Love Letters From Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet


Holly Gayley


Harper Collins India

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Availability: Available


Harper Collins India

Publication Year 2021


ISBN-10 9353579058

Paper Back

Edition First
Number of Pages 416 Pages
Language (English)
Dimensions (Cms) 21 X 14.8 X 2.8
Weight (grms) 398

Love Letters from Golok chronicles the courtship between two Buddhist tantric masters, Tare Lhamo (1938-2002) and Namtrul Rinpoche (1944-2011), and their passion for reinvigorating Buddhism in eastern Tibet during the post-Mao era. In fifty-six letters exchanged from 1978 to 1980, the two envisioned a shared destiny to 'heal the damage' done to Buddhism during the years leading up to and including the Cultural Revolution. Holly Gayley retrieves the personal and prophetic dimensions of their courtship and its consummation in a twenty-year religious career that informs issues of gender and agency in Buddhism, cultural preservation among Tibetan communities, and alternative histories for minorities in China.

This is the first collection of 'love letters' to come to light in Tibetan literature. Blending tantric imagery with poetic and folk song styles, it has a fresh vernacular tone comparable to the love songs of the Sixth Dalai Lama, but with an eastern Tibetan flavor. With special attention to Tare Lhamo's role as a tantric heroine and her hagiographic fusion with Namtrul Rinpoche, Gayley vividly shows how Buddhist masters have adapted Tibetan literary genres to share private intimacies and address contemporary social concerns.

This Indian edition now makes the book accessible for the large Tibetan diaspora in South Asia.

Holly Gayley

Holly Gayley is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Great Rime Masters of Tibet (2017). Her articles have been published in History of Religions, Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Contemporary Buddhism and Himalaya.