Public Lecture: Labor and Money in Yachen Gar: The Role of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in a Monastic Economy – University of Copenhagen

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Public Lecture: Labor and Money in Yachen Gar: The Role of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in a Monastic Economy

ThinkChina.dk and The Center for Contemporary Buddhist Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies are proud to present Dr. Yasmin Cho, she received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in 2015. She is currently completing a book manuscript addressing the religious mobilities and material engagements of Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their building of a mega-sized monastic encampment called Yachen Gar in northwestern Sichuan province.

Title

Labor and Money in Yachen Gar: The Role of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in a Monastic Economy

Abstract

It is widely assumed that one of the primary economic drivers of revivalism has been the explosive growth in donations offered by middle-class Han Chinese disciples from urban centers. Interestingly, however, Chinese donors often send their money directly to individual lamas (usually their Tibetan shangshi), rather than to the institutions with which these lamas are associated. Thus, such donations provide only a partial explanation for the enduring economic sustainability of the large monastic communities in Tibet. These communities, in fact, rely heavily on limitless free labor, both spiritual and physical, by the nuns, and the ongoing influx ofsmall remittances that the nuns bring in from their families. I argue that the microeconomic activities of the nuns (consumption, circulations of goods and money, and small business practices, etc.) play a significant role in the success of the currentBuddhist revivalism in China.

Short bio

Yasmin Cho is a postdoctoral research scholar in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in 2015. She is currently completing a book manuscript addressing the religious mobilities and material engagements of Tibetan Buddhist nuns in their building of a mega-sized monastic encampment called Yachen Gar in northwestern Sichuan province.

Time and place

University of Copenhagen, Department of Cross Cultural Studies, Room, 10.2.05, Building 10, Karen Blixens Vej 4, 2300 Copenhagen S.

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