Research Context

Research Context

Despite its eminent position and role in the religion and politics of the Himalayas, no proper study of this tradition has so far been done apart from the biographical works on the person of Padma Gling pa by Michael Aris, Lopen Pemala and Sarah Harding. Michael Aris’s account is considered a judgemental work deriding Padma Gling pa as a shrewd fraudster while Pemala and Harding, writing in a defensive tone, treated him as a religious and cultural hero. This project aims to present a more objective account of Padma Gling pa put in the larger context of the history and development of the tradition and its literary cultures and narratives.

To do so effectively, the project shall start with the digital documentation of the historical and religious books associated with the Pad gling tradition and the input of these books into searchable texts. They will be then used to write a book on the history of the Pad gling tradition. The photographic data, text files, catalogue and the publication, it is hoped, will make a significant contribution to Asian and Buddhist Studies in general and Bhutan studies in particular by enhancing the accessibility of the resources previously unobtainable and by filling a major gap in our knowledge of Bhutanese and Himalayan Buddhist history. The outcome will be useful resources for scholars and lay people interested in Buddhism and the Himalayan region globally.