The enigma of Buddhism, and especially Tibetan Buddhism, has enchanted Westerners for centuries. Most of the papers in this volume were delivered at the ‘Pilgrims and Travellers in Search of the Holy’ international symposium convened at the University of Helsinki on 18 October 2008.
The symposium focused on Buddhist and Hindu sites from a comparative perspective, bringing together a team of established international scholars and younger researchers working on their doctoral theses, all with extensive experience of field research. This volume therefore comprises a theoretical part and an empirical part. The former discusses universal aspects of pilgrimage and travel, whereas the latter focuses on Buddhist and some Hindu sites in West Bengal, China, India, Japan, Russia, and Tibet. For decades the unsettled political conditions in Tibet have made it difficult for scholars to enter the holy sites. This book offers new insights into how traditional Tibetan holy sites attract both Tibetan pilgrims and secular Chinese in an intriguing and harmonious way.