Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften

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Dr. phil. Marta Sernesi


Office: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Institut für Indologie und Tibetologie
Ludwigstraße 31 80539 München
Room 026
Tel. +49 (0)89 / 2180 – 6907

Telefon: +49 (0)89/ 2180 - 6907

Current Position:

Post-doctoral Fellow sponsored by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für Indologie und Tibetologie.

Research Project (in progress): Re-Enacting the Past. The Heritage of the Early Bka' brgyud pa in the Life and Works of Gtsang smyon Heruka (1452-1507) and His Disciple Rgod tshang ras pa sNa tshogs rang grol (1482-1559).

Previous Positions, Grants and Research abroad:

  • 2009-2010 (October-April) Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst / German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Fellowship for postdoctoral research at LMU, München
  • 2008-2009 (October-March) Associated Fellow sponsored by the J. Gonda Foundation, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, the Netherlands.
  • 2007-2009 Collaboration with the Chair of "East Asian Religions and Philosophies" held by Prof. Donatella Rossi, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Rome La Sapienza, for teaching and examinations ("cultore della materia").
  • 2008 (January-June) Archival research and fieldwork at the Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Centre, Dolanji (H.P., India).
  • 2007 (February–August) Post-graduate grant for study abroad, University of Rome La Sapienza. Research stay in Paris, École Pratique des Hautes Études.


  • 2007 (March 9th) Doctoral degree in "Studi Indologici e Tibetologici" (Indian and Tibetan Studies), University of Turin.
    Thesis: "The Aural Transmission of Saṃvara and Ras chung pa's legacy";Supervisor: Prof. Erberto Lo Bue, University of Bologna.
  • Doctoral Fellowship from the University of Turin, years 2003–2006.
  • 2005 (February-April; October–December) - 2006 (April–May) Doctoral research in Paris, École Pratique des Hautes Études.


  • 2000–2003 Three-year Degree in "Lingua e Civiltà Tibetana" (Tibetan Language and Culture), Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO) Roma.
  • 2002 Laurea cum laude in "Lettere-Studi Orientali" (Humanities-Oriental Studies), Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Rome La Sapienza. Thesis: "I sei canti adamantini (rdo-rje'i mgur-drug) di Mi-la ras-pa (1040–1123) trasmessi da Lha-btsun Rin-chen rnam-rgyal (1473– 1557)" (Mi-la ras-pa’s Six Vajra Songs transmitted by Lha-btsun Rinchen rnam-rgyal); Supervisor: Prof. Elena De Rossi Filibeck, co-Supervisor: Prof. Raffaele Torella.


Italian, English, French. Learning German. Classical Tibetan. Basic knowledge of Sanskrit.


  • International Association of Tibetan Studies (IATS)
  • International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS)
  • Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO)
  • Société Asiatique (SA)
  • Société Européenne pour l'Etude des Civilisations de l'Himalaya et de l'Asie Centrale (SEECHAC)
  • American Academy of Religion (AAR)


  • "A Manual on Nāropa's Six Yogas by sPyan snga Nyer gnyis pa (1386-1434): Tucci Tibetan Collection 1359", Indo-Iranian Journal 53/2, 2010, pp. 121-163.
  • "The Aural Transmission of Saṃvara: An Introduction to Little-known Sources for the Study of the Early bKa'-brgyud", in: Mahāmudrā and the Bka'-brgyud Traditions, Proceedings of the XI Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS), ed. by R. Jackson and M. Kapstein, 2010 (in press).
  • "To Establish the Qualitites of the Master: Considerations on Early bKa' brgyud Hagiographical Writing", in:Tīrthayātrā. Essays in Honour of Stefano Piano, ed. by P. Caracchi, A. Consolaro, A.S. Comba, A. Pelissero. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2010, pp. 401-424.
  • (book co-edited with Federico Squarcini) Il buddhismo contemporaneo. Rappresentazioni, istituzioni, modernità, Società Editrice Fiorentina, Firenze, 2006 (reprint, 2008).
  • "Alla ricerca del vero dharma: modelli descrittivi in competizione e la nascita del Western Buddhism", Religioni e Società 56, thematic issue Forme e volti del Buddhismo contemporaneo ed. by Marta Sernesi and Federico Squarcini, 2006, pp. 6–23; also in: Il buddhismo contemporaneo. Rappresentazioni, istituzioni, modernità, 2006, pp. 11–35.
  • "Milarepa's Six Secret Songs. The Early Transmission of the bDe-mchog snyan-brgyud", East and West 54/1–4, 2004, pp. 251–287.
  • "Da Empoli a Osaka. Rappresentazioni condivise e modelli di consumo del Buddhismo contemporaneo", Religioni e Società 50, 2004, pp. 64–80. (with Federico Squarcini)

Conference Papers and Lectures

  • "The Writings and Printing Projects of rGod tshang ras pa sNa tshogs ming can (1482-1559): New sources for the study of the so-called School of gTsang smyon Heruka", XII Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, August 15th-21st, 2010.
  • "Réflexions sur la création textuelle et l’imprimerie xylographique au Tibet (XII-XVIIèmes siècles)", École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris, May 19th, 2009.
  • "La Benedizione del Buddha: Reliquie e Testi nel Buddhismo Mahāyāna", Facoltà di Studi Orientali, University of Rome La Sapienza, May 12th, 2009.
  • "Il Buddhismo Vajrayāna tra India e Tibet: introduzione alla metodologia e alle prospettive di ricerca", University of Florence, May 11th, 2009.
  • "Le patronage de Tsong kha pa par les Phag mo gru pa et le début de l’imprimerie au Tibet d'après un texte illustré de la Collection Tucci", I Colloque de la SEECHAC: La Création Artistique face aux Contraintes Politiques et Religieuses, 27-28 avril 2009, Collège de France, Paris.
  • "Representations of the lineage: an early 15th century blockprinted text from Central Tibet", Textual Approaches to the study of Indian and Tibetan cultures: a Symposium organised by the Gonda fellows affiliated to IIAS, International institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, April 16th, 2009.
  • "The Great Seal Illuminating Primordial Wisdom (Phyag rgya chen po ye shes gsal byed): Instructions on the Great Seal Practice attributed to Mi la ras pa", XV Congress of the International Association of Buddhist Studies (IABS), Emory University, Atlanta (USA), June 23-28 2008.
  • "Śivaiti, ministri, sciamani: il dibattito contemporaneo intorno alla definizione e allo sviluppo del Buddhismo Vajrayāna", Facoltà di Studi Orientali, University of Rome La Sapienza, December 14th 2007.
  • "A Tibetan Text on the Cakrasaṃvara Tradition from the Tucci Fund (IsIAO): Preliminary Remarks on Its Authorship, Dating and Contents", Journée d’étude Etudes Indiennes, Etudes Bouddiques, Maison de L’Asie, Paris, June 20th 2007.
  • "Alternative textual sources for the study of the early Mar-pa bKa'- brgyud: the less-known tradition of The Aural Transmission of Saṃvara (bDe-mchog snyan-brgyud)", XI Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS), Bonn University, August 27th- September 2nd 2006.
  • "The New Aural Transmission of Ras-chung-pa: a revealed tradition within a Tibetan gsar-ma school", Journée d’étude Sages, savants et visionnaires, EPHE, Paris, June 12th 2006.
  •  "L'Ordine Invisibile nel Buddismo: la ricezione in Occidente del 'Libro Tibetano dei Morti'", L'Ordine dell'Invisibile. Congresso del Centro Internazionale di Studi sul Religioso Contemporaneo, Casole d'Elsa (Siena), May 22nd 2004.