Religion & Culture

Tibetan Philosophy and Tibetology

Updated: 2011-11-16 17:20

Tibetan Philosophy and Tibetology


Researcher of the Academy of Social Sciences of the Tibetan Autonomous Region

1. Development of Tibetology, Philosophy and Social Sciences in Tibet after the Peaceful Liberation

After the peaceful liberation, the Chinese government organized investigation delegations to Tibet. These specialists were recording, surveying, and researching different aspects of Tibet including geography, economy, social system, religion, custom, etc. At the same time, they've translated and compiled several related literature written which become very precious history material for Tibetan studies and also the basis of the modern Tibetology, philosophy and social sciences.

In the 1960s, lots of institutions such as the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences started their work in Tibet. They were exploring cultural heritage, sorting out and translate the stuff in Tibetan language. Because of their efforts, plenty of scientific materials have been stored for the next generation. Since then, China has promoted its group of specialists of Tibetology so that to settle the groundwork for more thorough study in every aspect of Tibet.

In the December of 1978, for further development of the researches of philosophy, social sciences and Tibetology of Tibet, the government of Tibet Autonomous Region started to build up the Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences. They gathered the elder scholars and the younger intellectuals together to make preparations for setting up the institute while they were continuing with their studies. Extensive researches during that period were conducted successfully in several fields such as religion, history, language and social system.

After three years, Tibetan Studies (a comprehensive periodical in both Chinese and Tibetan language) started its publication. It established an important platform for communication among Tibetologists among the world and become one of the most famous publications of Tibetology internationally. Now, the plan of English edition is in process. At the same time, related departments of Tibet Autonomous Region are building up other institutes for social sciences and other studies step by step, such as Economic & Social Development Research Center of Tibet Autonomous Region, Education Science Study Institute of the Tibetan Education Department, Tibetan Financial Research Institute of the Tibetan branch of the People's Bank of China, Arts Research Institute of the Tibetan Culture Department, Literature and History Information Compiling Office of the Tibetan People's Political Consultative Conference. They started a lot of publications such as Literature and History of Tibet, Economy Studies of Tibet, Arts of Tibet, Tibetan Education, Tibetan Customs, Tibetan Religion, etc. Most publications are in Chinese and Tibetan languages for the sake of most Tibetan ethnic readers and the others.

In August of 1985, Tibet Autonomous Region Academy of Social Sciences (TASS) was officially established. Since then, studies of philosophy, social sciences and Tibetology of Tibet were booming up into a brand new era. Moreover, at that time, there were different kinds of study institutes more than 20 which have over 2,000 staff totally.

2. Survey of TASS

Tibet Autonomous Region Academy of Social Sciences is a comprehensive research department of Tibet Autonomous Region, whose main research directions are philosophy and social sciences. 26 years since established, it has made great achievements in Tibetology area.

(1). Institutes and Personnel

There are 6 sciences research institutes of TASS—Ethnics Research Institute, Religion Research Institute, Tibetan Modernization Research Institute, Agricultural Economy Research Institute, Economic Strategy Study Institute and Marxist Theory Research Institute; 3 auxiliary departments—Ancient Literature of Tibetan Language Press, Tibet Studies Newsroom and the Information Department. Also, it set up several other institutes such as Tibetology Research Center of Tibet Autonomous Region, Economic & Social Development Research Center, Tibetan "King Gesar" Emergency Office, Coordinate Office of leaders for Ancient Books in Tibetan Language, "Pattra-leaf Buddhist Scripture" Protection Office of Tibet Autonomous Region.

There are around 130 people working for the academy. The whole staff has become a specialized team concentrated on social sciences and Tibetology which consists of Tibetan and Han ethnic and other minority races. Three of them have the national privileged allowance; one of them is Top Specialist of autonomous region; and 6 of them have the specialty in cross-century subjects.

(2). Achievements of TASS

a. To dig, rescue, compile, collate and publish ancient Tibetan books.

As well as to enhance the scientific study tasks, TASS also presses ahead to rescue and discover the extraordinary traditional culture relic. A series of Tibetan ancient book "Ancient Books of the Snowland" has been published almost 50 books. More than 50 varieties of "orphan crops" have been sorted out gradually, about 100,000 books sets in total. As the academic exchange goes deeper with outside world, scholars from TASS work with foreign Tibetologists in recent years (1997-2003) translating ancient Tibetan books into English and have finished 4 books up to now. Working on the publication of the play version of "King Gesar" series, the story of artist Sang Zhu, out of which 34 scripts have been off-printed. To collect, assort and edit four kinds of Tibetan Affairs books in Chinese language. More than 500,000 books of more than 200 varieties have been published.

b. National Social Sciences Funds Projects. Since 1996, there are more than 20 projects accepted by the academy.

c. Other Achievements. Right from the beginning, TASS has been putting emphasis on fundamental research, intensifying application study, combining traditional research closely into reality research, which thus resulted in a batch of scientific achievements and publication of more than 100 sorts of academic (edited, translated) monographs and publish of more than 2000 pieces research consulting reports and thesis (in Tibetan, Chinese and English ).

3. The academic exchange of TASS

 TASS has been built a long-term relationship of academic cooperation with related academic departments and institutions of higher education in more than twenty countries and areas, including the United States, British, France, Japan, Norway, and Austria. They also invite more than one thousand foreign scholars to conduct scholarly communications. More than 200 scholars, experts, and researches have visited abroad study and gain several cooperation achievements. There are some typical examples, such as, building up the Digital Library of Himalayan Tibetan Culture with University of Virginia; editing and publishing great Tibetan tool books " Lhasa Verbs Comments " with Canadian scholars, which has nearly a million of words; doing the research of Tibet rural with American scholars which has formed a series of six field records, a nearly one million words report making an objective review of the huge change and development of Tibet, translating several Tibetan Classics with Australian scholars, etc. In addition, the experts of the Tibet Academy of Social Science attend each session since the 6th International Conference of Tibetan Studies in 1992. And 14 papers from Tibetan Academy of Social Science presented the 11th International Conference of Tibetan Studies.
Copyright 1995 - 2009 . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.