Practical Spirituality and Developmental Challenges Amongst Tibetan Communities in India

  • Thomas Kauffmann


This chapter discusses how and for what reasons the Western assistance to Tibetan refugees is a paradigmatic case of spirituality in action, and the challenges it creates.

Giving the nature of Tibet in the Western mind, the evolution of spiritual needs in the West, and the own success of the Tibetan refugees to answer Western’s expectations, it is interesting to see how the Tibetans installed in South Asia are still able to attract political, material, or symbolic Western assistance after sixty years of exile and an unsettled problem.

Moreover, this Western assistance takes the characteristics of a practical spirituality, as discussed in the present book, and this Chapter will engage on its challenges. The Tibetan example is certainly unique in the way that there is a real exchange between the donors and the receivers. The practical spirituality takes all its sense in such an exchange but that ideal situation does not solve all the issues induced by the interaction between two populations. These issues will be further studied in order to understand what can be the possibilities and the limits of a practical spirituality.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Kauffmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Alumni (Doctor in Anthropology)University of OxfordOxfordUK

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