The Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China: A Political History of the Tibetan Institution of Reincarnation

The Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China: A Political History of the Tibetan Institution of Reincarnation

Peter Schwieger

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0231168527

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A major new work in modern Tibetan history, this book follows the evolution of Tibetan Buddhism's trülku (reincarnation) tradition from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, along with the Emperor of China's efforts to control its development. By illuminating the political aspects of the trülku institution, Schwieger shapes a broader history of the relationship between the Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China, as well as a richer understanding of the Qing Dynasty as an Inner Asian empire, the modern fate of the Mongols, and current Sino-Tibetan relations.

Unlike other pre-twentieth-century Tibetan histories, this volume rejects hagiographic texts in favor of diplomatic, legal, and social sources held in the private, monastic, and bureaucratic archives of old Tibet. This approach draws a unique portrait of Tibet's rule by reincarnation while shading in peripheral tensions in the Himalayas, eastern Tibet, and China. Its perspective fully captures the extent to which the emperors of China controlled the institution of the Dalai Lamas, making a groundbreaking contribution to the past and present history of East Asia.

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Authority of the First Jebdzundamba of Mongolia (1635–1723),” in Biographies of Eminent Mongol Buddhists: PIATS 2006: Proceedings of the Eleventh Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, ed. Johan Elverskog (Halle, Saale: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, 2008), 51; Agata Bareja-Starzyńska, “The Mongolian Incarnation of Jo nang pa Tāranātha Kun dga’ snying po: Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar Blo bzang bstan pa’i rgyal mtshan,” in The Earth Ox Papers:

buddha’s heaven. This donation was the seed capital of the trülku’s own household (labrang). Later, under the Fifth Dalai Lama, the name of the residence became synonymous with the Tibetan government and was still used in this sense even after the Dalai Lama and his government had moved to the Potala Palace. During Gendün Gyatso’s term of office, his biographers mention the support received from wealthy and influential aristocratic patrons. Foremost among them was the wife of the aforementioned

History and Culture, ed. Ernst Steinkellner and Helmut Tauscher, vol. 1, 339–356. Wien: Arbeitskreis für tibetische und buddhistische Studien Universität Wien. (Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, Heft 10.) . 1998. “Awe and Submission: A Tibetan Aristocrat at the Court of Qianlong.” The International History Review 20, no. 2: 325–335. . 2003. “Tibet’s Foreign Relations During the Epoch of the Fifth Dalai Lama.” In Lhasa in the Seventeenth Century: The Capital of the Dalai Lamas,

positively to the emperor’s demand that he respect the Panchen Lama as his lord. FIGURE 3.3   Detail from figure 3.2. This section of d’Anville’s map shows the border, as it had been established early in 1703, between Sichuan Province and Tibet along the Yalong River. Dartsedo or Dajianlu (打箭爐) appears on the map as Tatsienleou, Chengdu as Tschingtou, Batang as Pa, and Chamdo as Changtou. What then could have been the real reason the Panchen Lama refused to visit the emperor all those years?

to act as the sovereign ruler of Tibet, he had obviously overestimated his powers not only with respect to the emperor but also with respect to the Qoshots. In 1703, Lhapzang Qan, great-grandson of Gushri Qan, became the Qoshot ruler of Tibet. Lhapzang Qan was no longer content with the role of his predecessors, who had more or less withdrawn from any active involvement in politics. Because he was annoyed by the regent’s high-handed ways, a clash was inevitable. After an unsuccessful attempt by

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