Seeing, Touching, Holding and Swallowing Tibetan Buddhist Texts
Cathy Cantwell [+]
University of Oxford
Cathy received Buddhist teachings from Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche during his visit to London in 1979, having earlier had her first introduction to the tantric deity, Vajrakīlaya, from the Sakya Gongma Ngawang Kunga, in London 1978. Beginning academic Tibetan Studies in 1979, she did her Ph.D fieldwork at a Dudjom tradition monastery in Himachal Pradesh, India, 1981-83, and has maintained a life-long interest in this religious tradition.
Cathy Cantwell surveys Tibetan ritual practices with books to show that ritualized interactions with sacred books express and reinforce Tibetan Buddhist identity and veneration of the Dharma. They also serve pragmatic medical ends. Her detailed discussion concludes by drawing comparisons and contrasts with the use of iconic books in other cultures, including the observation that Tibetan texts become more sacred through their ritual use.