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Symbolism of "Descent" in Tibetan Sacred Kingship and Some East Asian Parallels*)

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The problem of sacred kingship in ancient Tibet is one of the most interesting and important subjects presented by the history of Tibetan religions. This particular problem of sacred kingship has been the object of serious study by Professor Giuseppe Tucci who explores the problem from a perspective of the history of religions. One of the most noteworthy contributions Tucci has made is that he has pointed out the essential difference which exists between the royal ideology of ancient Tibet and that of ancient India. He has strongly suggested that the Tibetan royal ideology owes much to the religious tradition of the pastoral Turco-Mongolian peoples. For some time I have been engaged in collecting, comparing and analyzing the foundation myths as they are found in Japan, Korea and Tibet, and I am struck by the tremendous similarities between the three traditions. I understand a foundation myth is the one which tells how a dynasty, a nation, or a kingdom was founded at the beginning of mythical time. I am inclined to hold that not only the Tibetan foundation myth but also those of Japan and Korea might belong essentially to the mythological tradition of the pastoral peoples of Central and North Asia.

Affiliations: 1: Halifax, Canada


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