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Professor Padmatso of Southwest Nationalities University and Holly Gayley of the CU Religious Studies Department are co-presenting the first Luncheon Series lecture of the Fall 2014 semester, entitled "Non-Violence as a Shifting Signifier on the Tibetan Plateau."

In eastern Tibet, along the border of Kham and Golok, Tibetan nomads are starting to wear a new amulet, called an "amulet for peace" (zhi bde rtags ma), depicting a globe with a dove flying above it. The dove carries a bodhi leaf in its mouth and a gold peace sign in its claws. While combining global and Buddhist symbols for peace, the amulet and its accompanying slogan, "Friends, let's create harmonious relations together" (Grogs po lags nga tsho mnyam du mthun 'brel byed), are not being marshalled for Gandhian-style non-violent resistance nor world peace for that matter, but rather for something more local. This local cause is a campaign to end fighting over the grasslands, a sustained social problem in Tibetan nomadic areas since the pastoral sector was decollectivized, which Emily Yeh (2003) and others have called attention to. The amulet for peace is a recent innovation, launched in 2012, as part of an ethical reform movement being propagated by Larung Buddhist Academy, the largest monastic institution on the Tibetan plateau, and spreading from its base in Serta to surrounding areas.

Professors Padmatso and Gayley will discuss the latest development in this emerging movement that draws on Buddhist ethics to address current social problems.

This Luncheon Series event will be held on Thursday, August 28, at 12:00 p.m. in the CAS Conference Room, two doors north of the Starbucks on University and Broadway. Lunch will be provided.


Non-Violence as a Shifting Signifier on the Tibetan Plateau