Zsóka Gelle

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Zsóka Gelle
Zsoka Gelle in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2018
Born (1967-10-12) October 12, 1967 (age 56)
Szombathely, Hungary
Other namesབསྟན་འཛིན་བཟང་མོ་
Occupation(s)tibetologist, translator, writer, filmmaker, guide
Known forMani Lama Project, Hyolmo Heritage Project

Zsóka Gelle (born October 12, 1967) is a Hungarian Tibetologist, translator, writer, filmmaker and guide.


Gelle was born in Szombathely, Hungary. She lived and worked in Asia for several years. After graduating in History and Cultural Management at BDTF College, Szombathely in 1990, and in Tibetan Studies at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest in 1995, she worked as an office manager at Tibet House Foundation, and as a lecturer at ELTE University and Dharma Gate Buddhist College. She did her colloquial Tibetan Studies in Darjeeling at the Manjushree Institute in 2005-2006, and was a member of the Doctoral College for Himalayan Cultural Transfer and Cross-Contacts in the Himalayan Borderlands at the University of Vienna between 2011 and 2014. She worked as a Khyentse Fellow at ELTE University, Budapest at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies between 2014-2016. She taught the following subjects: Tibetan literature, Tibetan canonical literature, Tibetan religion in practice, Civilized Shamans, sacred space and pilgrimage, and sacred places of Buddhism. Among her responsibilities was to organize lectures and conferences about Buddhism, to invite foreign scholars and promote research on Buddhism.

She has a broad interest in the field of Tibetan and Buddhist studies, Himalayan religious practices, rituals, ritual texts, mountain cult,[1] pilgrimage, and Asian performing arts.[2] Her main areas of interest are the teaching lineages of the Nyingma school, gter ma tradition, Himalayan hidden lands (beyul), Buddhist eschatology, and Hyolmo tradition.

Between 1999 and 2003 she worked with some of the last Tibetan storytellers in India, Mani Lamas, who used to recite stories with painted scrolls to spread the teaching of compassion and popularize the Chenrezi cult, and the use of its mantra, Om mani padme hum.[3] Gelle traveled widely in India to find traces of this storytelling tradition, and meet its representatives, the buchens of Spiti; Buchen Gyurme, one of the last active mani lamas living in Dekyiling that time; and Buchen Norgye in Kollegal, South India. She was one of the main contributors of the exhibition "Demons and Protectors" organized by the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts in 2003.[4]

Her other major project started in 2011, when she became a member of the Doctoral College for Himalayan Cultural Transfer and Cross-Contacts on the Himalayan Borderlands at the University of Vienna, Austria to conduct research on Hyolmo history and tradition. When the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, most of the Hyolmo villages were destroyed, and she started the Hyolmo Heritage Project to preserve Hyolmo tradition and create a platform where memories can be shared.

Presently, she is working as a freelance translator and independent researcher, writing contributions for museum catalogues,[5] project publications[6] and conference proceedings.


Publications in English[edit]

Publications in Hungarian[edit]


  1. ^ Hamar Imre - Gelle Zsóka - Kósa Gábor (szerk.) (2017). Szent hegyek, szent emberek. Budapest: Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem. pp. 39–76. ISBN 978-963-284-830-3.
  2. ^ "Terebess Ázsia Lexikon".
  3. ^ Sharma, Anita, ed. (2012). Buddhism in East Asia - Aspects of History's First Universal Religion Presented in the Modern Context. Delhi: Vidyanidhi Prakashan. pp. 113–124. ISBN 978-93-80651-40-8.
  4. ^ Béla, Kelényi, ed. (2003). Demons and Protectors. Budapest: Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts. pp. 111–119. ISBN 963-7098-88-7.
  5. ^ Béla, Kelényi; József, Végh, eds. (2019). On the Other Side of the Intermediate State. The Art of Tibor Hajas and the Tibetan Mysteries. Budapest: Szépművészeti Múzeum–Hopp Ferenc Ázsiai Művészeti Múzeum. pp. 83–94. ISBN 9786155304934.
  6. ^ Österreichishe Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien. "Making Ends Meet" (PDF).

External links[edit]