LECTURE> Georgios Halkias and Neil Schmid at Ghent University

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Dear Colleagues,

The Centre for Buddhist Studies at Ghent University, with the support of the Tianzhu foundation, is pleased to announce 2 upcoming lectures by Georgios Halkias (University of Hong Kong, click for more information) and Neil Schmid (Dunhuang Academy). Both lectures will take place on Thursday, March 8th, 10am-1pm. Admission is free but space is limited and RSVP is required. RSVP by contacting Christoph Anderl at Christoph.Anderl@ugent.be.

The title of Dr. Halkias' presentation is: The Shitro Ceremony and Lay Tantric Buddhism in Amdo, Qinghai Province


Professional practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism belong either to the ‘red sangha’ (dge ‘dun mar po) that includes celibate nuns and monks who wear the maroon robes, or the ‘white sangha’ (dge ‘dun dkar po), a lay community of male and female tantrists or ngakpa (sngags pa / sngags ma; Skt. māntrin). The latter are also known as those who wear the ‘white cloth’ and have uncut ‘braided hair’ (gos dkar lcang lo can), two distinctive markers of lay, and usually non-celibate, tantric practitioners. It would be fair to say, that the ngakpa of Rebkong in the north-eastern part of the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai province, are well known in the Tibetan cultural world for comprising the largest community of householder tantric practitioners.  In this presentation, I will briefly introduce the history of the Rebkong community of ngakpas that belong to the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, known as the Reb kong snangs mang (a group of tantrists from Rebkong), and share some audio-visual material and observations from my fieldwork participation in the ceremony of the ‘100 peaceful and wrathful deities,’ the Shitro (zhi khro), that took place in June 2017 at the village of Shakarlung in the district of Rebkong.

The title of Dr. Schmid's presentation is: Mogao Grottoes as Wunderkammern and the Mirabilia of Salvation


From the 4th to the 14th century, the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang were used as places of worship and pilgrimage. In 1900, 50,000 manuscripts, paintings on silk, and other votive objects were discovered, further enriching the vast collection of painted murals and sculpture contained in the 492 caves. Examining these materials, this talk discusses how and why the caves were created as ritual spaces and portals for transcendence, and in particular how the visual programs of caves employ a kind of “assemblage of otherness” – not unlike Renaissance Wunderkammern – to promote both social and soteriological goals.

For more of our upcoming events, please refer to our website: http://www.cbs.ugent.be/node/679