Dear visitors,

please note that the Doctoral College (Initiativkolleg): “Cultural Transfers and Cross-Contacts in the Himalayan Borderlands” has ended and our website will no longer be updated.

For information on our ongoing research, events and activities please refer to the website of our Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History (CIRDIS).

Buddhist Studies

Univ.-Doz. Dr. Helmut Krasser, ÖAW
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Dr. Anne MacDonald, ÖAW
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The Himalayan borderlands provided the stage for a massive and unprecedented transfer of Buddhist ideas and practices from India, Kashmir, Nepal and Central Asia into the Tibetan linguistic and cultural domain. Of great interest and importance to Tibetan intellectuals was the vast Indian Buddhist philosophical literature that presented the Buddhist schools’ views on ontology, epistemology and soteriology and refuted the tenets of the Indian opponents. Along with works on Abhidharma, Prajñāpāramitā and Yogācāra, treatises dealing with the various expressions of the Madhyamaka school and with the Buddhist logical-epistemological tradition were located, studied and transposed into Tibetan. It was the latter two schools of thought that would come to dominate the Tibetan intellectual landscape and its presentations of knowledge and liberation.

Proper understanding of the individual Indian works is imperative for discerning the motivations and aims of their respective authors and, significantly, for judging the understandings of the later Tibetan scholars and for recognizing aberrations and developments in their interpretations of the views presented and analyzed. The Tibetan translations of the philosophical works often remain our sole records of the tenets, arguments and opinions of the Indian authors. Fortunately, a few important Sanskrit manuscripts, long preserved in Tibet, have recently become available for both the Madhyamaka and the logical-epistemological traditions and will undoubtedly benefit doctoral research focussing on the relevant works and connected philosophical issues in India and in Tibet.