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Buddhist Pilgrim at the Shrines of Tibet, A
Published by Brill
Tsybikov's book has both the vividness of a traveller's eyewitness account and the informed detachment of a scholar. It is a unique and invaluable snapshot of religious practices and the everyday life in Tibet before Chinese inroads during the twentieth century effaced that way of life.
Tsybikov was the first scholar with a European education to visit Tibet and describe its monasteries and temples as an eyewitness traveler and an objective researcher. Tsybikov had two distinct advantages: an ethnic Buryat he could travel as a Buddhist pilgrim and thus have a chance of reaching its mysterious capital Lhasa, the religious and political center of Tibet, which was barred to outsiders, especially Europeans; as a scholar educated at a European university he had the historical and linguistic background to understand and describe what he saw. Tsybikov understood the secretive nature of the lama state and was careful to hide his work as a researcher. It was his journal that became the basis of A Buddhist Pilgrim at the Shrines of Tibet, which has both the vividness of a traveller's eyewitness account and the informed detachment of a scholar. As a record of both religious practices and the everyday life in Tibet before Chinese inroads during the twentieth century effaced that way of life, Tsybikov's book is a unique and invaluable snapshot of a lost culture.
Gombozhab Tsybikov (1873-1930) graduated from the Department of Oriental Languages of St. Petersburg University in 1899, and after his three-year expedition to Tibet, was appointed lecturer in the Mongolian language at the Oriental Institute in Vladivostok. Among his published writings are diaries of journeys to Mongolia (1895), China (1909), and Ugra (1927), commentary and translations on Mongolian literature, and such articles as 'Shamanism of Buryats and Mongols, National Holidays of Buryats,' 'Mongolian Literature as an Instrument of National Culture,' all in Russian.
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