History of Tibet
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 travelers have little ideas about the History of Tibet and other travel-related information.
Geographic origin of Tibetan Plateau
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 immersed. 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 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 lose 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 character as each of them came from Different realms of Samsara and have 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 a shortage of fruits. So he when to Avalokitesvara for help. The Lord gave him three seed and ask him to sprinkle them on land.
Since they start eating in a nontraditional way and change in the food. they gradually evolve into a human as tail becomes 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 handmade tools like the ax, knife and so on.
Their lifestyle changes depending on the living condition and gradually Different living hood appear 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 organized them.
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 the history of Tibet
Buddhism was 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 translate into common Tibetan written script after five generations from him. That was the Songtsen Gampo.
The Our greatest ancestor the great king Songtsan Gampo and many great events have taken place during his time. In the seventh century, Songtsen Gampo སྲོང་བཙན་སྒམ་པོ་ unified Tibetan inhabitant place on the plateau, He married Chinese princess Wencheng from the Tang court and Princess Brikuti Devi from Nepal
His Main Achievements
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 ཇོ་ཁང།, and the Ramoche Temple were built to house the two holy statues of Buddha. The king knew the hardship and inconvenient day to day living would be without a written language. For this, he sends 16 brightest and most diligent boys to learns Sanskrit in India. Only one boy would make it back alive to Tibet. the boy later makes the minister of the Yarlung court. Returns after learning how to read and write. He invents 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 translates 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 the manifestation of Avalokitesvara. He is also treated as one of the greatest ancestors in Tibet. So where ever you travel to 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 have sponsored the construction of many temples and monasteries. During the of King Trisong Detsen, he institutionalized 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 build the monastery and in the night demons destroyed what was built in the daytime. 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 into the history of Tibet for the flourish of the New Religion from India.
During your visit to the Monastery. You will a part of the wall which clearly shows the work of the devils.
In the ninth during the reign of Tri Ralpachen. He makes a rule which state seven families can offer food and support livelihood of a monk. Families would get tax lavage from the king. This lead to an increase in the number of monks and less cash flow towards the State.
However, his younger brother some non-Buddhist noble family do not like the situation. King Ralpachen was murdered and Lang Dharma took over.
Period of Decentralization
King Lang Dharma was Anti-Buddhist. During his reign,
- He destroyed many monasteries,
- Burned lots of scriptures
- Force Buddhist monk to become hunters and butchers
- Force them into marriage.
He was assassinated by a monk. He was the last king of the Tibetan Yarlung Dynasty.
After this death, there is no central force unifying Tibet. It is the beginning of the Decentralization period. During the Period is decentralization life of people is very hard. There were many flights amount of different sub-religions.
Rejuvenation of Buddhism
In the mid of the Decentralization time in History of Tibet. Some part of the royal family who migrates to western Tibet and establishes a small Kingdom called the Guge Kingdom. The Guge Kingdom invites the Atisha from India to preach Buddha’s teaching and help rejuvenate the Buddhism in the Land of snow. With the help of Atisha, Buddhism regains its former position as a dominant religion of The land of Snow.
In the meantime, Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism for nearly a century and Padmodrupa of Kagyupa sect has ruled Tibet for sometimes. In the 17th Century. The fifth Dalai Lama of Gelugpa took over the ruling power from all the those decentralize small kingdoms. Dalai Lama asks the Chinese Yuan dynasty To help end all the fight among all the small groups and it brought along and everlasting peace in Tibet. Tibet has been unified and became the inseparable part of China.
Tibet is later Peacefully liberated in the year 1951 and in the year 1959 The Tibet Autonomous Region was set up. the century-old feudal system was replaced by the Modern Socialist system. Since the open door policy, the economy, health service and education in Tibet are now at its optimal. Now Tibetan lives in the Golden Era of peace and prosperity.
Each year we have millions of 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. We welcome all to enjoy cultural relic and beautiful landscape.
How do you like this post. If you have any questions about the history of Tibet. Please do let us know.
Followings are of Some Important Historical Personal of Tibet
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.