TIBETAN WRITING AS PART OF EDUCATION SYSTEM: A MODERN REFLECTION OF TRADITIONAL VIEWS
2nd International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM2015, www.sgemsocial.org , SGEM2015 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-45-2 / ISSN 2367-5659 , Aug 26 -Sept 01; Book 1, Vol. 2, 1125 - 1132 pp
Tibetan writing was invented in the 7th century A.D., based on the contemporaneous Indian Gupta script. Because of its intensive usage by the state bureaucracy and Buddhist monastic community, it gradually produced a series of cursive styles. Its original form was used almost exclusively for writing sūtras that were considered sacred as the representation of the Word of the Buddha. As a result, a famous calligrapher of the 11th century Khyung bo g.Yu khri wrote a treatise describing letters’ forms, shapes, proportions etc. for the non-cursive style, which later became a basis for the classical way of teaching Tibetan writing at the monasteries.
Later several additional texts were created, all of them based on the work by Khyung bo g.Yu khri. However, after the rapid social and political change in the middle of the XX20th century, nowadays this Tibetan tradition is being revised. One example of such revision is a modern work on Tibetan writing by professor dPa’ ris Sangs rgyas from the North-Western University of Nationalities (PRC) “Rules of Tibetan Writing – a Beautiful Sight” (1992). The main questions answered in this article are how this textbook intended for Tibetan-language students has interpreted the old tradition and how it has changed the functioning of this tradition in the modern Tibetan society.
After using different means of text critical analysis while comparing the original treatise and the modern textbook and studying various sources on Tibetan education, we can formulate the main conclusions of the research:
• in spite of serious change in the terminology and range of topics, the traditional conceptual basis is still presented in the modern work,
• as the writing itself is getting more attention from the people and government, the usage of this tradition is spreading.
There is very little information on writing as an element of Tibetan culture in the Western literature, so this article may be helpful to a large number of experts in culturology, sociology, linguistics and Asian and African studies.
Keywords: Tibetan writing, education, traditional culture, modernity, calligraphy
PAPER DOI: 10.5593/SGEMSOCIAL2015/B12/S3.145 : TIBETAN WRITING AS PART OF EDUCATION SYSTEM: A MODERN REFLECTION OF TRADITIONAL VIEWS
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