SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

Bon, Shangshung, and Early Tibet

Bon, Shangshung, and Early Tibet
The list of speakers is confirmed in programme

Date: 9 September 2011Time: 9:00 AM

Finishes: 10 September 2011Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Conference

An international conference celebrating 60 years of Tibetan Studies at SOAS, 50 years of Bonpo studies in the West, and the founding of the London Shangshung Institute for Tibetan Studies

The Bon religion of Tibet sees itself as the region's pre-Buddhist religion, originating from the kingdom of Shangshung in what is now western Tibet. The earliest Tibetan documents preserved at Dunhuang mention both Bon and Shangshung, but these documents can be difficult to date and even harder to interpret. The methodologies of archaeology, genetics, and historical linguistics have the potential to shed light on Tibet's prehistory, but they have so far been little employed.

In 1950 the SOAS became the first institution of higher education in the United Kingdom to host a permanent academic position in Tibetan studies. In 1960, when Bonpo monks came to SOAS under the auspices of a Rockefeller grant, SOAS became the first institution of higher education in the West to prominently engage in research on the Bon religion. Bringing together 25 of the world's most prominent researchers of the Bon religion and early Tibet, this conference will honour the tradition of Tibetan and Bon studies at SOAS, and celebrate the founding in 2009 of the London Shangshung Institute for Tibetan Studies.  



Key Note Speakers include:
  • Prof. Namkhai Norbu (Università di Napoli L'Orientale and International Shang Shung Institute), The light of Kailash: Tibet and Zhang Zhung
  • Prof. Samten Karmay (Centre de recherche sur les civilisations de l'asie orientale, CNRS Paris), Queen of the World and her twenty-seven daughters
  • H.E. Tenzin Namdak (Triten Norbutse Monastery), Reflections on half a century of Bon studies

Abstracts & Biographies

Abstracts & Biographies (pdf; 307kb)

The UKABS Annual Conference 2011

The United Kingdom Association for Buddhist Studies annual conference is taking place on 8th September 2011 at SOAS, University of London. Further information on the UKABS Annual Conference or contact UKABS Treasurer, Dr Naomi Appleton, 

Organiser: Centres & Programmes Office

Sponsor: Centre for Chinese Studies, the Circle of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies, and the London Shangshung Institute