Talk by the Archaeologist Mark Aldenderfer on Pre-700 CE Buddhist traditions in Northern Nepal: A review of the evidence.
Buddhism in Upper Mustang is notable by its apparent absence before 1000 CE. History suggests that Padmasambhava visited Lo perhaps in the late 8th C. Gter ma have been found at Lo Gekar, a temple in Lo Manthang, that locals believe was initiated as early as 636 CE. What can archaeology add to the conversation? In this presentation, I will describe artifacts from our recent excavations at Samdzong that suggest the presence of a "lay" Tibetan Buddhism sometime around 600-650 CE. - Mark Aldenderfer is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts at the University of California, Merced. His research focuses the comparative analysis of high altitude cultural and biological adaptations from an archaeological perspective. He has worked on the three high elevation plateaus of the planet—Ethiopian, Andean, and Tibetan—over the course of his career and currently works in the High Himalayas of Nepal.