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Arrow and the Spindle: Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet
By: Samten Karmay
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About the author
This book opens with some studies of previously unknown royal edicts that shed light on early Buddhist practices testifying to the expansion of the Tibetan Empire (Part I).
The author then reflects upon the origin of Dzogchen philosophy (Part II) and examines the Bon
-religion considered as the source of Dzogchen philosophy (Part lll).-
A previously untouched subject in Tibetan studies is the relation between the origin of myths and popular rituals that convey the ancient beliefs that are still intac underneath the surface of Lamaistic tradition, particularly that of the mountain cult amongst the laity. The author gives a comprehensive analysis of this cultural and religious complex (Part IV).
This leads to the studies of the Gesar epic from an anthropological point o. view on the basic structure of the epic and its social organisation (Part V).
The author also dwells upon the subject of Tibet's reunification under the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama in the seventeenth century, and sees lamaistic government as the main cause of its gradual decline culminating in the total loss of its independence in the twentieth century (Part VI).
The Arrow and the Spindle, Karmay, Mandala Book Point, 600pp, $40.00
Born in Amdo, North-Eastern Tibet, and educated in a Bonpo Monastery, Samten G. Karmay studied Buddhist philosophy in Drepung, a monastic university in Central Tibet, until 1959. He was a Visiting Scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London where he had obtained M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees.
He has been Visiting Scholar in a number of academic institutions: Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris; Toyo Bunko, University of Tokyo and the University of Kyoto, Japan.
In 1981 he became Charg de Recherche in the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (C.N.R.S.), Paris and a member of Laboratoire d’ethnologie et de sociologie comparative, Universite de Paris-X. From 1989 he became a Directeur de Recherche in C.N.R.S. and was awared the 1990 Silver Medal of the C.N.R.S. for l’originalit et la qualite in his research. He has carried out several research missions in Tibet: Amdo in 1985, Central Tibet in 1987 and 1991; Khams and Amdoi in 1993; Central Tibet in 1995; India and Nepal in 1996. In 1995 he was elected President of the International Association for Tibetan Studies at its 7th Congress in Graz, Austria.
He is the author of several books including
The Great Perfection, A Philosophical and Meditative Teaching of Tibetan Buddhism
Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama
. He has also published over forty articles on various aspects of Tibetan civilization in English, French and Tibetan.
Arrow and the Spindle
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