Panel at Jaipur Literary Festival on “Buddhist Love Poetry from India and Tibet,” September 2019
Buddhist love poetry sounds like an oxymoron in a tradition founded on renunciation. Yet rare testimonials of passion and love exist, spanning from medieval India to modern Tibet. Lyrical, packed with emotion, several gems of world literature are just now coming to light authored by the hermit and grammarian Bhartrihari and the tantric couple, Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tare Lhamo. Andrew Schelling and Holly Gayley dialogue about the art of translation and read from their recent books of translations, Some Unquenchable Desire: Sanskrit Poems of the Buddhist Hermit Bhartrihari and Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of the Tibetan Visionaries, Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tare Lhamo.
Photo with partner Rick Merrill.
Review of Inseparable Across Lifetimes for Buddhadharma (Fall 2019) by Sara Lewis:
Participants in the AAS Bhutan Panel in Denver on Friday, March 22, 2019 (from left to right): Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, Sonam Nyenda, Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia, Tsering Shakya (guest), Sonam Kinga, Tshering Om Tamang, and Holly Gayley.
Recent Conference Presentations
- “Ravings of a Vagabond: Spontaneity and Insight in Songs of Meditation Advice by the Visionary Bdud ‘joms gling pa,” paper delivered on a panel on Wisdom’s Eloquence: Intersections of the ‘Wise’ and the ‘Well-spoken’ in Tibetan Literature for 15th IATS Seminar in Paris, July 7–13, 2019.
- “Karma and Female Agency in Novels by Bhutanese Women Writers,” paper delivered on a panel on Contemporary Bhutanese Literature at the AAS conference in Denver, March 21–24, 2019.
- “Dudjom Lingpa’s Songs of Advice to Nuns and Yoginīs,” paper delivered at a panel on A Woman’s Place in Buddhist Dialogues: Querying the Margins of Tibetan Literature for the In/Visibility of Nuns and Yoginīs at the AAR conference in Denver, November 17–20, 2018.
Lotsawa Translation Workshop at CU Boulder | October 2018
The Lotsawa Translation Workshop was a stunning success, focusing on the theme of Buddhist devotion in Tibetan verse. At Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe in Boulder, we held a Translation/Poetry Slam in conjunction with the workshop. Among the dynamic set of offerings, I read a selection from my new book of translations, Inseparable Across Lifetimes (Shambhala Publications, coming soon). CU Boulder graduate student, Somtsobum (left), read beautifully from the Tibetan original. Read more about the workshop on the Tibet Himalaya Initiative website.
Tibet Himalaya Initiative Sponsored Two Sessions at Jaipur Literary Festival | September 2018
At the Jaipur Literature Festival in Boulder, Namita Gokhale (center) interviewed Vanessa Sasson (right) about her novel, Yasodhara: A Novel about the Buddha’s Wife.
Here with Holly Gayley (left), representing the Tibet Himalaya Initiative (THI) which sponsored the session. THI also sponsored “Toppled Worlds” about an Indian diplomat couple stationed in Tibet during the turbulent 1950s.
Conference on Buddhist Ethics at University of Southern California, June 2018
New Books Network Interview by Kristian Peterson, May 2018
My reviews of works on vegetarianism, ecological dystopia, and women in Buddhism (March 2017 to March 2018)
- “A Buddhist Depiction of Ecological Dystopia,” Response to “The Tale of Stormtamer” by Austin Pick in The Arrow Journal
- “Tibet’s Vegetarian Debate,” Review of The Food of Sinful Demons by Geoffrey Barstow in Tricycle Magazine
- Review of Echoes of Enlightenment: The Life and Legacy of the Tibetan Saint Sonam Peldren by Suzanne Bessenger on Reading Religion
Lecture at Royal University of Bhutan in February 2018
Sonam Nyenda (left), Director of the new Bhutan & Himalayan Research Centre invited me to give a lecture at Royal University of Bhutan in Thimphu. The topic was “Translating Buddhist Advice on Meditation across Languages and Cultures.” Dr. Karma Phuntsho (right) was kind enough to serve as respondent.
Wisdom Publications blog post featuring my translation of a letter of advice for solitary retreat by the Third Dodrupchen, November 2017
Panel at Jaipur Literary Festival on “The Life of Milarepa: From Text to Practice,” September 2017
Panelists Judy Lief, Nikko Odiseos (moderator), Andy Quintman, and Holly Gayley (from left to right) explored themes in the life and songs of Milarepa.
Tricycle Magazine published excerpts from the Letters of Khandro Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche, Fall 2017
Presentation at Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women, June 2017
Photo courtesy of Alyson Prude. For a description of my paper and photos of the conference, see: An Emanation of Green Tara
Vajrayana World Interview by Lama Yeshe Wangmo, April 2017
Reviews of my Love Letters from Golok on the blog Lhakar Diaries by Dawa Lokyitsang, March & April 2017
Premier of “Persevere” at the Garrison Theatre, Scripps College in Claremont, CA
As part of an evening of Female Esoterics in Song on March 23rd, 2017, soprano Anne Harley performed verses of Khandro Tare Lhamo and Yeshe Tsogyal alongside selections from the Therigatha. The piece, “Persevere,” was an NEA commission by composer Karola Obermüller, featuring harpist harpist Barbara Poeschl-Edrich.
I participated in a pre-performance panel, having contributed selections from Khandro Tare Lhamo’s letters to the libretto and a short essay on “Three Generations of Visionary Buddhist Women” to the program notes. While out in LA, I delivered a lecture at UCS on March 22nd titled, “On Love and Destiny: Reading the Epistolary Courtship of a Buddhist Tantric Couple.”
Shambhala Times Interview by Carole Henderson, January 2017
Book Launch, November 2016
Love Letters from Golok came out in time for the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, November 19-22, 2016. Here is the author with colleague, Nancy Lin, the first to purchase a copy.
Conference Presentations on Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche, 2013-2017
- “A Contemporary Emanation of Green Tara in Tibet,” paper presented at the 15th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women in Hong Kong, June 22-28, 2017.
- “Situating Female Religious Authority: Gender, Genre and Geography in Eastern Tibet,” paper presented on panel, Female Lives and Narratives in Tibet, at the AAR conference in Atlanta, November 21–24, 2015.
- “Buddhist Love Letters: An Exploration of Epistolary Intimacy and Tibetan Literary Style,” paper presented on panel, Tibetan Letters, Buddhist Lives: Epistolary Approaches to the Study of Tibetan Buddhism, at the AAR conference in San Diego, November 22–25, 2014.
- “Heroine in Troubled Times: The Miracles of Khandro Tāre Lhamo during the Socialist Transformation of Tibet,” paper presented at panel on Buddhist Women Masters at the meeting of the Dharma Academy of North America, held concurrently with the 2013 AAR conference in Baltimore, November 23–26, 2013.
Radio Free Asia Interview by Richard Finney, February 2013
Rolmo Interview by Lama Yeshe Wangmo, October 2012
Reading at the Latse Library, February 2011
Reading of Tibetan love letters by Khandro Tāre Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche at “The Fat of My Heart: A Discussion of Expressions of Love and Desire in Tibetan Literature and Letter Writing” at the Latse Library in New York City on February 11.