"Faith and Empire : Art and Politics in Tibet": Persons

This guide lists resources to support research related to the class "Faith and Empire" taught by Dr. Karl Debreczeny. It allows searching by historical period and by specific topic.

Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas

Brauen, Martin ed. 2005. The Dalai Lamas. A Visual History. Chicago: Serindia.

Karmay, Samten G. 2014. The Illusive Play. The Autobiography of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Chicago: Serindia.

Karmay, Samten G. 1988. Secret Visions of the Fifth Dalai Lama: The Gold Manuscript in the Fournier Collection. London: Serindia. Reprint 1998.

Ya, Hanzhang. The Biographies of the Dalai Lamas. Translated by Wang Wenjiong. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1991.

———. Biographies of the Tibetan Spiritual Leaders: Panchen Erdenis. Translated by Chen Guansheng and Li Peizhu. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 1994.

Also on the Dalai and Panchen Lamas: the magazine Lungta has two issues, on the biographies of the Panchen and Dalai Lamas.

Biographical Resources : Online

TREASURY OF LIVES : A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia & the Himalayas

An illustrated website of biographies of religious figures in Tibetan Buddhism. Each biography is linked with the Buddhist Digital Resource Center (BDRC) and Himalayan Art Resources (HAR) sites, and many are peer-reviewed. 

The Treasury website is designed to associate each biography with five categories: tradition, community, historical period, geography, and natural landmark. All of these categories – known as “facets” – can be combined with others to optimize browsing, so that user might, for example, browse for 13th century Kagyu lamas who were associated with Kailash, expand it to include Sakya, or narrow it to exclude all but Drigung Kagyu.

The Treasury uses both Extended Wylie and the phonetic system created for the Rubin Museum of Art: no diacritics, no umlauts, no acute accents. The site anticipates multiple phonetic rendering of names, acknowledging the lack of a single authoritative system, particularly useful for those times when the proper Wylie spelling is not known. Searches for Phagmodrupa or Phakmodrupa will both be directed to Pagmodrupa.  The Treasury database is borrowed from the Person records of TBRC, and the goal is to provide a biography of every known Tibetan religious figure, excluding those still living. General Editor: Alexander Gardner.


If you are looking for biographical information, another good method is to conduct a "Person Search" in the BDRC website

Biographical Resources: Print

Dpal brtsegs Bod yig dpe rnying zhib 'jug khang, ed. Bod kyi lo rgyus rnam thar phyogs bsgrigs bzhugs so. Xining: Mtsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2010-  Collection of Tibetan religious and political histories 

Wilkinson, Endymion. Chinese History: A Manual, Revised and Enlarged. Cambridge: Harvard-Yenching Institute, 2000, pp. 94-130 (Han people); 707-720 (Non-Han Peoples).

Wang Gui. Bod rigs kyi rus ming dpyad pa = Zangzu renming yanjiu. [Beijing]: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang. 1991.  Bilingual concordance of Tibetan personal and family names and Chinese character equivalents organized thus:

1. Personal names listed according to Tibetan alphabet, pp. 81-140; this is indexed by a) Chinese character stroke number, pp. 141-154; b) by Pinyin pronunciation, organized according to English alphabet, pp. 155-160; c) by English phonetic transcription, pp. 161-163;

2. Historical Central Tibetan nobility's family names, pp. 167-190;

3. Local rulers (tusi), myriarchs, chiliarchs, tribal/clan leaders, family names, pp. 191-214 (listing area that each family ruled);

4. Important incarnation lamas' names, pp. 215-219 (listing area associated with each incarnation);
Sections 1-4 are also indexed by a) Chinese character stroke number, pp. 221-227; b) by Pinyin pronunciation, organized according to English alphabet, pp. 228-235;

5. final section lists titles of government and monastic officials as well as academic degrees, pp. 239-254; also indexed by a) Chinese character stroke number, pp. 265-266; b) by Pinyin pronunciation, organized according to English alphabet, pp. 257-259.

Dudjom Rinpoche, Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje ; translated and edited by Gyurme Dorje in colaboration with Matthew Kapstein. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism : its fundamentals and history. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991.

Jam dbyangs rdo rje, Smyo shul Mkhan po; Richard Barron. A marvelous garland of rare gems:biographies of masters of awareness in the Dzogchen lineage: a spiritual history of the teachings on Natural Great Perfection. Junction City, CA : Padma Pub, 2005.

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles: the Longchen Nyingthig lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Boston: Shambhala, 1996.
Lists many teachers from E. Tibet.

Biographical Materials about Bonpo Masters: A collection of rare Bonpo biographical sketches calligraphed from manuscripts from Nepal and Tibet at the Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Centre, Dolanji. Dolanji, India: Lopon Tenzin Namdak, Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Centre, 1981.

Tsering, Tashi, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Tibetan Women. 10 vols. Dharamsala: Amnye Machen Institute, forthcoming (?).

Petech, Luciano. Aristocracy and Government in Tibet, 1728-1959. 1973.
His work on the Lhasa nobility is exceptional in paying attention to non-religious figures.

L Carrington Goodrich; Zhaoying Fang. Dictionary of Ming biography, 1368-1644. New York : Columbia University Press, 1976. Includes Karmapa V (see: Helima).

Arthur William Hummel. Eminent Chinese of the Ch`ing period (1644-1912). 2 vols. Washington : U.S. G.P.O. 1943-1944, or Taipei, Cheng Wen Pub. House, 1972, 2 vols. in 1. Includes biographies of Dalai & Panchen Lamas, as well as many dynastic officials and family members who dealt with Tibet and Tibetans.

Charles O Hucker. A dictionary of official titles in Imperial China. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 1985.

Specialized Biographical Databases

RINPOCHES. "A List of Recognized Incarnations or Tulkus." This list, input by Dan Martin, Jerusalem, is based on a text in Bod kyi gal che'i lo rgyus yig cha bdams bsgrigs (Lhasa 1991), pp. 281-369. It is helpful for searching references to the names of particular Tibetan reincarnate lamas or tulkus.