Synopses & Reviews
The most comprehensive collection of classic Tibetan works in a Western language, this volume illuminates the complex historical, intellectual, and social movements of Tibetan civilization from its earliest beginnings to the modern period. It includes more than 180 representative writings of the Tibetan tradition, more than half never before translated into English. The perfect introduction to Tibetan culture for nonspecialists, this anthology also adds greater depth to the research and understanding of more advanced scholars.
Selected texts span Tibet's vast geography and nearly thirteen hundred years of history, featuring a diverse range of authors including religious and lay leaders; scholastic philosophers and contemplative hermits; monks and nuns; poets and artists; aristocrats and commoners. Their works reflect Buddhist sources and their profound role in shaping Tibetan culture but also illustrate other major categories of traditional Tibetan knowledge: medicine, the practical arts, linguistics, logic, and epistemology. Thematically varied as well, selections treat topics such as history and historiography; political and social theory; law; rhetoric; aesthetic theory; narrative; travel and geography; folksong; and broad religious and philosophical themes, all in relation to the unique trajectories of Tibetan civil and scholarly discourse. The editors begin each chapter with an explanation of broader social and cultural contexts and introduce each translated text with a concise explanation of the material. Concluding with writings that extend into the early twentieth century, this volume provides a truly expansive encounter with Tibet's exceptional intellectual heritage.