Tools: Save | Print | E-mail
Development of Tibetan studies
Posted: March-18-2009Adjust font size:

Research Into Politics and Legal System.

In the last decade or more, politics in Tibet, its legal status and its legal system have become new subjects for Tibetan studies.

The subject covers the successful experience of the revolution and construction in Tibet following its peaceful liberation in 1951; evaluation of historical significance of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the Democratic Reform carried out in the region from 1959 to 1960, and the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region; and the importance of the principles and policies of the Communist party of China for work in Tibet. Papers and articles, written on the basis of the research, were mostly carried in China Tibetology. The journal carried articles on the 40th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet and on the revolution and construction in the region in its issues No. 1 and No.2 of 1991; and articles and papers on Mao Zedong's thought on rule over Tibet in its issue No.1 of 1994. As a considerable number of authors of these articles and papers experienced the peaceful liberation of Tibet and socialist construction in Tibet, articles and papers they wrote hence command high academic and historic value.

Recent years saw the 14th Dalai Lama and some in the West work hand in glove with each other to mislead the international community in issues concerning the Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and in issues related to human rights. In response, the Chinese scholars have published many academic papers and books which help readers to gain a better understanding of the Tibetan issue. These include the Historical Status of Tibet. Authored by Wang gui, Xeirab Nyina and some others, the book contains rich and authentic facts to support counter-attack at the Political History of the Tibetan Areas and the Status of Tibet, books which distort Tibetan history and trumpets Tibetan independence. The History of Relations Between the Local Government of Tibet and the Central Government, authored by Huang Yusheng, explains how Tibet was subordinate to the Central Government in history since the 13th century. The Source of the So-Called Tibetan Independence Activities , authored by Yang Gongsu, nails to the barn the British efforts to plot Tibetan independence and its invasion of Tibet. From the book readers see the so-called Tibetan independence was first made in Britain. The Research Into Human Rights in Tibet, authored by Shi Jinbo and some others, explains the background behind the birth of the issue of the human rights in Tibet and tells of the human rights situation in old Tibet. From the book readers see the human rights situation has been greatly improved since 1959 when the Democratic Reform was carried out in Tibet.

The legal status of Tibet, unequal treaties imposed upon Tibet, and local laws find their way into a number of academic papers and books, including the Legal Status of Tibet in History (a Chinese translation) by Li Tiezen, Concise History of British and Russian Invasion of China's Tibet by Zhou Weizhou, and Selected Legal Codes in Ancient Tibet by the Social Sciences Development research Center of the State Education Commission.

Research Into the Economic Development in Tibet.

This is a new subject for Tibetan studies. This marks the development from economic and social investigation and research into the policies for economic development to studying strategy and theory for economic development.

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council held their first national conference on work in Tibet in March d1980. From then on, the gravity of work in Tibet shifted onto economic construction. From 1981 to 1983, Tibet Research carried a number of articles on economic development in Tibet. After 1984, China had a bumper harvest in Tibetan studies which began to touch 20 aspects including the economic structure, the industrial structure, strategy for economic development, farming-live-stock-breeding-industry, economic theory, regional market, population and economic restructuring. Research into Tibetan history covers 10 aspects including economic form in ancient Tibet, economic situation in the Tibetan areas, and manorial economic and trade for salt and grain. During this period of time, the Outline of Economics in Tibet, the first of its kind, came off the press. Authored by Huang Wanlun, the book contains rich facts taken from ancient, contemporary and modern documents, and explains the development from social and economic situation in ancient Tibet to economic development in the early 1980s. This was followed by the publication of the Outline of Economic Development in Tibet by Yang Xuejun, Tibetan Economy Development and Counter-Measures by Li Zuqing, and History of Tibetan Currency by Xiao Huaiyuan. These pioneering works promote in-depth development of the Tibetan studies.

In the 1990s, more academic papers were produced. Tibetan studies made breakthroughs in some fields. Tibet Development and Reform Under Non-Typicla Dual Structure (by Sun Yong) is a book containing theory held as advanced and very important for economic development in Tibet. Employing modern economic theory and with facts gained through on-the-spot investigation and study, the book holds that Tibet at present practices neither the natural economy nor modern economy; its economy is different from the dual economy found nationwide, west China included; instead, it is non-typical dual economic structure. On this basis, the book proposes efforts to effect a change in this regard at present and in the future. The Concise History of Economics in Tibet explains economic development following the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951. It was compiled by Dorje Cedain (used to be chairman of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and then director of theChina National Center for Tibetan Studies) and Gyaincain Norbu (then chairman of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region). The first two chapters of the book tell of social and economic development in Tibet from the ancient time to 1951. Its Chapters 3-9 explain changes in agriculture, communications, aviation, posts and telecommunications, energy, industry, finance, circulation and market. As the authors include economists and officials with government and economic departments, the book is authentic and authoritative. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Environment and Development (series books by lobsang Nyingchi Dorje) and the Research Into Economics in Tibet (series books) are also books on economic development in Tibet, which prove to be very influential in China. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Environment and Development is the first book compiled by scholars involved in the social sciences and natural science. The book is new as it strives to show a road Tibet may follow in economic development, a road which conforms with the local conditions and facilitates future development of whole China. The Research into Economic in Tibet is considered to be of guiding value for economic construction in Tibet. Tibetan economy developed at a fast rate in the 1990s. This stimulated the Tibetologists and economists to make further efforts in studying economic construction in Tibet.

Social Formation and Historical Research.

Research into the social formation and history of the Tibetan society holds an important position in Tibetan studies.

In the early days when contemporary Tibetan studies began, there were people who went to the plateau, pastoral areas, manors, monasteries and towns. There, they gathered firsthand materials related to tribal history and economic situation. On this basis, they compiled and published a 10-part book titled Investigation Reports on the History and Society of the Tibetan Race in the 1980s. In 1987, a project was undertaken to research into the feudal serfdom in Tibet with aid from the State Social Sciences Fund. A group of 19 researchers from Beijing and Tibet went to the farming and pastoral areas for further investigation. In eight years, they completed the Social Formation of Feudal Serfdom in Tibet, which was published in 1996. This book represents the most important results gained through Tibetan studies, and symbolized that Tibetan studies on the social formation in Tibet had reached a new height.

A number of works on Tibetan history have also been published. They include the General History of Tibet by Chabai Cedain puncog, a very famous Tibetan scholar; the Concise history of Tibet by a compilation group composed of Liu Shengqi, Wang Furen, Wang Xiaoyi and Chang Fengxuan with the Ethnic Nationalities Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; and On the Temporal and Religious administration in Tibet by Donggar Lobsang Chilai. With rich historical materials in Tibetan, the Concise History of Tibet tells of the history from the Tubo period to the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951. It covers politics, economics, religion, foreign relation, military affairs, science and technology, medicine, astronomy and calendaring as well as major historical events and noted personages. The White Annals by Gendun Qunpei, a famous Tibetologis, is the first to break the yoke of religious theology to take the research into the Tibetan history into the humanities. The general History of Tibet by Chabai Cedain Puncog tells of the Tibetan history from the historical materialist point of view. The Concise History of Tibet tells of changes that took place in the 1,300 year period from the 7th century when the Tubo Kingdom was founded to the peaceful liberation of Tibet. On the Temporal and Religious Administration in Tibet (by Donggar Lobsang Chilai), Tibetan Tribe in China (by Chen Qingying) tells of the formation and development of the system featuring temporal and religious administration followed in Tibet. It touches on major issues encountered during various historical periods. It is very rich in content, stimulating research into the Tibetan history in the early 1980s. Major work on the modern and contemporary Tibet include Tibet of Contemporary China and History of Revolution in Tibet with Zhao Shenying serving as the chief editor. In the meantime, efforts sere made to gather, translate and compile historical archives and official documents into books. This also promotes the research into the Tibetan history.

Research Into Religion and Philosophical Thinking.

Here lies another major part of Tibetan studies. It concentrates on the facts that the ancestors of the Tibetan race believed in the Bon religion. Buddhism spread into Tubo in the mid-7th century and gradually evolved into Tibetan Buddhism which boasts unique philosophy.

Tibetan scholars have been studying influential people in history and modern times for centuries. Tibetan Buddhism attracted worldwide attention in the last century. Many have since entered Tibet for information and investigation, though out of varied aims. Studying Tibetan Buddhism in a modern way began.  

Following the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, much headway was made in studying Tibetan Buddhism. In the 1980s and thereafter, Tibetan studies developed apace. During this period of time, Tibetan studies institutions mushroomed, and many academic papers produced. From 1984 to 1994, for example, the Chinese scholars published more than 200 papers on Tibetan religion, some 200 translated papers, over 40 books, and some 30 translated books. Studying Tibetan Buddhism involves studying a dozen subjects including history, sects doctrines, monasteries, classics, doctrines, monasteries, classics, eminent monks, the reincarnation of Living Buddha , Tantric Buddhism, and the relations between Tibetan Buddhist leaders with the Central Government. Studying the Bon religion involves studying history, rituals, sorcerers, with craft, deities, documents, and Buddhism. The scholars went into many fields which have never been touched, and good results were made. In recent years, fresh efforts were made to study the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism, and breakthrough was made in this regard. Gratifying results have also been made in studying Tantric Buddhism. Efforts have also been redoubled to study the Qing Dynasty's religious policies in the Tibetan areas. Studying the Bon religion, with a weak foundation, is also crowned with great success.

In the last 10 years or more, many works on Tibetan religion have been published. The most authoritative of these is the Concise History of the Development of Tibetan Buddhism by Wang Sen, which features rich content in terms of historical evidence and records. In producing the book, the author had read as many historical records as possible. On this basis, he made analysis from the historical materialist point of view to go into the essence of history. For example, the book tells of the source, background, and social impact of the Grand Summons Ceremony held in Lhasa. In telling the history of the 13 wanhu (10,000-household offices) in U-Tsang, the author uses seven kinds of Tibetan materials to make comparison with the History of the Yuan Dynasty. This makes it possible for readers to better understand the Yuan Dynasty's rule over Tibet. The book should be the number one in studying the source of the titles of the Dalai Lama and the text of certificate issued to grant the Dalai Lama the said title. The author was the only one then to be able to read classics in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese, and make comparison between the three kinds of works. The book also contains unique view in studying the text of certificate issued to grant the title of Diba Sanggyai. The Qing Dynasty Government and Lamaism by Zhang Yuxin is composed of two parts the relations between the Qing Government and Lamaism, which is the major part of the book; and inscriptions on the stone tablets of Lamaism during the Qing Dynasty, which is the data part of the book. In the major part of the book, the author tells of the relations between the Qing Dynasty and Tibetan Buddhism in six aspects Policies of the Jin (Qing) regime on Lamaism before and after it crossed Shanhaiguan Pass; entered the Qing area; historical characters of the Qing Dynasty in its early period; the Qing Dynasty rule over the Mongolian and Tibetan races; the Qing Government's use of Lamaism in rule over the Mongolian and Tibetan races; the Qing Government's management over and restriction on Lamaism; and historical influence. In the data part of the book, the author records 140 kinds of stone tablets related to Tibetan Buddhism. Books on famous religious personages have the Biography of the Dalai Lamas and the Biography of the Panchen Erdenis as the representative works. Authored by Ya Hanzhang, both books record the Dalai and the Panchen Living Buddha systems, including their birth, demise, reincarnation and enthronement of their soul boys. They contain objective evaluations of major historical events and personages. The two books have the struggle against imperialism and the Central Government's rule over Tibet as the Theme. The Chronology of Various Generations of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Erdenis by Dainzhub Angben plays an important role in studying the Dalai and the Panchen Living Buddha systems and the Tibetan history.

In the past, studying Tibetan Buddhism concentrated mainly on inheritance; not enough efforts were made to study its doctrine; research fruit stressed outlook on life. In the last decade, however, the study turned to the philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism. Representative of this is the Outline of Tibetan Buddhist Thinking by Banban Dorje, which explains the doctrines and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism from the philosophic angle. It represents new achievement the Chinese scholars have made in this field.

Research Into Literature and Art.

Research into Tibetan literature and art began with the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1984. It gained momentum in recent years.

Research into Tibetan literature covers ancient Tibetan classics, folk literature, contemporary literature, and the epic King Gesar. Representative of the research fruit included the History of Tibetan Literature with Ma Xueliang and Chabai Cedain Puncog as the chief editors and Dong Jinhua as the deputy chief editor. The book divides the development of the ancient Tibetan classics into four stages; takes some 30 Tibetan works selected from among the Tibetan literary treasurehouse as the objects for study; probes into the influence of religion on Tibetan literature; and analyses the relations between writers' literature and folk literature. In the research into folk literature, the Folk literature of the Tibetan Race by Dong Jinhua is a representative work. The book comprises six chapters including mythology, folk songs and poems, proverbs and divination words, legends and folk tales, Biography of King Gesar, and Tibetan Opera. Modern Literature of the Tibetan Race by Gen Yuyan displays the outstanding achievements made in studying poems, nowvels, proses, operas, films, ballads, and pop folk songs unique to the Tibetan race. It evaluates authors and their works and comments on the development of modern Tibetan literature in an objective way.

King Gesar is an epic unique to the Tibetan race, and has been sung in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau for over 1,000 years. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to rescuing and researching King Gesar. In 1983, a national group was set up to take charge of the work; in 1993, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences set up the King Gesar Study Center and some provinces and autonomous regions directly under the Central Government followed suit, too. By 1995, a total of 300 volumes of hand-copied or woodblock printed King Gesar in Tibetan were located, and over 5,000 tapes of materials recorded. Thus far, close to 100 volumes of King Gesar, some 20 works on King Gesar, some 20 works on King Gesar, and over 500 investigation reports have been published. Representative of these include A Probe Into the King Gesar by Jamban Gyamco, Epic King Gesar of China's Ethnic minorities by Yang Enhong, and Research Into Heros in the King Gesar by Wu Wei. A Collection of King Gesar has also been published thanks to herculean efforts made. The book takes in articles on King Gesar published in the period from the 1930s to the 1990s. It is the first complete set of documents on research into the King Gesar, filling in the blank of research into the King Gesar.

Studying Tibetan art used to be concentrated on the Tibetan opera, music, dance, painting and some other major art field. The situation has seen changes over the past 10 years or more. Smooth progress was made to gather materials and compile them into books; efforts to translate and study documents on the traditional Tibetan art theory were crowned with achievements; overseas efforts to study the Tibetan art are attracting an increasing attention of the Chinese scholars who have translated some works by their foreign counterparts into Chinese; and fresh efforts are being made to study the religious art. Many works were produced on the basis of achievements made. They includes the Tibetan Art (by Tibet association for Literature and Art), Fascial Mask Art of Tibet (by Ye Xingsheng), History of Tibetan Music (by Xoikang Soinam Dagyai), General History of Tibetan Dance (by Ngawang Kecun), Tibetan Buddhist Paintings Art of China's Tibet (by Zhang Chaoying), Research Into History of Tibetan Fine Arts (by An Xun), Research Into the Fresco Art of the Palkor Monastery Tibetan Buddhist Art of the Middle Ages (by xiong Wenbin), Ancient Fresco Art of Monasteries in the Tibetan Areas (by Jin Weinu and others), Frescoes of Guge Kingdom in Tibet(by Sun Zhenhua), and Rock Painting Art of Tibet (by the Tibet Cultural Relics Mangagement Committee).

Research Into Written Tibetan Language and Education.

Here lies the two major subjects of the Tibetan studies, commanding extremely important significance for cultural undertakings and economic development in Tibet.

From the 1950s to the 1960s, efforts were made to survey the written language work in Tibet in large scale. This laid a solid foundation for the establishing and development of the written Tibetan language subject. Research into the written Tibetan language gained fresh ground in the 1980s and thereafter. Many works on phonetics, vocabulary, grammar and written script have been published. Influential ones include Outline of the Chinese and Tibetan Languages. In its Chapter Tibetan Language, the author-Hu tan-explains in great detail the phonetics, grammar, vocabulary of the ancient Tibetan language and characteristics. On this basis, Hu Tan explains the difference and similarity of the three Tibetan dialects. The Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary is one of the most important dictionaries ever published. It takes in 53,000 entries related to grammar, history, geography, poems, symonyms, Buddhism, logic, medicine, calendaring, documents in old Tibet, feudal legal codes, folklore, farming, livestock breeding, building, garments, corvee and taxation. It also takes in special terms related to modern life, which the author has gathered in social life and production. Public opinion hails it as very important product of Tibetan studies.

With regard to education, the present is linked up with the past. In the past, the Tibetan received education in monasteries which used Tibetan Buddhist classics as teaching materials. The Monastery Education in China's Tibet, authored by Zhou Runnian and Liu Hongji, tells of the birth and development of Tibetan education in monasteries, the organizational structure, system, teaching content and education in monasteries of the Bon religion. Public opinion hails it as the first book which studies monastery education in a fairly systematic way. The Concise History of Education in Modern and Contemporary Tibet is a two-volume book, respectively on modern (1840-1919) and contemporary (1919-1949) education. In the field of contemporary education, many papers have been published to discuss educational reform, modernized education, traditional education, bilingual education, teaching methods, teaching materials middle and primary school education, and education in teachers' school and universities. The Research Into Education in Tibet compiled by Gen Jinsheng and some others is a collection of 36 academic research papers, investigation reports and research reports, which discuss outstanding issues in modern education in Tibet. The Education in Tibet is a book with 15 chapters. Authored by Dorje Cedain, the book devotes one-third of its spaces to the development of Tibetan education in a period from the ancient to modern times before discussing Tibetan education in the contemporary period. The book contains rich data and facts to support theory and conclusion with regard to contemporary education in Tibet.

Source: Development of Tibetan studiesEditor: Lydia
Tools: Save | Print | E-mail
Related topics