Category Archives: Others

How to Reconcile Buddhism and Violence? Examples from the Tibetan Army of the dGa’ ldan pho brang

Castle of Leh in Ladakh
Illustration found in Ladák, Physical, Statistical and Historical; with Notices of the Surrounding Countries, by Alexander Cunningham Published in London, 1854.

Federica Venturi (CNRS, CRCAO) participated in the inaugural conference of the Italian Association for Tibetan, Himalyan and Mongolian Studies – Associazione Italiana di Studi Tibetani, Himalayani e Mongoli (AISTHiM)- which took place in Procida, Italy (September 12-15th, 2017).

She presented the paper : How to Reconcile Budhism and Violence? Examples from the Tibetan Army of the dGa’ Idan pho brang.

The paper examined the question of how the Buddhist government of the dGa’ ldan pho brang justified the use of war on the occasions in which it deemed necessary to employ the Tibetan army. In particular, presented the ways in which certain important religious figures among the dGe lugs pa, such as the V Dalai Lama, rationalized the necessity to employ violent means. This paper also considered the figure of dGa’ ldan tshe dbang dpal bzang po (second half of the 17th century), an ex-lama from Tashilhumpo to whom the V Dalai Lama entrusted the general command of the Tibetan army during the war between Tibet and Ladakh (1679-1683).

The Association was created with the aim of promoting the study and knowledge of Tibetan and Himalayan civilizations in Italy, supporting research, publishing scientific studies, translations and works for the general public on Tibetan, Himalayan and Mongolian civilizations, and organizing conferences and collaborating with academic institutions.

The challenges of maintaining a standing army

On Thursday 15 December Dr. Alice Travers (CNRS, Paris) will give a guest lecture titled “The challenges of maintaining a standing army: the reforms of the Tibetan troops during the first half of the 20th Century”.

Venue: University of Oslo – Seminar room 10, P.A. Munchs building

The presentation will first give an overview of this new field of research and present the current state of knowledge regarding the creation of the first Tibetan standing army under the Ganden Phodrang government. It will then analyse the content of the military reforms (recruitment, hierarchy, training, uniform, arms and ammunitions) undertaken during the first half of the 20th century under the successive governments, based on secondary literature, and on primary written and oral sources (biographical accounts published in India and in the TAR, archives and interviews), in order to show how the distinctive features of these reforms were closely shaped by the political national and international context at various times.

The lecture is organized by the interfacultary Research Seminar in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies (TibHim), and are jointly funded by Network for University Cooperation Tibet-Norway and Religion in Pluralist Societies (PluRel).