Asian Treasure Traditions: Comparative Reading Group

The regions of East, South and Southeast Asia have developed a complex and interwoven knot of traditions that include the recovery of material treasure, textual revelations, the legitimisation of royal rulership through the discovery of symbolic objects, the burying of vases to enrich the earth etc. While there are indigenous components in these traditions, there are also important mutual influences. In particular, the treasure traditions in Tibet seem to draw heavily on Indian Buddhist and perhaps also more ancient Chinese Daoist traditions, while Indian nidhi and pātālā rites are also well attested within Chinese Buddhist texts.These traditions have not been studied comparatively, and the exact degree and directions of the mutual influences are unclear. We hope to find an approach to deal with this problem in the course of the seminar.

13th century thangka showing central figure of Padmasambhava, the central figure in later Tibetan treasure cult

12 June (Monday Week 8), 17:00, Fitzjames 2 Room, Merton CollegeTreasure texts in early medieval religious communities in China(Yegor Grebnev, Merton)In this talk, I will attempt to trace how the notion of the treasure texts (and the accompanying rites of their transmission) evolved in China in the formative period of ca. 2-5th centuries AD. I will also attempt to trace the continuities with antiquity and the innovative developments of this period.

12th century Daoist amulet formula to reveal the true appearance of departed souls