Northwestern Events Calendar


Lecture 1: Zim Pickens, "Preliminary Practices and the Formation of Tibetan Buddhism"

When: Friday, November 11, 2022
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM CT

Where: Online

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

Contact: Joshua Shelton  

Group: The Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Studies Lecture Series

Category: Academic


Zim Pickens is a doctoral candidate in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley. He will deliver the KFBSLS's first lecture of the academic year on his dissertation research. An abstract of his talk is included below:

Scholars have long recognized the impact of canonical Indian tantras on the formation of new traditions during the later dispensation (phyi dar) of Buddhism in Tibet. The role of tantric preliminary practices, however, has received far less attention. Preliminaries were not just a quotidian category of practice, but an important site for innovation during this eleventh- to twelfth-century period. Buddhist authors drew from doctrinal and scriptural sources to work out how preliminary rites, such as bowing and mandala offerings, should be done in their own traditions. Narratives were also used to frame the importance of a preliminary stage of practice. In these varied materials, and especially with the rise of the guru yoga (bla ma’i rnal ‘byor) rite, we see how the Tibetan lama came to supplant Indic buddhas and deities as a prioritized object of worship. The eventual popularization of preliminary practices (sngon ‘gro) almost entirely focused on the lama demonstrates the lasting effect of such developments on Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in