Professor Jacob Dalton

Tibetan Tantra at Dunhuang

The manuscripts discovered in the “Library Cave” near Dunhuang in northwestern China represent some of the earliest materials we have in Tibetan language. They shed light on both the early period of Tibetan Buddhism, when the Pugyel empire was at the height of its power and Tibetans were first encountering Buddhism, and the subsequent “age of fragmentation” that followed the empire’s collapse. After a brief introduction to the Dunhuang collection in general, this lecture considers what these ancient treasures tell us about the early Tibetan assimilation of tantric Buddhism in particular, from the late eighth to the late tenth centuries.