Dan Martin

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Completed works


Dan Martin


Doctorate in Tibetan Studies, received April 1991, with doctoral minors in Religious Studies and Social & Cultural Anthropology.

Master of Arts degree in Inner Asian Studies, received June 1986.

Graduate School, Department of Uralic & Altaic Studies (now renamed the Department of Central Eurasian Studies), Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1983 -1991.

Bachelor of Arts, Indiana University, Department of Religious Studies, 1971-1976, Honors Division.


Percy Buchanan Prize, Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, November 1990, for paper entitled, “Zhang Rinpoche and the Emergence of Sectarian Polity in Twelfth-Century Tibet.”

Graduate Essay Prize, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, April 1985, for paper entitled: “Pearls from Bones: Relics, Chortens, Tertons and the Signs of Saintly Death in Tibet.”

National Resource Fellowships (for Tibetan language study), September 1984 to May 1986.

Graduate School Fellowship, School of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University, September 1983 to May 1984.

National Merit Scholarship, 1971.

Academic & semi-academic positions

Research interests

Literary, religious, and general cultural history of Tibet (the period from the late tenth century until the present). Popular religious practices, relics, pilgrimage and monasticism. History and theory of socio-cultural anthropology and religious studies. Special interests in the history of the Bon religion and in the social history of medicine in Tibet.


The Emergence of Bon and the Tibetan Polemical Tradition, Indiana University (Bloomington 1991). University Microfilms International order number 9134813.

Travel/research locations

In Nepal and northern India for six months in 1982, twenty months in 1987-1989. One month in Nepal, February 1992. Five weeks in Tibet and six weeks in Nepal and northern India, Summer 1993. In Norway, August 1995—June 1996. In Lahul-Spiti in northern India and in Tibet, June-August 1996. In South India and Nepal, December 2001 - February 2002. In Switzerland, England, Thailand and Nepal, October 2002—February 2003.

Publications (comprehensive)


Mandala Cosmogony: Human Body Good Thought and the Revelation of the Secret Mother Tantras of Bon, Harrassowitz Verlag (Wiesbaden 1994).

— Review by Per K. Sørensen in Studies in Central & East Asian Religions, vol. 10 (1997), pp. 64-69.

— Review by Edgar C. Polomé in The Journal of Indo-European Studies, vol. 25, nos. 1-2 (1997), p. 190.

Tibetan Histories: A Bibliography of Tibetan-Language Historical Works, Serindia Publications (London 1997). In collaboration with Yael Bentor. Foreword by Michael Aris.

— Review by Phillip Denwood in Circle of Inner Asian Art Newsletter, vol. 6 (November 1997).

— Review by Kurtis R. Schaeffer in Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 57, no. 3 (1998), pp. 856-858.

— Review by Katia Buffetrille in Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, vol. 61, pt. 3 (1998), pp. 586-587.

— Review by Roberto Vitali in The Tibet Journal, vol. 23, no. 4 (Winter 1998), pp. 120-128.

— Review by Per Kværne in Acta Orientalia, vol. 59 (1998), pp. 327-328.

— Review by Vladimir L. Uspenski in Manuscripta Orientalis (St. Petersburg), vol. 5, no. 2 (June 1999), p. 72.

— Review by Neil Howard in Ladakh Studies.

Unearthing Bon Treasures: The Life and Contested Legacy of an Eleventh-Century Tibetan Scripture Revealer, with a General Annotated Bibliography of the Bon Religion, E.J. Brill (Leiden 2001).

— Review by Katia Buffetrille in Acta Orientalia, vol. 64 (2003), pp. 289-293.

— Review by Per Kværne in Indo-Iranian Journal, vol. 47 (2004), pp. 69-71.

A Catalogue of the Bon Kanjur, National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Ethnological Reports series no. 40, series editor Yasuhiko Nagano (Osaka 2003), in 799 pages. Served as volume editor (‘general editor’), co-author, and author of the introduction (pp. 1-19). A catalogue of the 192 volumes of Bon scriptures, authored by a seven-person committee at the Senter for Høyere Studier (Oslo, Norway) composed of Tseyang Changngoba (Lhasa), Namgyal Nyima Dagkar (Bonn), Per Kværne (Oslo), Dondrup Lhagyal (Lhasa), Dan Martin (Jerusalem), Donatella Rossi (Rome), and Tsering Thar (Beijing).

Contributions & collaborations

Valrae Reynolds, From the Sacred Realm: Treasures of Tibetan Art from the Newark Museum, Prestel Verlag (Munich 1999) in association with the Newark Museum, with contributions by Janet Gyatso, Amy Heller and Dan Martin. Specific contributions include ‘Popular Religion,’ p. 55; ‘Prayer Wheels,’ pp. 55-6; ‘The Vajra and Bell,’ pp. 133-139; and ‘Phurpas: Pointed Compassion,’ pp. 140-143.

Lorne Ladner, et al., Wheel of Great Compassion: The Practice of the Prayer Wheel in Tibetan Buddhism, Wisdom Publications (Boston 2001). Translated the Tibetan-language materials used in two of the chapters.

Articles (including some bibliographies and translations)

Gling-ras-pa and the Founding of the ’Brug-pa School. The Tibet Society Bulletin, vol. 13 (June 1979), pp. 55-69.

Sa-skya Pandita’s Advice for Tibetan Contemplatives. The Tibet Society Bulletin, vol. 15 (June 1980), pp. 33-44.

The Early Education of Milarepa. The Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 2 (1982), pp. 52-76.

(with Thubten J. Norbu) Proverbs. The Tibet Society Newsletter, no. 12 (Fall 1984), pp. 4-7 (translation only).

Some More Love Songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama. The Tibet Society Bulletin, vol. 16 (October 1985), pp. 15-18.

Great Gate of Entry into the City of Supreme Liberation: A Dharma Exposition on Transition, by Mkhas-dbang Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (1569-1645 C.E.). The Tibet Society Bulletin, vol. 17 (June 1986), pp. 16-18 (translation only).

Illusion Web: Locating the Guhyagarbha Tantra in Buddhist Intellectual History. Contained in: Christopher I. Beckwith, ed., Silver on Lapis: Tibetan Literary Culture and History, The Tibet Society (Bloomington 1987), pp. 175-220.

On the Origin and Significance of ‘Prayer Wheels’ according to Two Nineteenth-Century Tibetan Literary Sources. The Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 7 (1987), pp. 13-29.

For Love or Religion? Another Look at a ‘Love Song’ by the Sixth Dalai Lama. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, vol. 138, part 2 (1988), pp. 349-363.

Anthropology on the Boundary and the Boundary in Anthropology. Human Studies (Boston), vol. 13, no. 2 (April 1990), pp. 119-145.

Bonpo Canons and Jesuit Cannons: On Sectarian Factors Involved in the Ch’ien Lung Emperor’s Second Gold Stream Expedition of 1771 to 1776 Based Primarily on Some Tibetan Sources. The Tibet Journal (Dharamsala), vol. 15, no. 2 (Summer 1990), pp. 3-28. The original is to be preferred over the reprint in Alex McKay, ed., History of Tibet, Routledge-Curzon (Richmond 2003), vol. 2, pp. 633-647.

A Brief Political History of Tibet by Gu-ru Bkra-shis. Contained in: Ernst Steinkellner, ed., Tibetan History and Language: Studies Dedicated to Uray Géza on His Seventieth Birthday, Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien (Vienna 1991), pp. 329-351.

(with Thubten J. Norbu) Dorjiev: Memoirs of a Tibetan Diplomat. Hokke-Bunka Kenkyû (=Journal of the Institute for the Comprehensive Study of the Lotus Sûtra), Hokekyô Bunka Kenkyûjo (Rissho University, Tokyo), no. 17 (March 1991), pp. 1-105 (an annotated translation with introduction and bibliography).

— Russian translation from the English in: Agvan Dorjiev (1854-1938), Predanie o krugosvetnom puteshestvii, ili, Povestvovanie o zhizni Agvana Dorzhieva, Olzon (Ulan Ude 1994), pp. 10-75.

Crystals and Images from Bodies, Hearts and Tongues from Fire: Points of Relic Controversy from Tibetan History. Contained in: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Fifth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Naritasan Shinshoji (Narita 1992), vol. 1, pp. 183-191.

A Twelfth-Century Tibetan Classic of Mahâmudrâ, The Path of Ultimate Profundity: The Great Seal Instructions of Zhang. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 15, no. 2 (1992), pp. 243-319 (introduction and annotated translation).

Tibet at the Center: A Historical Study of Some Tibetan Geographical Conceptions Based on Two Types of Country-Lists Found in Bon Histories. Contained in: Per Kværne, ed., Tibetan Studies, The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture (Oslo 1994), vol. 1, pp. 517-532.

Pearls from Bones: Relics, Chortens, Tertons and the Signs of Saintly Death in Tibet. Numen, vol. 41 (1994), pp. 273-324.

’Ol-mo-lung-ring, the Original Holy Place. Tibet Journal (Dharamsala), vol. 20, no. 1 (Spring 1995), pp. 48-82. A revised and expanded version of this paper was published in a volume edited by Toni Huber entitled Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places in Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (Dharamsala 1999), pp. 258-301.

Tables of Contents (dkar chag). Contained in: Roger Jackson & José Cabezón, eds., Tibetan Literature: Studies in Genre — Essays in Honor of Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Snow Lion Publications (Ithaca 1996), pp. 500-514.

Poisoned Dialogue: A Study of Tibetan Sources on the Last Year in the Life of Gshen-chen Klu-dga’ (996-1035 C.E.). Central Asiatic Journal, vol. 40, no. 2 (1996), pp. 221-233.

Wrapping Your Own Head: Problems of Context and Individuality as Pre- and Post-considerations for Translating “The Path of Ultimate Profundity: The Great Seal Instructions of Zhang,” a Twelfth-Century Tibetan Verse Compendium of Oral Instructions on Mahâmudrâ. Contained in: Enrica Garzilli, ed., Translating, Translations, Translators: From India to the West, Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora, new series vol. 1, The Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies (Cambridge 1996), pp. 59-73.

The Star King and the Four Children of Pehar: Popular Religious Movements of Eleventh- to Twelfth-century Tibet. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae (Budapest), Tomus 49, Fasciculi 1-2 (1996), pp. 171-195.

Unearthing Bon Treasures: A Study of Tibetan Sources on the Earlier Years in the Life of Gshen-chen Klu-dga’. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 116, no. 4 (1996), pp. 619-644.

On the Cultural Ecology of Sky Burial on the Himalayan Plateau. East and West (Rome), vol. 46, nos. 3-4 (December 1996), pp. 353-370.

Beyond Acceptance and Rejection? The Anti-Bon Polemic included in the Thirteenth-Century Single Intention (Dgongs-gcig Yig-cha) and Its Background in Tibetan Religious History. Journal of Indian Philosophy, vol. 25, no. 3 (June 1997), pp. 263-305.

Lay Religious Movements in Eleventh- and Twelfth-Century Tibet: A Survey of Sources. Kailash (Kathmandu), vol. 18 (1996), pp. 23-55.

Comparing Treasuries: Mental States and Other Mdzod-phug Lists and Passages with Parallels in Abhidharma Works by Vasubandhu and Asa∫ga, or in Prajñâpâramitâ Sûtras — A Progress Report. Contained in: Samten G. Karmay and Yosuhiko Nagano, eds., New Horizons in Bon Studies, The National Museum of Ethnology (Osaka 2000), pp. 21-88.

Painters, Patrons and Paintings of Patrons in Early Tibetan Art. Contained in: Rob Linrothe & Henrik Sørensen, eds., Embodying Wisdom. Art, Text and Interpretation in the History of Esoteric Buddhism, vol. 6 in SBS Monographs series, The Seminar for Buddhist Studies (Copenhagen 2001), pp. 139-184.

Meditation is Action Taken: On Zhang Rinpoche, A Meditation-based Activist in Twelfth-century Tibet. Lungta (a publication of the Amnye Machen Institute, McLeod Ganj, India), vol. 14 (Spring 2001), pp. 45-56. This is a special issue edited by Roberto Vitali and entitled “Aspects of Tibetan History.”

— This issue of Lungta was reviewed by Mark Turin in Himalayan Research Bulletin, vol. 22, nos. 1-2 (2002), pp. 55-56.

Gray Traces: Tracing the Tibetan Teaching Transmission of the Mngon-pa Kun-btus (Abhidharmasamuccaya) through the Early Period of Disunity. Contained in: Helmut Eimer & David Germano, eds., The Many Canons of Tibetan Buddhism, E.J. Brill (Leiden 2002), pp. 335-357.

Bon Bibliography: An Annotated List of Recent Publications. Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines (Paris), vol. 4 (2003), pp. 61-77. Available in the form of a PDF file over the internet.

Creator God or Creator Figure? Lungta [an annual publication of the Amnye Machen Institute, McLeod Ganj, India], vol. 16 (Spring 2003), pp. 15-20. This is a special issue of Lungta edited by Roberto Vitali and entitled “Cosmogony and the Origins.”

The Highland Vinaya Lineage: A Study of a 12th-century Monastic Historical Source, the ‘Transmission Document’ by Zhing-mo-che-ba. Forthcoming in the proceedings of the 8th International Association for Tibetan Studies conference, held in Bloomington, Indiana in 1998.

The Woman Illusion? Research into the Lives of Spiritually Accomplished Women Leaders in Tibet of the 11th-12th Centuries. Forthcoming in Hanna Havnevik and Janet Gyatso, eds., Women in Tibet, Past and Present, Columbia University Press (New York 2005?).

Did Buddha Mean to Teach Tantras? Forthcoming in: Ramon N. Prats, ed., The Pandita and the Siddha: Tibetan Studies in Honour of E. Gene Smith, to be published by the Amnye Machen Institute (McLeod Ganj 2004?)

An Early Tibetan History of Indian Medicine. Forthcoming in the proceedings of the10th International Association for Tibetan Studies conference, held in Oxford in 2003. To be published by Brill (Leiden) in 2005.

Devotional, Covenantal and Yogic: Three Episodes in the Religious Use of Alphabet and Letter from a Millennium of Great Vehicle Buddhism. Forthcoming in a volume edited by Sergio La Porta (Jerusalem)

Indian Kâvya Poetry on the Far Side of the Himâlayas: Translation, Transmission, Adaptation, Originality. In preparation for a volume on Sanskrit poetics to be edited by Yigal Bronner (Jerusalem and Chicago).

Review articles

Tsang Nyön Heruka (Gtsang-smyon He-ru-ka), The Life of Marpa the Translator, translated by the Nalanda Translation Committee. Review in The Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 4 (1984), pp. 83-92, with addendum in vol. 5 (1985), pp. 112-117.

Radmila Moacanin, Jung’s Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism. Review in The Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 6 (1986), pp. 96-108.

Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen & Katherine Rogers, trs., The Garland of Mahamudra Practices. Review in The Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 8 (1988), pp. 50-59.

Henk Blezer, Kar gling Zhi khro: A Tantric Buddhist Concept, Research School CNWS (Leiden 1997). Review in Tibet Journal (Dharamsala), vol. 23, no. 3 (Autumn 1998), pp. 106-114.

Namkhai Norbu, Drung, De’u and Bön: Narrations, Symbolic Languages and the Bön Tradition in Ancient Tibet, translated from Tibetan into Italian, edited and annotated by Adriano Clemente, translated into English from Italian by Andrew Lukianowicz, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (Dharamsala 1995). Review in Tibet Journal (Dharamsala), vol. 23, no. 4 (Winter 1998), pp. 108-119.

Alfredo Cadonna & Ester Bianchi, editors, Facets of Tibetan Religious Tradition and Contacts with Neighbouring Cultural Areas, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Orientalia Venetiana series no. 12 (Florence 2002). Review in Tibet Journal (Dharamsala), vol. 29, no. 1 (Spring 2004), pp. 91-95.

Per K. Sørensen, Divinity Secularized: An Inquiry into the Nature and Form of the Songs Ascribed to the Sixth Dalai Lama, Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien (Vienna 1990). Review in Tibet Journal (Dharamsala), vol. 29, no. 2 (Summer 2004), pp. 90-103.

Brief reviews

Jeffrey Hopkins, The Tantric Distinction—An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. Review in The Tibet Society Bulletin, vol. 16 (October 1985), p. 20.

Per Kværne, Tibet Bon Religion: A Death Ritual of the Tibetan Bonpos. Review in The Journal of the Tibet Society, vol. 5 (1985), pp. 103-104.

Terry Clifford, Tibetan Buddhist Medicine and Psychiatry. Review in Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 106, part 2 (1986), pp. 388-390.

Dbyangs-can-dga’-ba’i-blo-gros, A-kya Yongs-’dzin, Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth in Tibetan Buddhism (translation of Gzhi’i Sku Gsum-gyi Rnam-gzhag Rab Gsal Sgron-me), tr. by Lati Rinbochay and Jeffrey Hopkins. Review in The Tibet Society Bulletin, vol. 17 (June 1986), p. 24.

Fernand Meyer, ed., Tibet: civilisation et société. Review in Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 112, no. 2 (1992), pp. 347-349.

Ernst Steinkellner & Helmut Tauscher, eds., Contributions on Tibetan Language, History and Culture: Proceedings of the Csoma de Körös Symposium Held at Velm-Vienna, Austria, 13-19 September 1981, vol. 1. Ernst Steinkellner & Helmut Tauscher, eds., Contributions on Tibetan and Buddhist Religion and Philosophy: Proceedings of the Csoma de Körös Symposium Held at Velm-Vienna, Austria, 13-19 September 1981, vol. 2. Review in Acta Orientalia, vol. 57 (1997), pp. 259-262.

Tsering Gyalbo, Guntram Hazod & Per K. Sørensen, Civilization at the Foot of Mount Shampo: The Royal House of lHa Bug-pa-can and the History of g.Ya’-bzang, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften & Tibetan Academy of Social Sciences (Wien 2000), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische Klasse Denkschriften, 290. Band; Beiträge zur Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, Nr. 36. Review in Acta Orientalia (Copenhagen). vol. 63 (2002), pp. 313-316.

Christoph Baumer, Tibet’s Ancient Religion Bön, Orchid Press (Bangkok 2002). Review in Circle of Inner Asian Art Newsletter (SOAS, London), vol. 17 (2003), pp. 91-94.

Ngag dbang skal ldan rgya mtsho, Shel dkar chos ’byung: History of the ‘White Crystal’ — Religion and Politics of Southern La stod, translation and facsimile edition of the Tibetan text by Pasang Wandu and Hildegard Diemberger, in cooperation with Guntram Hazod, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Vienna 1996). Review forthcoming in Kailash (Kathmandu).

Books in progress

A book about Tibetan symbols and ritual implements.

A book about Pha-dam-pa Sangs-rgyas (d. 1117), a south Indian teacher in Tibet.

Worldwide web publications:

“Bon Bibliography.” A listing of books and articles on the Tibetan Bon religion in English, French, Italian and German, primarily, but also including articles from Tibetan-language journals. An old version is still posted on the Ligmincha home page: http://www.comet.net./ligmincha/ A much newer and larger version forms part of the book published by Brill (Leiden), with addenda published in Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines (available at Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library).

“Tibetan Vocabulary.” A vocabulary, arranged in alphabetical order, with over 20,000 entries, concentrating on rare and unusual ('obsolete') words and technical terms. Posted at THDL (Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library) website, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

“Zhang-zhung Dictionary.” A dictionary, in over one hundred pages, of an old Himalayan language which, like Tibetan, belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language group. Posted on the Ligmincha home page (at the address given above). A newer version is available.