January 18, 2020

Hirshberg Presents Paper at International Seminar

Dan Hirshberg, assistant professor of religious studies and associate director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies, presented a new paper titled “Padmasambhava the Tibetan: Reflections on Memory and Cultural Identity” for the international seminar, “Perspectives on Padmasambhava,” organized by Columbia University and Skidmore College and held at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City (October 13-15, 2018).

Riffing on the cultural memory theory of Jan Assmann and others, the paper explores the ways in which this historically shady 8th ce. figure renowned as the “Second Buddha” represents the Tibetan construction of an enlightened other, and the ways in which this same figure is being adopted with similar functions in Western Buddhist communities.

The first international seminar focused on Padmasambhava organized in the US took place in conjunction with the exhibition, The Second Buddha: Master of Time, and took the form of a master class in which leading scholars discussed their ongoing research with colleagues, students, and attendees.

Hirshberg’s research is also featured on many of the museum labels for the exhibition.