Charles Ramble


University Research Lecturer; Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College 

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / Wolfson College


Research Interests:

  • Civil society and pagan religion in the Himalaya
  • The Bön religion of Tibet
  • Pilgrimage and sacred geography

Current Projects:

  • Rituals of the Bon Religion: Texts and Performances
  • Social History of Tibetan Societies
  • The Life and Times of a Nineteenth-Century Bonpo Luminary: a Study of the Autobiography of dKar ru grub dbang bsTan ’dzin rin chen
  • A Comparative Study of the Earliest Bon and Buddhist Phur pa traditions (AHRC; with Cathy Cantwell and Robert Mayer)

Courses Taught:

  • Anthropology of Tibet and the Himalaya

Recent Publications:

Forthcoming Books:

  • Tibetan Sources for a Social History of Mustang, Nepal. Volume 2: the Family Archives of the Tantric Lamas of Tshognam. Halle: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies.
  • Tibetan Sources for a Social History of Mustang, Nepal. Volume 3: the Archive of Baragaon. Halle: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies.


  • 2008a The Navel of the Demoness: Tibetan Buddhism and Civil Religion in Highland Nepal. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • 2008bTibetan Sources for a Social History of Mustang, Nepal. Volume 1: the Archive of Te. Halle: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies.
  • 2005 (with Geshe Gelek Jinpa et al.). Sacred Landscape and Pilgrimage in Tibet: in Search of the Lost Kingdom of Bön. New York: Abeville Press.


  • Forthcoming: The deer as a structuring principle in certain Bonpo rituals: a comparison of three texts for the acquisition of good fortune (g.yang).
  • 2010a The good, the bad and the ugly: the circumscription of saintly evil in Tibetan biography. In Linda Covill, Ulrike Roesler and Sarah Shaw (eds) Lives Lived, Lives Imagined. Boston: Wisdom Publications.
  • 2010b Playing dice with the devil: a Bonpo soul-retrieval ritual attributed to Kong rtse ’phrul rgyal and its interpretation in Mustang, Nepal. In Samten Karmay and Donatella Rossi (eds) Bon: the Indigenous Source for Tibetan Religion. Special issue of East and West, vol. 59, nos. 1-4.
  • 2010 History from below: an introduction to three archival collections from Mustang, Nepal. In H. Diemberger and K. Phuntso (eds) Ancient Treasures, New Discoveries.Halle: International Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies.
  • 2008 A nineteenth-century Bonpo pilgrim in Western Tibet and Nepal: episodes from the life of dKar-ru grub-dbang bsTan-’dzin rin-chen. In Jean-Luc Achard (ed.) Tibetan Studies in Honour of Samten Karmay. Revue d’études tibétaines 15(2), 481-502. (
  • 2007a Tsewang Rigdzin and the Bon tradition of sacred geography. In S. Karmay (ed.) Bon: the Magic Word. New York: Rubin Museum of Art.
  • 2007b The Aya: fragments of an unknown Tibetan priesthood. In B. Kellner, H. Krasser, H. Lasic, M.T. Much and H. Tauscher (eds) Pramanakirtih. Papers Dedicated to Ernst Steinkellner on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. Part 2. Wien: Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde, 681–718.
  • 2006 Sacral kings and divine sovereigns: principles of Tibetan monarchy in theory and practice. In D. Sneath (ed.) Power, Place and the Subject in Inner Asia. Bellingham/Cambridge: Western Washington University.

Full Publications

Further Info:

Directeur d’études, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris (2010—)
President, International Association for Tibetan Studies (2006—)

Photograph of Charles Ramble