By Geoffrey Samuel
This publication, the 1st complete account of Tibetan Buddhism in 20 years, levels as no different research has over a number of disciplines and languages, incorporating historic and anthropological dialogue. Viewing Tibetan Buddhism as one of many nice non secular and mental achievements of humanity, Samuel analyzes a fancy society that mixes the literacy and rationality linked to centralized states with the shamanic approaches extra well-known between tribal peoples.
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Extra resources for Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies
Thus within the 'shamanic Buddhist' perspective these culture-heroes appear as trans-historical sources of power and authority. At the same time, Tibetans, particularly monastic scholars, are well aware of the historical nature of people such as Guru Rimpoch'e or Sakya Pandita. As this suggests, many of those whom I have de scribed as shamanic culture-heroes can also be viewed in the perspec tive of clerical Buddhism, as human beings who lived at a specific time in the past and performed a series of actions recorded in the historical record.
R --t"(/) t'� �" B H U T A N '".... , _. R lv � ' � . --J• I -? � :> • _ ' "",,- . , . J · . J "". ,) \, TIB E T C H ENGDU C HINA TIBETAN SOCIETIES: INTRODUCTION AND CENTRAL TIBET Chapters 3 to 6 present the major regions of Tibetan population. For each region, I shall describe the various political structures and give an outline of their history. In Chapter 7, I look at the kinds of local communities (agricultural, pastoral, and urban) that existed within these regions in the premodern period.
The work of men such as Nagarjuna or Asatiga, great scholars by any rationalist criteria, is described in terms of yogic and Tantric practice and of revelations 20 SHAMANIC AND CLERICAL BUDDHISM from ntiga and bodhisattva (see, for example, Obermiller 1 93 2-1 933). C. than as an earthly projection or emanation of the universal cosmic archetype of Enlightenment. The vital point here is that a sufficiently powerful lama can always reestablish direct contact with these founding figures, who exist, rather like the Dreaming beings of the Australian Aborigines, on a different plane of reality that interpenetrates our ordinary reality.