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