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Love Letters from GolokA Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet$
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Holly Gayley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231180528

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231180528.001.0001

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Daughter of Golok

Daughter of Golok

Tāre Lhamo’s Life and Context

(p.33) One Daughter of Golok
Love Letters from Golok

Holly Gayley

Columbia University Press

Chapter 1 situates Tāre Lhamo's early life in the vibrant Nyingma milieu of pre-1950 Golok as the daughter of a prominent religious figure, Aphang Terchen. Born to ecclesiastic elite, Tāre Lhamo had a remarkable degree of access to esoteric teachings in a male-dominated religious sphere. I explore how Tāre Lhamo's identity was embedded in the social structure of Golok through family ties and in the symbolic system of Tibetan Buddhism through her identification as a living ḍākinī with an illustrious series of female antecedents, including Yeshe Tsogyal and Sera Khandro. I argue that authoritative female antecedents—divine, mythic, and historical—provide a cultural space for exceptional Buddhist women, like Tāre Lhamo, to gain recognition and play a significant role in Tibetan religious history.

Keywords:   Gender, religious authority, ḍākinī, lineage, Nyingma tradition, treasure revelation

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