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Department of the Study of Religions

Circle of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies Events

The aim of the Circle is to encourage the scholarly exploration of Tibetan culture by providing a forum for research, exhibitions and affiliated events pertaining to the civilisations of Tibet and the Himalayas held in the greater London area.

The intellectual focus consists of a series of seminars and lectures hosted by SOAS. The content of these presentations covers a wide range of Tibetological research including art, archaeology, architecture, history, language, literature, music,
philosophy and religion.

Its activities will be of particular interest to scholars, art collectors, academic institutions and other interest groups concerned with the study and preservation of the Tibetan cultural heritage. 

The administrative hub of the Circle consists of a custom built member database. This is designed to facilitate communication between scholars, galleries and aficionados of Tibetan and Himalayan culture and religion.

« Previous year



  • Gedun Chopel and his international circle of friends
  • Heather Stoddard (INALCO)
  • In February 1937, a dinner party was organised in Calcutta by Theos Bernard, the New York socialite, yoga practionner and Tibet enthusiast. The list of distinguished guests included: Sir Francis Younghusband; the Guomindang lady emissary to Tibet, Liu Manching; the American aviator Charles Lindberg; Gedun Chopel newly arrived in India; his teacher Geshe Sherab Gyatso; Da Lama Ngakchen, Rinpoche of Tashilhunpo Monastery; and the long time British Trade Agent in Tibet, David MacDonald.

  • What happens when the mind recognizes its own nature?
  • Stéphane Arguillère (INALCO)
  • Tibetan Buddhists believe knowledge of the absolute is not by representation but an immediate intuition. rDzogs chen assumes that, when 'I' know the absolute, it is merely the absolute itself that reveals itself in its own intrinsic light. This thesis has paradoxical implications. ’Ju Mi pham (1846-1912) and sPrul sku Tshul lo (1884-1957?) elaborate models to explain the contradictions. This talk explores the differences between these two systems.


  • Towards a Tibetan Buddhist philosophy of language
  • Dorji Wangchuk (Hamburg)
  • This lecture will discuss Tibetan Buddhist philosophy of language, by considering six points, namely: (1) the ontology of language; (2) a typology of language; (3) a technology (or mechanism) of language; (4) language in the context of Buddhist ontology; (5) language in the context of Buddhist axiology (i.e. theory of values); and (6) language in the context of Buddhist logic and epistemology. This will be done by resorting to random writings of Tibetan Buddhist scholars.