Profs & Pints Northern Virginia: The History of Tibetan Buddhism-Door tickets remain available.

By Profs and Pints (other events)

Sunday, January 14 2024 4:00 PM 6:30 PM EDT

Advance ticket sales have ended but plenty of additional tickets remain available at the door.

Profs and Pints Northern Virginia presents: “The History of Tibetan Buddhism,” with Justin Jacobs, professor of history at American University and scholar of ancient China and the Silk Road.

Come take a scholarly journey to Tibet, the “rooftop of the world,” to gain a deep understanding of the history and current status of Tibetan Buddhism. Your guide will be Justin Jacobs, who previously has given fantastic Profs and Pints talks on Chinese philosophy, the Silk Road, and the history of archeology.

Professor Jacobs will teach you about the origins of Tibetan Buddhism and the invention and evolution of the Dalai Lama reincarnation process. You’ll also learn about the lineage of the Dalai Lamas, about their contentious and oft-misunderstood relationship with the rulers of China over the centuries, and about how China has long attempted to manipulate how the Dalai Lama is named.

Much of our focus will be on Lhasa’s Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace, two of the most sacred sites in the city, serving as symbols both of the unique brand of Buddhism found in Tibet and of the Tibetan nation itself. Since its construction in the seventeenth century, the Potala Palace has been home to ten Dalai Lamas and witnessed several traumatic encounters with the outside world. But it is the Jokhang Temple that attracts hordes of pious pilgrims from around the world, who prostrate themselves before the sacred gilded images of the Buddha and Tibet's first king.

We’ll explore the inner sanctum of these religious structures and examine the art and artifacts that have animated Tibetan Buddhism’s past and continue to mold its future.

You’ll come away from this talk fully conversant in the arcane politics and rituals destined to accompany the selection of the next Dalai Lama sometime in the near future. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)

Image: Tibet’s Potala Palace as seen from the sacred hill Yao Wang Shan (Wikimedia Commons).