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Remembering the Lotus-Born : Padmasambhava in the History of Tibet's Golden Age (Paperback) (Daniel A.
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Remembering the Lotus-Born sheds light on the work of Nyangral Nyima Öser (1124–92), one of the most influential, yet least known, figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. His pivotal work, Copper Island, is the story of how Buddhism came to Tibet, with the Indian tantric master Padmasambhava subduing the native spirits. Through his work, Padmasambhava and also Avalokitesvara were elevated to central importance in history, and treasure revelation and recognized reincarnations became institutions that define Tibetan identity.Tibetan and Western scholars alike have assumed that the Copper Island Biography of Padmasambhavais the first complete version of the Tibet's cultural origin narrative and was revealed as a treasure text. However, by investigating the sources of this narrative and performing the first thorough investigation of its author, Nyangral Nyima Öser,Remembering the Lotus-Born makes clear that the designation of the Copper Island as a treasure text obscures the complex of indigenous innovations that made its production possible.Rather than the wholesale invention or simple revelation of a new narrative, the Copper Island was the product of the Tibetan assimilation of core Indian Buddhist literary traditions that coalesced in Nyangral, who is renowned as among the first of the great Buddhist treasure revealers. In driving toward several unprecedented theses concerning Nyangral’s construction of the first Padmasambhava biography, Remembering the Lotus-Born looks at Nyangral’s contributions to hagiography in chapter 1, to reincarnation theory in chapter 2, to the treasure tradition in chapter 3, and to historiography in chapter 4. Drawing all these threads together, chapter 5 compares all available recensions of Nyangral’s Padmasambhava narrative to problematize long-held assumptions and clarify its origin and transmission.Since the Copper Island is not listed among the otherwise exhaustive inventories of his treasure recoveries, Hirshberg argues that Nyangral neither initially revealed it as treasure nor necessarily considered it to be one in his lifetime. In either case, Nyangral relied on old text fragments and popular songs as raw material, but it was the memory of his past life as Emperor Tri Songdetsen (r. ca. 755–800) that empowered him to formulate Tibet’s golden age as an epic starring Padmasambhava.
Number of Pages: 241
Genre: Religion + Beliefs
Series Title: Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Author: Daniel A. Hirshberg
Street Date: October 25, 2016
Item Number (DPCI): 248-42-3394