Where the heroes and sky-goers gather: A study of the sauraṭa pilgrimage

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Abstract

Tibetan and Himālayan Buddhist doctrine and meditative traditions have been extensively studied and are well-known even to non-scholars, but pilgrimage and other non-elite practices have received far less attention. Pilgrimage is one of the most important practices for Tibetan and Himālayan Buddhists, whether traditional scholars, ordinary monks, lay yogis, or Buddhist laypeople. Scholarship on pilgrimage has increased significantly since the 1990s, and has tended to focus on territories within the political boundaries of the Tibetan provinces of the People’s Republic of China. This study looks at a pilgrimage in what was once the far western end of the Tibetan empire, but is now within the political boundaries of India. Being outside of the People’s Republic of China, this pilgrimage escaped the disruption of such practices that occurred within the PRC during the Cultural Revolution and after. Having interviewed people in the region, and performed the pilgrimage myself, this study shows that this pilgrimage possesses features common to Tibetan pilgrimage to sites of tantric power, but also has its own unique qualities. This study provides new data that contributes to the growing body of knowledge of Tibetan pilgrimage and to our understanding of such practices among the Buddhists of Himālayan India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number157
JournalReligions
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 21 2017

Keywords

  • Himālayan Buddhism
  • Pilgrimage
  • Tantra
  • Tibetan Buddhism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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