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Were Sa-pan and 'Jig-rten-mgon-po "Neoconservatives?" Utility and Futility of Source-Culture Alien Categories

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In his influential Tibetan Renaissance (publ. 2005), Ronald Davidson categorizes the two eminent masters of the late 12th and early 13th centuries, Sa-skya Pandita Kun-dga'-rgyal-mtshan and 'Bri-gung 'Jig-rten-mgon-po, as "neoconservatives," portraying them as having an un-Buddhist and inauthentic fixation on India, and as working to suppress any deviation from their norms. This paper critically investigates Davidson's general and specific interpretations of his categorization and raises the question of methodology.


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