Northwestern Events Calendar


Graduate-Faculty Colloquium with Nisheeta Jagtiani

When: Tuesday, March 2, 2021
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Rossitza Guenkova-Fernandez   (847) 491-3611

Group: Religious Studies Graduate Students Events

Category: Academic


Nisheeta will present chapter one of her disseration, which examines the state of sectarianism and how rimé is understood among Tibetan Buddhist monastics in India today. 

Summary of the project: This dissertation is entitled “Rimé— Non-sectarianism in Tibetan Buddhism and Beyond.” This project investigates the definitions, uses and implications of a Buddhist approach to sectarianism and biases called rimé (Tib. ris med). In different epochs, Tibetan Buddhist figures have used rimé to mean different things such as “non-sectarian,” “unbiased,” and “impartial.” In this dissertation, I examine keys moments that rimé has been a powerful intervention in Tibetan Buddhist history from the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries. I argue that Buddhist teachers have used the rimé approach in both religious and secular contexts, which has led to distinct effects in Tibetan society. On one hand, lineage-holders from Tibet’s rimé movement of the nineteenth century have been against the appropriation of rimé outside Tibetan Buddhism. On other hand, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration’s adoption of a rimé approach in matters such as politics and educational policies has led to more unity in the Tibetan refugee community in India. Through the dissertation chapters, I will trace the changing definitions of rimé, tensions between them, and different uses of rimé that Tibetan Buddhists have practiced during the past three centuries of religio-political upheaval. In order to demonstrate the significance of rimé in key moments, four of five chapters of my dissertation analyze the lives and works of four prominent Buddhist masters, respectively. In these four chapters, I will highlight each figure’s unique contribution to the practice and propagation of rimé including the ways their legacy influences Tibetan Buddhists in contemporary times. I have designed my chapters from a broad study on rimé as it is understood in exile in the twenty-first century to micro-level studies focusing on the four Buddhist figures. Chapter 1 looks at sectarianism and rimé among Tibetan Buddhists in India today. Chapter 2 looks at Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s (1820-1892) and the rimé movement. Chapter 3 looks at Khyentse Chokyi Lodro’s (1893-1959) instructions on rimé. Chapter 4 looks at Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche’s (b-1961) instructions on rimé. And finally, chapter 5 looks at the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (b-1935) and the Central Tibetan Administration’s deployment of rimé.

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