Civilized Shamans Buddhism in Tibetan Societies

ISBN-10: 1560986204

ISBN-13: 9781560986201

Edition: N/A

Authors: Geoffrey Samuel

List price: $27.95
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Civilized Shamans examines the nature and evolution of religion in Tibetan societies from the ninth century up to the Chinese occupation in 1950. Geoffrey Samuel argues that religion in these societies developed as a dynamic amalgam of strands of Indian Buddhism and the indigenous spirit-cults of Tibet. Samuel stresses the diversity of Tibetan societies, demonstrating that central Tibet, the Dalai Lama's government at Lhasa, and the great monastic institutions around Lhasa formed only a part of the context within which Tibetan Buddhism matured. Employing anthropological research, historical inquiry, rich interview material, and a deep understanding of religious texts, the author explores the relationship between Tibet's social and political institutions and the emergence of new modes of consciousness that characterize Tibetan Buddhist spirituality. Samuel identifies the two main orientations of this religion as clerical (primarily monastic) and shamanic (associated with Tantric yoga). The specific form that Buddhism has taken in Tibet is rooted in the pursuit of enlightenment by a minority of the people - lamas, monks, and yogins - and the desire for shamanic services (in quest of health, long life, and prosperity) by the majority. Shamanic traditions of achieving altered states of consciousness have been incorporated into Tantric Buddhism, which aims to communicate with Tantric deities through yoga. The author contends that this incorporation forms the basis for much of the Tibetan lamas' role in their society and that their subtle scholarship reflects the many ways in which they have reconciled the shamanic and clerical orientations. This book, the first full account of TibetanBuddhism in two decades, ranges as no other study has over several disciplines and languages, incorporating historical and anthropological discussion. Viewing Tibetan Buddhism as one of the great spiritual and psychological achievements of humanity, Samuel analyzes a complex society that combines the literacy and rationality associated with centralized states with the shamanic processes more familiar among tribal peoples.
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Book details

List price: $27.95
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date: 9/17/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 640
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 2.134
Language: English

Introduction: Shamanic and Clerical Buddhism
Tibetan and Theravadin Societies: A Comparison
Tibetan Societies: Introduction and Central Tibet
Tibetan Societies: K'am (Eastern Tibet)
Tibetan Societies: Amdo (Northeastern Tibet)
Tibetan Societies: Southern and Western Tibet
Tibetan Communities
Some Conclusions
The Ritual Cosmos and Its Inhabitants
The Folk Religion and the Pragmatic Orientation
The Karma Orientation, Rebirth, and Tibetan Values
Tantra and the Bodhi Orientation
The Lama and the Tantric Deities
Tantra and the Pragmatic Orientation
Lamas, Monks and Yogins
Folk Shamans, Terton, and Crazy Siddhas
Tibetan Religious Communities (Gompa)
Some Recent Lamas
From Structure to Process
India: Buddhist Beginnings
India: Mahayana Schools
India: Tantra and the Buddhist Siddhas
Tibet to A.D. 841
Tibet: The Local Hegemonic Period
Tibet: Mongol Overlordship
Tibet: Gelugpa Synthesis and Shamanic Reaction
Tibet: Gelugpa Power and the Rimed Synthesis
Epilogue: The Tibetans and Tibetan Religion Today
Appendix 1. The Monastic Population of Tibet
Guide to Tibetan Spelling
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