Endless Circles: Circumambulation in Tibet

  • Author / Creator
    Shao, Gong
  • Circumambulation is a universal cultural phenomenon. In Tibetan society, it is not only a particularly religious practice, but also the ritual embodiment of the Tibetan ethos. This research examines the types of circumambulation and their symbolic meanings in Tibet. Through specific expressions in ethnographic accounts of circumambulation based on field study and literature review, two core elements of circumambulation are identified: a center of sacredness, and circular movement around this center. By analysis of the concept of sacredness and the symbolic meanings of the circle and circular movement, I establish a concentric circular model of circumambulation to interpret it in the Tibetan context. I use the concept of sacred gravitation to explore the relationship between sacredness and people as expressed in the form of circumambulation and how circumambulation acts as the symbolic medium in this relationship.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kent, Stephen (Sociology)
    • Palmer, Andie (Anthropology)
    • Forth, Gregory (Anthropology)