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The notion of the “union of the political and the religious” (in Tibetan, chos srid zung ’brel, lugs zung or conjugated order/lugs gnyis or dual order/tshul gnyis; in Chinese, zhengjiao he yi 政教合一) is usually considered as a tool for analyzing the relationship established between Lhasa and Beijing in the Qing period (1644-1912). When the bodhisattva king entered into a relationship with a foreign ruler, the link was said to be personal and religious, not official and institutional. It was then called a “relationship between a spiritual master and a lay protector” (mchod yon): the spiritual master (mchod gnas) transmitted teachings to his lay protector (yon bdag), who, in exchange, ensured his protection as well as that of his school and monasteries. Studies highlight how the Manchus and the Chinese sought to take advantage of the constitutive twin-ness of Tibetan hierarchs (spiritual and temporal) to assert their authority. However, while the nationalist ambition of the XIII Dalai Lama (1876-1933) to assert his temporal power and the difficulties he encountered both domestically and internationally throughout his reign are demonstrated, studies ignore the efforts of the XIII Dalai Lama to manifest himself as the temporal ruler of Tibet prior to the expulsion of Chinese troops from Tibet (1912). It is the analysis of this crucial period from 1904 to 1913 that is proposed here. The intervention evaluates the sacralization of politics by the different actors and their understanding of the double corporeality of the sovereign, the Dalai Lama. It leads in fine to a discussion on the definition that the XIIIth Dalai Lama recognizes to his institution to end up embodying a sacred supremacy. It is therefore the decisions and actions of the Dalai Lama and their consequences as revealed in various sources that will hold our attention: his exile in Inner Asia and China (1904-1909), his refusal to sign an agreement with China (1910), his exile in British India (1910-1913) and his search for recognition of his sovereignty by the British, the Manchu reprisals, his resilience and that of the Tibetans, his organization of the Tibetan resistance to the Chinese armed presence.
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