Mongolian Buddhism

DATES: September 28, 2017 (4 p.m.–5:30 p.m.)
September 29, 2017 (10 a.m.–6 p.m.)
September 30, 2017 (10 a.m.–1 p.m.)

LOCATION: 180 Doe Library

SPONSORS: Mongolia Initiative, Center for Buddhist Studies,
Institute of East Asian Studies



As Carolingians did with Christianity and Abbasids for Islam, Mongols have determined the history of Buddhism. During the Yuan dynasty their tutelage afforded the Buddhist community unprecedented means. Their grace tolerated venerations of Buddha that were of nothing but the finest quality. And their persuasions and predilections brought favor to certain schools and teachings leaving others to decline. During the period after having been expelled from China but before they would concede the Yuan dynasty, the predicament of one of their lords led to the ascendancy of the Gelugpa School and the creation of the Dalai Lama as an institution. And after their submission under the Qing dynasty they acted as intermediaries between Manchus and Tibetans to help promulgate a Gelugpa-Qing empire. Over time, as with every other nation in the Gelugpa fold—in bold defiance of logic’s law of the excluded middle—they became part and parcel of a greater Gelugpa world order and their own world order at the same time. As a world unto themselves, they forged their own brand of the Yellow Dominion and, making it strong, saw aspects of it come to be an influence abroad. Some twenty-five years ago, after three generations of repression, the fall of communism left a void for Buddhism to return. Yet the residual of communism’s modern understanding of religion has Mongols uncertain over what the role of Buddhism should be. Today, with world order foundering for loss of the meaning of religion, Mongols are in a position once again to determine the history of Buddhism.

Download the program here.


Schedule Day 1

4:00 p.m. Welcome Remarks
Jacob DALTON, East Asian Languages and Cultures and South and Southeast Asian Studies

"Tantric Buddhism and Mongol Law"
Johan ELVERSKOG, Southern Methodist University

Schedule Day 2


10:00 a.m. Transformations of Local Deities

“On Thangkas Depicting Mountain Deities of Mongolia”
Isabelle CHARLEUX, Natl. Centre for Scientific Research

“Buddhist Cosmopolitics: Latse/Ovoo Rituals Among Mongols Of Qinghai”
Hildegard DIEMBERGER, University of Cambridge

“The White Old Man”
Brian BAUMANN, UC Berkeley

12:30 p.m. Lunch Break


2:00 p.m. Tracing Histories of Mongolian Buddhism

“First Khalkha Jetsundampa Zanabazar, the Khalkha Zaya Pandita Luvanprinlei and Lamyn Gegeen’s Reverential Prayers (Tib. gsol ’debs) and Their Significance”
Agata BAREJA-STARZYNSKA, University of Warsaw

“The Interpretation Matters: On a Case of the Maturity of the Khalkha Mongolian Monastic Education”
ErdeneBaatar ERDENE-OCHIR, UC Santa Barbara

“Imperial Preceptor Chos rgyal ’Phags pa Bla ma as A Tantric Adept in the Mongol Yuan Dynasty”
Weirong SHEN, Tsinghua University

Schedule Day 3

10:00 a.m. 20th-Century Constructions of the Past

“The Foguoji and the Birth of Inner Asian Academe?: Faxian in Tibetan Translation During Mongolia’s Autonomous Period (1911-1919)”
Matthew KING, UC Riverside

“Jebtsundampa’s Visual Hagiographies”
Uranchimeg TSULTEM, UC Berkeley

“Khalkha’s Lordly Incarnations (Noyan Khutukthus) of the Gobi and Their Sectarian Affiliations”
Vesna WALLACE, UC Santa Barbara

Download the program here.



Agata BAREJA-STARZYNSKA, University of Warsaw
First Khalkha Jetsundampa Zanabazar, the Khalkha Zaya Pandita Luvanprinlei and Lamyn Gegeen’s Reverential Prayers (Tib. gsol ’debs) and Their Significance

The First Khalkha Jetsundampa Zanabazar (1635-1723), the Khalkha Zaya Pandita Luvsanprinlei (1542-1715) and Lamyn Gegeen (1639-1704) played crucial role in making the dGe lugs pa tradition the most influential Tibetan Buddhist order in Mongolia, especially in the Khalkha lands. They acquired their education in Tibet and spread Buddhist knowledge among Mongols using the Tibetan language. They were successful in gaining numerous followers and, what is more important for the Tantric form of Buddhism, they were able to transmit their knowledge to those disciples who also became important teachers and established their own incarnation lineages. Therefore, they were founders of a net which would steadily grow in the years to come.

Incarnation lineages go back to the times of the Buddha and in the so called ‘reverential prayers’ or ‘petitions to the revered teachers to be reborn’ (Tib. gsol ’debs), the successive incarnations are listed, first in India and later in Tibet. The set of names which constitutes each list, places a given master in a particular Buddhist context, showing his connections and potentials.

This paper will examine the ‘reverential prayers’ of the three mentioned Mongolian Buddhist masters with the hope to shed some light on their place within Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhism.

Brian BAUMANN, UC Berkeley
The White Old Man

A White Old Man character figures prominently in masquerade ritual dance performances throughout the Dge lugs world. Although previously assumed to have originated in the dance’s Tibetan prototype, scholars have realized the character’s provenance is Mongolian. In Mongolia the White Old Man or Čaγan ebügen is a popular deity with a cult manifest not only in ritual dance but also in text, painting, and plastic arts. Designated by Dge lugs clergy a lay deity emanated from the Mongols’ qara šasin ‘black,’ that is, ‘secular,’ ‘discipline’ or ‘religion,’ he has been assimilated into the Buddhist fold. Traditionally having augured beneficial outcomes, under Buddha’s auspices he retains much of his pre-Buddhist mythology and iconography. Of this, he lives on a fruited mountain, wields a dragon-headed staff, and regulates the seasons so that herds and crops and all living beings might prosper. Equating the Mongols’ secular religion with shamanism, scholars understand the White Old Man to manifest an ancient belief system involving nature worship. Presenting a properly scientific, historically relevant epistemology, my paper will reinterpret the deity as the personification of celestial phenomena and, in particular, a certain star, Canopus (α Carinae). In making this re-interpretation the paper will question underlying assumptions of modern scholarship in the humanities in general and the concept ‘shamanism’ in particular.

Isabelle CHARLEUX, National Centre for Scientific Research
On Thangkas Depicting Mountain Deities of Mongolia

In Mongolia, local deities (γajar-un ejen, or luus sabdaγ, “master-spirits of the land and water”) form the bedrock of social and festive life: their worship is essential for the prosperity, sustainability and cohesion of a local community. Few images of local deities are known in proportion to their importance in the daily life of herders, and one has to wonder if it is because of the impossibility, interdiction, or uselessness of their visual representation, or because these deities often have ill-defined iconographies and perhaps wait to be identified among the many images of equestrian warrior deities and wealth deities. My paper analyzes several rare thangkas preserved in Mongolia and in Europe: the first three thangkas depict what I assume is the spirit of Qangγai (Cyr. Mo. Khanggai). I will discuss the iconography and identity of this deity in Erdene zuu and its association with Abadai Khan. The last thangka depicts a naadam offered to rejoice and entertain five mountain deities. These paintings reflect the ambivalent nature of mountain deities and their strong association with political power.

Hildegard DIEMBERGER, Pembroke College and MIASU
(Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit), University of Cambridge
Buddhist Cosmopolitics: Latse/Ovoo Rituals Among Mongols Of Qinghai

In the Mongolian and Tibetan context rites for sacred mountains are part of a shared Buddhist cosmology with deep historical roots. Analysing rituals that were devised in the 1990s in the Republic of Mongolia David Sneath (2014) has shown that the relevant cosmology has intersected with nationalist politics and has been part of a state campaign to produce a distinctive national public culture. In this paper I am going to explore the ways in which in the Mongolian Autonomous County of Henan (Qinghai Province, PRC) non-humans have engaged as actors in the political arena in a comparable way, albeit in a different political setting. Key element in the reconstruction of the local spiritual and social fabric in the post-Mao era, Latse/Oboo rituals are not a case of unbroken cultural continuity. Rather they are part of re-produced religions within national cultures and draw on state, local and personal projects. In this context, causality, responsibility and responses to a wide range of challenges can be thought of as 'cosmopolitical' in that sense that they are framed within morally inflected understandings of the world that engage with non-humans as actors in the socio-political arena.

Johan ELVERSKOG, Southern Methodist University
Tantric Buddhism and Mongol Law

Contained within the term “Mongolian Buddhism” are many contradictions. Some, for example, imagine it to be simply a form, or extension, of Tibetan Buddhism. Others, however, suggest that Mongolian Buddhism is inherently something different. And then to complicate such issues there is also the well-known legacy of Marxist and nationalist historiography that have blamed the Dharma for Manchu colonial domination. Thus, is it any surprise that the contemporary Buddhist revival in Mongolia is shot through with doubts about what Mongolian Buddhism was and should be?

There are, of course, many ways to approach the question of how to define Mongolian Buddhism; however, one avenue is to explore how the adoption of Buddhism actually transformed Mongol society. The aim of this paper is thus to investigate how the Buddhist conversion of the Mongols came to shape their legal tradition. In particular, it will look at the three earliest post-conversion legal codes – the Altan Khan Code, the Eighteen Steppe Laws, and the Mongol-Oirat Great Code – in relation to Yuan and Ming precedent in order to gauge how, or if at all, the Dharma came to define Mongol law.

ErdeneBaatar ERDENE-OCHIR, UC Santa Barbara
The Interpretation Matters: On a Case of the Maturity of the Khalkha Mongolian Monastic Education

In the nineteenth-century, the Khalkha Mongolian scholar Ngawang Khedrüb (Ngag dbang mkhas grub, 1779–1838) was engaged in a series of polemical debate with his contemporary Amdo-Tibetan scholar Belmang Könchok Gyeltsen (dBal mang dKon mchog rgyal mtshan, 1764–1853) regarding their preceptors’ interpretations of a famous text called A Song on the Profound View, Recognizing the Mother (lTa ba’i gsung mgur zab mo a ma ngos ’dzin) by Changkya Rölpey Dorje (lCang skya Rol pa’i rdo rje; 1717–1786). The paper examines Ngawang Khedrüb’s Further Objection to the Reply, a Quarter Guardian Elephant’s Roar (Yang lan phyogs kyi glang po’i ngar skad), a response to his opponent’s attack to his earlier work. A critical assessment of the text explores Ngawang Khedrüb’s contribution to the monastic education in Khalkha Mongolia and its development and plausible sociopolitical implications of the polemical exchange between the two figures representing the regions of Amdo and Mongolia.

Matthew KING, UC Riverside
The Foguoji and the Birth of Inner Asian Academe?: Faxian in Tibetan Translation During Mongolia’s Autonomous Period (1911-1919)

This paper introduces the first translation of the Han Dynasty monk Faxian’s famous Foguoji (Record of Buddhist Kingdoms) into Mongolian and Tibetan in three distinct sociopolitical moments in late-and post-imperial Inner Asia. The first is by Dorji Banzarov (1822-1855), who translated the Foguoji into Mongolian as part of a late nineteenth century, Tsarist-sponsored burst of Orientalist research in Russia. The second is by Lubsangdamdin (1867-1937), a Géluk scholastic from Khalkha who produced a heavily annotated Tibetan translation of Banzarov’s work in post-Qing Khalkha. The last is a study of both these works by the famous Mongolist B. Rinchen (1905-1977) at the height of Soviet-era historiography on “Mongolian national literature.” This paper shows that in the hands of these three interpreters of a fifth century Chinese pilgrimage tale, this one text bolstered Russian claims on its Asian frontiers, Qing-revivalist dissent in the dispersed Géluk monasteries of Mongolia, and a mature (and tightly regulated) Mongol nationalism.

Of great historical interest, Banzarov and Lubsangdamdin did not simply translate the Foguoji from Chinese sources in the cosmopolitan and multilingual circles of the late Qing (the contexts wherein, for example, Mindröl Nomonhan brought Xuanzang’s pilgrimage tale into Tibetan). Rather, Bazarov and Lubsangdamdin translated the story of Faxian’s journeys from Samuel Beal’s 1884 Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, an English translation in turn of Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat’s 1836 French language Foé Koué Ki Ou Relation des Royaumes Bouddhiques. This paper thus shows how Rinchen’s study and the two primary sources it treats actually represent a previously unknown Eurasian circuit of Faxian’s story through four languages, in the hands of translators working variously in Paris salons, Khalkha Buddhist monastic colleges, and the St. Petersburg academy, at the interstices of the European arts and sciences, revolutionary dissent in embattled monasteries, and the invention of the national subject in Asia’s heartland.

Weirong SHEN, Tsinghua University
Imperial Preceptor Chos rgyal ’Phags pa Bla ma as A Tantric Adept in the Mongol Yuan Dynasty

’Phags pa bla ma Blo gros rgyal mtshan (1235-1280), the first Imperial Preceptor of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), was often considered to be a skillful politician who made great contributions not only to the establishment of Mongol Yuan relations with Tibet, but also to the founding of the Great Yuan dynasty by Kubilai Khan. He was also praised as a great culture hero who created the so-called ’Phags pa script” that was once used as “the state script” of the Mongols. In contemporaneous Chinese literature ’Phags pa was always depicted as a wise and compassionate statesman comparable to the ideal model of a Confucian scholar/official. Even as a Buddhist monk, ’Phags pa was believed to be an excellent Buddhist master who strictly observed the Buddhist Vinayas, in great contrast to his contemporary Bla ma dam pa Kun dga’ grags, a resourceful Tantric adept. In Chinese canon, we find only three scriptures authored by ’Phags pa and translated into Chinese by his disciples. One of them is a general treatise on Buddhist cosmology entitled Shes bya rab gsal (The Clear Elucidation of What Should be Known) written by ’Phags pa especially for the crown prince Cinggim. The other two are both liturgies of empowerment for lay devotees, novice monks and fully ordained monks respectively. They share the same title in Tibetan, namely: dGe bsnyen dang dge tshul dang dge slong nye bar bsgrub pa’i cho ga’i gsal byed. Nonetheless, it is certainly mistaken to assume that ’Phags pa was merely a skillful politician or an excellent Buddhist philosopher. In fact, ’Phags pa Bla ma was an accomplished Tantric adept and played an essential role in the dissemination of Tibetan tantric Buddhism among the Mongols, Tanguts, Uygurs and Chinese during the Mongol Yuan dynasty and the ensuing Chinese Ming dynasty. Recently, I have identified numerous texts of purely tantric nature that were written by ’Phags pa Bla ma and translated into Chinese during the Mongol Yuan and Chinese Ming dynasties. They were discovered in various sites and among different collections, and are as follows:

1, Bla ma’i rnal ’byor 观师要门
2, Rab tu gnas pa’i phyag len mdor bsdus 胜住法仪
3, Byams pa’i sgrub thabs 胜住法仪
4, 修习自在拥护法门
5, dPal kyee rdo rje’i dkyil ’khor du bdag nyid ’jug gi cing dbang blang ba’i cho ga dbang la ’jug pa 吉祥喜金刚中围内自受灌仪
6, dPal kyee rdo rje’i dkyil ’khor du bdag nyid ’jug pa’i cho ga dbang la ’jug pa snying po gsal ba 吉祥喜乐金刚自受主戒仪
7, Kye’i rdo rje zhes bya ba’i rgyud kyi rgyal po [dpal brtag pa gnyis pa’i ’grel pa dag chung dang spyi don gsal ba]吉祥喜金刚本续王后分注疏
8, Thugs rje chen po’i sgrub thabs 大悲观音求修
9, Seng ge sgra’i sgrub thabs狮子吼观音略求修
10, dPal kye’i rdo rje’i tshogs kyi ’khor lo’i cho ga bdud rtsi bum pa吉祥喜金刚集轮甘露泉
11, rJe btsun rnam par rgyal ma’i sgrub thabs如来顶髻佛母现证仪

Moreover, the Tangut translation of ’Phags pa’s work dPal Kyai rdo rje’i mngon rtogs yid bzhin nor bu written in the 1250s was discovered only recently. The discovery of all these texts attributed to him shows that both ’Phags pa and his works were evidently essential to the spreading of Tibetan tantric Buddhism during both the Mongol Yuan and Chinese Ming dynasties. Studying these precious texts will help us reconstruct the history of Tibetan tantric Buddhism in Central Asia and China Proper during those periods. The true face of Tibetan tantric Buddhist practices such as “The Dance of Sixteen Heavenly Devils,” “The Dharma of Yantrayoga”, and “The Secret Teaching of Supreme Bliss,” which were mentioned vaguely within Yuan Chinese literature and misunderstood by later generations, can be uncovered through close reading of these texts. ’Phags pa was often just the tantric master who introduced these tantric practices to his Mongol lords. For instance, “the Dance of Sixteen Heavenly Devils”, which was a very popular ritual practice arguably performed at the court of the great Mongol Khans and mistakenly sexualized by later generations of Chinese literati, actually refers to the offering performance to the Mandala of the Sricakrasamvara usually solely visualized by the practitioners. By the 1250s, ’Phags pa had already introduced this ritual practice to Kubilai Khan, who at that time was still a prince in Kaiping, and also composed the first ritual text on the practice, entitled Rig ma bcu drug gi mchod pa’i thsig tshan gnyis, for Kubilai Khan.

Uranchimeg TSULTEM, UC Berkeley
Image and Text in Mongolia: Agwaankhaidav’s Illumination on Artistic and Ritual Practices

This paper will analyze some texts by an eminent Buddhist scholar of Outer Mongolia Agwaankhaidav (Ngag dbang mkhas grub, 1779-1838) that discuss the practice of painting in relation to a meditation process. The complicated issue of Buddhist imagery and texts, and the very process of image-making is one of Agwaankhaidav’s interests as he wrote several texts in various genres addressing various aspects of Buddhist images. Among his sadhanas, instructions to artists, texts on writing inscriptions, this paper will look closely at the translation of some sadhanas and an 18-folio Instruction to All Great Artists (full title: bir thogs dbang bo rnams la phan bar byed pa’i man ngag rnyed pa’i tshag dung sel bar byed pa’i ga bur thug pa zhes bya ba bzhugs so). Which aspects of image-making does Agwaankhaidav elaborate and how? How does he discuss the stages of painting and iconometry as related to the stages of meditation praxis? The topic of iconometry in Tibetan Buddhist art has been illuminated to a very limited extent by Gega Lama (1983), Kseniya Gerasimova (1971) and a recent reproduction of a seventeeth-century Tibetan iconometric treatise by a joint scholarly team (Christoph Cüppers, Leonard van der Kujp and Ulrich Pagel) in 2012. Yet, the topic still remains largely unstudied. This paper, a part of a larger book-length study, aims to contribute to a scarcely known area of iconometry with more insights into the processes of Buddhist image-making in general. As Agwaankhaidav was Buddhist scholastic actively engaged in production of painting and sculptures and wrote texts, this source is invaluable in our apprehension of Vajrayana Buddhist art in general and in Ikh Khüree specifically. Since similar texts that address artists’ attitude, behavior, and meditation during the image-making process are rare, this analysis hopes to contribute in our understanding of imagery and artistic as well as ritual practices in a Mongolian Buddhist context.

Vesna WALLACE, , UC Santa Barbara
Khalkha’s Lordly Incarnations (Noyan Khutukthus) of the Gobi and Their Sectarian Affiliations

This presentation examines the formation and development of the lineage of the Khalkha’s Lordly Incarnations of the Gobi. It also examines different sectarian affiliations of this lineage as they emerged in different historical periods, including the post-Socialist period, in which there a tendency toward sectarian inclusivity arose, as different Tibetan Kagyu and Nyingma centers and teachers in India and in the West have assisted a revitalization of the lineage and through a Geluk training of the new lineage holder.

Download the program here.


Participant Biographies

Agata BAREJA-STARZYNSKA, University of Warsaw

Agata Bareja-Starzynska, Dr. Habil. Mongolist and Tibetologist, Head of the Department of Turkish Studies and Inner Asian Peoples of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Her scholarly interests focus on Buddhism in Mongolia and Tibet, Mongolian-Tibetan relations, Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhist literature. Her publications include Polish translation of the Ciqula kereglegci, a 16th Century Mongolian Buddhist Treatise (Warsaw 2006), co-edition of Mongolia related materials kept in Prof. W. Kotwicz’s Archives in Poland (In the Heart of Mongolia, Cracow 2012) and The Biography of the First Khalkha Jetsundampa Zanabazar by Zaya Pandita Luvsanprinlei. Studies, Annotated Translation, Transliteration and Facsimile (Warsaw 2015).

Brian BAUMANN, UC Berkeley

Brian Baumann is a lecturer in UC Berkeley’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Group in Buddhist Studies. He teaches courses related to Khalkha Mongolian Language, Literary Mongolian, Mongolian Buddhism, Mongolian History, and Astral Science.

Isabelle CHARLEUX, National Centre for Scientific Research

Isabelle Charleux is Senior researcher (“director of researches”) at the National Centre for Scientific Research – Group Societies, Religions, Secularism, deputy director of the Group Societies, Religions, Secularism, and co-director of the journal Etudes mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines. She works on the religious material culture of Mongolia (including Inner Mongolia). Her main publications include Temples et monastères de Mongolie méridionale (Paris: Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques & Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, 2006) and Nomads on Pilgrimage. Mongols on Wutaishan (China), 1800-1940 (Leyde, Boston, Cologne: Brill, 2015, Brill’s Inner Asian Library, 33).

Jacob DALTON, UC Berkeley

Jacob Dalton, Khyentse Foundation Distinguished University Professor in Tibetan Buddhism, holds a joint appointment in South and Southeast Asian Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures. He teaches Tibetan Buddhism. After working for three years (2002-05) as a researcher with the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library, he taught at Yale University (2005-2008) before moving to Berkeley. He works on tantric ritual, Nyingma religious history, paleography, and the Dunhuang manuscripts. He is the author of The Taming of the Demons: Violence and Liberation in Tibetan Buddhism (Yale University Press, 2011), The Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra (Columbia University Press, 2016), and co-author of Tibetan Tantric Manuscripts from Dunhuang: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Stein Collection at the British Library (Brill, 2006). He is currently working on a study of tantric ritual in the Dunhuang manuscripts.

Hildegard DIEMBERGER, Pembroke College and MIASU (Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit), University of Cambridge

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.

Johan ELVERSKOG, Southern Methodist University

Johan Elverskog is Altshuler University Distinguished Teaching Professor and professor of Religious Studies and, by courtesy, of History at Southern Methodist University. He is the author and editor of nine books, including the award-winning Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road and the forthcoming The Buddha’s Footprint: An Environmental History of Asia. He is currently working on Sources of Mongol Tradition with Christopher P. Atwood for the Introduction to Asian Civilizations Series at Columbia University Press, and editing the Handbook of Silk Road Studies for Routledge.

ErdeneBaatar ERDENE-OCHIR, UC Santa Barbara

“Baatra” ErdeneBaatar Erdene-Ochir is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UCSB and a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. He is interested in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philosophical polemics and history of Buddhist scholastic traditions as well as monastic institutions in Tibet and Mongolia. His current research focuses on a series of polemical writings exchanged by Amdo-Tibetan and Mongolian scholars in the nineteenth century.

Matthew KING, UC Riverside

Matthew King is Assistant Professor of Transnational Buddhism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside. His work is primarily focused on Buddhist thought and monastic life in Inner Asia during the collapse of the Qing and Tsarist empires and the birth of nationalism and state socialism. His published work has appeared in various edited volumes and journals, including The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, History & Anthropology, The Journal of Religion and Violence,and Himalaya. He has a forthcoming book on social, historical, and political thought amongst Géluk scholastics in Khalkha during the Qing-socialist transition, based on the works of the polymath Zawa Damdin Lubsangdamdin.

Weirong SHEN, Tsinghua University

Weirong Shen is a Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study of Humanism and Social Sciences in Tsinghua University, China. His research focuses on Tibetan Buddhist history and the history of the spread of Tibetan tantric Buddhism in Central Eurasia and China Proper from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries. He received his Ph.D for Central Asian Philology at Bonn University, Germany, with his dissertation Leben und historische Bedeutung des ersten Dalai Lama dGe ’dun grub pa dpal bzang po (1391-1474)--- Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der dGe lugs pa-Schule und der Institution der Dalai Lama (Monumenta Serica Monograph Series XLIX, P. 1-476, ISBN 3-8050-0469-9, Styler Verlag, Institut Monometa Serica, St. Augustin, Germany, 2002). His recent publications include Philological Studies of Tibetan Buddhism and History (Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2010); Imaging Tibet (Beijing Normal University Press, 2015); Text and History: The Making of Tibetan Buddhist Historical Narratives and the Construction of Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Studies (Beijing University Press, and China Tibetology Publishing House, 2015).

Uranchimeg TSULTEM, UC Berkeley

Uranchimeg (Orna) Tsultem is a scholar of Mongolian art and culture. She received her Ph.D. in History of Art from UC Berkeley in December 2009. She served as an Assistant Professor at the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture in 1995-2002, Associate Professor at National University of Mongolia in 2012-2014, and as a Lecturer at UC Berkeley in 2010-2014 and 2016-2017. She also taught at Yonsei University in South Korea in 2015-2016. She has curated Mongolian art exhibitions internationally: Kasumi Center (Tsukuba, Japan, 1997); E & J Frankel Gallery (New York, NY, 2000); Frauen Museum (Bonn, Germany, 2001); HanArt Gallery (Hong Kong, 2011); 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012), and 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

Tsultem’s publications include four books in Mongolia, exhibition catalog essays for two museums in Finland (2010-11); Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (1999, 2012); Ethnography Museum in Warsaw, Poland (2011). Her academic articles were published in Arena (Kyoto University, 2012), Vesna Wallace ed., Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture and Society (Oxford University Press, 2015), Orientations (Hong Kong, 2016, 2017), Mongolian Studies (Bloomington: Mongolia Society, 2013, 2017) and in Cross Currents in fall 2016. Dr. Tsultem was Kluge Fellow at Library of Congress in 2013, and received Collaborative Research award from the American Council of Learned Societies/Ho Foundation in 2014-2016. She has recently completed her manuscript on Mongolian Buddhist art titled A Monastery on the Move: Art and Politics in Later Buddhist Mongolia. She is preparing for peer review a co-edited volume Mongolian Buddhist Art: Cross-Cultural Interactions, Discoveries, and Interpretations. Proceeding of 13th IATS Seminar for Brill Academic Publishing.

Vesna WALLACE, UC Santa Barbara

Vesna A. Wallace is a Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Her two areas of specialization are Indian Buddhism, particularly Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, and Mongolian Buddhism. She has authored and translated four books related to Indian Buddhism, three of which pertain to the Kalachakra tantric tradition in India, and has published numerous articles on Indian and Mongolian Buddhism. Her most recent book is an edited volume on Mongolian Buddhism, titled Buddhism in Mongolian Culture, History, and Society. She is currently working on two new books, both pertaining to Buddhism in Mongolia.

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"Mongolian Buddhism" will be held at 180 Doe Library on the central campus.

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