Cycle de conférences SFEMT 2023/2024 : Urmila Nair

La SFEMT a le plaisir d’annoncer la tenue, dans le cadre du Cycle de Conférences SFEMT 2023/2024, de la conférence suivante :

Authorizing the bsKang gso’s translation: from the oral secret (gsang ba) to writings for publics

par Urmila Nair (LACITO)

le lundi 22 janvier 2024 à 18h00 à l’INALCO (salle 3.04) et via Zoom (

Résumé de la conférence :

The gnas chung bskang gso ritual is deemed secret (gsang ba) by the monks at the monastery in exile at Dharamsala. It took me years to get any degree of permission to study and write about it. At the end of my fieldwork, while a number of senior monks actively wished me to write about the ritual, several others remained steadfastly opposed to the endeavor. This communication traces the sources of authorization that enabled the bskang gso’s translation: its physical translation, from within its normal transmission pathways, to without; and its literal translation, involving a shift from oral, embodied modalities that focused on the printed scripture, to “English-writing” (dbyin yig) for academic publics.
The traditional authorization to transmit the bskang gso inheres in the collectivity: in the collective acceptance of the monks’ unbroken transmission lineage, traced back to the Buddhas, and the similar acceptance of novices as karmically “appropriate vessels” (snod rung). This collectivity is iconized in the oral transmission that the novices receive, in moments of face-to face interaction with teachers and senior ritual practitioners. A drastic change to this traditional transmission could not stem from any particular individual or set thereof. The authorization to translate the secret ritual was thus distributed over a series of ritual events, their participation frameworks and roles. This communication examines these events and
persons over whom the authorization to translate was “distributed”. Ultimately though, this distribution never attained the requisite diffuseness for it to figurate the collectivity.

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