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From World Religion to World Dominion: Trading, Translation and Institution-building in Tibet

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Chapter Summary

The basics of the Tibetan story are well known. According to traditional narratives developed in the post-dynastic period, the Yarlung rulers developed an interest in Buddhism from the seventh century and decided to support its establishment in Tibet. The conversion of Tibet to Buddhism is one of the most dramatic historical developments in Asia before modern times. The establishment of Buddhism led to wide-ranging cultural changes, the production of a substantial corpus of Buddhist literature and to institution-building on a large scale. Early Tibetan history is known from a number of stone inscriptions and histories. The inscriptions are relatively few in number and consist of edicts engraved on stone tablets, some set up at Buddhist monasteries in central Tibet. In terms of texts, one of the oldest post-dynastic sources for events in the eighth century is a work called the dBa' bzhed or Testimony of dBa'.

Keywords: Buddhist literature; central Tibet; dBa' bzhed; institution-building; scriptural translation



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