CENTRE FOR TIBETAN LITERATURE

The department of Tibetan literature (formerly known as the Centre for Tibetan Literature) was founded as a part of the Research Departments in 2009. The Centre is currently in the process of producing four comprehensive volumes on the History of Tibetan Literature that provides an exhaustive analysis of the subject over several centuries.

Tibet possesses a literature that stretches back over 1300 years. It is one of the great literary traditions of Asia, in terms of both its size and range of influence. From ancient pillar inscriptions, to manuscripts sealed away in long-forgotten caves, to xylographic texts on every imaginable subject piled high in monastic libraries, the Tibetan corpus numbers tens of thousands of works. It has exercised an abiding influence not only in Tibet itself, but in the larger cultural area at one time dominated by Tibet, which includes Mongolia, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and parts of northern Pakistan, northern India, western China and southern Russia. In spite of its size and influence, Tibetan literature was largely unknown to either scholars or the public in the West as recently as thirty-five years ago.

The study of Tibetan literature has thus been long overlooked in Tibetan studies and the establishment of the Centre is aimed to fill this vacuum. Tibetan literature can refer to religious texts, historical works, biographies, philosophy, fiction, drama, and poetry, etc. Much of it is connected with Buddhism but it also concerns with other themes.

It was not until 2017 that Tibetan literature began to be taught as a subject at the Institute under the department for Tibetan language and literature. This is an innovative development since until recently there has been little wider scholarly interest in Tibetan literature as a subject outside the scope of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. Only one other institution in India teaches Tibetan literature at Master’s Level, although the CIHTS program elevates the subject to a higher standard with the inclusion of other important components. It is hoped that a rigorous and comprehensive program of study will help to raise the profile of Tibetan literature as an area of study. 

The recently established department specializing in Tibetan Literature was previously recognized as the Centre for Tibetan Literature since its inception. In coherence with the strategic alignment of other research departments within our esteemed Institute, aimed at fortifying our contributions to the Tibetan literary domain, the 61st Board of Governors convened on March 23, 2023, and unanimously resolved to elevate the status of the Centre to that of a comprehensive department, formally named the Department of Tibetan Literature. This transition signifies a pivotal milestone in our dedication to the progression of Tibetan literary exploration and scholarly research.

CENTRE FOR TIBETAN LITERATURE – PROJECTS COMPLETED

1.

Title: Smra Ba’i Sgo Mtshan Cha Lta Bu’i ‘Bru ‘Grel Cung Zad Gsal Bar Byed Pa

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Published: 2016 CIHTS

Title of text: Smra Ba’i Sgo Mtshan Cha Lta Bu’i ‘Bru ‘Grel Cung Zad Gsal Bar Byed Pa

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: Syllable-by-syllable Commentary of Smṛtijñānakīrti’s Vacanamukhāyudhopama

 

2.

Title: Grangs Kyi Mngon Brjod Gsal Ba’i Sgron Me Zhes Bya Ba Bzhugs So

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Published: 2016 CIHTS

Title of text: Grangs Kyi Mngon Brjod Gsal Ba’i Sgron Me Zhes Bya Ba Bzhugs So

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: A reference book for Metaphorical Expressions for Numerics.

 

3.

Title: Po Ta La Kun Tu Dga’ Ba’i Gtam Gyi Dpyad Brjod Rags Bsdus

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Published: 2016 CIHTS

Title of text: Po Ta La Kun Tu Dga’ Ba’i Gtam Gyi Dpyad Brjod Rags Bsdus

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: A Brief Analysis on the Songs of Potala Delight of klong Chen Rab ‘byam ba.

 

4.

Title: Rje Tsong Kha Pa Chen Po’i Snyan Ngag Rtsom Chos Dang De’i Dpyad Brjod

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Published: 2016 CIHTS

Title of text: Rje Tsong Kha Pa Chen Po’i Snyan Ngag Rtsom Chos Dang De’i Dpyad Brjod

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: On Tsongkhapa and his literary works.

CENTRE FOR TIBETAN LITERATURE – ONGOING PROJECTS

1.

Title: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 1

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Title of text: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 1

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: Presents the origins and sources of primitive Tibetan literature, and Classic Tibetan Literature, Tibetan Literature of during the reign of Tibetan Emperors. Also includes Tibetan Religious Songs, Good-sayings, letters, and Classic Poetries.

 

2.

Title: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 2

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Title of text: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 2

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: presents mainly about Tibetan traditional literature. How the Tibetan traditional literature originated from India, How the Bka’-‘gyur (“Translation of the Buddha’s Words”) and Bstan-‘gyur (“Translation of Treatises”) came into being? How many Indian Pundits came to Tibet, and how many Tibetan translators went to India? How did the Tibetan traditional literary theories come into existence? How Mahākāvya and poems, Avadānas, dramas, Subhāṣitānis developed in Tibetan literature. It also includes history of the Tibetan grammatical works and Abhidhānas.

 

3.

Title: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 3

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Title of text: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 3

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: Includes history of poetic theories, that of dramas, of Sanskrit literature, and that of Buddhist Literature, biographies of some renowned writers.

 

4.

Title: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 4

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Title of text: History of Tibetan Literature. Vol. 4

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: about Tibetan Modern Literature.

 

5.

Title: Analytical Annotation of Nāgānanda Nāṭakam of Śrī Harṣa.

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

Title of text: Analytical Annotation of Nāgānanda Nāṭakam of Śrī Harṣa.

Language: Tibetan

Nature of work: Critical edition with comprehensive study and annotative notes of an existing 13th century Tibetan translation of Nāgānanda Nāṭakam (नागानन्द नाटकम्) (Joy of the Serpents), by the 7th century king Śrī Harṣa.

 

6.

Title: Meghadūtam of Kālidāsa (New Tibetan Version)

Author: Dorjee Kyab

Title of text: Meghadūtam of Kālidāsa (New Tibetan Version)

Language: Tibetan and Sanskrit

Nature of work: Translation of Cloud Messenger of Kālidāsa into Tibetan, with critical edition of Sanskrit text and provided with a complete Sanskrit-Tibetan glossary as well.

CENTRE FOR TIBETAN LITERATURE – FUTURE PROJECTS

1.

 

Title: History of Indian Medieval Literature.

 

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

 

Title Text: History of Indian Medieval Literature.

 

Language: Tibetan

 

Nature of work: A Detailed Description or History of Indian Medieval Literary Works.

 

2.

 

Title: History of Indian Modern Literature.

 

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

 

Title Text: History of Indian Modern Literature.

 

Language: Tibetan

 

Nature of work: Indian Modern literature includes Hindi Literature and Urdu Literature etc. as well.

 

3.

 

Title: History of Tibetan Diasporic Literature (1959 – 2019)

 

Author: Beri Geshe Jigme Wangyal

 

Title Text: History of Tibetan Diasporic Literature

 

Language: Tibetan

 

Nature of work: includes all the Translations, Creative Writings, Poems, Novels, as well as literary works of Histories, Politics, economics, grammars, techniques, and that of theories of all the Tibetan and non-Tibetan contributors.

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