a brief history of Tibet

A brief history of Tibet, Tibet has a very long history. This is our effort to provide you, Tibet history summary. According to some source our history can date back to 4500 B.C. Since our is a travel site you would like to write a brief history of Tibet for the traveler to read before coming to Tibet. We think it is very helpful if a travelers have little ideas about History of Tibet and other travel related information.

Mt Everest, a brief History of Tibet

Geographic origin of Tibetan Plateau

About Millions of year ago, the area what is now know as Tibet and roof of the world was a sea. Due to the immense pressure from the Indian tectonic plate moving northward and rigidity of Asian plate. The Tibetan Plateau and the Himalaya mountain range has immerged.  Now the average elevation of the Plateau is at four thousand meters above sea level.

Human Evolution of Tibet

In its early times, the area was covered in vast grassland and forest, there were no humans and animals lived a harmonious life. Then the Avalokitesvara the buddha of compassion gave the laymen vow and sent it to meditation in a cave near what is now known a Yarlung valley. While the monkey was Meditating, an Ogress paid a visit to urge the monkey to marry her. The monkey was so committed to his vows and devoted to the buddha.

Monkey told Ogress “I am on vows and I came here to meditate. if I will marry you, I will break my vow”. Ogress was very sad and she told: “if you are not going to marry me, I will have to marry with a demon and give a birth to many demons, they will multiply in thousands and then the Land of Snow will be populated with demons, So please have mercy on Me”.

Upon hearing her confusion, Monkey gave a though and he realizes “If he marries the Ogress, he will loose his vow, Yet if he does not marry her, he will sure going to sin”. So he went to his teacher to get his inside and advice. Avalokitesvara told marrying Ogress would be a victorious act as it would start a human race in Tibet.

At first, Ogress gave birth to six monkeys, each one has a different characteristic as each of them came from Different realms of Samsara and have a different karma. So their descendants also have difference even nowadays. People from Ü and Tsang are very devoted to dharma and people from Amdo are very persistence  and People from Kham areas are little rough and not easy to deal with. So the father monkey sends them to separate places to live in separation.

Three years later when he visits all of them, he realizes the size of his family has now come to five hundred and there would be the shortage in fruits. So he when to Avalokitesvara for help. The lord gave him three seed and ask him to sprinkle them on a land.

Since they start eating in an nontraditional way and change in the food. they gradually evolve into a human as tail become shorter and shorter and gradually they start expressing their though in verbal language. This is the evolution of human we believe in. Gradually after hardship over thousands of year their start hunting using hand made tools like the axe, knife and so on.

Their life style changes depending on the living condition, and gradually Different living hood appears like Nomads, Farmer, and Semi-nomads. Many groups appeared, there were more and more disagreements and flights. So they felt, they need someone honest to lead and organised them.

a brief History of Tibet

History of Tibet, the first King

Around 127 BC when some herdsman were grazing their animal, they saw a young man.

They ask him where he is from and he points out to the sky. They regard him as a heavenly son and carried him to their village on their neck throne and made him king.

He is the first king of Tibet called “Nyatri Tsenpo” meaning “Neck throned king”. This was the beginning of Tsenpo’s period. There were forty-two kings following him. and the last one was Langdharma die in the 9th century.

Introduction of Buddhism in history of Tibet

Buddhism has first introduced during the reign of 28th king Lha Tho Thori Nyantsen. Legend has it, that Buddhist scripture, a small statue of Buddha and small Stupa fell from the sky on the top of his palace. the three items signify the body, mind, and speech of Buddha. The scripture is written in Sanskrit and during that time no one can read. So it became state secret and it is called “Nyanpo Sangwang” melodious secret.

 Lha Tho-Thori Nyantsen also received a prediction saying melodious secret would be translate into common Tibetan written script after five generation from him. That was t

Songtsen Gampo, The greatest king in Tibetan history

he Our greatest ancestor the great king Songtsan Gampo and many great events has taken place during his time. In the seventh century, Songtsen Gampo unified Tibetan inhabitant place on the plateau, He married Chinese princess Wencheng from the Tang court and Princess Brikuti Devi from Nepal

He brought in the two holy statues of Buddha from Nepal and Tang China as a dowry in marriage their princess. Two famous Temple in Lhasa, The Jokhang temple and the Ramoche Temple were built to house the two holy statues of Buddha.  The king knew the hard ship and inconvenient day to day live would be with out a written language. For this he send 16 brightest and most diligent boys to learns Sanskrit in India. Only one boy would make it back alive to Tibet. the boy later make the minister of the Yarlung court. He return after learning how to read and write. He invent the first Tibetan written language, it was base on Sanskrit and the very first sentence made with this new scripture is  Six syllabus Mantra of Avalokitesvara, The Om Mani Padme Hum.  ཨོཾ་མ་ཎི་པདྨེ་ཧཱུྂ༔

He also translate many scriptures into Tibetan and spread them amount the Tibetan population, The Potala Palace was built for the Songtsen Gampo to meditation. Tibetan does consider him as an outstanding ruler and often consider as manifestation of Avalokitesvara. He is also treat as one of the greatest ancestors in Tibet. So where ever you travel in Tibet you will find three kings picture and he is the one the in middle.

Successive kings of Tibet

King Songtsen Gampo and his successors has sponsored construction of many temples and monasteries. During the of King Trisong Detsen, he institutionalized the Buddhism as the official religion of his court and the Yarlung dynasty. He with the Help of two prominent figure in Tibetan Buddhism, Guru Rinpoche and Śāntarakṣita from India.

There is a popular saying in our history that, initially in the days the human labors would built the monastery and in the night demons destroyed what was built in the day time. So the Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava subdued the  demos who were the obstacles to the construction of the Samye monastery. and gave a good window in the history of Tibet for the flourish of the New Religion from India.

As you visit the Samye monastery there is still some part of the wall which clearly show the work of the devils.

In the ninth during the reign of Tri Ralpachen. During his rule, he make a rule which state seven family can offer food and support a livelihood of a monk. families would get tax lavage from the king. this lead to increase the number of monks and less cash flow towards the State.

How ever his younger brother some non Buddhist noble family do not like the situation. King Ralpachen was murdered and Lang Dharma took over.

Sakya monastery

Period of Decentralization

The King Lang Dharma is known as Anti-Buddhist. during his reign he destroyed many monasteries, burned lots of scriptures and force monk to become hunters and butchers and force them into marriage. He was assassinated by a monk.  He was the last king of Tibetan Yarung Dynasty.

After this death, there is no central force unifying Tibet. It is the beginning of the Decentralization period. During the Period is decentralization people had a very hard life. There were many flights amount different sub religions.

painting of Atisha at Nyethang Dolma Lhakhang.

Rejuvenation of Buddhism

In the mid of the Decentralization time. some part of the royal family who migrate to western Tibet and establish a small Kingdom called Guge Kingdom. The Guge Kingdom invite the Atisha from India to preach Buddha’s teaching and help rejuvenate the Buddhism in the Land of snow. With the help of Atisha, the buddhism regain it former position as an dominant religion of The land of Snow.

In 15th Century the fifth Dalai Lama took over the ruling power from all the those decentralize small kingdoms, who were fighting endlessly among one another. Dalai Lama ask the Chinese Yuan dynasty To help end all the fight among the all the small groups and it brought a long and ever lasting peace in Tibet. Since Tibet has been unified and became inseparable part in China.

Tibet is later Peacefully liberated in year 1951 and in year 1959 The Tibet Autonomous region was setup. the century old feudal system was replaced by Modern Socialist system. Since the open door policy, the economy, health service and education in Tibet is now at its optimal every since that Monkey marriage to the ogress. Now Tibetan lives in the golden Era of peaceful and prosperity with the best standard of living we have ever seen in our history.

Each year we have millions people visiting us in Tibet from all over the world. We are  happy to share the fruits and hard work of our ancestors in their quest for happiness, in the form of cultural relic and beautiful landscape.

If you have any questions about history of Tibet, Tibet travel information like Tibet travel permit.


Leave A Comment