The Holy Land RebornPilgrimage and the Tibetan Reinvention of Buddhist India

The Holy Land RebornPilgrimage and the Tibetan Reinvention of Buddhist India

Toni Huber

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226356488

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

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