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By Michael L. Walter

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Extra info for Buddhism and Empire: The Political and Religious Culture of Early Tibet (Brill's Tibetan Studies Library, V. 22)

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As stated above, writing in Tibet developed to further the administration of the Imperium. This is a gentle way of introducing its means for propaganda, its self-presentation. Old Tibetan documents of all sorts almost always evidence what the Imperium would allow or tolerate, what it supported. , in requests to higher authorities from occupied areas (see documents in OTM). There seems to have been no documenting of religious practices that it frowned upon, nor much curiosity about others. This does not mean such did not exist, of course.

These similarities, by themselves, are too general to be significant. However, if we add details from other motifs the similarity becomes intriguing. The text that Richardson rendered from its incipit, gnam babs kyi dar ma, of IO370(5) (“The Dharma that came down from Heaven . ”, op. , pp. 219–229), but which might be better interpreted, “The Dharma that descended from the Heaven (of the spiritual-being ancestors of the Btsan-pos)” we encounter a variant of the motif of the gifts of the Dharma in a casket descending onto the roof of the palace of Lha Tho Tho Ri Gnyan Mtshan (see the Chos ’byung of Bu Ston), a btsan-po.

The later Mongol Empire represents the apex of this development, or at least we have more textual attestations for this, such as inviting religious figures of many faiths to its court,9 although the Tibetan Imperium also seems quite typical in this regard. One virtue of this approach not lost on the Mongols was that it allowed maximum access to intelligence about spiritual forces in the world around them. As data from Siberian tribes has consistently showed, some spiritual beings within their ethnie (a population which persists through its collective traditions and cultural forms; this includes what we call ethnic groups or peoples) were considered friendly and protecting, while others were harmful and needed to be placated.

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