is home to a multiplicity of religious beliefs,
with the world's three major religions - Buddhism,
Catholicism and Islamism - all having large congregations,
organizations and activity venues in the country.
Buddhism in China mainly includes Han Chinese
language Buddhism, which spread into China in
2 B.C.; Tibetan language Buddhism, which spread
into Tibet in the 7th century; and Pali language
Buddhism, which spread into China in the 13th
century. Tibetan Buddhism refers to Tibetan language
Buddhism, and is also known as Lamaism.
Tibetan Buddhism has exerted extensive
and profound influence on the Tibetan race.
Buddhism spread into Tibet in the 7th century,
and gradually infiltrate Tibet's history, politics,
economics, culture, exchanges and habits and
customs to become the most extensively worshipped
religion of Tibetans. Prolonged ethnic cultural
exchanges also enabled Tibetan Buddhism to make
its way into the Mongolian, Tu , Yugu, Luoba,
Moinba, Naxi, Purmi and other ethnic minority
nationalitites throughout China. Buddhism has
long been widely worshipped in China's Tibet
Autonomous Region, as well as Sichuan, Yunnan,
Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and the Xinjiang
Uygur and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions.
It has also made its way into Sikkim, Bhuttan,
Nepal, the Mongolian People's Republic and Buryat
in the Republic of Russia.
More than 1,400 Tibetan
monasteries and other religious venues were
renovated and opened following the peaceful
liberation of Tibet in 1951. Chinese government
and policies for religious freedom enable 34,000
monks in various monasteries to freely study
Buddhist sutras and hold various types of Buddhist
activities in their respective monasteries.
In addition, the broad masses of religious have
set up shrines, Buddha halls and sutra recitation
rooms in their homes, and undertake pilgrimages
to sacred sites.
Formation of Tibetan Buddhism
Books on the history of Tibetan Buddhism record
the following legend of how Buddhism spread
to Tibet: On one particular day in the 5th century,
Lhathothori Nyantzan, forefather of the Tubo
Kingdom, was resting on the summit of Yungbolhakang.
He suddenly found several Buddhist treasures
falling from the sky. While the Tubo King had
no idea what they were for, a mysterious voice
from the sky informed him that the 6th Tsampo
(king) of the Tubo Kingdom would know the use
of the objects.
According to historical documents,
these treasures were brought to Tibet by Indians
Buddhists. Upon seeing that Tibetans had no
idea of their significance, the Indian monks
had no choice but to secret them in a safe place
and return to india. The fact remains that Buddhism
did spread into Tibet during the reign of Tubo
King Songtsan Gambo in the 7th century.
Songtsan Gambo did his best to
establish friendly ties with neighboring countries
in order to strengthen economic and cultural
exchanges and learn from the advanced cultures
of various races. In the process he married
with Princess Khridzun of Nepal and Princess
Wencheng of China's Tang Dynasty (618-907).
Each princess journeyed to Tibet with a statue
of Buddha, and once there set about building
the Jokhang and Ramoge monasteries in Lhasa.
Artisans accompanying the princess were involved
in the construction of monasteries, and Buddhist
monks in their tourages began translating Buddhist
scriptures. Buddhism thus spread to Tibet from
Nepal and Han areas.
Tibet reeled under power struggle
for more than half a century following the death
of Songtsan Gambo. Buddhism failed to flourish
until Tride Zhotsan, great grandson of Songtsan
Gambo, finally took power. In 710, Tride Zhotsan
asked for the hand of and eventually married
Princess Jincheng of the Tang Dynasty. The new
bride moved the statue of Buddha, which Princess
Wencheng brought to Tibet, to the Jokhang Monastery.
Meanwhile, she arranged monks accompanying her
to the Tubo Kingdom to take in charge of the
monastery and related religious activities.
She engaged in a painstaking effort and finally
succeeding in persuading the Tubo court to accept
monks fleeing from Western Regions and build
seven monasteries to house them. While the measures
further boosted the development of Buddhism
in Tibet, they nonetheless sparked discontent
amongst ministers worshipping the Bon religion.
The ministers left no stone unturned to obstruct
the development of Buddhism, with to situation
lasting until Trisong Detsan, the son of Tride
Zhotsan, came to power.
Trison Detsan relied on Buddhism
to fight ministers who rallied behind the Bon
religion. As part of the effort, he invited
Zhibatsho and Padmasambhava, famous Indian monks,
to build the Samye Monastery in 799. Seven noble
children were later tonsured to the monastery,
which became the first monastery in Tibetan
Buddhist history to tonsure monks. The event
thus pioneered the tonsure system of Tibetan
In addition to inviting Indian
monks to Tibet, Trisong Destan sent trusted
emissaries to China's hinterland to invite monks
to lecture in Tibet. Mahayana became one of
the many Han monks who contributed to ensuring
that Han Buddhism flourished in Tibet. Mahayana
remained in Tibet for 11 years lecturing on
Buddhism and completing nine books on Buddhist
Tubo kings in ensuing dynasties
did their utmost to promote Buddhism by building
monasteries and commissioning the translation
of Buddhist sutras. At the same time, they granted
monks royal incomes and even encouraged them
to become involved in government affairs in
order to undermine ministers who supported the
Bon religion. The policy spawned the deep hatred
of said ministers, who eventually arranged for
the assassination of Tritso Detsan in 842. The
ministers threw their support behind Darma,
the brother of Tritso Detsan, to become the
new Tubo king. This was in turn followed by
the large-scale suppression of Buddhism in the
Shortly after assuming power,
Darma set out to suppress Buddhism, but was
soon assassinated by Tibetan Buddhists, and
war erupted between the different power factions.
Slaves, who were thrown into the abyss of misery,
rose to revolt. Tibet was torn apart by various
forces. The "diffusion of Buddhism'' was
The early 10th century witnessed
the entry of a feudal society in tibet, with
each of the Tubo ministers occupying a part
of the kingdom and becoming feudal powers in
their respective localities. They proceeded
to promote Buddhism in order to strengthen their
own rule. Buddhism was thus revived in Tibet.
In terms of form and content, however, Buddhism
rising in Tibet during tit particular period
was worlds apart from Tubo Buddhism. The 300-odd
years of struggle between Buddhism and the Bon
religion resulted in each absorbing the strong
points of the other. Buddhism became increasingly
Tibetanized as the region entered the feudal
stage. Tibetan Buddhism emerged and entered
a stage of rapid development.
Six Syllable Mantra
- Om Mani Pad me Hum
The Reincarnation of the Living Buddhas
The mantra OM MANI PADME HUM (or HUNG) sometimes
gives rise to fanciful or mysterious translations.
However, it is simply one name of Chenrezig
placed between two sacred and traditional syllables,
OM and HUM.
Benefits of reciting the Six
Extracted from The Daily Enlightenment
By reciting the mantra, the gates
leading to rebirth in the six realms of samsara
is closed. This powerful mantra's sound and
vibration invoke the blessings of all Buddhas
to liberate the sufferings of all sentient beings.
It removes negative karmas and defilements like
greed, anger and ignorance that causes rebirth
in the six realms of samsara namely the hell
realms, hungry ghosts realms, animal realms,
human realms, demi-god realms and god realms.
This mantra is so precious and holy that it
embodies the Buddha's holy speech. By listening
to it with faith and understanding, one is sure
to obtain good rebirths after death. If any
animal or insect should hear this mantra before
dying, it would be reborn to Amitabha's Pure
land. While reciting the mantra with mindfulness
and a proper understanding , one is ensured
of its effectiveness to increase positive merits
and the spiritual power of compassion. By dedicating
the merits of recitation to all beings and especially
our loved ones in times of pain and sickness,
all sufferings will dissolve.