The following content is all our Thoughts on Tibetan History after studying Tibet history. It is some of our views on the history of Tibet
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How to understand Tibet history
For many people, Tibet is a mysterious place.
In many people’s perceptions, the history and culture of Tibet developed independently in an isolated environment
It even equates Tibet history with the history of the development of Tibetan Buddhism
It is true that almost important events in Tibetan history have been influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.
However, it is obviously incorrect to think that “Tibet history is the history of Tibetan Buddhism”.
Even though Tibetan Buddhism occupies a dominant position, the religious beliefs in Tibet are not entirely Tibetan Buddhism.
And the main axis of Tibet history is still the Tibetan people’s own demands and pursuit of humanity.
How to understand religion in Tibet
Regarding the influence of religion, let we see it from three levels: individual, community, and country.
In the above three levels, the value and meaning of religion are not exactly the same.
From a personal point of view, religion is faith which is a way of life that seeks to make oneself better and happier.
But ascending to the level of human society (Community), religion is not completely equivalent to belief, or is not entirely dictated by belief.
As long as the Sangha group is formed, there must be a hierarchy of management, and there must be how to polish the teachings to make themselves more persuasive and attractive, gain more followers.
The most important resource of any religious system is follower, and the number of follower determines the influence of the religious group.
Therefore, in a sense, the Sangha group is actually a human interest group, even if it operates in a religious manner.
As the ultimate form of human society, the state must not only have the interests of religious groups, but also the interests of other groups, such as secular official groups and merchant groups.
How to balance the interests of religions and other groups is an important test for the monarch.
If the unique cohesion of religion can be used for the country which could grow rapidly; otherwise, the country could be ruined
Throughout the history of Tibet, the close entanglement between political power (royal power) and religious power is the best case to understand this logical relationship.
Religion can be regarded as a “Management Tool” which was either controlled by the monarch or controlled by the sangha.
However, for the public living in Tibet, there was actually no substantial difference.
How to understand the influence of religion in Tibet
No matter what vocabulary is used to describe The powerful influence of Tibetan Buddhism on the Tibet Plateau, which is not excessive,
The reason for this huge influence is very worth pondering.
From the perspective of the conditions and environment for the existence of religion, the geographical environment shall have an important impact on social changes.
The harsh living environment of Tibet, and frequent natural disasters inevitably caused the ancient people to be full of fear for the unknown. This was the basis of the strong religious atmosphere of the ancient Tibetan.
Long before the spread of Indian Buddhism to the Tibetan Plateau, there was already polytheism in Tibet.
This kind of worship was so complex that it had reached the point where a mountain, a river, even a stone, a tree had corresponding gods.
For example, sacred mountains like Kailash Mountain must have been included before Buddhism was introduced into Tibet, and Tibetan Buddhism was just to re-blessing.
Bon religion that originated in Tibet, the primitive Bon religion based on polytheistic worship in the early period, and the later Yongzhong Bon religion had unparalleled influence over a long historical period.
This kind of influence was so great that even after Tibetan Buddhism is in a dominant position, it still has to be admitted that in the early history of Tibet, the religious power of the Bon religion was an unshakable existence.
It can even be said that the ruling legitimacy of the Tubo royal family stems from the recognition and support of the Bon religious forces.
Of course, the Tubo royal family was unwilling to continue to expand the influence of the Bon religion. During the period of Drigum Tsenpo（146 BC-123 BC）, the royal family launched the anti-Bon movement. This was the first fierce conflict between royal power and religious power in Tibetan historical records.
The final result was seven years of extermination of Bon religion,and Drigum Tsenpo was killed, the powerful courtier usurped the throne, and ended. This tragic ending taught the king of Tubo kingdom a profound lesson that when the influence of one religion was too great, the power of another religion must be used to balance it, but not the secular power represented by the royal family.
When the Tubo Kingdom reached the age of Songtsen Gampo, the influence of the Bon religion was still immense. In order to counteract this huge influence, Songtsen Gampo consciously introduced Buddhism into Tibet.
Of course Songtsen Gampo could not be the incarnation of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, and he himself could not even be a Buddhist.
Based on the analysis of the social background at that time, Buddhism was introduced into Tibet without a doubt to achieve a balance of power structure.
The great thing about Songtsan Gampo was that he planted the seeds (introducing Buddhism to Tibet), and this shall surely germinate and grow.
About 100 years after Songtsen Gampo, the supported Buddhist forces finally had the ability to contend with the Bon religion, and expelled the Bon religion from the core area of Tibet.
However, in the following generations of Tubo Kingdom, the Buddhist group that were given the best treatment, and even broke away from the kingdom’s taxation and management system, which became an unbearable black hole in the economy of Tubo kingdom
The last king of Tubo kingdom Langdarma once again set off a movement to destroy Buddhism, and the Buddhist forces used assassinations as a counterattack to kill Langdarma, and also burry Tubo dynasty. In the meantime, Buddhism had also entered a “dark period” for more than a hundred years.
In the Phyi Dar
After the collapse of the Tubo dynasty, Tibet entered an era of separatist rule by many small regimes.
The decline of secular rights (royal power) led to the revival of the Buddhist power, which once again became the basis for the legitimacy of governance.
As a result, Tibet gradually embarked on the road of unity of politics and religion.
In the long years since then, there is no religious belief system comparable to Tibetan Buddhism.
Thus, the cycle of Tibetan Buddhism’s strongest influence on Tibetan history began!
This kind of extreme influence not only affects the political environment, but also almost reconstructs the previous historical memory.
In the Phyi Dar – Writing the history of Tibet
In the history of Tibet, there is a very unique phenomenon. The people who write history are almost all eminent monks of Tibetan Buddhism.
These eminent monks who were in the “post-prosperity period of Buddhism” (978 AD-now) had traced back and wrote about the history of Tibet
However, due to their special identities, many of the “Materials and Historical detail” written by them were strongly inclined, which religious beliefs have almost become the standard for judging good and bad
And they used a way of storytelling to record history
In the writings of the eminent monks of Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan history had become enthusiastic and unrestrained. Myths, legends, folk tales and historical facts were fused together, which were more like rhetorical literary works.
Due to the special status of the eminent monks, the history written by them has a huge influence and is beyond doubt.
To this day, some people still believe that there are some passages in these historical materials that cannot withstand textual research.
Another point is that when Buddhism took the position of absolute leader, the monastery system carried almost all the social functions of ancient Tibet.
A Tibetan Buddhist monastery is not only a school, a hospital, but also a police station and a court.
This kind of organization that integrates many social functions has become the invisible management department of Tibetan society.
In ancient Tibet, there was almost only one way to realize the so-called “send children to develop skills” which was to be a lama in a monastery.
This is the influence of Tibetan religion. It is like a towering tree with intertwined roots, permeating all the minutiae of Tibetan society.
Because of the extremely powerful existence of Tibetan Buddhism, it had made it difficult for anyone that did not conform to the ideas of Tibetan Buddhism to gain a foothold.
As a result, the history of Tibet has maintained a slow and inefficient social form for nearly a thousand years.
Returning to the perspective of the influence of geography on history: then we can even say: “If Tibet is not so remote and difficult to reach, so that no more people are willing to step in, it is not yet known whether it can maintain such a social form!”
Today, with the tremendous changes in the transportation in and out of Tibet, Tibet is undergoing an unprecedented dramatic change in history. Modern lifestyles and ancient customs coexist, and are strongly influencing ancient traditions and religions.
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