Professor Françoise Robin teaches Tibetan language and contemporary literature at INALCO (France). Through her studies of the contemporary Tibetan language literary and film scene, complemented by regular field work in Tibet, she investigates social changes in contemporary Tibetan society as well as emerging trends in literature and cinema.
Belief in rebirth constitutes a core tenet of Tibetan Buddhism and has thus structured social and political power in Tibetan society for centuries through the tulku (reincarnate lama lineage) institution. Still, it appears to be questioned in a selection of recent short stories and films emanating from Tibet, in which the authorial voices point to a lack of certainty about reincarnation, opting for a suspension of belief. After a brief overview of the literary scene in Tibet today, and an analysis of the surveyed works, several hypothesis will be made to account for what may be seen as the beginning of a process of secularization at work among at least lay educated Tibetans, reflecting the growing intellectual prominence of a new elite.
I wish to thank the editors of this special issue for their insightful remarks, and to Inalco-ASIEs for funding of my field work in summer 2014 in Amdo.
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Robin, Françoise. 2016. Souls Gone in the Wind? Suspending Belief about Rebirth in Contemporary Artistic Works in the Tibetan World. HIMALAYA 36(1).
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol36/iss1/14