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To Be Or Not To Be Celibate: Morality And Consort Practices According To The Treasure Revealer Se Ra Mkha’ ’Gro’s (1892–1940) Auto/Biographical Writings

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the tension between celibate and non-celibate interpretations of ideal Tibetan religious conduct through the biographical and autobiographical writings of the most prolific female author and Treasure revealer in Tibetan history, Se ra mkha' 'gro. In Se ra mkha' 'gro's day the Mgo log religious landscape was comprised primarily of two types of communities: 1) religious encampments centred on charismatic Treasure revealers who lived in yak hair tents and often travelled together on pilgrimage and on alms-seeking journeys and 2) monasteries, which were sedentary institutions housing celibate monks and nuns. The scripts in which revelations appear are often special symbolic scripts called ḍākinī script, illegible to Treasure revealers without the aid of ḍākinī decode them. Se ra mkha' 'gro never indicates anything but strong respect for celibate monastics of both sexes, and indeed some of her teachers and disciples were celibate monastics.

Keywords: ḍākinī script; celibate monastics; Mgo log religious landscape; Se ra mkha' 'gro; Tibetan religious; treasure revealer

10.1163/ej.9789004176003.i-202.19
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004176003.i-202.19
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