Report by Nisheeta Jagtiani, July 2019

This year marked the 15th seminar of the International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS). On the first evening of the seminar, Khyentse Foundation awarded prizes for outstanding dissertation and translation in 2019. Cécile Ducher won the award for outstanding dissertation and Karl Brunnholzl won for outstanding translation. 

Cécile Ducher receiving award for Outstanding Dissertation.

As for my research, I had the opportunity to present my ethnographic work as a part of the Rimé (non-sectarianism) panel. My presentation was on Friday, so I had all week to attend other panels on a wide variety of topics such as ‘tantric hermeneutics in Tibet,’ ‘aspects of the Geluk,’ ‘cultural studies in Bhutan, Sikkim and the surrounding areas,’ ‘mGur: songs of realization in Tibetan culture’ and many more fascinating subjects within Tibetan Studies. 

I heard about IATS when I started graduate school in 2014 and have been looking forward to participating for all these years. At the seminar, I met several scholars working on Rimé Buddhism, and we had many discussions on how we understand non-sectarianism in 19th and 20th century Tibet. 

I looked at how Rimé’s contemporary lineage-holders describe and practice Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche’s tradition. I enjoyed brainstorming with other panelists, and our panel organizer, Dr. Klaus-Dieter Mathes is guiding us on the forthcoming publication of our papers. 

Nisheeta Jagtiani presenting at the 15th IATS conference.

I would like to express my gratitude to Khyentse Foundation for supporting my research and making it possible for graduate students like me to present our work at conferences like IATS. Conferences such as IATS gives one the opportunity to collaborate with other scholars interested in similar to subjects to evaluate what we know so far and where all research still needs to be done.