Brenton Sullivan – A Study of Tibetan Customaries

News item posted on: September 19th, 2011
Tibetan Customaries (bca’ yig) in the Growth of the Gelukpa in Amdo,
by Brenton Sullivan, Ph.D. Candidate UVa

Gönlung Jampa Ling Monastery

The UVa Buddhist Studies Forum is pleased to announce their first speaker of the year!

Refreshments provided

Brenton will present his study of the chayik (T. bca’ yig)—customary or monastic constitutions—of one of the most influential monasteries in Amdo (i.e. in Western China and Northeastern Tibet) from the late Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911) as well as those chayik of its numerous branch monasteries.

While chayik serve to prescribe the behavior of a monstery’s monks and officers and to prescribe a particular liturgical calendar for a monastery, for the historian they also help reveal how sectarian and institutional networks came into being and legitimized their hegemony. The monastery in question, Gönlung Jampa Ling (dgon lung byams pa gling), was one of the earliest and most influential Geluk monasteries in the region. Also, it is said to have had nearly fifty “branch” or “child” monasteries and temples at its height. Thus a study of the chayikof Gönlung and its affiliates can help us begin to understand the explosion of Geluk activity in Amdo in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and it can also help us understand how a single “mother” monastery such as Gönlung might spread its influence in a region.

The Buddhist Studies Forum, founded in 2010, seeks to facilitate collaboration and exchange among UVA faculty and students in the field of Buddhist Studies.

UVa Directions/Map to: Nau Hall – New South Lawn Building, Room 342