Published: Aug. 30, 2017

CAS is pleased to partner with the Tibet Himalaya Initiative to invite Dr. Charles Ramble, Directeur d'études (Professor of Tibetan History and Philology) at the Ecole pratique des hautes études in Paris, to present on "Tibetan Sacred Landscape: Its Magical Creatures and Where to Find Them."

The term ‘sacred landscape’ refers to the natural environment when it is perceived and represented as a supernatural place. The phenomenon appears all over the world, in at least as many forms are there are religious beliefs to generate it. In the case of Tibet, the richness and complexity of sacred landscapes is commensurate with the variety of the country’s dramatic natural topography itself: many mountains are perceived as the divine citadels of one or another of the great tantric divinities, and thousands of pilgrims visit these sites every year in the hope of receiving their healing and empowering blessings. Tibet was not always a Buddhist country, and in the same way as the hostile gods and demons of the land had to be tamed by the pioneers of the new faith, so the old landscape was overwritten with a new script. But if we look in the right places – in early texts, and in the folk traditions of certain marginal communities – the traces of older landscapes and their strange inhabitants can still sometimes be discerned beneath the surface. By teasing apart these different layers, this lecture will try to show something of the complex palimpsest of representations that are imposed on one another to create this fascinating landscape.

Dr. Ramble's talk is tomorrow, August 31, at 7:00 p.m. It will be held in British and Irish Studies Room, 5th Floor of Norlin Library on the CU-Boulder campus. This will be the 5th Annual Trungpa Lecture in Buddhist Studies, a collaboration between CU Boulder and Naropa University. It is free and open to the public.