Elder Gongga 貢噶老人 (1903-1997) between China, Tibet and Taiwan: Assessing Life, Mission and Mummification of a Buddhist Woman

Stefania Travagnin

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    Elder Gongga (1903-1997), a Chinese Buddhist woman native of Beiping, played a crucial role in the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in China and Taiwan, bridged Dharma traditions, and merged Buddhist and cultural identities; she also became an eminent nun in the history of female Buddhism for life achievements and the worship of her mummified body after death. The analysis of Elder Gongga’s life and works contributes to better understand history, dynamics and networks of Buddhism in twentieth century China and Taiwan: Elder Gongga’s story is the story of a Chinese Buddhist woman who practiced and spread Tibetan Buddhism first in China and then in Taiwan, and therefore another portrayal of the conditions of women following Tibetan Buddhism in the Chinese region in the twentieth-century. The mummification of her body after death contributes to the debate on body and material culture in the Buddhist context.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)250-272
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions
    Publication statusPublished - 16-Jun-2016


    • Elder Gongga
    • Tibetan Buddhism
    • Buddhist mummification
    • Buddhism in Taiwan
    • Buddhist women
    • Buddhist networks

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