Tibetan Buddhism And Culture
Buddhism became a major presence in Tibet towards the end of the 8th century CE. It was brought from India at the invitation of the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen, who invited two Buddhist masters to Tibet and had important Buddhist texts translated into Tibetan.
First to come was Shantarakshita, abbot of Nalanda in India, who built the first monastery in Tibet. He was followed by Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava, who came to use his wisdom and power to overcome “spiritual” forces that were stopping work on the new monastery.
In the second half of the 20th century Tibetan Buddhism spread to the West, particularly after the subjugation of Tibet to Chinese Communist rule sent many refugees, including highly regarded “reincarnated lamas,” or tulkus, out of their homeland. Tibetan religious groups in the West include both communities of refugees and those consisting largely of Westerners drawn to the Tibetan tradition.
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