Williams College
Religion 245
Georges Dreyfus
Fall 2007


Full attendance/ participation in class (up to 40%), three essays (60%; Keep a hard copy of any essay you submit). I also expect you to be prepared, ready to raise questions about the material, answer questions and discuss the issues involved. You may be put on the spot. Attendance will be taken and you are allowed a maximum of two absences. After that, your grade will be seriously affected or you may even be asked to leave the class. Sport engagements do not constitute acceptable excuses. Finally, check regularly your e-mail, as I may modify the readings and raise new questions. The honor code applies fully to this class.

Required Books

Kapstein, The Tibetans. Lhalungpa, The Life of Milarepa. Lopez, Religions of Tibet in Practice. Schwartz, Circle of Protest. Powers, Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Lobzang Gyatso, Memoirs of a Tibetan Lama. Lopez, Prisoners of Shangrila.

Plus, reading packet available from Stetson hall.

Outline of Class Topics and Readings

( Readings should be done in the prescribed order)

A) The empire and the introduction of Buddhism

Background: Tibet : inhabitants and environment

Kapstein, The Tibetans, 1-26.

Class 1 The origins

Readings :

The Tibetans, 27-63; Lopez, Religions of Tibet in Practice, 69-73; Gyatso, "Down with the Demoness" (xerox); Sonam Gyeltsen, The Clear Mirror, 75-83 (xerox).

Class 2 The Buddhicization of the empire

Readings :

The Tibetans, 63-83; Religions of Tibet, 77-84; The Clear Mirror, 107-110, 230-233 (xerox).

B) Tibetan Buddhism

Class 3 Basic Buddhist ideas

Readings :

The Tibetans, 215-218; Religions of Tibet, 355-368; IIIrd. Dalai Lama, Essence of Refined Gold, 87-91, 101-108, 123-142 (xerox).

Suggested: Powers, Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 23-112.

Class 4 Tantric Buddhism

Readings :

The Tibetans, 224-231; Religions of Tibet , 178-187, 271-285, 548-552; Essence of Refined Gold, 169-176 (xerox).

Look at buddhas and bodhisattvas and tantric deities (Cakrasamvara, Vajrayogini,, Hevajra) and mandalas at www.tibetart.com and at www.himalayanart.com

Suggested: Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 219-317.

Class 5 The end of the empire and the second spread of Buddhism

Readings :

The Tibetans, 84-101; Karmay, "Ordinance of Lha La-ma Ye-shes od" (xerox); Religions of Tibet, 157-186.

Class 6 Lineages and the formation of schools

Readings :

The Tibetans, 231-237; Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 346-352; Lhalungpa, The Life of Milarepa, 203, 13-79, 89-127, 153-157, 166-173.

Suggested: Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 352-374.

Class 7 The Nying-ma tradition and the configuration of the religious field

Readings :

Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 318-334; Tulku Thondup, Hidden Teachings of Tibet, 45-93 (xerox); Samuel, Civilized Shamans, 270-289 (xerox).

Suggested: Vostrikov, Tibetan Historical Literature (xerox); Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 334-345.

Class 8 Buddhism, Bon and popular religion

Readings :

The Tibetans, 205-215, 237-243; Kvaerne, The Bon Religion of Tibet (xerox); Diemberger, "Mountain-deties, Ancestral Bones and Sacred Weapons" (xerox)l; Religions of Tibet, 39-48, 401-406, 200-211.

First Film: Saltmen of Tibet.

First Essay: The transformation of Tibet into a Buddhist society.

Class 9 Tibet, Shangrila and other dreams

Readings :

Lopez, Prisoners of Shangrila, 1-45, 86-113, 181-196; The Life of Marpa, 146-155, 171-176 (xerox).

Suggested: Dreyfus, “Are We Prisoners of Shangrila?” (xerox).

C) Traditional Tibetan society

Class 10 The Sakya supremacy: religion and politics

Readings :

The Tibetans, 101-116; Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 377-391; Wylie, "The First Mongol Conquest of Tibet" (xerox); Shakaba, Tibet, 61-72 (xerox)

Class 11 The reincarnated lama institution

Readings :

The Tibetans, 116-126; Wylie, "Reincarnation: a Political Innovation" (xerox); van der Kujip, “The Dalai-Lamas and the Origins of the Reincarnate Lamas,” 19-29 (xerox);

Suggested: Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 283-309; CTN, "Tibetan factions come to blow" (xerox).

Class 12 The rise of the Ge-luk and the Dalai-Lama institution

Readings :

Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, 402-416; The Tibetans, 127-135;

"Biography of the Third Dalai Lama" (xerox).

Suggested: Heller, “The Second Dalai-Lama” (xerox).

Class 13 The Vth Dalai-Lama: apex of a civilization?

Readings :

The Tibetans, 127-139, 244-268; van der Kujip, “The Dalai-Lamas and the Origins of the Reincarnate Lamas,” 15-19 (xerox); Schaeffer, “The Fifth Dalai-Lama” (xerox).

Suggested: Sperling, "Orientalism and Aspects of Violence of Tibetan Tradition" (xerox).

Class 14 The rule of the Dalai-Lamas and the nature of the Tibetan state

Readings :

The Tibetans, 140-168, 188-194; Goldstein, History of Modern Tibet, 1-20 (xerox); Samuel, Civlized Shamans, 55-63, 139-146 (xerox).

Suggested: Goldstein, "Religious Conflict in the Traditional Tibetan State" (xerox); Goldstein, "The Circulation of Estates in Tibet" (xerox).

Second Film: Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche and Religious Investiture of the Dalai Lama.

Class 15 Tibetan society

Readings :

Tibetans, 175-188 (xerox); Goldstein, "Serfdom and Mobility" (xerox); Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion (xerox).

Suggested: Yangtso Kyi, "Jourrnal of the Grassland" (xerox).

Second Essay: The institution of the reincarnated lama in socio-historical perspective.

Class 16 The Tibetan familial system and the place of women

Readings :

Aziz, "Some Notions about Descent" (xerox); Norbu, Warriors of Tibet,48-51, 69-77 (xerox); Goldstein, "Stratification, Polyandry and Family Structure in Central Tibet," 68-72 (xerox); Huber, "Why Can't Women Climb Pure Crystal Mountain?" (xerox).

Suggested: Gyatso and Havenick, Tibetan Women, 1-25 (xerox); Levine, Dynamics of Polyandry, 265-279 (xerox).

Class 17 Monastic life

Readings :

The Tibetans, 219-224; History of Modern Tibet, 21-37 (xerox); Lobzang Gyatso, Memoirs of a Tibetan Lama, 11-125, 145-179, 187-197, 230-242.

Also look at:


Suggested: Goldstein, "A Study of the lDab Dob" (xerox).

D) Tibetan modernity

Class 18 The encounter

Readings :

The Tibetans, 168-174, 267-290; Norbu, "The Tibetan Resistance Movement and the Role of the CIA" (xerox); Warriors of Tibet, 78-88, 104-123 (xerox).

Class 19 The “Great Transformation”

Readings :

Schwartz, Circle of Protest, 1-14; Shakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, 237-262, 320-324 (xerox); Avedon, In Exile from the Land of Snow, 238-265 (xerox); Goldstein, “The Revival of Monastic Life in Drepung,” 23-25 (xerox); Smith, "Nationality Policies of the Chinese Communist Party" (xerox).

Class 20 The Post-Mao era

Readings :

Schwartz, Circle of Protest, 14-78, 87-103, 121-131; The Tibetans, 291-300; Goldstein, “The Revival of Monastic Life in Drepung,” 25-47 (xerox).

Suggested: Havenick, "The Role of Nuns in Contemporary Tibet" (xerox).

Third Film: The Cup; Tibet's Stolen Child; Windhorse; Seven Days in Tibet.

Class 21 Which Tibet?

Readings :

Wang & Woser, Unlocking Tibet, 38-66; Tsering Shakya, "The Waterfall and Fragrant Flowers" (xerox); Don-grub-rgyal, "Waterfall of Youth" and "A Threadlike Path" (xerox); 'Ju sKal-bzang, "Tibet, Mother, Mani" & "The World Seen from Another Angle" (xerox); Karmay, "Mountain Cults and National Identity in Tibet (xerox).

Class 22 Nationalism and national identity in contemporary Tibet

Readings :

Circle of Protest, 218-231; Germano, "The Re-membering of the Dismembered Body of Tibet" (xerox); Dreyfus, "Tibetan Proto-nationalism" & "Tibetan Religious Nationalism," (xerox).

Third Film (suggested): The Cup; Tibet's Stolen Child; Windhorse; Seven Days in Tibet.

Class 23 Dalai Lama, exile identity and orientalism: who is prisoner of Shangrila?

Readings :

Huber, "Shangrila in Exile" (xerox); Lopez, Prisoners from Shangrila, 183-207; Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion (xerox); Dreyfus, “Are We Prisoners of Shangrila?” (xerox); Dreyfus, “From Protective Deities to International Stardom” (xerox).

Suggested: Dreyfus, "The Shuk-den Affair" (xerox).

Class 24 The contemporary political role of lamas

Readings :

Barnett, Cutting off the Serpent's Head (xerox) & "Beyond the Collaborator-Martyr Model" (xerox); Hessler, “Tibet Through Chinese Eyes" (xerox).

Suggested: Barnett, "Chen Kuiyan and the Marketisation of Policies" (xerox); Tournadre, "The Dynamics of Tibetan-Chinese Bilingualism" (xerox); Chinese visions of Tibet): Ma Yuan, "A Fiction" (xerox); Harrell, "Civilizing Projects" (xerox).

Third Essay: The contemporary situation and Tibetan nationalism.