Religion In Tibet Essay

1508 words - 7 pages

How does the Buddhist religion tie in with the Tibetans, affect their cultural society in modern day, and through out the generations? Buddhism was born from the Hindu religion during the Axis period around 563-483 B.C.E. " Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama, a prince of the Sakya tribe of Nepal, in approximately 566 BC. When he was twenty-nine years old, he left the comforts of his home to seek the meaning of the suffering he saw around him. After six years of arduous yogic training, he abandoned the way of self-mortification and instead sat in mindful meditation beneath a bodhi tree. On the full moon of May, with the rising of the morning star, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, the ...view middle of the document...

The life we live and the pain we feel is reality, and it is thus by realization that it can be escaped.Buddhism has a great appeal in that it offers a plan of salvation for everyone. The different forms and levels into which it has developed also offers and creates a wider spectrum for people, as individuals, to accommodate and apply themselves to. The three major forms of Buddhism are Hinayana, Mahayana, and Tantrism.Hinayana means "the doctrine of the lesser way," referring to the belief that, for all intents and purposes, only a fortunate few lifelong monks can find nirvana by absolutely following the way to Buddha.Mahayana Buddhism, the doctrine of the "greater way," teaches that Buddha believed that nirvana is available to all people. Buddha originally taught that the only person who could save you is you, but Mahayana developed the idea of savior gods."From all this, you can gather that Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism differ radically in their opinion of Buddha. To Theravada, Buddha was only a teacher (as Buddha himself claimed), but Mahayana has raised him to the position of a savior-god for all people. Because of this, Mahayana Buddhism is by fare the more popular. It is influential in Nepal, China, Tibet, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea." (Life of Siddhartha Gautama p.341)The third major division of Buddhism is called Tantrism, a blending of Mahayana Buddhism with the ancient occult practices of Tibet. Tantric Buddhism uses incantations and occult signs. It contains strong elements of animism (attributing conscious life to inanimate objects in nature). Tantrism is considered the official religion of Tibet and is practiced extensively in Nepal.Tibet lies at the center of Asia, with an area of 2.5 million square kilometers. The earth's highest mountains, a vast arid plateau and great river valleys make up the physical homeland of 6 million Tibetans. It has an average altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level.Most of the Tibetan population observes Tibetan Buddhism, which has evolved into four divisions: Ngingma, teaches from translations from the 7th century; Kagyu, founded between the 10th and 11th centuries; Sakya, before the Dalai Lamas came about, this sect was led by the chief political rulers of Tibet; and finally the Gelugpa sect, the Dalai and Panchen Lamas belong to this sect, which became the largest of the four sects.Religion is very important to the Tibetans with everything being centered around it. Education (although there isn't a formal educational system) as well as anything cultural or intellectual, was based on religious beliefs, with the leaders in the government being Buddhist monks.Things changed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution with the Red Guard destroying anything religious and persecuting the nuns and monks. Many temples were destroyed and other religious buildings during this time. The religious leader of Tibet the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India for his life.Buddhism is still very common in Tibet and the...

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