Tibetans created practical laws from the seventh century, when they dominated a large part of central Asia, and it was only later that they formulated a concept of Buddhist law. This presentation asks how this religio-legal ideology developed, what it meant for Tibetans, and how it related to the practical concerns of social regulation and conflict resolution. The focus is on Tibet’s medieval period (eleventh to sixteenth centuries), during which different powerful families and religious establishments were seeking to establish and expand their authority following the collapse of the early empire. They also had to confront a period of Mongol domination under the Yüan dynasty. A legal treatise composed shortly after the end of this period describes the elaborate processes of mediation that Tibetans were, in fact, using to settle their disputes. I will suggest that it indicates a Tibetan writer trying to bring together the now well-developed, but essentially impractical, religio-legal ideology with the pragmatic realities of social regulation. It was part of the process by which Tibetans developed their ideas about what law was, or should be, and the relationship between politics and religion.