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Buddhist women as patrons and innovators: two Tibetan examples from the 15th and the 16th century

Chokyi Dronma (1422-1455) and Kuntu Sangmo (1464-1549) are some of the most prominent examples of women who promoted cultural innovation in the Tibetan society of their time. Among many religious and artistic accomplishments they promoted printing when this technology was still new on the Tibetan plateau, promoting access to the written word to a larger number of people, including women. Both challenged the social conventions of their times, became disciples and partners of great spiritual masters  - Bodong Chogle Namgyal and Tsangnyon Heruka respectively - and eventually became leading spiritual figures in their own right. Their life, described in their biographies written by direct disciples and now re-traced in the places they inhabited, gives us a unique insight into their world and the way in which they enacted Buddhist ideals with a particular attention to the predicaments of other women.

Speaker bio
Hildegard Diemberger is a Fellow of Pembroke College and Director of the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit at the University of Cambridge. She has written widely on Tibet and the Himalayas and has also translated several historical texts from Tibetan into English. She is the author of When a Woman Becomes a Religious Dynasty - The Samding Dorje Phagmo of Tibet (2007).

This event is part of the Tibetan Studies Initiative 2013-14. It is co-sponsored by the Tibetan Studies Initiative and the Stanford Humanities Center.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014. 06:00 PM


Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room