Buddhism and Government in Seventeenth-Century Tibet


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


I critically assess the relationship of religion and politics by studying the Buddhist state founded in Lhasa in the seventeenth century. I focus on the intellectual and political contributions of the two foremost political agents: the fifth Dalai Lama and his successor Sangye Gyatso. My research weds research in Buddhist Studies and Tibetan intellectual history with the theoretical approaches of the Study of Religion. I shed light on a number of heretofore unstudied texts, with particular attention to the theological and cosmological frameworks against which ideas of ruler and state took shape. I argue for an approach to religion and politics that ties symbolic frameworks to their material contexts, such as architecture, ritual, and performance.