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8 Tibetan Buddhist Books in a Digital Age

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines a particular aspect of the Buddhist revival that has taken place throughout the Tibetan areas of China since Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 introduced radical policy changes. The chapter focuses on the recent re-discovery of important texts and archives and discusses the distinction between books as 'cultural objects' to be preserved and their content to be studied as well as on the use of books as ritual objects and as the basis for the revival of ritual practices. It discusses how new technologies are used to meet religious and secular needs for the reproduction and distribution of sacred texts. By reshaping access to books, these technologies have had a significant impact on religious practices and on the reconstitution of Tibetan cultural heritage and have had wide-ranging social, cultural and political implications. Digital technologies have certainly made an important contribution to the preservation and diffusion of rare Tibetan texts.

Keywords: Buddhist patronage; Deng Xiaoping; digital technologies; politicalstrategy; ritual practices; Tibetan cultural heritage



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