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Uspensky V. [Review:] Peter Schwieger. The Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China: A Political History of the Tibetan Institution of Reincarnation // The Eastern Buddhist. New Series. Vol. 46, No. 2, 2015. P. 131—138.


Tibetan history in the second millennium CE was largely shaped by contacts with its neighbors—Mongols, Chinese, and Manchus. However, these contacts also resulted in the establishment of Tibetan influence over neighboring and even distant peoples. This circumstance has led to different approaches and assessments of Tibetan history as reflected in historical documents written in different languages in different places. Modern studies are no exception, and historians relying on different kinds of documents provide dissimilar interpretations not only of certain events but of large periods of Tibetan history. Modern historians have no alternative but to reflect in their studies the standpoints of the sources on which their conclusions are based. The Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China by Peter Schwieger offers a view from the inside of Central Tibet mostly based on Tibetan-language documents. The research covers the period of the Qing dynasty (taken sensu lato from 1636 to 1912) with some necessary excursions into prior and later events. This long period witnessed shifts and twists in the international position of Tibet and in the country’s internal situation. The main concern of this book is the trülku (Tib. sprul sku) institution — a Tibetan invention based on rule by incarnation. According to the author, “the dominance of the Qing court over Tibet was based entirely on the Tibetan institution of reincarnation” (p. 220)...

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