Conférence “A Mi la ras pa shrine in time: history and revival of Brag dkar rta so monastery” Hildergard Diemberger, 01/02/2018
Abandoned in the 1960s, the holy shrine of Brag dkar rta so in south-western Tibet was gradually revived in the late 1980s. Linked to the great Tibetan mystic Mi la ras pa (c. 1052 – c. 1135 CE) as well as lHa btsun rin chen rnam rgyal, Rig ‘dzin tshe dbang nor bu and Brag dkar chos kyi dbang phyug, this site was famous as a pilgrimage destination, a monastery and an early printing house. As such it appears in many historical accounts and its revival has had a huge symbolic signficance. After outlining Brag dkar rta so’s importance as a Buddhist monastery in the Tibet-Nepal borderlands, I will focus on the current process of restoration. Setting out from the accounts of people involved in its revival, I will look at this particular case as an opportunity to explore the current management of Tibetan cultural heritage.
Hildegard Diemberger is the Research Director of Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (MIASU) at University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Pembroke College. Trained as a social anthropologist and Tibetologist at Vienna University, she has published numerous books and articles on the anthropology and the history of Tibet and the Himalaya as well as on the Tibetan-Mongolian interface, including the monograph When a Woman becomes a Religious Dynasty: the Samding Dorje Phagmo of Tibet (Columbia University Press 2007), the edited volume Tibetan Printing – Comparisons, Continuities and Change (Brill 2016) and the English translation of two important Tibetan historical texts (Austrian Academy of Science 1996, 2000). She has designed and coordinated a number of research projects funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the Austrian Science Fund. She is currently the general secretary of the International Association for Tibetan Studies.