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Drawing Honey from Historiography: Analyzing the Oldest Extant Manuscript of the Oldest Extant History of Buddhism in Tibet

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This presentation focuses on the sole non-treasure text attributed to Nyang ral Nyi ma 'Od zer (1124-1192), The History of Buddhism [entitled] Flower Nectar: The Essence of Honey (Chos 'byung me tog snying po sbrang rtsi'i bcud), and his renowned treasure narrative concerning Padmasambhava, “the Lotus-Born,” almost the entirety of which is preserved within this History of Buddhism. Through a comparative analysis of all available recensions, it becomes clear that an old manuscript found in Nepal and currently preserved in Germany is the ancestor of the others. This manuscript preserves a number of unique features that elucidate the transmission of Nyang ral’s History of Buddhism and thus the ascension of the Padmasambhava narrative as the emic history of Tibet's golden age.

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Presenter: 
Daniel A. Hirshberg
Presentation Date: 
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
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