The Abbot, or Ironing out History’s Wrinkles

Picking through a manuscript collection piece by piece can be painstaking work, but it’s rarely boring. I never cease to be amazed by the mere fact that these ancient things were written, used and reused by very different people who held them in their hands in a very different place and time.  And then there are the occasional magical moments, when you come across something really fascinating that nobody else has noticed before.

This happened to me a few months ago when I was compiling a catalogue with Kazushi Iwao. We were sifting painstakingly through the main series of Chinese manuscripts in the British Library, to see whether there were any Tibetan manuscripts in there that had been overlooked.  We came across something that looked sort of familiar… Something about Rasa (the old name of Lhasa) … something about a Brahmin called Ananta.

Aha! The penny dropped. This was part of the story of how Buddhism was introduced to Tibet by the tsenpo Tri Song Detsen. It looked very similar to the version of that story in an important and early Buddhist history called  The Testament of Ba. A quick check of that text revealed that yes, this was a fragment of the Testament of Ba.

Now this was exciting (to us at least) because nobody knows when the Testament of Ba was written. Though everyone agrees that it’s an early history, the oldest manuscript that’s been found is from the 12th or 13th century (this version is called the Dba’ bzhed). The fragment we’d found could well be from the 9th century, taking us to only a short while after the actual reign of Tri Song Detsen.

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The fragment tells the story of how the abbot Śāntarakṣita was invited to Tibet by Tri Song Detsen. This was the first stage of the tsenpo’s adoption of Buddhism, overturning the anti-Buddhist policies of his ministers. But when the abbot arrived in Lhasa, Tri Song Detsen had second thoughts, and was worried that this foreigner might be bringing black magic or spirits with him. So the abbot was confined to the Jokhang temple, and interviewed by a minister.

Since the abbot didn’t speak Tibetan, an interpreter had to be found. After a search, a fellow called Ananta was discovered. He was in Tibet because his father had been convicted of a serious crime in Kashmir and had been exiled. So Ananta became the interpreter as the abbot was questioned for three months about his doctrines. Eventually the minister assured Tri Song Detsen that the abbot posed no threat, and he was allowed to begin his task of establishing Buddhism in Tibet.

Now I don’t know about you, but that story doesn’t seem the most auspicious starting-point for Buddhism in Tibet. Later historians didn’t think so either. Even the oldest version of the Testament of Ba changes the language slightly, so that instead of the abbot being confined in the Jokhang (the Tibetan word bcugs is the same used in legal documents for imprisonment) he’s politely “asked to stay” there.

In later versions of the Testament (like the Sba bzhed), the suspicions about the abbot are placed in the minds of the ministers, instead of the Tri Song Detsen himself. This absolves the tsenpo from harbouring bad thoughts about the saintly abbot. This more polite version was the one used by the historian Butön in his famous history of Buddhism. He also dropped the figure of Ananta, with his shady past, from this part of the narrative. And some other historians simply ignored the whole interrogation-of-the-abbot episode.

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Personally, I like the early version of the story, and probably for the same reason that the Tibetan Buddhist historians were uncomfortable with it. It has wrinkles in it that get in the way a seamless narrative of the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet by glorious kings, monks and yogins. It seems more like a record of what “really happened” than a pious story meant to inspire the faithful. You might not agree, and I’m sure that this preference down to my own cultural conditioning. But perhaps you’ll agree that our little manuscript discovery has helped us to see how this particular wrinkle was gradually smoothed out by generations of historians. Which is quite interesting whether you prefer your history wrinkled or smooth.

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References
1. Sam van Schaik and Kazushi Iwao. “Fragments of the Testament of Ba from Dunhuang”. Journal of the American Oriental Society 128.3 (2008 [2009]): 477–487.
2. Pasang Wangdu and Hildegard Diemberger. 2000. The Royal Narrative Concerning the Bringing of Buddha’s Doctrine to Tibet. Wien: Verlag der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

Images
1. Statue of Śāntarakṣita. Photograph by Matthieu Ricard, (c) Getty Images (click on image for link).
2. The two fragments together: Or.8210/S.9498(A) and Or.8210/S.13683(C).

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Update: Transcriptions of the fragments are now available on the OTDO website here and here. And the images of the fragments, along with the other fragments that they were glued together with, can be seen on the IDP website here and here.

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Pasang Wangdu and Hildegard Diemberger’s translation of the Dba’ bzhed

The mKhan po sent a messenger to prostrate in front of the bTsan po and to inquire about whether he should meet him immediately. [He was] asked: “Please, stay at Pe har for a while.” The bTsan po suspected that there could be some black magic and evil spirits (phra men) from lHo bal [in the doctrine of the mKhan po]” Then [the bTsan po] ordered Zhang blon chen po sBrang rGya sbra (sgra) legs gzigs, Seng ‘go lHa lung gzigs and ‘Ba’ Sang shi, “You three ministers, go to Ra sa Pe har (vihāra) to meet A tsa rya Bo dhi sa twa and prostrate in front of him. Then investigate whether I need to suspect the presence of black magic and evil spirits from lHo bal or not.” The three arrived at Ra sa Pe har (= vihāra). There was no translator. So, in six market-places it was ordered that each chief merchant (tshong dpon) had to search for a translator from Kashmir (Kha che) or Yang le. In the lHa sa market three people were found, namely, two Kashmiri lHa byin brothers and the Kashmiri A nan ta. The two lHa byin brothers were unable to act as translators except for some language of trade. As far as A nan ta is concerned: he was the son of the Brahman sKyes bzang who had commited a serious crime and had been sent into exile in Tibet because according to the law of lHo bal Kashmir (lHo bal kha che) Brahmans could not be executed. [A nan ta] had studied the Brahman sacred scriptures (gtsug lag), grammar (sgra) and medicine, and was therefore able to translate the language of the doctrine.

(Pasang and Diemberger 2000: p.43-45)

15 thoughts on “The Abbot, or Ironing out History’s Wrinkles

  1. How informed could have bTsan po have been to “invite” a religious teacher, supposedly for some reputation, then be at a loss as to deal with the language? Was was his likely state of education in religions? Why was he “shopping” at all?

    Was Śāntarakṣita in fact really just “wandering through” or “on a mission” looking for patrons as traveling holy men do?

    bTsan po suspected black magic, but then considered a real criminal a competent interviewer – one who was then believed in the matter? This doesn’t sound like “affairs of state” for bTsan po or that he was “a religious enthusiast”.

  2. In a sense, the bTsan po’s fears were not wholly baseless and may perhaps indicate some awareness of the then-current Buddhist cults. Because as it turned out, the abbot later invited Padmasambhava who introduced to Tibet the cult of Vajrakilaya, which does include the ngan sngags practices as well as a number of phra men in its mandala.

  3. We needn’t assume that the bstan po was well-informed. He was born and grew up in a period of anti-Buddhist feeling in the Tibetan court, that had arisen when Buddhist refugee monks from Khotan were blamed for an outbreak of smallpox. According to the Dba’ bzhed, he initially sent people to China to find Buddhist teachers.

    The invitation to Śāntarakṣita was suggested by a minister, Dba’ Gsal snang, who had met him in Nepal. The Btsan po at first agreed to the invitation, but later obviously had some second thoughts. Perhaps, he had indeed heard rumours of the practices of the tantrikas in Kathmandu!

    As for Ananta, though he was the son of a criminal (and not a criminal himself) he was also an educated Brahmin, and the only competent translator who could deal with the vocabulary of Buddhism (though one does indeed wonder how accurate an impression of his teachings the Tibetans would have received through these translations).

    Personally, my impression of “affairs of state” is that they usually do proceed in exactly this ad hoc manner!

    S.

  4. Very interesting post – I find it exciting that this fragment takes the story back so much closer to its origin, and in an un-sanitized form.

  5. Dear S,

    You’ve done it again. Found out something that makes us rethink what we used to think we knew.

    I’d like to add — There were three main India/Kashmir-born Anantas important in earlier centuries of Tibetan history. The one we’re concerned with here is the middle one. His name must be prefaced by either Kha-che (Kashmiri) or Bram-ze (Brahmin), and associated with the early reign of Khri Srong-lde-brtsan, or chances are you’re looking at one of the other two.

    What’s interesting to me is that he’s very often listed in what I believe is the earlier and more authentic listing of the Nine Great Translators, where he’s called the Kashmiri Ananta. I’m not sure that it’s necessary to refer to a ‘cover-up conspiracy,’ but the fact is that there are no works in the canon that were translated by these translators in the earlier versions of the list. I would think that if they did make literary translations, these were supplanted by later translations, just as the list of translators itself was replaced by a listing of translators (who *do* appear in canon colophons) probably only active in the early 9th century (or very end of the 8th)… Kha-che Ananta was active closer to the middle of the 8th century. I’ve always thought I’d write a paper on the subject of the Nine Translators, but haven’t pulled the many sources together yet.

    It’s true that this discovery resolutely pushes our minds in the direction of recognizing the historical depths contained in the Sba-bzhed. Anything to say about the diminished role Guru Rinpoche plays in the Sba-bzhed? In some accounts Padmasambhava was suspected of magic, and even of wanting to poison the Emperor with supposed ‘elixir’. Fear of the foreigner and his barbarous ‘magic’ is always good for stirring up the people.

    Bon sources are not unanimous, but they tend to have a fairly derogatory and sometimes extremely negative evaluation of Śāntirakṣita (whom they, like some non-Bon sources, know as Bo-dhi-sa-twa, or Bodhisattva). Some even call him a ‘bastard Tibetan child’ or say he came from Nepal or Kha-che (Kashmir) or that *his* father (and not Ananta’s) was banished to Kashmir (and not banished from Kashmir)… It would be interesting to take some of those accounts into account in trying to understand better the stresses Buddhism created as more and more Tibetans came to know more about it. There must have been negative reactions, just as you find in England, for example, to the introduction of Buddhism there.

    Enough for now. Just to suggest that your readers ought to go read the published paper, and not just the blog version. I apologize if I’ve created any mud puddles or similar muddles in my attempt to communicate.

    Cheers!
    D.

  6. Dear D.

    Interesting thoughts on the various Ananta-s. Any thoughts on why we should stick to “Ananta” rather than correcting to “Ānanda” (as some people, including myself, have done?)

    Another apparently early mention of Ananta is in the edict that begins the translation manual Sgra sbyor bam po gnyis pa. Here he seems to have graduated to become a “literary” translator. I wonder if the works of these translators at the early stage of Tibetan Buddhism were similar to those of the early translators of Buddhist texts in Chinese. I mean, rather impressionistic, sometimes more like summaries of texts, produced for the king and court to give them some impression of what this new religion was all about. I’m thinking here about the Eric Zurcher’s great book The Buddhist Conquest with China, as well as a recent conversation with a SOAS Sinologist, whose name I won’t mention in case I’m misrepresenting him.

    Anyway, let me add another epilogue to this post — in the “Mirror Illuminating the Royal Genealogies” (Rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long), this Ananta story is strangely taken out of context and grafted onto a story about a Bon-Buddhist debate. I’ll just copy here Per Sørenson’s translation (p.366):

    At this [very] time a person named Ānanda, being the son of a Kashmirian [named] Skyes-bzangs, who was active at a bartering-market [called] Dar-tshags dgung-gseb, [a market located] between Ra-sa ['phrul-snang] and Ra-mo-che [in lHa-sa], was summoned and appointed translator, whereafter the Buddhists and the Bon[-adherents], the two, competed [with one another] in a dispute.

    In a footnote Sørenson suggests that Bla-ma Dam-pa has “contrived a contraction of a lengthy narrative embodying these two distinct narrative segments.”

    So we return to Bon again. Perhaps now your marvellous bibliography is freely available, Bon perspectives will be brought into this historical dialogue more and more. That would be nice.

    S.

  7. If, as Ratna said “ the bTsan po’s fears were not wholly baseless and may perhaps indicate some awareness of the then-current Buddhist cults.” and … “the abbot later invited Padmasambhava who introduced to Tibet the cult of Vajrakilaya, which does include the ngan sngags practices…” And as earlytibet  suggested “ Btsan po at first agreed to the invitation, [of Śāntarakṣita], but later obviously had some second thoughts. Perhaps, he had indeed heard rumors of the practices of the tantrikas in Kathmandu!” These points together suggests the subsequent invitation of Padmasambhava, a tantrika, was not to quash fears of tantrism, but allay fears of tantrism by his specialization in such matters. It is to be expected that as Dan pointed out that Bon reports don’t reflect warmth to the invitation of a proponent of a rival faith.

    Ped ma sa bhav ba, as noted in the introduction (page 14) to the DBA’ BZHED, is noted for his public works. But this is his public face, one to which politically concerned Bon might have felt especially threatened. The “inward” face of Pe ma sa bhav ba might only have emerged as important as a public context when the Kingdom dissolved, and inward continuities of identity became the social tools available for popular identity. Then the importance of the hagiographical inward face “blew up” as we say nowadays.

    My point is both faces are attested to, but distinguished.

  8. Dear S.,

    I’m afraid things are more complicated with regard to the various Ananta/Anandas than I hinted in my earlier comment. The post-Phyi-dar translator (no. 3 on my list) probably really ought to be spelled Aananda, but he was also from Kashmir (and I believe is none other than the Jaayaananda Leonard wrote an article about…). I’ll try to fix all the confusion of myself and others another time. Still, I would say that if your early text says Ananta, it is probably correct, and not just trying, but failing to write Aananda (Tib. Kunga or Kun-dga’). Ananta (Tib. Tayé or Mtha’-yas) is a perfectly good Indian name and shouldn’t be fixed unless it turns out it needs to be. There I go being clear as mud again.

    Is there something new about reading old historical texts, deciding that particular parts of it ‘couldn’t possibly be true’ and then adjusting them to suit us just because we think it’s more likely to be the case, and not because we know it to be the case? Where will this practice ever end?

    Yours,
    D.

  9. This is the sort of sweeping generalizations not unexpected from the lesser lazier occidental historians like Davidson. Typical of post 19th or early 20th century era, they don’t make them like they used to for sure. First of all if one is vaguely familiar with the politics later involving Vairotsana and his exile and different dramas if not crises under Tri Song involving various camps of ministers and queens and feudal lords and regional kings and even pressures on Padmasambhava himself, one would not extrapolate a mountain from a mole hill when much more is spelled out elsewhere. What is obvious is that the king was very shrewd and backed off not just here but in many other instances later. However he always recovered the ground given away quickly in his tactical withdrawals later. His was not a well established old and absolute empire with a smooth centralist machinery in place like the Roman or Persian or later Arab and Mongol empires. His confederated system of unified Greater Tibet was fairly new and unstable. Changing the religion was the last thing he could afford. Why would he do it Sherlocks? According to opinions here it would be crazy. We have to look at the end results. He did install Buddhism and the Tantric version to boot, on a hostile oligarchy within a diversified loosely vast kingdom and did avoid civil wars or major loss of life as for example in the many centuries prior or like the pre-Tokugawa shogunate long periods in the much smaller Japan. Not to mention the many sectarian wars and clashes long after him. Not only that but he also managed to have Dzogchen secretly taught and established by Padmasambhava which was not even allowed in much of the Indian subcontinent proper. Judging by the results we can assume the King did fool the wily masters of the old religion and courtiers and various warlords and continues to do so as we see in this page with much lesser minds.

    Secondly the new unified royal state, as such, due to these pressures did break up soon after him and until recently the local major lamas/monasteries and/or warlords/local kings ruled the parts even after the introduction of the Dalai Lamas. This on the whole worked very well despite periodical clashes or power/land grabs mixed with sects even with the occasional Mongol/Chinese elements thrown in for good measure. That is compared to other states elsewhere where matters always climaxed to destructive clashes sooner or later which never happened in Tibet as such. The difference was Tibet became the perfect hothouse for Tantric Buddhism and the results which can not be quantified here but are the ultimate end were met.

    Finally it is obvious why only a few realize as explained in the teachings how the many levels of appearances, qualities and activities work. Open self secrets, laid out in the middle of the room and best place to hide too. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, now it’s time for the 12 kinds of vajra laughs, or for you guys manifesting in the cyberkaya level here as lol :D

    Time for Kilaya.

  10. Dear Karmey,

    I fully concur with being characterised as a “lesser” historian, but I’m afraid I don’t find your arguments convincing. What I think you’re saying is that Tibet became a culture based around Vajrayana Buddhism, and that this was a good thing (I don’t disagree) which avoided any destructive clashes (given the bloody Tibetan civil wars of the 9th, 13th, and 17th centuries, to name a few, I can’t really agree with that).

    But this is history as teleogy, like the Christian theologians’ argument from design. You want, I think, to support the picture painted by the later historical texts, but these were written when Tibetan Vajrayana had already taken shape, and taken its commanding role in the culture. What’s interesting about the earlier histories is that they predate this development, or at least represent an earlier stage, and that’s why they sometimes suggest a different picture.

    I agree with you that Tri Song Detsen did a great job in introducing Buddhism to Tibet. Unlike some historians, I also think that he was probably sincere in his interest in Buddhism, not only using it for political ends. As for what is “hidden” or “secret” — when we’re talking about history, we need to form a consensus, and the current consensus is that history should be based on the best possible sources, and no-one should have priviledged access to these. No, the earlier sources aren’t always better, but when sources disagree, we’re duty-bound to look into that. We can’t just brush it off with a plea to the many levels of appearances that might be good for meditation, but bad for doing history.

    If we’re talking about a Buddhist approach to history, I think it might be worth keeping Candrakirti’s approach to the two truths in mind. On the ultimate level nothing can be determined to exist, or not to exist as such. But on the conventional level, we need follow what is generally accepted to be true (and so for example we accept the testimony of a clear-sighted person over a person with cataracts).

    So there has to be a consensus about our standards for truth, like the method of analysing historical sources. We can of course keep in mind that this is not true in an ultimate or final sense, because it depends on us all agreeing that the methods we use are valid. I fully accept that you should be allowed to hold a different view. It’s inevitable — history is too complicated for there not to be different views. As long as you feel confident in your view, there’s no need to be threatened by others, and no need for hostility. But confidence only comes with an openness to the multiplicity of historical narratives.

    There’s a nice essay by the historian Inga Clendinnen on “Who Owns History?” She was responding to the Australian Prime Minister’s call for a national history as “a structured narrative” with “an objective record of achievment.” That’s impossible, she says: “in human affairs there is never a single narrative. There is usually at least one counter-story, and usually several, and in a democracy, you will probably get to hear them.”

    Strewth! In the democratic spirit of stepping down and letting other people have their say, I’d better stop there.

    S.

  11. Hi Sam,

    I’ll be brief with my points. I think you missed my tongue in cheek tone. I like your book and papers and blogs too. Also I’m happy to see not only you are open to discussion in your many posts online but also are genuine in your researches as the main point despite personal gains. Many are not like you. This is a good mark and rare.

    You missed my main points. First of all the various Orientalist historians looking at the east and excluding Tibet for obvious reasons as the field is fairly new were of much higher quality in the old days of 19th and early 20th century. Though Gombrich has a flavour of the old stock. However he was not mainly focused on Tibet which was not opened up as such back then and I don’t like Popper’s system anyway but still is far superior to the self-contradictory works of Davidson which is more of a tabloid style. Actually traditional non-biased hard academic work like papers in ‘Power, Politics and the re-invention of Tradition’ dishes much more dirt than sensationalist works though I quite like anything on Tibet specially Davidson which is fun. By the way I do not think your style is open to my accusation. You are very much in the mold of the old hard workers, hopefully minus the political criticisms and biases that Ed Said foregrounded so well. I hope like the greats, in other fields, you will always keep an open mind and change our mind through your promising future researches.

    The many levels of truth? It goes beyond Madhyamika and into tantra actually. Lets just sum it up with Nagarjuna’s view of having no view which is a discussion killer. On the relative functional levels, Barthes was in a way preceded long by Indo-Tibetan masters and there are as many readings as readers. And even more as each person is different every new day. These masters also preceded Wittgenstein or Gödel by saying though the methods and even ultimately all our reasoning is baseless never the less we have to use them as tools on the path or even in ordinary life as everyone does. So there is no one truth or correct point of view and these Indo-Tibetans are the only ones that said it coherently through many centuries until modern ideas came about.

    One could have a clear view of one’s current methodology though. Whether it is the Foucaultian Neo-Nietzscheanism or deconstructionist, structuralist or various pot-structuralist methods of Deleuze Baudrillard etc. or the various old and newer routine empirical Anglo-American traditions which is great too though often it tries to misrepresent itself as objective which as we agree does not exist. I think it is useful to be aware of the modes one currently works in and be open to others too.

    Finally my main point was that such political manoeuvrings, or Realpolitik as coined by Bismarck and embodied by Kissinger, is nothing new during Tri Song’s reign. It exists in all places and eras to various degrees. In fact as I stated Shanta’s entry was just the start and the real fun started after as many sources testify with: Vairo, Padma, Yeshe Tsogyal and other queens and ministers and Bon priests and their ultimate splinterings (continues to this day with New Bon) and exiles/conformities and various local reactions. As Dargyay(s) and others have pointed out based on so many sources. So the main point of this post on the blog is hardly anything new.

    There is the purely power politics aspect which is not true as Tri Song needed to introduce Buddhism in his situation like a hole in the head and as subsequent structural failure of his system showed from which Tibet never recovered. And so is unacceptable the saintly hagios for the faithful massaged in time. That is why apart from jumping to extremes there are many nuances which should always be open to modification and research and will keep one balanced. I have a few specialties, history nor Tibet one of them, but I find the long term analytical view point useful for me and appreciate any new empirical work in this understudied area and specially look forward greatly to your contributions though no one is without their analytical point of view. The trick I found useful for me generally is that I don’t have to make my mind up on everything and can absorb more by aiming to remain open. Well at least I’m trying to which is impossible but it’s fun trying. So looking forward to you and others’ work in future. Your hard work in recent years is the sort of stuff we really need. Keep them coming.

    Happy holidays.

    K

  12. I hope nobody will make the mistake and confuse this KarmEy with Samten G. Karmay, recently the highly honored president of the International Association of Tibetan Studies.

    Speaking of the IATS, I don’t think it’s nice, but more importantly fair or even very true, that Sam’s good qualities should be considered unusual — “not only you are open to discussion in your many posts online but also are genuine in your researches as the main point despite personal gains. Many are not like you” — when I’d say he’s actually fairly typical of modern-day professional Tibetanists as a whole. Not that there aren’t dangers this general goodness might be on the decline with petty in-fighting on the rise… Of course, it’s a different matter altogether just how many papers on the economic impact of the commercialization of caterpillar fungi one is willing to sit through (with a wink and an apology to the Winklers). Perhaps KarmEy was taking aim at academic researchers as a ‘complete’ group? If so, really, there’s no such thing. Is there? Holiday joy to all!

  13. Hi Dan,

    If you have a basic command of the lingo you could read my previous post that none of my specialties include history or Tibet which excludes me from being the mentioned scholar whom I have read with joy. Alas Karmey was one of the names given to me. It is not surprising as I find many people simply do not have a good attention span, take my initial post which also mentioned the various civil wars and sectarian clashes or other points which never led tot he destruction of Tibet as a confederated state for ‘long periods’ which was the fate of most states in the last millennium in Asia and Europe.

    To answer your other query I’d say in time the ‘primary’ concern of most academics transforms into that of being a careerist and then simply retiring. Tibetologists seem to be a nicer bunch than usual though. Sam has certain qualities, take for example the usual hodgepodge of other blogs which do not obey the basic rules of paper presentation or writing, never mind proper user friendly formats seen in most well written journals or publications when presenting information. It goes beyond style though. He has a good nose. Let me clarify. He chooses his main subjects very carefully and I would say strategically very wisely from his thesis to his papers. The only paper I liked better personally on JIATS than his ones was Germano’s Funerary piece. His side issues, dips, are very pleasant too, take the recent graffiti post. Apart from choosing and focusing well on the pivotal areas as I see them, he keeps to them long term while researching their fringes too. He then interrogates the
    field very well, tackling the issues and answering points which always come up in my mind on the next paragraph or pages. He asks the questions you would ask and is very thorough. This is a great talent which for example makes an exceptional interviewer and is rare. This only comes about if one’s interests ‘primarily’ is one’s quest and genuine all consuming passion in the subject. He does his footwork comprehensively. He has other qualities too but I don’t want to spoil him and some are best left unmentioned but let me balance all that by saying he does not immediately grasp the points put to him but I suspect they usually sink in though he might do better in future to read in between the lines more.

    Thank you for clarifications Mr Dan Martin and your name reminds me of your compatriot Martin Van Creveld who is probably one of the greatest historians alive and I like him very much. Though I’d venture to say it is generally well advised for historians, specially on Tibet, to steer clear of the secretive dark side of any state involvement despite it’s many temptations. Said’s famous book had a clear subtext aimed at Bernard Lewis and the war mongering traditions he inherited from his predecessors. After all we live a few years and then we have to face our individual ‘karmey’ for a very long time, as some might say. It’s just not worth the gamble.

    Wishing all a great new year,

    Karmey

  14. There are indeed a lot of genuinely interested, open-minded and thoughtful Tibetologists in the older, younger, and middle-aged generations. Anyone who hasn’t should take a look at Dan’s own blog, or browse through two great online journals: JIATS and Revue d’Etudes Tibétains.

    Now, I think it’s time bring this comments thread back “on topic”. Or wait a few days till the next post, where I’ll be hoping for as many comments as possible.

    S.

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