This project is investigating historical and philosophical aspects of the scholarly traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, also in consideration of transcultural connections, especially with South Asia, with a focus on the early period of Tibetan scholasticism, i.e., the 11th to 13th centuries. Owing to the recent recovery of a vast corpus of philosophical works that were preserved in the private library of the Fifth Dalai Lama in Drepung Monastery, a much deeper understanding of this formative period is now possible. This corpus also provides indispensable touchstones for fully appraising the subsequent Tibetan Buddhist philosophical tradition, as well as Tibetan intellectual history in general.

Linked with this overarching project are studies on early Tibetan Madhyamaka and on the early developments of epistemology and logic in Tibet, and research on the constitution of the Tibetan corpus (translations and indigenous works). The aim of the ERC-funded project “The Dawn of Tibetan Buddhist Scholasticism (11th-13th c.)" is to examine seminal features of the early Tibetan scholastic toolkit and related scholastic networks.


Hugon, Pascale, and Kevin Vose, Unearthing the Foundations of Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy. In: P. Hugon and K. Vose (eds.), Tibetan Scholasticism in the 11th and 12th Centuries – Contributions to a panel at the XVth Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Atlanta, 23‒28 June 2008. Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 32 (2009) [2010], pp. 237‒248.

Hugon, Pascale, On the Tibetan Translation of Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇaviniścaya — Attempting to retrieve rNgog Blo ldan shes rab’s original translation. China Tibetology 2 [General No. 21], 2013, pp. 68‒85.

Hugon, Pascale, Text Re-use in Early Tibetan Epistemological Treatises. In: E. Freschi (ed.), Quotations, References and Re-use of Texts in Indian Philosophical Literature. Journal of Indian Philosophy 43.4 (2015), pp. 453–491 (DOI: 10.1007/s10781-014-9244-5). (View here)

Hugon, Pascale, Enclaves of Learning, Religious and Intellectual Communities in Tibet: The monastery of gSang phu Ne’u thog in the early centuries of the Later Diffusion of Buddhism. In: Eirik Hovden, Christina Lutter and Walter Pohl (eds.), Meanings of Community Across Medieval Eurasia – Comparative Approaches. Leiden/Boston, 2016: Brill (Brill’s Series on the Early Middle Ages, vol. 25), pp. 289–308 (DOI: 10.1163/9789004315693_014).

Hugon, Pascale, On the Sanskrit and Tibetan Versions of the Pramāṇaviniścaya – A look into the translator’s workshop of rṄog Blo ldan śes rab. In: Horst Lasic, Xuezhu Li (eds.), Sanskrit manuscripts in China II. Proceedings of a panel at the 2012 Beijing Seminar on Tibetan Studies, August 1 to 5. Beijing, 2016: China Tibetology Publishing House, pp. 49–113.

Hugon, Pascale and Birgit Kellner (eds.), Rethinking Scholastic Communities in Medieval Eurasia. Medieval Worlds 12 (2020), pp. 2–120. (DOI: 10.1553/medievalworlds_no12_2020).



Charting the works in the bKa’ gdams gsung ’bum

Research:Pascale Hugon, Kazuo Kano (Komazawa University, Tokyo)

Running period: since 2018

This collaborative project with Prof. Kazuo Kano aims at a descriptive catalogue of the works available as facsimiles in the bKa’ gdams gsung ’bum, a collection of more than 500 texts by bKa’ gdams pa scholars that was published between 2006 and 2015. The detailed description of these items, as well as e-text fragments (Wylie input) are made available online on the webpage "A gateway to early Tibetan scholasticism." Another part of this subproject involves the investigation of the introductory and closing sections of each work. These are being critically edited and translated into English.