Le Bouddhisme Tibétain

The Tibetan Buddhism which spread in Tibet around the VIIth century draws its foundation from Buddhism. This practice combines three major schools of Buddhism, namely: hinayana< /span>, the mahayana and the vajrayāna.

Buddhism emerged in northern India under the influence of the teachings of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later emerged as the historical Buddha Sakyamuni. Grouping his disciples into a monastic group associated with the Brahmanical tradition, Siddharta Gautama refused certain points of the Hindu philosophy of the time such as the conformity of certain Vedic scriptures, the sacrificial cults which resulted from them as well as the spiritual level of a person who was attached to a caste by birth.

The integration of Buddhism in Tibet

Buddhism was incorporated in Tibet in the 7th century in parallel with writing. Since then, the country has experienced extraordinary development, which has marked the country's history. Tibet had already been in contact with the Indians for ages for commercial reasons. At that time, the abode of the Indian sādhu as well as the pilgrimages of the Hindus took place at the sacred mountain Kailash.

The latter was camped in the north of the Himalayas, in land annexed by the Tibetans. In this way, the Tibetans were able to learn about Buddhism. However, Buddhism was officially integrated into Tibet thanks to the support of the kings. As for the conversion process, it took place over several centuries, accompanied by religious and political rivalries. It was not until the 11th century that Buddhism really found its place in Tibet.

The originator of Buddhism in Tibet

Around 609 to 613-650, Songtsen Gampo was the initiator of the Buddhism religion in Tibet. At the beginning of his reign, he had fought against the Buddhist kingdoms and instead favored shamanisme Tibetan bön. He supported the development of his empire as well as the amalgamation of Tibet. At the same time, he succeeded in conquering India, < a href="https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/N%C3%A9pal" title="Nepal — wikipedia">Nepal and had planned to attack the borders of China.

In order to temper him, the Chinese emperor granted him one of his daughters, the princess Wencheng while he was already married to the Nepalese princess Bhrikuti. Thanks to these unions, he was seduced by Chinese and Nepalese Buddhism. He then undertook the construction of the temples of Ramoché and Jokhang. Note that Thonmi Sambhota, one of his ministers was at the origin of the translation of Indian Buddhist texts.

The lineages that appeared during the expansion of Buddhism in Tibet

During the expansion of Tibetan Buddhism, many lineages appeared:

Note that the last four lineages as well as their precepts have been assimilated to the four firsts. Also, contemporary Tibetan Buddhism is divided into only four main lineages, known as “schools” or “sects”.

The development of cults and rituals in Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism is based on numerous rituals and objects of worship. Indeed, they give a prominent place to movement and sound during religious ceremonies. Materializing the diamond and lightning, the vajra also called dorje symbolizes indestructibility overcoming any adversity.

In particular, it reduces ignorance to make room for wisdom. During Tibetan rituals, the vajra is often combined with the ghanta or drilbou bell. They symbolize the masculine and feminine principles in a very distinct way. The tantric manifestations of Tibetan Buddhism give it an esoteric character. They particularly aim to make it easier for the practitioner to assimilate the abstract notions of Tantrism and, in turn, to encourage meditation.

Tantrism: what is it?

Tibetan Buddhism, often referred to as Tantric Buddhism, emphasizes that the words of the Buddha are also included in the tantras. These are ancient Hindu esoteric texts. Tantrism refers to a branch combining a set of processes aimed at concentrating the practitioner's energy to enable them to reach the path to enlightenment more quickly.

The faithful of tantrism maintain that certain techniques provide supernatural powers to those who manage to control them. Many people wonder about the many forms of magic in Tibetan Buddhism. According to Alexandra David Neel, the great French scholar of the 20th century, the religion of the Tibetans is based on magic.

The role of monks and lamas in Tibetan Buddhism

The translation of tantric texts cannot be understood without the assistance of a great religious master, namely the lama. Indeed, the latter is put on a pedestal in the Tibetan community. Note that the lama is not required to be a monk. As a result, he can even get married. To make progress in the practice of Tantrism, the faithful should benefit from the assistance of a lama who can initiate and direct them during their learning.

Indeed, it will be able to support him, both in deepening his knowledge or in mastering tantric processes. The knowledge of monks and lamas, who for fifteen to twenty years deepened the philosophy and sacred texts in the great monastic schools, undoubtedly differs Buddhist meditation from other religions.

Red caps and yellow caps: what are their meanings?

To differentiate themselves from the ready bonpos and also to establish the Nyingmapa order, the great master of Tibetan Buddhism, the Lineage of the Elders, and his monks wore a robe with a la red hairstyle. To overcome the domination of the Bon religion, other organizations emerged over the following centuries.

The Sakyapas, the Kagyupas and the Karmapas will henceforth be referred to as “Red Caps”. These orders fought to deploy their influence over Tibet. All layers of Tibetan society were imbued with the Buddhist religion. Very quickly, the precept crossed the borders of Tibet to extend into the high Himalayas, northern India, northern Nepal and Bhutan.

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