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Tibetan Buddhism2018-12-11T14:55:03+00:00

Tibetan Buddhism

Generals introduction of Buddhism

The root master of all the Tibetan Buddhist lineage is the teaching of Buddha. Buddha was the prince of Skaya Clan. his teaching is rooted in an observation: Despite all the effort to find Happiness and avoid suffering. Life is full of suffering and dissatisfaction. He recognized the cause of all suffering as the dissonant mental state- envy, pride, delusion, and attachment. He learns it is possible to free oneself permanently from such suffering through a rigorous and well-structured training of ethics, Meditation and insight, which lead to the profound understanding of the way of things really are that is enlightenment.

a Buddhist is the one who takes refuge in the three jewels of Buddhism: Buddha (the teacher), Dharma (his teaching) and Sangha ( the monastic community).

History of Tibetan Buddhism

In the 7th century, it was the prime ambition of the first emperor of Tibetan Empire, the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo to unified Tibetan inhabitants in Tibetan Qinghai Plateau and modernize his empire up to date way of life and technology. Which is why he has many cultural and crafts imported from the neighboring states.

Tibetan Food came from the Tang and other regions of modern China, Tibetan clothes came from Mongols and spirituality came from India. It is necessary to bring the Buddhism into Tibet to help taint the wild nature of Tibetan inhabitants. We are said to be a warrior clan and would always love to fight a lot.

The greatest accomplishment he made in the sense of Tibet Buddhism is bringing two holiest statues of Buddha in the world to Lhasa. One is from Tang dynasty and another is from Nepal. he builds two temples in Lhasa to house these two statues.

Later in the 8th century, Tibetan king Trisong Detsen finally establish Buddhism as the official religion of the Tibetan empire. He builds the first Buddhist Monastery of Samye Monastery in Tsedang and establishes the first school of Tibetan Buddhism called Nyimapa with the help of Guru Padmasambhava. Nyingmapa school mainly focus on the practice of Tantric Buddhism.

During the reign of the Last King of the Tibetan empire, Langdharma, he strongly prosecutes the Buddhism and forces everyone to abandon the practice of Buddhism. he was assassinated by the Buddhist practitioners. After this entire Tibet is disintegrated into local rules. The period is known as the dissemination period.

Late the king of Guge kingdom invites Atisha to his kingdom to rejuvenate the Buddhism in Tibet. Atisha also traveled to central Tibet and start the new school of Tibetan Buddhism called Kadampa. Later lots of individuals put their own efforts to go to India to learn the language and study the Buddhism and later translate the Buddhist scripture into Tibetan. Two major schools of Sakya and Kagyu was started the student of Such translators.

In the 14th century, Je Tsongkhapa started a new school of Tibetan Buddhism with the insight of the teaching of Kadampa and other tradition. The Gelug has later become the most powerful sects in Tibetan Buddhism and Rule Tibet for many centuries under the institution of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama.

from the period of rejuvenation of Buddhism in Tibet to the fifth Dalia Lama, there has been many conflict amount the different sect of Tibetan Buddhism for the influence and power. Many time different side has sought help and military aid of Chinese Yuan dynasty.

Unique Practice in Tibetan Buddhism

Institution of Reincarnation

One of the most important developments of the Tibetan Buddhism is the institution of Reincarnation. As a Buddhist, we believe in life after death. Our next life will be determined by how we lived. with this concept of next life, we also believe the highly realized spiritual being can choose when, where and in what form to take a rebirth. The ordinary folks like us, can’t choose what form of life we would like to reincarnate. it purely depends on one’s Karma.

We believe all the high lamas are manifestations of bodhisattvas, who vows to help liberate all the sentence being. To continue helping the all being these high lamas would come back over and over again to help liberate everyone from the ocean of suffering. The first lama to choose to reincarnate is the Karmapa of Kagyupa. The institution of reincarnation is adapted into all the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism in the coming times.

Adaptation of Native Bön practice into Buddhism

In Tibetan Buddhism, there are lots of native element in the practice adopt from the local Bon religion. The adaptation was very much necessary and it is the main reason why Buddhism in Tibet was so successful. The most common form of adaptation was the ritual dance of Cham dance, Prayer flags, Praying wheels, sky burial and Ritual music in the monasteries.

Different sects in Tibetan Buddhism

Unlike other Buddhism in World. Tibetan Buddhism has many different school or sect. There are four major sects in Tibetan Buddhism. The oldest one Nyimapa and the newest one is the Gelugpa. Each school differs in terms of their ways and approaches to the enlightenment. Rather then that all the schools have same common root teacher that is the Buddha himself and his teaching.

Followings are Four major sects in Tibetan Buddhism

1) Nyingmapa (རྙིང་མ།)

The Meaning of the word Nyingma means the old one. The school of Tibetan Buddhism was found by Guru Padmasambhava with the establishment of first Tibetan monastery of Samye. This is the oldest school of Tibetan Buddhism

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2) Sakyapa(ས་སྐྱ་)

The Meaning of the word Sakya means pale earth. The name was adopted after the unique grey landscape of Ponpori Hills in southern Tibet where the first monastery is built for the school. This school is founded by the Khon Konchog Gyalpo. he is the student of great translator Drokmi Lostawa. Since then the school is headed by the head of the Khon Family.

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3) Kagyupa (བཀའ་བརྒྱུད་)

The meaning of the word Kagyu means oral lineage. The tradition of Kagyupa started in Tibet by Marpa Lotsawa and his student Milarepa. Within the Kagyu, there are four major schools and eight minor schools. Kagyu is an oral tradition, it is very much concerned with the experiential dimension of the meditation. The most famous master in this tradition is Milarepa.

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4) Gelugpa (དགེ་ལུགས་པ་་)

The meaning of word Gelugpa means the way of Virtue. it is also known as the yellow hat sect. This school is found by Tsongkapa, base on the tradition and teaching of Kadampa tradition. This tradition currently has the most followers and all the monasteries you will visit in Lhasa area belongs to this tradition.

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Other Aspect of Tibetan Buddhism

1) Tibetan Yoga

Tibetan Yoga practice is called Luejong meaning training of the body. It is an essential part on the path of spiritual practice. Tibetan yoga is complementary with the training of mind called Lojong. In order to practice and meditate, both right set of mind and body is required.

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2) Tibetan Singing Bowl

The existence of singing bowls dates back to the time of Buddha. This tradition was brought to Tibet from India, with the teaching of Buddha by the great tantric master Padmasambhava, who successfully start the Institute of Tibetan Buddhism as well as the Institute of Monastic community in Tibet

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3) Butter Lamp

When you travel to Tibet. you will often find a butter lamp as an offering of the light in personal alter in the home, temples, and Monastery. Offering the light to the statue of buddhas and bodhisattvas are said to bring us a positive virtue to wash the ignorance and brings in the wisdom.

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4) Prayer Wheel

Prayer wheel. When you travel to Tibet, you will often see the Tibetan Prayer wheel, if it is mounted on the wall surrounding the Temples, handheld or install on the hills top circulating on wind energy or fit on the river bed circulating with the kinetic energy of moving water.

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5) Kora, the circumambulation 

Kora or the circumambulation to the holy object, person or the place. It is a very important part of the daily life in Tibet. It is one of the most visible Tibetan Buddhist rituals you will see while traveling in Tibet.

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Read More about other Tibetan Religion

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