TSEPON W. D. SHAKABPA (1907-1989) was the finance minister and a senior diplomatic representative of the Dalai Lama of Tibet. He wrote several books and many articles on Tibetan history.
Translator: DEREK F. MAHER, Ph.D. (2003) in Religious Studies, University of Virginia, is Associate Professor of Buddhism at East Carolina University, where he is the Director of the Religious Studies Program. He has published widely on Tibetan religion and history.
The late Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa needs no introduction to Western students of Tibetan history thanks to his prominent role in advancing the cause of Tibet's independence in the years leading up to China's annexation of Tibet in 1951 and to his popular Tibet: A Political History, first published in 1967. My personal acquaintance with Mr. Shakabpa began some years later, during the mid-1970s, when we were both living in New York and sometimes made use of Columbia University's Tibetan collection, housed in the basement of the Lehman Social Science Library in a locked area that was referred to unironically as "the cage."
We first met one morning when I noticed him, looking dapper in a maroon pull-over sweater, sitting off to the side at a carrel and immersed in a stack of recent Tibetan publications from India. His demeanor was concentrated and self-contained, but at the same time graceful and bright; I by no means felt that he would be averse to casual conversation, and this, indeed, proved to be the case. He was pleased to find a young American speaking Tibetan and, taking an indulgent interest in my studies, quickly began to point me to pertinent titles he had noticed, and to works with which he thought that I would do well to familiarize myself in any case. The generosity with which he sought to share with me his expansive knowledge of Tibetan historical writing—and I must admit that I was then too green to appreciate all but a fraction of the learning he freely offered—was made evident at about the same time to readers of Tibetan more broadly, through the appearance of the expanded version of Mr. Shakabpa's political history, published in 1976 as Bod kyi srid don rgyal rabs. It is a pleasure to see that his major work, which in terms of both length and difficulty poses an exceptional challenge, is now made available in a complete English rendition, the product of outstanding efforts on the part of Professor Derek Maher.
My meetings in the cage with Mr. Shakabpa brought home some important lessons about the problems inherent in the study of Tibetan history. Concerning not just a few significant matters, the sources at our disposal remain inadequate, while those that exist may contradict one another. In some cases, we have reason to believe that essential documents are no longer in existence, in others, that they exist but remain inaccessible. The construction of Tibetan history is thus necessarily a tentative affair, in which conclusions about many points must be left open to revision as new data become available.
Despite these cautions, however, it was impossible, in Mr. Shakabpa's view, for the contemporary historian of Tibet (and, in particular, for the Tibetan historian of Tibet) to adopt what the philosopher Thomas Nagel has felicitously termed "the view from nowhere." Tibetan history is sharply contested terrain and, as a player in some of the twentieth century's key contests, Mr. Shakabpa placed both his political career and his work as a historical scholar unambiguously in the service of Tibetan freedom. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that he and his history figure among the leading bêtes noires for historians of Tibet in China. It was Mr. Shakabpa's conviction that, though certain of the details might be subject to reassessment, the sum of the evidence would inevitably lend its support to his position.
It must be stressed, in this regard, that the work translated here has had singularly profound and far-reaching repercussions upon the manner in which, among Tibetans, Tibetan history is now written. In his approach to his subject-matter, Mr. Shakabpa joins forces with other twentieth-century Tibetan intellectuals who recognized that the perspectives and methods of historiographical traditions outside of Tibet could serve as valuable resources for the contemporary Tibetan historian. In this sense, Mr. Shakabpa's detractors are no less indebted to him than are his partisans. However, the standpoint within Western historiography that most inspired him was without doubt that of national history, and it is this, rather than quibbles about details, that has proven most problematic for his critics.
By presenting here Mr. Shakabpa's achievement in English translation, Professor Maher thus makes available to a broad readership both the abundant information bearing upon Tibetan history that is to be found within the work, and a key point of contestation within modern Tibetan intellectual history. It is a contribution for which students of Tibet's past and present will therefore be grateful. --Matthew T. Kapstein Paris, March 2009
From Translator's Introduction:
For Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa (January 11, 1907-Februrary 23, 1989), a seed planted during a 1931 conversation with his uncle blossomed in the 1950s into a fascination with the history of Tibet, a preoccupation that eventually enabled him to write this book another two decades later. His uncle, Trimon Norbu Wangyal, a Cabinet Minister in the government of the thirteenth Dalai Lama, had been a participant in many events in the early part of the 20th century that helped to define Tibet's future. Perhaps most significantly, he participated in the tripartite negotiations in Simla, India between Tibet, British India, and China in 1914 (this is vividly described in Chapter 16 below). Already conscious that Tibetans would need to counter Chinese narratives about the history of Sino-Tibetan relations, Cabinet Minister Trimon urged his nephew to take an interest in Tibet's past, explaining the negotiations in Simla to him and entrusting him with a cache of documents and maps that he had gathered. Presciently, he enjoined the young Shakabpa, "You should investigate these documents. After you have studied them well, great benefit would come to our country if you were to write a political history of Tibet."
Yet, before he turned his attention to history in the 1950s, an entirely separate and distinguished career intervened for Wangchuk Deden, the scion of the noble Shakabpa family. His family was already well-known through his uncle's service and also through the position of his father, Tashi Phuntsok Shakabpa, as the steward of Lhasa. It was a custom in the family that they should hold positions of trust and authority in the government. In the late 1940s, for example, his elder brother, Losel Dondrup Shakabpa, would serve as the Governor of the Northern Province. Thus, at the age of twenty-three in 1930, Shakabpa secured a position in government service in the treasury branch of government.
As a young lower level functionary in the government, he was part of the party charged with seeking visions in an oracular lake in the search for the identity of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, and he was sent to retrieve one of the unsuccessful candidates for the identification. He wasalso dispatched to receive the successful candidate, and he attended the child's enthronement as a minor treasury official. As on so many other occasions throughout this book, his eyewitness vantage point on the episodes narrated in these pages enabled him to verify the actual course of events; for example, he was able to counter the fallacious claim by the Chinese that the representative of the Nationalist government had played a prominent part in the enthronement ceremony. In the early 1930s, Shakabpa was a mid-level official in the service of Tretongpa Gyurmé Gyatso, the newly appointed governor-general of Do and the chief negotiator in the resolution of the armed conflict with China in 1933. He carried the governor's seal and managed to perform some photographic reconnaissance of Chinese positions in Ziling, as well. He steadily rose through the ranks of the government, serving on the Drungtsi, a committee of secretaries and treasury officials that reported to the National Assembly. Eventually, he became the finance minister, a position he held until 1950 when China invaded and he made plans to go into permanent exile in India. In the intervening years of his government service, he played many significant roles, frequently finding himself at the center of history.
A private family journey to India in 1946 had begun to open his eyes to the currents that were driving world affairs beyond Tibet's borders. He witnessed firsthand the Indian quest for independence from the British, and he met with prominent figures including the man who would be India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. These experiences gave him a worldly perspective that few other Tibetans enjoyed at the time. His most prominent work in the international realm began the following year when he was appointed to lead the Tibet Trade Mission, a delegation that traveled around the world with the objective of fortifying Tibet's international standing. This tour, which was far more important diplomatically than it was in terms of trade, was consciously designed to enhance claims that Tibet was an independent and sovereign nation. Shakabpa showed himself to be a natural diplomat by pressing the greatest possible advantage in a variety of contexts, by skillfully understanding and manipulating political symbols, and by cultivating relations with figures in foreign governments. One example will serve to highlight his facility in this regard. Shakabpa met with a variety of dignitaries in the United States, including Secretary of State Marshall, the retired general and then future president Dwight Eisenhower, and officials at the Federal Reserve, where he negotiated the purchase of gold. As he angled for a meeting with President Truman, the Chinese embassy was busy attempting to insinuate itself into the Tibetans' schedule. When Shakabpa realized that he would not be able to bring about a White House meeting without the involvement of the Chinese, he abruptly cancelled the meeting and left town, thereby turning the loss of a potentially potent symbolic meeting into a demonstration of the Tibetan delegation's ability to make decisions in defiance of Chinese demands to the contrary.
Almost as soon as Shakabpa returned to Tibet, the situation between China and Tibet came to a boil in eastern Tibet in 1949. Mao Zedong's forces were finalizing their victory over the Nationalist forces, and swiftly they began proclaiming their intention to "peacefully liberate" Tibet from imperialist forces. As they consolidated control over the government in Beijing, their forces poured across the border into Amdo and later Kham. A divination performed by the regent caused him to appoint Shakabpa and Tsechak Khenchung Tupten Gyelpo to serve as chief negotiators with the Chinese. Hence, Shakabpa once again left the country for India to prepare to leave for the Chinese border. In Delhi, Shakabpa and the other Tibetans met with Nehru, other Indian advisors such as Foreign Secretary Menon, and also Chinese representatives. They struggled to come up with a response to Chinese demands that Tibet accept that it was part of China, that China would undertake the defense of Tibet, and that China would undertake all negotiations with foreign nations on behalf of Tibet. Acutely aware of the dangers that loomed for his homeland, Shakabpa urged and pleaded with the government in Lhasa, knowing that indecision could be fatal. Yet, before a definitive reply could be delivered to China, he heard, with the rest of the world, the alarming news that the Tibetan cabinet minister on the ground in eastern Tibet, Ngapöpa Ngawang Jikmé, had apparently assented to an agreement with the Communist Chinese, thereby rendering his journey to China unnecessary. Devastated by this turn of events, Shakabpa was then pressed into service as the Dalai Lama's representative to the United Nations, transmitting an appeal to Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld on November 10, 1950.
Given the tense and uncertain environment, the Dalai Lama moved to the border at Dromo near the Indian border and not far from the Indian town of Kalimpong where Shakabpa would soon make his home.
After much deliberation, it was resolved in the summer of 1951 that the Dalai Lama would return to Lhasa. As the party prepared to depart, Shakabpa requested permission to remain in exile, a request that was granted. From that point on, he would serve not as an official in the government hierarchy in Lhasa, but rather as the first official in the shadow government-in-exile that would not actually be established for another eight years. It was fortuitous that he remained in India, as he was able to lay the foundation for the future government.
Shakabpa tells us that it was also during this time that he began to focus on studying Tibetan history as his uncle had urged him to do years earlier. He made good use of his time during the 1950s, while he had ready access to all sorts of governmental sources, including the archives of Cabinet minutes, old treaties, and the like. He also had an impressive personal library with a significant number of old texts, biographies, chronicles, and other types of texts with historical information.
Already in 1956, it was evident that the situation in Tibet was going to demand ongoing assistance from outside of the country, and so Shakabpa founded the Committee for Tibetan Social Welfare in Kalimpong with the Dalai Lama's older brother Gyalo Döndrup and Khenchung Lozang Gyeltsen, a member of the old Trade Mission Shakabpa had led. Along with the Dalai Lama's two elder brothers, Gyalo Döndrup and Taktser Rinpoché Tupten Norbu, he helped to organize the beginnings of resistance to Chinese rule, efforts that would eventuate in a full-scale CIA-sponsored guerilla movement.
In 1959, when the Chinese violently suppressed Tibetan demonstrations, precipitating the course of events that would send the Dalai Lama and eighty thousand other Tibetans into exile all along the Himalayan Range, Shakabpa was already in place to begin to publicize the attacks and to appeal to the international community. He and the Dalai Lama's older brothers went to New York to press Tibet's case before the United Nations in the fall of 1959. He was appointed as the Dalai Lama's chief representative in Delhi in 1959, a position he maintained until the mid-1960s. In this capacity, he was centrally responsible for developing the infrastructure to take care of the Tibetan exiles in India, and he also played the role of a sort of Tibetan ambassador-at-large for the Dalai Lama.
That was his last official position, but during the later 1960s and extending all the way into the later 1970s, he remained deeply involved in Tibetan affairs as an interested private citizen. He spent a few years in the United States working on the English-language volume Tibet: A Political History that was the most thorough explication in a western language of a Tibetan's view of their history until the present translation. He also spent considerable amounts of time visiting the various Tibetan exile schools throughout India and the Himalayan region, especially in 1967-1968, when he toured all over India giving lectures to the Tibetan children about their history. Several Tibetans who heard those lectures conveyed to me the potent impact he had on their thinking and how he fostered in them a desire to live their lives in service of the Tibetan community. He continued his historical investigations throughout his later years, publishing the present volume in Tibetan in 1976, as well as other works.
Tashi Tsering, a noted historian in his own right and the director of the Amnye Machen Institute, told me an affecting story about talking to Tsepon Shakabpa on one occasion and mentioning some text he had recently read. The great scholar, many decades older, pulled a notebook from his pocket and began asking detailed questions about the contents of that text which he had never read himself. Tashi saw this as a sign that Shakabpa was a humble man, whose passion for learning about Tibetan history was never quenched. In 1985, Shakabpa gave a prolonged series of lectures on Tibetan history at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India at the behest of the Dalai Lama. Government officials from many departments, monks, and intellectuals attended these sessions for about two months.
Because of his broad experience within the government, Shakabpa was able to provide extensive first-person insights into how the government operated in general during most of the early and middle parts of the 20th century. His own memory illuminates many specific events narrated in the book, supplementing the extensive documentary evidence to which he had access. In commenting on occasions in the early decades of the 20th century when conservative elements in both the government and the monasteries prevented open discussion of international affairs or hindered modern education or other developments, he depicts himself as a progressive, bemoaning such obstructionism. Likewise, he exhorts young people living in exile to educate themselves and work to modernize the Tibetan government-in-exile, preparing the way to develop Tibet in the future. His narrative voice comes through the text in a pronounced and distinctive fashion.
The book is quite beautifully written, with rich poetic expression, extensive vocabulary, and often clever and amusing adages and similes. The Tibetan text makes very wide use of quotations, and so as the narrative moves through the centuries, it employs a many distinct styles of Tibetan. While the Tibetan language has not drifted as dramatically as English did from Old English up to the modern period, Tibetan vocabulary and expressions have changed since classical times. For this reason, it is difficult to read even for Tibetans who are not well-educated in classical Tibetan.
Tsepon Shakabpa researched and wrote this expansive work under the shadow of perilous dangers. Coming on the heels of an era that was marked by decades of perceived encroachment by a series of Chinese governments, he had seen his country occupied, a massive military build-up in his hometown, the loss of religious and political liberty, and threats to his people's basic understanding of how life should unfold. Ultimately, he himself was driven into exile, fracturing his own family and compelling him to define the paradigm for subsequent generations of his countrymen and women who would also know exile and splintered families.
For Shakabpa, Chinese assertions of authority over Tibet were an outrage that had to be resisted. Through his uncle and through his own personal experience, he became earnestly committed to resisting Chinese efforts to impose control on Tibet, which he saw as threatening its very existence. He may have been among the earliest Tibetans to understand that the long relationship between China and Tibet had taken on a new character in the 20th century. As one of the worldliest people in his country as Chinese troops entered Tibet in 1950, he quickly understood that it would be important to present Tibet's case to the international community if it was to continue as a separate nation. Thus, for him, writing history was not a disinterested and merely academic enterprise; it was an expression of his deeply personal patriotism and a dimension of what he saw as his service to his people. He was perhaps the only person who could have written this book at the time.
Since he was involved in negotiations with Chinese representatives, he came to understand the way that the Chinese had managed to disseminate their own account of the history of Sino-Tibetan relations throughout the world community. While conservative elements in Tibet resisted the establishment of English medium schools and attempted to shut out the world, the Chinese had been busily fortifying their narrative that Tibet had become a part of China at some moment in the distant past, perhaps during the Sakya era in the 13th century, at the end of the Yuan Dynasty in the 14th century, during the Ming period (1368-1644), or at some point during the Qing period (16441912), such as the Dzungar invasion in the 1720s or after the Gurkha War in 1792. Chinese sources have offered sundry suggestions as to when Tibet was assimilated. But Shakabpa maintains that each of these claims is unjustified by the historical evidence, and instead, Tibet was forcibly incorporated into China under the threat of military destruction only in 1951. This book is a sustained argument to that effect. He wrote this book not as an objective neutral observer but as an engaged and motivated participant in the struggle for how Tibet will be depicted and understood in the international arena.
Despite the title, this book is not really a general history of all of Tibet. While it provides a more thorough overview of Tibet's past than any other book now available in the English language, Shakabpa primarily narrates those episodes that contribute to his main agenda of making the historical case for Tibetan independence. Of course, any author of a work of this sort begins with an orientation which guides their selection of what to include and what to leave aside. Many dimensions of Tibet's story have thereby been neglected in these pages. This is primarily a narrative of the center, and so there is little discussion of events in Kham and Amdo, except as they impinge upon the central narrative of the ancient religious kings (7th-9th centuries), the rulefrom Sakya (1249-1354), the kingdoms in U and Tsang (1354-1642), and the account of the Dalai Lama lineage and their Ganden Podrang government (1642-1959). Lavish detail is provided in recounting the initial stages of the warfare prosecuted by Gushri Khan in eastern Tibet in the late 1630s, the missionary journeys of various prominent lamas to Mongolia and China, the exiles of the thirteenth Dalai Lama to the east in Mongolia and China to the west in India, and the earliest years of the present Dalai Lama in his birthplace in Amdo. But that is only because of the fact that these events are critical to making his larger case about Tibet's political status. In contrast, significant episodes concerning the lives of the Dergé kings and the regional powers most closely involved with Chinese and Mongolian authority in Amdo pass almost unnoticed in these pages. Hence, before it can be said that Tibetan history at large is well-understood, separate works are needed to explicate the overlapping histories of these areas!
The occupation of Tibet by China and the subsequent events have caused some historical sources to be unavailable. In the summer of 2008, I found myself quite startled, verging on grieving, when Lobsang Shastri of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives broke the news to me that all of the pre-1959 cabinet records cited by Shakabpa had been left in Tibet, their present fate unknown. This fact makes Shakabpa's book all the more valuable because he references such sources many dozens of times and relies on them for background throughout the last two-thirds of the book. Given the chronology he himself elaborates in the book, he was already living in exile in India before he took a great interest in history. It must be the case, then, that he spent the interregnum years between the initial Chinese invasion in 1950 and the final exile of the Dalai Lama in 1959 studying these records, taking notes, and piecing together the past history of the Tibetan government.
It remains unknown if those old records may someday become accessible to scholars, but until they do, it will be difficult to find a better and more thorough study of them than the one offered by Shakabpa in the present work. It would be extremely beneficial if, in the future, scholars could be granted access to the records that remain in Tibet. Moreover, some of Tsepon Shakabpa's personal papers are still unavailable, and a thorough examination of these sources might permit a more nuanced reading of Shakabpa's perspective. It is hoped these resources will also be placed in the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives or some other repository where scholars can make use of them.
Within the People's Republic of China, scholars have written quite thorough academic critiques of histories upholding the general Tibetan viewpoint. One was written specifically in reply to the present text. With sixty-seven chapters disputing particular points of Shakabpa's account, the anonymous author or authors indicate that they are refuting what they see as a highly motivated and biased account of Sino-Tibetan relations!' Likewise, a similar thorough-going critique, perhaps written by the same people, was directed at Michael C. van Walt van Praag's very careful examination of Tibet's status in international law: This second critique also briefly takes issue with Shakabpa. It must be said that both of these critiques are themselves highly selective and extremely motivated depictions of Tibetan history.
Nonetheless, the unsealing of a storehouse of thousands of texts in Drepung Monastery,] the end of communist rule in Mongolia, episodic liberalization in China, and many other factors have permitted a variety of resources to come to light that were unavailable to Tsepon Shakabpa. Perhaps these sources will enable us to see Tibetan history in new lights as time unfolds. The history of the history of Tibet is a work in progress.
I first heard about this book back in the early 1990s when Dan Perdue mentioned it to me. Donald S. Lopez was then editing what was planned to be a significant new series of books about many aspects of Tibet called the Library of Tibet, for which, John F. Avedon was the general series editor. The plan was to have three books published each year for seven years, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama contributing one book each year and scholars providing translations of other classic Tibetan works for the other two. The books were to be published by a well-known American publisher. Years later, the publishing deal collapsed after only one book had been put out, the novel called The Tale of the Incomparable Prince, written by Tshe ring dbang rgyal and skillfully translated by Beth Newman.
At the time Dan mentioned this project to me, I was a graduate student in the Tibetan Studies program at the University of Virginia where both Dan and Don had earned their Ph.D. degrees under our common advisor Professor Jeffery Hopkins. I thought the book sounded fascinating, and I did a small tryout translation of a section of the book just to see if I would be able to read it. I was captivated by the elegant prose, the fascinating new insights it provided into Tibetan life, and best of all, the engaging narrative that unfolded in the book. It was the first time I had read any historical or biographical sources, and even that brief section inspired a reorientation of what I wanted to learn about Tibet. It was in the midst of this excitement, however, that the full scope of the work came into focus. I can well recall the day that the late Skip Martin, the South Asian bibliographer at Alderman Library at the University of Virginia, handed me not one, but two large volumes, of the Tibetan version of the book. It struck me with a thunderbolt how gigantic the project would be.
Nonetheless, I had been captivated already, and I wanted to undertake what I knew would be a several year detour in my academic work. With Don's offer of the translation contract and Jeffrey's approval of a sojourn from my dissertation research on the philosophical thought of Jamyang Zhepa, I plunged forward. My new wife, Jill Jennings, and I moved away from the Charlottesville area into an 18th century farmhouse in the much cheaper Shenandoah Valley, where I commenced my life as a hermit whittling away at the intimidating page count, 685 pages in volume 1 and 640 pages in volume 2.
For the first two chapters I worked through (I no longer recall which chapters they were), I had access to a very rough and incomplete translation that had been prepared by someone for whom English was apparently not a first language. This was provided to me by the agent handling the Library of Tibet series, Wylie Aitkin & Stone. Despite its limitations, I owe a debt to the person or people who created those pages because they served as a sort of Rosetta Stone for me, permitting me to understand difficult phrases and stylistic forms employed by Tsepon Shakabpa, many of which I could not find paradigms for in the few grammar books then available. As I progressed through each chapter, I would compile great long lists of questions that I would then take to the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in Washington, New Jersey, directed by Joshua and Diana Cutler. This was the residence also of several learned Tibetan monks, and many of us benefited from their instruction and patient instruction in matters of Buddhist philosophy and practice.
For my particular purposes, however, I was especially fortunate that the Learning Center was also the home of Khenchung Thubten Tsepal Taikhang, the exceedingly knowledgeable and refined younger brother of Tsepon Shakabpa. He was known by most people in that circle as "Kungo," a term of respect for a nobleman. Very slowly, he and I would work through a few dozen pages at a sitting, with him artfully explaining everything from turns of grammar to idioms to points of historical detail. He was my ideal guide in this process for he had long before served as editor of the original Tibetan text itself, and he was extremely conversant with its every fine point. He kindly displayed to me the same dignified patience he exhibited to the deer that grazed on his well-tended flowers. I must say that I could never have made progress in the beginning without his generous help and without the Cutler's hospitality.
The work of translating the book was quite challenging in the beginning, and when I was about 80% done with my work, the Library of Tibet series was cancelled: The terms of the contract prevented me from trying to publish my translation elsewhere, and the project went dormant, much to my regret for I had done little else for more than two years. Fortunately, around the new year of 2002, the rights to the translation reverted to me, and I began to work on completing the book. In the intervening years, many things had changed quite dramatically withinTibetan Studies, and in the end, the quality of what I have been able to produce has been greatly enhanced because of the delay. Whereas there had been very few dictionaries when I first began working on the book, several excellent ones have since become available. Many fine historical sources have been published since the early 1990s as numerous excellent scholars have labored to investigate particular chapters on Tibetan history. A virtual blizzard of interest in Tibet has inspired publications on all dimensions of Tibetan life. Furthermore, the Internet has become a veritable cornucopia of information about Tibet, much of it reliable. In this connection, I should mention the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (www.tbrc.org) run by the inestimable E. Gene Smith and the Tibetan and Himalayan Library (www.thlib.org) at the University of Virginia, as being particularly helpful sources for my research. All of these changes have enabled me to create a far better, but undoubtedly still flawed, translation of this classic text.
My translation, despite its having grown to nearly unforgiveable heft, cannot be said to be the last word on Tsepon Shakabpa's history. A variety of other scholarly works have appeared in English and other western languages since the publication of Tsepon Shakabpa book in Tibetan in 1976. Moreover, a large number of historical, biographical, and other sources in Tibetan—including a large cache of material that had been concealed at Drepung Monastery until recent years—have since become available. Perhaps, Tsepon Shakabpa would have changed some of his views if more of these texts had been available to him. If my time and the publisher's space were unlimited, a detailed comparison of the differences between these sources and Shakabpa's account would have provided an interesting added dimension to this work. However, this would have expanded the length of the book beyond all reasonable limits. Likewise, it is beyond the scope of the present work to discuss the criticisms of the book and the contrary views advanced by pro-Chinese historians or the Chinese government. If I had undertaken those sorts of inquiries, a third volume of 700 pages and three more years could easily have been required.--From Introduction by Translator Derek F. Maher
Excerpt from author, Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa: AFTERWORD
As a final comment, I will briefly recount [our] genuine aspirations. If those who read this book continuously investigate well, there is no doubt they will be able to understand the political status of Tibet clearly. However, it is not sufficient merely for mature young people who are patriotic and courageous to understand our political history. Instead, they should gradually progress, step by step, towards independence in accordance with the real state of affairs, having the courage that is never disheartened at all.
Our own greatest disappointment came in relation to my three appeals to the United Nations; as I gradually working toward a resolution, I felt great sadness when our requests were set aside, unlike the treatment received in the great capitals of most of our allies. Some people say that since there was no Chinese Communist delegate participating in the United Nations, there was no need to engage in empty talk in the absence of a defendant, [something that would have been as impossible] as clapping with one hand. Others say that after the Indian government refused to take the lead in helping us [with our United Nations appeals], there was no force [behind the initiative]. Since the Chinese Communists have now entered the United Nations, they have a representative there; thus, there is no point in assigning blame. It would be best if the Indian government would take the lead in helping us. There can be no satisfaction in taking the lead during difficult times. However, if the essential matter of Tibet can be brought before the United Nations every year, under the auspices of nations that have taken the lead in the past, then knowledge of our situation will remain alive. I think this is a great necessity. United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld gave us advice such as that it was important to make an appeal year after year, whether or not we had political success. Nonetheless, at some point, we will no longer need to make appeals on the political issues or for some other necessity.
From the 15th to the 19th centuries, many powerful nations have engaged in a great contest of expansionism and colonialism. However, now in the twentieth century, scores of nations have gained independence. Recently, several countries have gained independence, such as Guinea Bissau, which was under the rule of Portugal. Others have a great aspiration of obtaining freedom soon, such as Angola.
In 1959, when we made the initial appeal to the United Nations concerning the matter of Tibet, there were no more than eighty nations. These days there are about one hundred and thirty; they are not newly formed nations in the world, like mushrooms that have sprouted suddenly in a field. Rather, those nations have remained under colonial rule by imperial nations for centuries. Henceforth, independence will only come about as a result of the legitimate facts. Many patriotic and courageous peoples of those countries have continuously struggled to contend with difficult circumstances. Countries with which they have relations have constantly made appeals to the United Nations. And [their independence] was the result of their supporters' efforts.
Every year in the United Nations, issues of colonialism or human rights are brought before the General Assembly. Likewise, many powerful nations, such as Russia or India, constantly express criticism opposing colonial governments or white-rule governments that prevail in Africa or work to support peoples of limited experience. However, while that is so, India's next door neighbor, Tibet, an independent country living in peace in accordance with its religion, has been made into a new colony by the Chinese communists. It is a profound disappointment that not even a hint of a word has been spoken about this gobbling.
Without a restoration of Tibet's independence, there is no way at all for India to achieve a stable peace. Consequently, there will be grave difficulties both politically and economically. While that unfolds, the leaders of India's government and the public at large have come to a clear realization. Not only that, but everyone will realize that there is no way to bring peace to all of the nations of southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Taking these facts as a foundation, it is extremely important for us to create good relations with and issue appeals to India, not to mention our neighbors Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Outer Mongolia, Russia, and so forth. Likewise, I think it is very important to create good relations with and issue appeals to Buddhist countries—like Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea—and to nations with which we have had relations in the past, like England and the United States.
As for India, which is like our second homeland, we have never wanted to create any pointless difficulties or hardships for the Indian government. However, foreign aggression has come to our land. While the Tibetan people at large have become slaves of the Han nationality and the Tibetan nationality is being utterly eradicated, there is no choice but for us to undertake a prolonged appeal for the purpose of reviving our independence. On top of that, it must be requested that the exile-government of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India should be recognized as the republican government of all three regions of Tibet.
Furthermore, I wish to make significant points clear to the leaders of the government of Communist China. Since China has entered the United Nations, international law must be accepted and put into practice. Also, according to some people, a person must be acknowledged as a dreamer if they say, "A small country like Tibet must become independent from a powerful country like China." But is it not like that. This is not to say that we are going to separate from the nation of China. With legitimate facts, I am saying that we are a separate nationality (mi rigs), with a distinct language, who are independent. For example, independence has been gained even by small countries of only two or three hundred thousand people each, such as Malta and Fiji Islands, which became independent from Britain. These days, that has come about in dependence upon a policy in which countries need not remain as colonies in the world. It is not the case that the weak need to give their independence to Britain. These days, all large and small countries hope that the United Nations has become the place where legal matters can be explained with respect to whether or not a country should be subsumed in another.
If the United Nations does nothing but monitor the gobbling up of Tibet by the Chinese Communists and issue appeals, then the place with the grand name "United Nations" is nothing but a place where great nations play politics. If we did not continually agitate for independence and issue calls from within legitimate facts, then there would be no way at all someone could say, "You must make us independent!"
However, if it is asked what sort of path to independence we must walk and what kind of work we need to do, the officials of the government, the national representatives, and all lay and monastic Tibetans must come together on the single point of internal unity under the righteous guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Without engaging in mere formalized services of respect or in flattery, people must strive with sincerity. In addition, in the past we have struggled to overcome difficulties in regards to our freedom and independence. These days, in our acts and our behavior, we must proceed on a path towards independence by following the fine example of an agricultural village [in that we work cooperatively], whatever may befall us.
For example, in addressing a person's hunger, there is no benefit from a republic of food. Just as it is necessary to eat, so there is no benefit to explaining by mouth "Independence! Independence!" Instead, one must actually put it into practice. In the advice offered by the Dalai Lama among the many pieces of evidence presented during ceremonies and religious discourses, he has repeatedly said:
If we ourselves strive, nothing is hopeless. Moreover, we can be confident that we will achieve our final ultimate objective. Consequently, everyone must strive without relaxing. We will recline contentedly in our independent country. Those who wait around never achieve reconciliation. In order to gain independence, it will take hard work. Through striving by yourself, you should obtain [independence.]
Accordingly, there is no doubt we will achieve a restoration of our independence because of all the changes in the world today. Moreover, we are progressing towards our ever greater aspirations which will be achieved quickly.
In particular, in order to offer special encouragement to our maturing young kinsmen, people with elevated qualities of innate intelligence and learning ability have engaged in advanced study in order to become specialists. Thereby they will be able to work for the develop our own country in the future in terms of politics, economics, science, and military arts. Also, those with an advanced ability to learn, without abiding in indolent slothfulness, are indispensible in developing the prosperity of the country in work relating to industry, farming, animal husbandry, and so forth. Thus, such people have completed their training in those areas. It is necessary to realize a firm motivation and vow to achieve one's own livelihood at the present time and to be able to serve one's own country in the future. Indeed, those are responsibilities that attach to all Tibetans, young and old. Yet, even as one performs the work, one becomes capable of doing it. Milarepa's biography says:
When he and a traveling companion went from Mangyül Gungtang to Tsang in order to study sorcery (mthu), his mother went a long way to see him off. Along the road, they had a departing beer. His mother said many things to "my friend." In particular, she pulled him aside; unable to bear the separation of a mother and a son, she took him in her hands and held him. While sobbing, she said:
Look at the fate of a mother and son! We'll see what comes of the sorcery rituals performed in our land. Their sorcery is not like ours! Darling child, they are the sorcery of arrogance, while we, a mother and child, have the sorcery of our own troubles. Thus, generate fortitude! If someday, it comes to pass that the signs of your sorcery in our land are reversed, then I, an old woman, will seek to die, having committed suicide in front of you.
Likewise, the learning of other nationalities is not like our Tibetan nationality.
The Chinese Han people have committed acts of aggression in our country, where they have absolutely no rights. The owners of our country, the monastic and lay Tibetans, the men and women, the young and old are compelled to labor wherever there is a need as if they were animals. Consider in detail the miserable situation in which they are being fed like a dog and worked like a donkey throughout the day and the night! Certainly it is critical that people serve in whatever way they can, wherever they are needed, holding their lineage in their heart, studying, and campaigning.
Also, to those who have been able to universities or lower schools, when you are able to work for our government as needed or work for the future, do whatever is best. If the government has no work for you, there is no point at all in acting with arrogance, in a rebellious fashion, and so forth. In general, understanding just those good qualities is the result of working hard.
On the other hand, some people have a chance to go to school or university in reliance on the means of our government; they should be content to learn just those good qualities and they should see the benefits to that opportunity. Those who do not find a job can temporarily earn their living in the private sector. People should consider the benefits for reviving our independence if all people contribute according to their ability. In particular, I also exhort all to strive to undertake a host of actions, such as creating books that will permit the increased study of all the areas of modern knowledge, such as science, in the Tibetan language; relatedly, I exhort Tibetans, whether they live in India or other foreign countries to respect local laws and to associate with their neighbors as siblings.
Still, in order to appeal to all of our kinsmen, I have repeatedly admonished people that they must protect and preserve our excellent and unique religion, culture, customs, and habits, without permitting them to deteriorate. Even if these days we are underdeveloped compared to the world at large in terms of politics, economics, power, and science, the compassion of the series of religious kings in Tibet and the kind translators and scholars, relying on Buddhism, have induced both a logical understanding of the meaning of the mind and a good mental continuum harboring our excellent habits. Nonetheless, there are many satisfactory people in every developed part of Tibet, people who are able to take the lead in confronting difficulties, people who are not coarse, and people who do not lie, steal, and cheat.
What need is there to mention the traditional techniques for making statues—such as how to make clay images with the proportions specified in the sutras and tantras, how to caste bronze, and how to hammer limbs—and making stupas, how to make thankas (scroll paintings) having the correct proportions, making articles fashioned from gold, silver, iron, or copper, how to engrave iron, how to do bas relief on those, how to do relief work on pitchers, how to carve woodblocks for texts, how to fashion types of wool garments, carpets, and so forth, how to work with dyes, how to make medicinal compounds and incense, performing the hand signs of rituals, and performing melodies. In brief, it is critically important to increase the study and preserve the practice of all kinds of our distinctive customs, including drama and the singing and dancing in opera. These days, all the countries in the world are undergoing transformations in general. However, aside from the country of the Chinese Communists, people are also working to preserve and popularize the traditional practices. Moreover, I have never said we must obstinately adhere to the traditional practices alone. Not only must people increase the study and preserve the practice of the virtuous Buddhist practices, such as the practices relating to our religion, culture, and habits, but they also must abandon all the things that are harmful. Still, I hope that we will be able to definitely adopt all the beneficial features of politics, science, and the like that accord with the modern revolutionary practices of the developed nations of the world.
India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said:
British people think they and their country are the very best, and French people think that their country and their people are the best. Similarly, the Germans and the Italians also think that their countries are immeasurably the best. Indians think India is the largest and the best among the many in the world. That is just how people are. However, in fact, there is no way to know what is even a little special about your own people. Regarding that, one must search for and take hold of whatever is good, and one must try to abandon whatever is faulty. Certainly, one will regard one's own country with special regard and will see as supreme one's responsibility to one's country.
Not only that, but His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered advice at the seventh memorial of the thirteenth [Dalai Lama]:
You might ask why we should want to have a government. While we are attached to our own society, at the same time, private individuals can accomplish things with effort; yet, there are some things that private individuals cannot accomplish. Primarily, the abilities of people are connected to one another; taking the desired arrangement as a basis, the strength of the collection is the highest form of public organization. Consequently, this thing called a "government" is what is desired.
Thus, the most capable public organization, which is the abode of all public and private welfare, must be the government. It is extremely important that the public understand clearly the essence of the government. If I were to provide a brief clear explanation about what the essence of our Tibetan government is like at present, I would say that our government is simply a religio-political government, but also it is a government that is mainly for the people. In other words, our government is not a royal government. It is not a government that is held by a lineage of nobles. Nor is it a government that is held by a lineage of lamas. This is an independent, democratic, popular government. The essence of our government is like this, and that must be understood by all of you [Tibetans], monastics and lay people, men and women.
Also, the Dalai Lama continued, saying:
What sort of people are a part of our public? They are people that love our government, and they have affection for it; thereby they rely on it with respect. Moreover, there is no doubt whatsoever that they will work to support our government completely, with thorough trust from their hearts. In considering the democratic Tibetan government, there are only the people; in working to achieve it, there is only the general welfare of Tibet. Thus, every single one of the six million Tibetan people, in Tibet or in exile, consistently respects and supports our government here in Dharamsala, in the Punjab," India.
Accordingly, our organized government and the people must mutually work to assist each other. If the two come into opposition, there will be no way at all to achieve the objectives of the Tibetan public.
Consequently, when some people offer opinions and encouragement, they undertake an investigation of what is suitable. If they immediately display selfless disdain by wrinkling their noses and pursing their lips in disapproval, they will be unable to make requests later. They seek the destruction of our independent democracy. I think it is extremely important to persist in investigating all petitions, now and in the future.
The great fifth Dalai Lama said:
Without seeking knowledge in detail from the past,
One could come to a decision about right and wrong, without inquiring for long.
Thereupon, one sees some things as friends and others as enemies; Then one falls into the ocean of regret.
Thus, one should consider this very carefully.
The supreme grandfather of India, Mahatma Gandhi said:
Moreover, it is necessary to generate a discernment regarding all common people as brothers. There is no point to having a way of life in which people lack positive traditional customs. People must venerate their own supreme practices as being positive traditional customs, and they must have the nature of humility. There is no way to refute or criticize an independence that arises from good customs, humility, and an absence of protecting one's own accumulated wealth. Pure customs and purifying mental obscurations, those are supreme paths for people to pursue. Passionate sectarianism and complete discursiveness lead to a dark path. They provide the common foundation from which oneself is thrown into destruction.
And grandfather Gandhi also said:
The actual people who adhere to traditional ways of life and those who are strictly obedient to their discipline are the ones who should undertake a detailed study of the sentiments of citizens. In dependence upon having respect for discipline, they prepare themselves to enter the good path of the sacred and the profane. Not only are those who adhere to traditional ways of life able to set aside their own interests, but they certainly must be able even to set aside their own life.
I have come to think that those pieces of advice were spoken especially for us in our time. One must have respect for the laws of a country in general and the words of the Dalai Lama in particular, and one must completely put them into practice.
Absolute unity is nothing but the condition of independence. Thus, we have not reached this level in our politics at present. That is not so even in my own country. In the present weak condition of our economy, the relationship between the government and the people on the one hand and between close friends among the people have been used to provoke political problems, as deceptive economic issues, and so forth. Moreover, it is amazing to hear of all contentious divisions arising from allegiance to our respective religious systems or tribalism based on our province, region, or locality, the baseless rumors of uncooperativeness among the old government officials, and the blind loyalty to different cliques. Those who would destroy the internal unity of all of us and our kinsmen have come from within and without. Since this is inevitable, we must be cautious, like a wounded animal.
In particular, we aggressively condemn all those things disconnected from the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the suspect things that are not done under the auspices of the government, and the crooked irreligious things. There has been all sorts of meaningless talk, such as people are led astray by money, the tyranny of mass movements, and the babbling of perverse explanation. Where there is a danger of such things occurring, they are possible. The omniscient [first Dalai Lama] Gendün Drup said:
Friends who follow after me,
Without coming to be partial,
Investigate and remain unbiased.
It is great that they can enter an honest path!
Accordingly, without being led astray like a rabbit frightened without cause or by deceptive rumors, I have applied myself to undertake a detailed study of the reasons. It is of the utmost importance that we must be able to remain faithful to truth without error.
Above, I have taken the political history of the great nation of Tibet, Land of Snows, and the actual situation that existed in the past and in recent times as the foundation. If with these expressions, together with my own general wish, I—an experienced old man of nearly seventy years called Wangchuk Deden, of the Shakabpa lineage, an old noble family, whose members have earned their livelihood through the kindness of the Tibetan government Ganden Podrang from generation to generation—summon everyone with the good altruistic attitude, then they will become settled in correct thinking. Also, if there are errors, illusions, or mistakes, such as lacking skill in expression that would offend the body, speech, and mind, I beseech the reader for forbearance. From my own side, even though I have become a little weary from recounting this history, I am pleased and proud, thinking I have been fortunate to undertake such an immense and meaningful labor.
In the Tibetan royal year of 2102, on the international date of May 25, 1975, in the 949th year of the sixteenth sexagenary cycle, the raksasa year in Sanskrit, the sinbu (srin bu) demon year in the terminology of the Todrel (stod 'brel) commentary, in the female wood hare year in accordance with the Sphere of Divination,` and on the Saga Dawa Holiday 2519 years after our compassionate teacher [Buddha] passed into nirvana in the city of Kusinagar,d and in the town of Darjeeling in the territory to the West Bengal, from the Buddhist area nestled in the Himalayan Mountains, I have completed this work at my own home, Shakabpa House in Kalimpong, in synchrony with the marvelous time of the gracious invited visit of the great omniscient protector and refuge, the single deity of the land of snows [the Dalai Lama] whose friendship is not met with by transmigrating beings and gods.
Buddhism and Empire: The Political and Religious Culture of Early
Tibet by Michael L. Walter
(Brill's Tibetan Studies Library: Brill Academic)
This book convincingly reassesses the role of political
institutions in the introduction of Buddhism under the Tibetan
Empire (c. 620-842), showing how relationships formed in the
Imperial period underlie many of the unique characteristics of
traditional Tibetan Buddhism. Taking original sources as a point of
departure, the author persuasively argues that later sources
hitherto used for the history of early Tibetan Buddhism in fact
project later ideas backward, thus distorting our view of its
Following the pattern of Buddhism’s spread elsewhere in Asia, the early Tibetan imperial court realized how useful normative Buddhist concepts were.
This work clearly shows that, while some beliefs and practices per se changed after the Tibetan Empire, the model of socio-political-religious leadership developed in that earlier period survived its demise and still constitutes a significant element in contemporary Tibetan Buddhist religious culture.
Excerpt: This is a study of early Tibetan religion. Because we understand a religion through the culture it lives in, this study is framed in the relationship between the political, social and religious values of a people. Anthropologists realize this, which is why we have, in general, learned much more about Tibetan religion from their efforts than we have from the work of textologists, whose primary activity has been to interpret doctrine, and who are often only exegetes. Research into authentically early sources shows that the principal context in which religion functioned during the period of the Tibetans' entry into history was as part of their political culture. Thus, we must address this relationship in order to understand the function and nature of Buddhism in Tibet.
Tibetan religion, and especially Tibetan Buddhism, has been extensively studied. From an early date this activity was the domain of Indologists, who saw Tibetan translations as a resource for studying Buddhist texts whose original versions in Indic languages were lost. This involved little need to understand the bases of Tibetan religion, or the subtle interactions that contacts between Indic and Tibetan religious concepts would have occasioned. Sinologists, Asian historians, and, most recently, Buddhist studies specialists have also occasionally researched the circumstances responsible for the shape Buddhism has taken in Tibet. Much of their research has been directed to the study of developments in Tibet that relate to Indian and Chinese religious traditions. The over-all focus of these studies has been on doctrinal and sectarian developments.
Research by social scientists has tended to be complementary to these interests. They have usually centered on the function of religious traditions on a local level and within Tibet's social structures. A few monographs have explored Tibet's unique politico-religious history, with the important implications this has for its relations with Nepal and Central Asia, the Mongols and Manchus. The methods employed in these works have been of a different order than those of Buddhist scholars and philologists. Buddhism in Tibet, in its later social and political contexts, has only occasionally been well studied.
All these approaches have points in common with the study of religion among other peoples of Central Eurasia. Those disconnects in data and context which have adversely affected the diachronic study of religion and politics among many peoples are also found in Tibetan studies. Most of these are the result of historians, religionists, and social scientists staking out areas so as to define the boundaries and nature of selected phenomena within their purview. For example, historians often describe a ruler or dynasty in simplistic terms, as strictly following or favoring this or that religion. Religionists complement this by often defining and then concentrating on 'traditions' or `-isms'—their relationship with others, how their followers behave as a unit in following certain doctrines or beliefs, etc.
These studies seem to make sense in some areas, especially when there is a vast written tradition. For example, China has produced a vast amount of self-referential material, and India also has a wealth of written sources. It has sometimes seemed easy to draw from them conclusions about the social and political dimensions of their religious beliefs. However, peoples who built vast empires in Central Eurasia, such as the Scythians, Turks, Xiongnu and Mongols, have left little detailed evidence for us to understand their religious beliefs on their own terms. Because of this, in many cases very little progress has been made in these studies, with many of the same things being said about these peoples and their beliefs today that were written when Western scholarship on them began.
Such an approach has also been characteristic of Tibetan studies. Most efforts to study Tibet's religious history do not take into account social and political contexts. (Earlier research often was influenced by Jung, for example. Ronald Davidson is a scholar who has recently engaged in presenting a more comprehensive viewpoint.) Likewise, when the religio-political beliefs of specific Tibetan times, areas, and leaderships are examined, it has usually been only on the basis of documents from one tradition and time. The search for general patterns and historical continuities has not been pursued. This shows the need for the present effort to identify some early social and political structures that became abiding elements in the form that religion, especially Buddhism, has taken in Tibet.
To begin with, among the most obvious characteristics which define Tibetan Buddhism are the power and place of the Bodhisattva Avalokitegvara, and the dominant position of monks in society. Closely related with these is the institution of the sprul sku or 'incarnate lama'. How and why did these institutions develop, and what do they tell us about the relationship between Buddhism and Tibetan culture? The power of these beliefs cannot at all be adequately accounted for by looking only at normative Buddhist doctrine or literature. To understand how these beliefs developed as they did we need to look at the broader context in which they functioned, and still do function.
These characteristics are deeply rooted and resilient. Their persistence must rest on a connection with ancient cultural values which have long determined the place of religion in society. We can demonstrate this if we can find models for these beliefs and the structures around them in ancient times. Since the Buddhist traditions listed above represent sets of political and social leadership as well as expressions of religiosity, it is necessary to look at the intersection of religion, politics, and society in their early expressions to find the bases for their present importance.
It order to find these intersections, my book examines various politi-cal and religious beliefs through several categories. This is one method which may help us understand interrelationships among the scarce early data we have; it would be difficult to appreciate the complexity of these important concepts only on the basis of a serial examination of sources. The categories pursued in this work are, in order, the historical/cultural, terminological, and ritual. The fourth category covers important concepts that are even more isolated; data about them are so scattered that creating a broader context for their understanding is highly problematic. This plurality of approaches acknowledges what studies of politics and religion have almost always revealed: that there is no single system to account for the elements of great polities; no one approach can be expected to make sense of the political and religious elements found at a court or in a multi-ethnic society.
Each chapter ends with concluding remarks and methodological observations about the study of religion in early Tibet.
We know that religion adapts to varying conditions over time. Many beliefs and practices have come into being and disappeared as political and social realities have changed. Therefore, this work must analyze its sources and data in a chronological manner. The few documents verifi-ably from the Imperial period provide the basis for this analysis; they are supplemented by later Tibetan sources and data from surrounding cultures which have been chosen because they help create a context for understanding early Tibetan politics and religion.
Even though Buddhism has provided many constants of Tibetan culture, the key to understanding its role is to observe its adaptations over time. Thus, connections with more recent political and religious systems are briefly discussed, in particular in Chapters Three and Four.
The nature of our sources, their paucity and the various agendas they represent, requires that we orient our efforts around specific topics, as described above. Thus, the organization of the chapters is topical. In addition, in order to examine details of belief and practice in different contexts, some topics are addressed from different points of view at several places in this work. References to chapters and endnotes, as well as the index, connect the reader to other discussions of the topic.
Bibliographic references are generally limited to sources and studies directly pertinent to the topics discussed. In general, earlier studies have based their interpretations of religion in early Tibet on later mythological and cosmological traditions, which until now have been the chief source of such information. These later sources have actually preserved few accurate memories of the lives and reigns of these fig-ures, as is shown in this book and in a few specialized studies which compare the truly ancient sources with later literature. Since we have no reason to believe that these later Tibetan works provide accurate materials for understanding the political and religious life of the early period they pretend to inform us about, I have generally not included them or studies which depend upon them, unless they pertain specifically to points I discuss.
This work deals with the earliest period of Tibetan history for which we have data extensive enough to allow a reconstruction, albeit incomplete, of their society, and especially of its leadership. It is the hope of the author that those who read this book can picture this world with more clarity than previously possible, and can appreciate its unique qualities. It is only through such an approach that we can fairly judge both its distance from later Tibetan civilization as well as the degree to which it established models for the relationship between religion and politics which obtain until today in that culture.