Tibetan Poetry & Poetics Workshop

May 12–14, 2017

This year’s seminar focuses on the system of poetics and ornate poetry known as snyan ngag, or kāvya in Sanskrit. This system is based on one of the most important Indian manuals of poetics, Daṇḍin’s Mirror of Poetics (Kāvyādarśa), which forms the basis for Tibetan poetic theory and practice. Ornate poetry is found across all genres of Buddhist literature in all schools. It is often used for introductions in order to display the author’s intellectual skill. More importantly, it is a primary vehicle for evoking beauty and heightened aesthetic experience in relation to Buddhist contemplative ideals, doctrinal commitments, and philosophical exploration. The technical nature of the Mirror’s system has challenged non-native readers. This seminar brings together several leading experts in traditional Tibetan poetry and its translation to offer a concise yet in-depth introduction to such literature.

Kunsang khorlo at Tashi Lhunpo monastery 2-edited

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery (Photo Courtesy of Gendun Rabsal)

The full schedule can be found here.

The program will take place May 12–14, 2017 at Latse Library (132 Perry St, #2B, New York, NY 10014). The workshop is open to regular seminar participants and guests of Latse Library.

We are grateful for the generous support of Latse Library and Trace Foundation.


UC Berkeley Meeting 2015

This spring campus meeting brings together many seminar participants to present work in progress for our anticipated volume Reading Tibetan Literature.

Presentations by Sarah Jacoby, Janet Gyatso, Brandon Dotson, Jann Ronis, Jake Dalton, Ben Bogin, Nancy Lin, Holly Gayley, Kurtis Schaeffer, Andrew Quintman, Jonathan Gold, Carl Yamamoto, Gendun Rabsal, and Nicole Willock.

Responses by UC Berkeley faculty: Paula Varsano, Andrew Jones, Harsha Ram, Mack Horton, and Alan Tansman.

Full schedule is available here.

We look forward to seeing everyone there!
Andy & Kurtis

2014 AAR Meeting: Ralo’s Biography & Love Letters of a Buddhist Visionary Couple

In the fifth and final year of the seminar we look at the early modern biography of theTibetan tantric master and sorcerer Rwa Lotsāwa, and the letters of two important twentieth century religious leaders, Tā re lha mo and ‘Jigs med phun tshogs. Holly Gayley will present “Oral Styles of Versification in the Love Letters of a Buddhist Visionary Couple,” and Bryan Cuevas will present on “Hagiography and Polemic: A Few Remarks on the Composition of the Life of Ra Lotsawa”.

You can download their materials (including Tibetan texts, selected translations, and introductory remarks) under the AAR Year 5 tab above or by clicking HERE.

Andy & Kurtis

2013 AAR Meeting: Ritual & Historical Literature of the 15th–17th Centuries

Materials for the 2013 seminar meeting in Baltimore are now available.

This year the Religion and Literary in Tibet seminar will focus on the 15th through 17th centuries, and upon ritual and historical literature. Frances Garrett will present on Rdo rje gling pa’s “edible letters” (za yig). Jann Ronis will present on the Royal Genealogy of Degé (Sde dge’i rgyal rabs).

You can download their materials (including Tibetan texts, selected translations, and introductory remarks) under the AAR Year 4 tab above or by clicking HERE.

The Seminar will meet Saturday 4:00 PM-6:30 PM
Sheraton Inner Harbor-Chesapeake II

We look forward to seeing you there.

Andy & Kurtis

2012 AAR Meeting: Philosophical Prose

Greetings seminar members!

Materials for he 2012 AAR Religion and the Literary in Tibet Seminar are now available.

José Cabezón (UC Santa Barbara) and David Germano (University of Virginia) are contributing materials this year. José will discuss Rog Bande Shes rab’s refutation of Madhyamaka in his Great History and Doxography (Chos ’byung grub mtha’ chen po). David Germano will present passages from Klong chen pa’s The Treasury of Words and Meanings (Tshig don mdzod).

You can download their materials (including Tibetan texts, selected translations, and introductory remarks) under the AAR Year 3 tab above or by clicking here.

The seminar will meet Saturday – 4:00-6:30 pm
McCormick Place South-504A

We look forward to seeing you all in Chicago.

Andy & Kurtis

2011 AAR Meeting: Poetry 11th to 13th Centuries

Important Update
Due to a last minute scheduling conflict, the seminar session has been moved to the following room:  Hilton Union Square-Plaza Ballroom B.

Hi Everyone,

Materials for the 2011 Religion and the Literary in Tibet seminar are now available. As a reminder, the theme for year 2 is:  Poetry 11th to 13th centuries.

Lara Braitstein (McGill University) and Jonathan Gold (Princeton University) are contributing materials this year. Lara will be discussing her work on mahāmudrā poetics in Saraha’s vajragīti; Jonathan will present the translation of kāvya and rasa theory in Tibet through the writing of Sa skya Paṇḍita.

You can read a description of their topics and download their texts and translations under the AAR year 2 tab above, or by clicking here.

Saturday 11/19 – 9:00 am-11:30 am
Room: MM-Yerba Buena 8

We look forward to seeing you soon in San Francisco!

Update:  yes, it’s still only 2011.


Ratna Lingpa gter yig

Greetings seminar members.

Welcome to the new digs for our Tibetan Literature seminar. We hope to slowly add features that will allow us to work more collaboratively and serve as a shared repository for materials generated by the seminar.

For the time being, we have added some information about the upcoming meeting in Charlottesville.

Pages describing the schedule and the selection of readings chosen for the workshop can be found under the UVA Meeting tab above.

You can also get to the readings by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing everyone soon!