Tibetan Religious Culture Guide
Tibet developed a distinct culture due to its geographic and climatic conditions. While influenced by neighboring countries and cultures, including Nepal, India, and China, the Himalayan region's remoteness and inaccessibility have preserved distinct local influences, and stimulated the development of its distinct culture.
The main religion in Tibet has been Buddhism since its outspread in the 8th century AD. The historical region of Tibet (the areas inhabited by ethnic Tibetans) is nowadays mostly comprised by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, and partly by the provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan. Before the arrival of Buddhism, the main religion among Tibetans was an indigenous shamanic and animistic religion, Bon, which now comprises a sizeable minority and which would later influence the formation of Tibetan Buddhism.
Religion is extremely important to the Tibetans and has a strong influence over all aspects of their lives. Bön is the ancient religion of Tibet, but nowadays the major influence is Tibetan Buddhism, a distinctive form of Mahayana and Vajrayana, which was introduced into Tibet from the Sanskrit Buddhist tradition of northern India. Tibetan Buddhism is practiced not only in Tibet but also in Mongolia, parts of northern India, the Buryat Republic, the Tuva Republic, and in the Republic of Kalmykia and some other parts of China. During China's Cultural Revolution, nearly all Tibet's monasteries were ransacked and destroyed by the Red Guards. A few monasteries have begun to rebuild since the 1980s (with limited support from the Chinese government) and greater religious freedom has been granted – although it is still limited. Monks returned to monasteries across Tibet and monastic education resumed even though the number of monks imposed is strictly limited. Before the 1950s, between 10 and 20% of males in Tibet were monks
Originating in 1409, the Gelug Sect, the latest sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is formed during the process of the Reformation held by Zhong Kaba, a famous reformer in the history of Tibetan Buddhism in the 15th century. He was bor...
Sakya Sect (Colorful Sect) and its characteristics Tibetan BuddhismIn 1073 BC, Tibetan Lama Kongchog Gyalpo built Sakya Monastery and advocated his own Esoteric disciplines and called it “Sakya Sect”. Enclosures ar...
Marba founded the Gagyu Sect in the middle 11th century. Gagyu means ‘to moralize and explain’ in the Tibetan language, so monks of this sect handed down its tenets through statements rather than sutra. Its monaste...
Sakya Sect (Colorful Sect) and its characteristics Tibetan BuddhismIn 1073 BC, Tibetan Lama Kongchog Gyalpo built Sakya Monastery and advocated his own Esoteric disciplines and called it “Sakya Sect”. Enclosure...
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