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Tibetan Buddhism

An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism

Also known as "Buddhism of the Tibetan language family" and "Lamaism", Tibetan Buddhism is one of the three major schools of Chinese Buddhist religion along with Southern Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism is mainly practiced in Tibet and Inner Mongolia of China and in countries like Mongolia and Bhutan, etc.

The term "Tibetan Buddhism" either refers to the Buddhism formed in Tibetan areas and spread to other regions, causing an impact or to the Buddhism spread in the Tibetan spoken and written language.

Tibetan Buddhism originated in the middle of the 7th century, when Songtsen Gampo, the King of Tibet, was converted to Buddhism and built the Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple after marrying Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti and Chinese Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty. In the middle of the 8th century, Buddhism was directly introduced to Tibet from India. Tibetan Buddhism officially formed in the latter half of the 10th century.

Starting from the 13th century, Tibetan Buddhism was spread to the Mongolian area. In the 11th century and beyond, various schools of Tibetan Buddhism were formed, including the four main schools of the Nyingma, Bkav-gdams, Sakya and Kagyu in the early stages and the Gelug Sect and others formed later.

A "tulku" means "a reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist lama" in the Tibetan language. It is a religious and cultural phenomenon unique to Tibetan Buddhism. A "tulku" enjoys supreme religious status among the masses of Tibetan Buddhists. The Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni are the titles for tulkus in Tibetan Buddhism.

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