Thupten Jinpa F'09

Thupten  Jinpa
Adjunct Professor
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University

ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowships 2009
Adjunct Professor
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University
Interfaith Dialogue avant la lettre: Desideri in Tibet, 1716-1721
(with Donald S. Lopez, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

The Italian Jesuit missionary Ippolito Desideri (1684-1733) spent five years in Tibet, gaining an extraordinary mastery of the Tibetan language and a detailed understanding of Tibetan Buddhism. Indeed, he should be considered the founder of the field of Tibetan Studies in Europe. Desideri wrote several works in Tibetan; his magnum opus—never translated into a European language— was a refutation of the doctrines of rebirth and emptiness, and quoted extensively from Buddhist scriptures. It is a work of great historical importance but also has particular contemporary significance as a model for a critical but respectful dialogue between religions. The purpose of this project is to produce a complete annotated translation of this forgotten text from Tibetan into English with the two collaborators serving as co-translators. This will be Jinpa and Lopez’s second collaboration having just completed (with the support of an NEH Collaborative Research Grant) a full translation of the Golden Chronicle (Gser gyi thang ma), the extensive work of the leading Tibetan author of the first half of twentieth century, Gendun Chopel (1903-1951). Award period: July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012