1 Section for Anthropology and Ethnography, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 School of Culture and Society - Department of Anthropology, School of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University3 School of Culture and Society - Department of Anthropology, School of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University
Texts, Photographs, and MemoriesTekster, Fotografier, og Erindringer
From the eleventh century to the present, the Jowo (jo bo) Śākyamuni statue has served as a perduring index of Tibetan Buddhist ecclesiastical history. Tibetan writers employed the Jowo as a discursive site where religio-political paradigms were negotiated and transformed through accounts of ritual observance and visions received. In 1409, Tsongkhapa Lozang Drakpa (1357-1419) crowned the Jowo, changing his doctrinal and iconographic representations. I connect the controversy surrounding Tsongkhapa's decision to re/crown the Jowo in 1409 to the significance placed on authenticity, firstness, and ritual efficacy in Tibetan cosmology. I follow the history of the Jowo's crown into the present, including the voices of those Tibetans who blame the 1951 Chinese invasion of Tibet on repercussions of Tsongkhapa's controversial decision. A multidisciplinary perspective, combining texts, photographs, and ethnographic interviews in Tibet, Nepāl, and India, explicates the controversial implications of the Jowo's appearance, and serves as a model for the study of Tibetan lived religion.
History of Religions, 2011, Vol 51, Issue 1, p. 1-30