Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists while a few believe in the old Bon.
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Legend tells the Tibetan history starts with a monkey and a Siren. The monkey was sent by Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezi) for religious retreat on the high plateau. The siren managed to persuade him to marry her. Having the permission of Avalokiteshvara, they married and had 6 children. They were believed to be the ancestor of the Tibetan people. However, archeology and geology discovery makes ethnologists believe Tibetans are decedants of aborigines and nomadic Qiang tribes. According to archeological discovery, Tibetan history can be traced back 4,000 years.
However, the historic records show that not until the 7th century can Tibetans be recognized as a race of people. The rising Yarlung Dynasty (Tubo Kingdom) unified Tibet and became an aggressive power. Inter-court marriages were adopted for political reasons. Nepal and China married their Princesses to Songtsen Gampo, the outstanding king of Tibetan people. The two Princesses brought with them peace and also Buddhism which Tibetans readily converted to. Songtsen Gampo embraced the religion.
The first transmission of Buddhism came to the snow land. The king's successors followed the Religion also and in 779 King Trisong Detsen, set up the first Buddhist temple in Tibet. Samye Monastery and Buddhism were recognized as State religion. The Great religious teacher, Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet. The Buddhism influence spread as the expansion of the Tibetan empire continued. The indigenous Bon was not satisfied with the popularity of Buddhism in the royal family. In 836, King Ralpachen was assassinated and Lang Darma was installed as King, who believed Bon and objected to Buddhism. Severe persecution against Buddhists ended the first Buddhism transmission. Lang Darma, in 842, was assassinated also by a Buddhist and the Yarlong Dynasty collapsed and Tibet became decentralized principalities struggling for power.
In 1042, Atisa was invited to Tibet to launch the second Buddhism transmission and Buddhism gradually revived. And Buddhism divided itself into many sects and subsects, which rigorously debated with each other, and sought among warring principalities for patronage for dominance. In the twelfth century, the Mongol Empire rose to power and expanded aggressively. Sakya lama, Sakya Pandit found patronage from the Mongols and offered Tibet's submission. In 1254, Kublai Khan granted supreme authority over Tibet, to Sakya Pandit's nephew, the leader of Sakya order. Sakya Pandit was appointed to become the imperial preceptor and a high official in his court. Tibet was thus incorporated as one of 13 provinces of China. At the end of the Yuan Dynasty, Sakya order declined and was replaced by Kagyu order, whose patron offered tribute to the imperial court and was conferred with titles and authority to administrate. After the Ming Dynasty was established, Tibetan high lamas were summoned to the imperial court to receive titles and appointments.
In 1751, Mongol Alton Khan gave his submission to the Ming Dynasty and asked for the imperial permission to invite Sonam Gyatso, the third Dalai Lama to give him spiritual guide. In 1578, Alton Khan conferred Sonam Gyatso the title of Dalai Lama. In 1641, under the patronage of Qosot Gushri Khan, Gandan Podrang Dynasty took the reign and Gelugpa, the order of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, stepped into political arena. Soon the Manchurian Qing Dynasty came to power in China. In 1652, the fifth Dalai Lama was summoned to Beijing, and in 1653 he was reconferred with the title Dalai Lama and made religious leader of Tibet Buddhism by Emperor Shunzhi. Gushri Khan was given political and military authority.
In 1682, the fifth Dalai Lama passed away and dispute arose in the identification of the sixth Dalai Lama. In 1709, Emperor Kangxi sent his imperial envoy to assist the local magistrate Lhabzang Khan, grandson of Gushri Khan. Panchen Lama was conferred with the title Panchen Erdeni in 1713. Dzungar Mongols attacked Tibet in 1717, killed Lhabzang Khan, sacked monasteries and deposed of the sixth Dalai Lama. The Qing troops dispatched to Tibet escorted the newly installed seventh Dalai Lama and drove Dzungar out of Tibet. However, internal unrest happened again and Emperor sent his imperial troops to quench the turmoil and determined to reform the local administration. After series reform, the local administrative authority fell to Dalai Lama and the imperial representative official in Tibet, who were equal in status. Lot drawing process was introduced to avoid dispute in the identification of high lamas and their installation should be approved by the central government in 1793.
In 1904, British invaded Lhasa and the thirteenth Dalai Lama fled Qinghai. The weak Qing Dynasty could not protect Tibet from foreign invasion. In 1911, Manchurian Dynasty collapsed and Republic of China was founded. The thirteenth Dalai Lama's title, was deprived of by the Qing Dynasty in 1910, was restored by the Republic of China. In 1923, dispute occurred between the thirteen Dalai Lama and the ninth Panchen Lama. Panchen Lama fled Qinghai and died there in1937. Chinese Nationalist government successively approved the identification of reincarnations of the fourteenth Dalai Lama and the tenth Panchen Lama in 1940 and 1949.
In 1951, Tibet was peacefully liberated under the 17-point Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. Hundreds of thousands serfs were liberated from the yoke of serfdom.
Tibetans share their region with Menpa, Luopa, Han Chinese, Hui, Sherpa, and a few Deng people. Tibetans are the main inhabitants on the plateau. Tibetans are optimistic and happy people.
Traditionally, farmers settled in small villages with barley as their main crop. The roaming nomads earned their living by herding yaks and sheep. Most Tibetans in cities made a living as craftsmen. However, nowadays more and more people are migrating into businesses.
The Tibetan language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan phylum. People in U, Tsang, Kham, and Chamdo speak different dialects.
Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists while a few believe in the old Bon. Islam and Catholicism also have a few followers in Lhasa and Yanjing respectively. Since China's Family Planning program is not carried out among Tibetan people, the Tibetan population keeps growing. According to the census conducted in 2000, there are 2,616,300 people in Tibet, with Tibetans totaling 2,411,100 or 92.2% of the current regional population. The census also revealed that the Tibetan's average lifespan has increased to 68 due to the improving standard of living and access to medical services. Illiteracy has decreased to 850,700.
Covered by snow and ice all year round, this Mountain is called "the Alps in the East".
Among the Henduan Mountains, there are four adjacent peaks that comprise the Four-Girl Mountain Range. They are located in Rilong Town on the border of Xiaojin County and Wenchuan County in Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is 3,160 meters high above sea level and 220 km from Chengdu.
It lies among several tributaries on the northern bank of the Wori River, which flows on the southern side of the mountain. The total area is 450 square km. Some gullies stretch to more than 10 km and even to scores of km from the north to the south.
The Four-Girl Mountain (Si Gu Niang Shan) is covered by snow and ice all year round and is called "the Alps in the East". It is a scenic area at national Four-A level and has become a tourist site frequented by domestic and foreign Mountain climbers.
The four mysterious peaks of the Four-Girl Mountain are surrounded by more than 10 snowy peaks, among which, the 4th peak is the highest with an elevation of 6250 meters, second only to Gonggar Mountain with an elevation of 7,556 meters, which is "the King of Shu Mountains" in the Sichuan area. The elevations of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd peak are 5,355 meters, 5,454 meters and 5,664 meters respectively. Like four girls, they are as white as ice and as pearly colored as jade, and are very pretty and charming. The precipice of the 4th peak is so high that nobody has ever climbed it.
Just some ten years ago the Four-Girl Mountain was absolutely isolated from the world. On the mountain, some original ecological sceneery is preserved, attracting people to appreciate its mysterious beauty.
Today, the Four-Girl Mountain consists of a group of scenic areas and is a tourist site with multiple functions for people to enjoy sightseeing, mountain climbing, exploration, scientific investigation, holidays and outings. Within the area, the four scenic tourist routes of Shuangqiao Gully, Changping Gully, Haizi Gully and Gozhuangping seem like four movements of this excellent music of nature.
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Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists while a few believe in the old Bon.
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