Dunhuang (敦煌) was a regional center of Tibetan Buddhism during its heyday in the 10th century, attracting Tibetan-speaking Buddhists from neighbouring regions. Because scholars of Tibetan Buddhism at Dunhuang have been primarily focusing on Tibetan manuscripts from Mogao Cave 17 (a.k.a. the Library Cave, Chin. Mogao ku 莫高窟), few have attempted to address the question of how Tibetan Buddhism existed at Dunhuang after the sealing of the ‘Library Cave’ around 1006. To complicate the matter, although the Tibetan manuscripts from the Northern-Sector Caves at the Mogao site, some of which have been recently published, can shed light on this issue, it seems that the dating of these manuscripts needs to be reconsidered and re-established as a first step. This talk will use some of the post-10th-century Tibetan manuscripts and inscriptional evidence to discuss how Tibetan Buddhism continued to survive from the 11th century to the 16th century.
Yi (Allan) Ding is Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies at DePaul University, Chicago. He has published several articles that deal with Buddhist materials from Dunhuang or Sino-Tibetan Buddhism, including “‘Translating’ Wutai Shan into Ri bo rtse lnga (‘Five-Peak Mountain’): The Inception of a Sino-Tibetan Site in the Mongol-Yuan Era (1206–1368)” Journal of Tibetology 18 (2018) , “The Transformation of Poṣadha/Zhai in Early Medieval China (2nd–6th Centuries CE)” Buddhist Studies Review 36.1 (2019), and “By the Power of the Perfection of Wisdom: The ‘Sūtra-Rotation’ Liturgy of the Mahāprajñāpāramitā in Dunhuang” Journal of the American Oriental Society 139.3 (2019).