Identity, Ritual and State in Tibetan Buddhism

The Foundations of Authority in Gelukpa Monasticism

By Martin A. Mills

© 2002 – Routledge

404 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415591386
pub: 2010-07-01
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780700714704
pub: 2002-11-07
US Dollars$190.00

About the Book

This is a major anthropological study of contemporary Tibetan Buddhist monasticism and tantric ritual in the Ladakh region of North-West India and of the role of tantric ritual in the formation and maintenance of traditional forms of state structure and political consciousness in Tibet.

Containing detailed descriptions and analyses of monastic ritual, the work builds up a picture of Tibetan tantric traditions as they interact with more localised understandings of bodily identity and territorial cosmology, to produce a substantial re-interpretation of the place of monks as ritual performers and peripheral householders in Ladakh. The work also examines the central and indispensable role of incarnate lamas, such as the Dalai Lama, in the religious life of Tibetan Buddhists.


'Martin A. Mills's account takes the reader … through a tour de force exposition of Tibetan culture, society, and religion.' - The Journal of Asian Studies

Table of Contents

Part I: The Face of Monasticism

Part II: Truth and Hierarchy in Tantric Ritual

Part III: Local Rites

Part IV: Authority and the Personin Gelukpa Monasticism

Part V: Ideology, Ritual and State

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Tantric Traditions

Routledge Studies in Tantric Traditions is a major new monograph series which has been established to publish scholarship on south, east and southeast Asian tantric traditions. The series aims to promote the serious study of both Hindu and Buddhist tantric traditions through the publication of anthropological and textual studies and will not be limited to any one method. Indeed, the series would hope to promote the view that anthropological studies can be informed by texts and textual studies informed by anthropology. The series will therefore publish contemporary ethnographies from different regions, philological studies, philosophical studies, and historical studies of different periods which contribute to the academic endeavour to understand the role of tantric texts and their meaning in particular cultural contexts. In this way, the series will hope to establish what the continuities and divergencies are between Buddhist and Hindu tantric traditions and between different regions. The series will be a major contribution to the fields of Indology, Sinology, History of Religions, and Anthropology.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General