Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet were three independent Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms that shared geographical boundaries and territories around the Kanchenjunga Massif. This sacred mountain, occupied by the Tibetan warrior gods Dzonga and Yabdud, was the scene of great religious and political events from the 17th century: the north-eastern border regions of Nepal (Walungchung gola) and north of Sikkim (Dzongu, Lachen) were marked religiously by the arrival of great gter ston and Tibetan trantrists and by the installation of royal Buddhist lineages; while the successive political events and colonial wars between Tibet, Nepal and Sikkim, between the 18th and 19th centuries, changed profoundly the political and social life of chieftaincies and local indigenous peoples, helping to chart new frontiers. modern states.In this essay on religious and political history, we rely on historical and iconographic documents, as well as on ethnographic surveys (especially between the 1980s and 2014).
The translation of the hymns contained in this manuscript allows us to sketch a new vision of the message of the Iranian prophet Mani (216-276), the magnitude of which reached a universal scope. This message, spread by his followers to the West and to the East, emanates from the numerous works written by Mani himself and has benefited from various influences according to its migrations across Asia, along the Silk Roads, land and sea. The various languages that conveyed it enriched it while making it complex in its interpretation. While Mani wanted to be the Seal of the Prophecy by refunding his Gnostic, Zoroastrian and Buddhist heritage, so that his religion could "connect men from around the whole world, regardless of their origin, their language. or their history", its adaptation to the Chinese vision of the Tang era has worked a new syncretism, culminating in China with the Religion of Light.
The Bon religion, or Yungdrung bön, "eternal bon", was established in the 11th century in central Tibet in opposition to Buddhism. Yungdrung Bön is based on a historical-mythical discourse according to which Tönpa Shenrap, king of the mythical country Wölmo Lungring, has spread the bön religion in a large number of countries, including the kingdom of Zhangzhung in what is nowadays western Tibet. According to the sources, bon, this religion would have spread from Zhangzhung in Tibet, where it would have remained the religion of Tibetans and especially kings until the end of the 8th century. According to Bönpos, Zhangzhung would have played an important role as intermediary in the history of bön and Tibet.
We are now witnessing a transformation of this discourse, as Zhangzhung is appropriating the place formerly occupied by Wölmo Lungring. The Bönpos, in the Tibetan diaspora as well as in Tibet, now claim that Zhangzhung was "the land of Tönpa Shenrap", and therefore the source of Tibetan culture, including Tibetan writing. At the same time, the archaeological excavations carried out in western Tibet by the Bönpos - and by the archaeologists themselves - seem to provide irrefutable evidence of the existence of a Zhangzhung "civilization". However, the problem remains: there is no reliable link between the very few written sources of the Tibetan kingdom period and the Zhangzhung as it is described in the bön texts.
Recently, the Chinese government has set up an ambitious project to translate Chinese sacred texts into Chinese, 178 volumes in total. The goal is to 'find' Zhangzhung as the source of Tibetan culture and thus contribute to enriching China's national culture. This is an entirely secular project - the bön religion does not seem to matter.
Thus, an ancient Tibetan historical discourse is being diversified before our eyes for very different purposes.
For almost a century the DAFA has continued its mission of research, study and valorization of the archaeological heritage of Afghanistan. Its activity was directly dependent on the political evolution of the country and the possibilities of access to archaeological sites that were the consequence.
Since 2003 the DAFA is again present almost permanently. In northern Afghanistan field work was conducted from 2004 to 2009 bringing a considerable amount of new data to this area that is still feeding research.
Elsewhere, DAFA has provided support to the National Institute of Archeology for the realization of operations often related to development programs such as Mès Ainak.
DAFA has also continued the work undertaken since the 1950s on the archaeological map of Afghanistan at the express request of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
While the way DAFA works is very different from what has been implemented in the past, its mission remains basically the same: to provide data to reconstruct Afghanistan's past.
From the 1950s to the present, Tibetan Buddhism has been experiencing a boom in Taiwan. Chinese lay Buddhists were the pioneers before Tibetan masters were invited to teach and open centers and monasteries. Gongga Laoren (1903-1997), a Chinese laywoman who studied with Tibetan masters in Tibet in the 1940s, then fled to Hong Kong and finally to Taiwan in the late 1950s, was at the origin of the development of Tibetan Buddhism on the island. She focused on founding and growing her own community while contributing to the arrival of Tibetan masters. Her life, actions, and achievements will show the fundamentals behind the success of Tibetan Buddhism in a Han cultural milieu.
Located in the Kham region, the Dergé printing press, officially founded in 1729, is one of the most famous institutions in the Tibetan world, but its history remains relatively unknown, if not through the largely simplified versions of the kingdom's historiographers. Historians have so far focused on publishing the two great collections of the Tibetan Canon, Kangyur and Tengyur, considering the date of foundation of the building (parkhang) intended to house the xylographic blocks such as that of the beginning of the project editorial. The examination of the prints produced from the oldest blocks (from the beginning of the 18th century) nevertheless makes it possible to trace the history of the first developments of the printing press and to analyze more finely the strategy of the House of Dergé in the establishment of a company participating in the influence of the kingdom. Put in perspective with similar projects in the rest of the Tibetan world during the beginning of the 18th century will show, moreover, how these editorial companies constituted not only a religious stake but also a political one.