This is a major anthropological study of contemporary Tibetan
Buddhist monasticism and tantric ritual in the Ladakh region of
North-West India and of the role of tantric ritual in the formation
and maintenance of traditional forms of state structure and
political consciousness in Tibet. Containing detailed descriptions
and analyses of monastic ritual, the work builds up a picture of
Tibetan tantric traditions as they interact with more localised
understandings of bodily identity and territorial cosmology, to
produce a substantial re-interpretation of the place of monks as
ritual performers and peripheral householders in Ladakh. The work
also examines the central and indispensable role of incarnate
lamas, such as the Dalai Lama, in the religious life of Tibetan
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