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approaches and assessments of Tibetan history as reflected in historical documents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)...