The Formation of Female Religious Exemplars in Tibet

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project examines the process of formulating exemplary religious women’s life stories in
contemporary Tibet, focusing on an unprecedented fifteen-volume Tibetan language series published in
2013 by Tibetan nuns in Larung Gar, eastern Tibet, titled A Garland of White Lotuses: the Biographies
of the Great Female Masters of India and Tibet. The project builds on research highlighting the
importance of “the morality of exemplars” in Asian Buddhist societies by exploring its gendered
connotations through textual studies of these volumes and ethnographic fieldwork interviewing the nuns
who compiled and edited them. With the goal of furthering our understanding of the positions of women
and hagiographical practices in the context of the recent decades’ resurgence of Buddhism in Tibet, the
project seeks to examine what types of exemplars these volumes promote, the factors influencing the
nuns’ publishing agenda, and the reception these volumes are finding in their eastern Tibetan milieu.
Effective start/end date2/1/161/31/17


  • American Academy of Religion (Letter 1/15/16)


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