Local Contact: How the Buddhist Monk Facheng/Chödrup Negotiated Sino-Tibetan Exchange on the Ninth-Century Silk Road


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


Buddhist Studies


This dissertation investigates religious exchange on the Silk Road through the work of a Buddhist monk known by the Chinese name Facheng (Tib. name Chos grub, c. 800–865). An exegete and translator from Chinese to Tibetan and vice versa, Facheng held influential positions in the Tibetan administration of Dunhuang and lectured at local monasteries. I examine how his participation in one linguistic community affected his work in another, arguing that Buddhism’s transcultural idiom—a universalist rhetoric shared by culturally embedded traditions (e.g., Tibetan and Chinese “Buddhisms”)—served as a bridge facilitating exchange. I thus explore the role of individuals in negotiating cultural exchange, critically examining the dynamic between local intermediaries and translocal traditions.