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Lecture by Dan Hirshberg

March 15, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Himalayan Syncretism and the Emergence of Padmasambhava as Rdo rje gro lod

Padmasambhava, the renowned eighth-century tantrika credited with establishing Buddhism in Tibet, is scarcely noted among imperial-era sources, and yet he becomes the protagonist of a vibrant biographical tradition several centuries thereafter. One mode of defining him and his activities was through the introduction and delimitation of eight “names” (mtshan), each of which becomes associated with distinct qualities. Among them, the tiger-riding Dorjé Drolö (Rdo rje gro lod) emerged both nominally and iconographically as the synthesis of tantric Buddhism with indigenous Himalayan religions, thereby offering insight into the syncretism that produced a distinctly Tibetan Buddhism.

Dan Hirshberg, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Mary Washington. Specializing in the popular narrative of Tibet’s conversion to Buddhism and the attendant apotheosis of its protagonist, he published his first book, Remembering the Lotus-Born: Padmasambhava in the History of Tibet’s Golden Age, in October 2016. This event is co-sponsored by the East Asia Center and the Buddhist Studies Group.


March 15, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Nau Hall
1540 Jefferson Park Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903 United States


Tibet Center