The Great Buddhist Emperors of Asia

by Shibani Dutta | 2018 | 86,618 words

This study deals with the patronage of Buddhism in Asia by the ruling powers and nobility. It further discusses in detail the development of Buddhism under the patronage of the royal dynasties in the religious history of Asia right from the time of 3rd century B.C. (i.e., the reign of Ashoka) to the reign of Kublai Khan in 13th century A.C....

Chapter 3 - King Sron Tsan Gampo of Tibet (617 A.C.–698 A.C.)

The history of Tibet is, in fact, the history of Buddhism in Tibet. This religion played a pivotal role in the development of Tibetan culture. King Sron Tsan Gampo (617 A.C -698 A.C) is credited with the foundation of the Tibetan Empire and the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet. The history of Tibet can be divided in two parts. The first part deals with the establishment and the end of the Tibetan Kingdoms while the second part is the account of the Dalai-Lama Theocracy. Gampo was the first great Tibetan King[1]. His father Sron Tsan Gnam-ri established his authority over various wild clans of central Tibet. Gampo succeeded his father at the age of thirteen. His life was threatened by vile conspiracies. He had to criss-cross the country with his army to maintain the unity of Tibet.

Sron Tsan Gampo married twice. His first wife was princess Bhrikuti[2], the daughter of the king of Nepal, Amshuvarman[3]. King Sron-Tsan-Gampo was only sixteen[4] years old when he married the Nepalese princess who was aged eighteen years. Then he sent an envoy to the Chinese Empire Tai-Tsang, the second of the Tsang dynasty, with the proposal of marrying a Chinese princess. But the Chinese Emperor turned down his proposal. Tibetans attributed this refusal to Tou-yuhouen and hence they invaded and occupied Tou-yu-houen’s territory. The Emperor of China hand to send three armies to counter the attack of Gampo. This war continued for seven years, but the Chinese Emperor could not subdue the Tibetan army. At last the Emperor agreed to give princess Wen-chang[5] to marriage. The Tibetan King went to meet his bride in China. He was overwhelmed by the splendour and customs of the Chinese Empire. He expressed his sincere thanks by sending his Prime Minister to present a seven-foot high gold statue weighing 1100 ounces.

King Sron-Tsan Gampo is considered the most important Tibetan King who promoted the development of the economy, politics and culture in the region. The Tibetan people entered a united, prosperous and powerful age under his able leadership. The communication with the Tang Dynasty advanced the cultural exchanges of the two countries while travelling through Bihar in India, a Chinese Embassy on its way to Magadha was wiped out. The King Sron-Tsan-Gampo sent an army there and destroyed the army of the king of Bihar. Gampo captured the King and dispatched him in a cage to the Emperor of China. But this friendship with China came to an end with Sron-Tsan-Gampo. His successors took over the territory of the Tou-yu-houen bordering China. In the year 670 the Tibetan army seized entire Turkestan from the Chinese. Nepal was also conquered. A new period of peace occurred when Thi-Sron-Detsan married a Chinese princess kin-tech.eug, but that peace did not last long.

European books attempt to establish that Sron Tsan Gampo first adopted Buddhism and then married two Buddhist ladies. But it seems to be a distortion of facts. Even the vernacular chronicle which presents the subject in its most flattering form, puts into the mouth of Sron Tsan Gampo, when he sues for the hand of his first wife, the Nepalese princess, the following words, “I, the king of barbarous Tibet, do not practice the ten virtues, but should you be pleased to bestow on me your daughter, and wish me to have the law, I shall practice the ten virtues with a five-thousand fold body”.

Sron Tsan Gampo was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest kings of Tibet and he was the first patron of learning and civilization in that country. It must be admitted that he first planted the germs of Buddhism in Tibetan soil with the aid of his Buddhist wives. He is justly acknowledged as the most famous and popular king of the country. Later on, he was canoniozed as an incarnation of the most popular of the celestial Bodhisattva, Avalokita. In keeping with this legend, he is figured with his hair dressed up into a high conical chignon after the fashion of the Indian images of this Buddhist god, “The Looking-down-Lord”[6].

From the time of Sron Tsan Gampo the power of the Tibetan empire gradually increased over a diverse terrain. He was recognized as a very powerful king even by the Chinese empire[7]. During his period of reign, many buildings and holy places were built. When the Tibetan leadership in Central Asia became weaker, the Mongol Khan considered Tibet a sacred country and protected it. This protection continued when Mongol dynasty reigned over China. The Chinese Ming Emperors also accepted the leadership of Tibetan Buddhism in all of China. Tibet lived peacefully up to the recent period. The first European travellers to visit Tibet were very impressed by the country and its people. Tibet appeared to be a mythic country to them.

Gampo was the founder of the Tibetan Empire (Bhot country). He is credited with civilizing the nomadic, barbaric and wild tribes of Tibet. He made the people of the area politically and culturally conscious. He was responsible for the creation of Tibetan alphabet. He is also credited with the establishment of Classical Tibetan, the language spoken in that region at that time, as the literary language of Tibet. It was he who gave the Tibetan people language, literature and religion.

King Sron-Tsan-Gampo sent many intelligent young men to India, Nepal and China for Buddhist works and teachers. Among them he sent to India Thon-mi Sambhota[8], son of Anu, was very intelligent[9].

Thon-mi is the name of a tribe in Tibet and Sambhota means a good Bhota i.e. Tibetan. The word, therefore, literally means a good Tibetan of Thon-mi tribe of Tibet.

We can trace ancient information regarding Tibet from various Chinese sources. One of the most vital sources of this information is the chronology scribed by emperor sun-way (2255 B.C). Of course, some of these Chinese scribes must have felt a little rebellious under the pressure of their Tibetan masters. We have become accustomed to thinking Tibet in terms of its present status, subdued by Chinese rule. It is interesting to consider the time when Tibet army occupied a sizeable portion of China. After their territory fell to the Tibetans, the Chinese inhabitants of that territory were forced to abandon many of their cultural customs. They had to wear Tibetan clothes. They were allowed to put on their traditional outfits only on special occasions. The situation has been reflected in the Chinese literature of the period. The strains in the relationship between the Chinese inhabitants and their Tibetan rulers can be seen in some of the letters from the sealed cave in Dunhuang. One letter deals with about a situation in which Tibetan officials were kidnapping Chinese women to force them to marry them. The letter is from the Tibetan minister responsible that region. He received several petitions from local Chinese population about the abuse of power by Tibetan officials. He responded to these petitions by banning the practice of kidnapping. He argued that women should be allowed to marry according to their own wishes. Another letter is a response to an uprising by the Chinese in Dunhuang against their Tibetan overlords. In response to demands from the Chinese officials for greater power, the letter makes a mention of the hierarchy of official positions. It is fairly a long list and it is a source of the bureaucracy of the Tibetan empire. The letter clearly points out that even the lowest-ranking Tibetan is of higher status than the highestranking Chinese.

We find the first western mention of the Tibet in the Writings of Herodotus (500 B.C). Quoting the Indian tradition Herodotus writes, “To the worth of India, there are found ants which dig gold, and are smaller than dogs but bigger than foxes.[10] ” These ants are later described as squirrels. The convention used in Tibetan historiography in the west has been to differentiate analytically between the political entity Tibet and other areas outside it where ethnic Tibetans lived.

The Tibetan Empire existed from 7th to 9th centuries A.C when Tibet was unified as a large and powerful empire. It ruled an area considerably larger than the Tibetan Platen, stretching to parts of East Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. A series of emperors ruled Tibet in this period. But the most reliable information regarding Tibet is found in the 7th century. At that time the empire of Ta-Tang was spread towards the west (614 A.C). He adopted such diplomacy as was in tune with Phan Empire. His powerful neighbour first attracted his attention in this period.

Tibet first flourished as an independent kingdom in the 7th century. It fell under Mongol influence from the 13th to the 18th century and later came under Chinese control. The word “To-Bo” seems to be the origin of the word “Tibet” This word is the Chinese equivalent for “Tibet”. The word “To” is used for hill region and the word “Bo” is a name given by the Tibetans for their own tribe. But in the 7th century Sanskrit manuscripts, we find the term “Bhot” for Tibet.

Tibetan mythology comprises the traditional and religious stories of Tibet both pre-Buddhist and Buddhist. The name of the Tibetan king “Bho-Tho-Renewn-Sheye” is found in Tibetan poetry. According to a mythological story, a box fell in front of Bho-Tho-Renewn-Sheye in a courtyard from the sky. The box contained two Buddhist sculptures, a begging bowl, words of truth (Om Mani Padme Hum), a replica of golden stupa and an image of Chintamani, made of clay. Nobody could understood the significance of the mysterious appearance of the box and the strange things in it. Thinking it to be a difficult puzzle, the emperor kept it aside. Some years after the incident of the mysterious box, five guests appear before the emperor. They claimed to reveal the mystery of the contents of the box. The emperor did not notice the inner purport of these five strange guests. They appeared and disappeared in the same strange way. This story has been of some relevance to the first religious missionaries who went to Tibet. Some scholars opine that the entry of these five guests as the first entry of Buddhism in Tibet. Emperor Sron Tsan Gampo, the builder of Tibet was born in between the New-cris-sta-po and twenty seven kings[11] in the history of Tibet. As regards the five strange persons mentioned in the mythological story, it is believed that they[12] would have gone there either from Nepal or they would have been the Chinese Buddhist monks. To reach the era of Sron Tsan Gampo, we have to cross four more generations. Emperor Gampo ruled in the 7th century. His father Gnamri-Sron Btsan ruled Tibet in 570 A.C for five[13] years. There is very little information about Gampo’s father.

The traditional list of the ancient Tibetan rulers comprises several names. Some of them may belong to the realm of legend, as there is insufficient evidence of their existence. Modern scholars believe that some of them were historical. This historical rulers are well documented in many Tibetan, Chinese and foreign sources. A unified Tibetan nation did not exist before the advent of Emperor Gampo. At that time, the Tibetans were a nomadic tribe. They were far away from the age of civilization. They lived a simple life having simple food and shelter. They used to live on the meat and milk of yaks (Tibetan animal). It is believed that Tibetans originate from the nomadic people in ancient China. Due to the severe environment, extreme altitude and inconvenient transposition and other adverse situations, Tibetans have, for a long time, relied upon pastoralism for their survival. Traditionally, Tibetans are well-known for being sturdy nomads. In the pre-historic period, Tibetan tribes appeared to be war-like and robber type people. They preferred to live in temporary shelters like tents. In course of time, they mastered the art of house building and consequently urbanization took place.

Before the advent of Buddhism, a religion[14] called “Bon” was prevalent in Tibet. King Gampo and his courtiers (ministers) used to take a small oath of office. In those days, they used to sacrifice goats, dogs and monkey. Every third year they used to take a major oath of office, when horses, bulls and donkeys etc used to be offered as sacrifice. They even went to the extent of offering human sacrifices also. This practitioners of “Bon” faith believed that their religion was eternal, based on the teachings of Tonpag Shenrab who lived long before the Buddha. When the royal support switched to Buddhism, the Bon people hid their texts and adopted rituals and religions practices of the Tibetan Buddhists. But they remembered their history and beliefs as well.

Ancient Tibetans had no mode of writing. In order to keep the account of important events, they used to keep teeth-like sharp wood pieces and knotted thread. They had a very primitive calendar and their new year began with harvesting of the grains. Decision on any vital issue was taken in consultation. With priests “Bon” faith of ancient Tibet was, to some extent, magic and witchcraft. But it cannot be denied that Tibetan Buddhism was significantly influenced by ancient “Bon” faith of the Tibetan people.

Sron Tsan Gampo was born under such socio-religious conditions in Tibet. Advent of Gampo was the true beginning of the history of Tibet as a national entity. This great national hero is rightfully regarded as the builder of Tibetan history and, in a true sense, the father of Tibetan nationhood. Before the birth of Gampo (627 A.C)[15], Tibet was divided into small states, ruled by feudal lords. Gampo was born in a comparatively warmer province in central Tibet. The art and science of land cultivation along with other aspects of civilization began to develop in that province named ‘Kong Po’.

Gampo was the founder of Tibetan Empire and he is traditionally credited with the introduction of Budhhism in Tibet. According to Tibetan chronological tradition, a direct ancestral personality of Gampo royal family was a son of Koshala king Prasenjit (5th or 6th century B.C). The veracity of this traditional story is debatable. But one cannot deny the fact that the race and province of Gampo was far more advanced than the average standard of the country. The density and concentration of population in this region was much greater than in other provinces. It may be assumed that the legends and tales of plenty and prosperity of alien kings and monarchs had reached there. Immediately after the death of his father, prince Gampo inherited the throne of his father’s kingdom. He was not content with his small princely state. Like his contemporary Indian emperor Harshavardhana, Gampo too was ambitious of conquering the neighboring provinces. Sron Tsan Gampo himself was brave and fearless in nature. He was also gifted with chivalrous and hardworking temperament. Naturally, he could unite and organize his Bhot warriors into an iron-wilted army. At that time when Chinese traveller Huen Tsang was traversing all over India, the entire Tibetan nation was divided into small nomadic and semi-barbaric tribes. Gampo broke these shackles of feudalism and unified Tibet into a single nation.

Quite evidently, the management of such a vast empire was a very difficult job. At first there was no fixed capital for his mighty empire. Gampo chose Lhasa as the capital of his new empire. This township was first known as Rasa (Aj land), now it is called Lhasa (land of gods). Emperor Gampo died in the year 650 A.C. By that time, the boundaries of his empire has extended up to the east of Tarai region of the Himalayas and up to the interior of Dhyan san hills in the central Asia. As he went on extending the Tibetan borders in which ever direction he marched, Emperor Gampo came in close contact with Buddhism. To the south of his empire, there was India as the birthplace of Buddhism. To the north and east, there were vast countries like Turkistan and China where the prosperous Buddhist tribes lived. Naturally, Gampo, a nomadic emperor, could not but be influenced by these superior civilizations.

Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures from India were first translated into Tibetan under the reign of Gampo. But much before Buddhism had reached Tibet, the Buddhist way of life had spread to the far-off countries. In the third century before Christ, Buddhism had crossed the borders of India. Dhammadutas from India visited not only to Burma and Sinhala, but to Mesopotemia, Sidonia and Egypt also. At that time Buddhism spread to central Asia also. According to same other traditional source, one of the sons of emperor, Ashoka was able to establish his rule in the areas around Kucha province. Buddhist books of Ven. Kashyap Matan ga of Khotan province were translated in Chinese as far back as 56 A.C. It may be presumed that Buddhism made its entry into China at a very early period. Buddhism reached Korea in 272 A.C. and from there it went to Japan in 538 A.C. Even in Indo-China, the Dhamma had reached in the third century A.C. Strangely enough, it did not spread to Tibet, India’s neighboring country before 640 A.C.

Buddhist scriptures might have made their way into Tibet centuries earlier; the history of Buddhism in Tibet began effectively during the reign of Gampo. There could be many reasons for this late arrival of Buddhism vis-a-vis other neighboring countries of Tibet. One of the major causes was geographical conditions of Bhot country. The attitude of high-peaked mountains was a great obstacle. Most of the habitats and hamlets in Tibet are situated on an average height of ten to twelve thousand feet above sea level. Evidently, outsiders had to face severe cold in that mountainous country. Another reason is that the Tibetans were nomadic tribes and were not politically united. They remained segregated, if not exiled, from the civilized world for a pretty long time. The native people had to struggle hard for survival because of the mountainous nature of their country. But they did not allow their life struggle to become worse. The Tibetans discovered a noble family planning method in order to make their way of life simple and easy. All brothers in each family began marrying a single wife. Polyandry became a popular social custom. China and India extended their hand to civilize and educate the inhabitants of a vast Bhot empire. Nepalese princess Criss Chu and Chinese princess Kang Jo were already given to marriage to Sron Tsan Gampo. Under the influence of these two Buddhist queens and his minister Thon Mick, the Bhot emperor became Buddhist. It was for the first time Buddhism had the opportunity of educating illiterate tribes. Similarly, the sculptors, educators, religious preachers and social workers from both India and China found a blank and clean slate to write and inscribe on. They displayed a great zeal in that commendable mission. These scholars and experts from various fields tried to uproot and abolish some primitive customs which were not of any high value. But the Tibetans were very careful in imbibing the spirit of many Chinese and Indian customs, preached by those missionaries.

Gampo married two foreign princesses. one from Nepal and other from China. The Nepalese princess. according to Tibetan traditions, the Nepalese princess was a devout Buddhist and she brought with her sacred sandalwood images of Akshobhay, Maitreya and Tara as part of her dowry. The Chinese princess, too, brought with her the ancient image of Lord Budhha. This image was brought first from India to Central Asia and then to China. Emperor Gampo was deeply impressed and fascinated by the socio-religious transformation which the neighboring countries brought about in Tibet. The Chinese queen Jo Kong arranged to build a small temple for the image of Buddha in the northern side of Lhasa town. The Nepalese queen had not so much wealth to build temple for the image brought by her. When Gampo came to know this, he arranged to build a temple and dig a large lake in the heart of Lhasa town. The temple known as Khrulsang temple or Bhattaraka House is still extant.

King Sron Tsan Gampo.ruled over his kingdom on the basis of the ten golden precepts.[16].

It was agreed.finally with the ten rules of morality.[17].

Buddhism became a major presence in Tibet towards the end of the 8th century. This religion came to Tibet both from India and China. Initially, Buddhism had to struggle hard with native Borpa faith. Ultimately the Buddha Sasana established itself firmly on the Tibetan soil. The form of Buddhism that was developed in Tibet became known as Mahayana. This variety of Buddhism made out of the mixture of Bon tribal practices and the Buddhist principles[18].

The Tibetic languages are a cluster of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken primarily by Tibetan people. These were, in fact, dialects without any script. Linguists observe that even the most backward tribes of a country develop some kind of language to facilitate communication among the people of a particular tribe. Emperor Gampo felt the need for a standard language to run the administration of such a vast empire. He sought to introduce an alphabet system (script) in the language. On the advice of the emperor, Thon-mi Sambhota, one of his ministers, and sixteen others went to India for a linguistic survey. On return from India, Sambhota and other language experts developed a common script for Bhot dialects. The prevalent script in contemporary Kashmir and central Asia was based on Bramhi script. The alphabet for the script of Bhot dialects was also developed on the same line. Lhasa dialect was adopted as the standard Tibetan language. The pronunciation of the letters like ga, zs, dha, ma, sha, ei and chha is not found in Bhot language. Hence Thon-mi dropped these letters from the alphabet, proposed by him. But in order to make a special pronunciation of some sounds, he developed five letters, such as, cha,chha,ja,jha and sa by applying special signs. This alphabet contains 30 (thirty) letters. As in modern Hindi, a slanting line is drawn along with the letter “a” to make a different vowel. This system is used for other letters like e, u, ye, yeo where ca slanting line is drawn over these letters of vowels[19] so as to make a different vowel in each case.

In script of the Bhot language, there are two types of letters-one with over-head lines and the other without over-head lines. The kind of letters with overhead lines is considered beautiful and attractive for printing purpose and the other kind is used as close to close letters for official noting and drafting. It is said that the script without over-head linings was prevalent among the Tungule[20] people who had translated many Buddhist scriptures in their language. Many such Tibetan scriptures are found in the form of Tanjur and Kanjur. These books were translated after the regime of emperor Gampo. The first grammar book written by Thon-mi is considered the only authentic Tibetan grammar even today. Emperor Gampo himself studied this new grammar and its translated version with enthusiasm and immediacy.

Gampo studied scriptures for four years in a cave built on the Iron- Mountain in Lhasa. Many Buddhist scriptures were translated during this period. Thon-mi himself translated treatises like Karnadaview, Ratnamegha and Karmeshtaya. Likewise some Chinese scholars translated mathematics and medicinal science. It is said that Chinese and central Asian scholars, too, had taken the help of Bhot language for their translation and religious propagation. Among the famous translators of this period, mention may be made of Indian scholar Pandit Kushar Kumar, Nepali scholar Sheelmanju, Kashiniri scholar Anant, Chinese translator Mahadev, Thon-mi and Lhalung Chose Jre Drupal. In comparison with modern translations, the earlier translations were not of good quality. Quite naturally, the old translations have gone extinct in course of time.

Princess Wengcheng, the Chinese queen of Gampo used to live in one corner of Lhasa. She built Romochi Temple for the image of Lord Budhha which she had brought with her when she came to Tibet after her marriage. After the death of Gampo, the image of Lord Buddha was shifted to a newly-built temple. The original Romochi temple was badly damaged during the Mongol invasion. Subsequently, the temple was destroyed by fire and the present three-storied building was constructed in 1474. Romochi Temple is still there, but the temple.Khul-Stang. built by the emperor is considered more prestigious. Princess Wengcheng made great contribution to the development of architecture in Tibet. She is still widely remembered by the Tibetan people. Beautiful legends about the princess were passed down from generation to generation. Her statues are preserved and worshipped in Jokhang Temple and Potala palace[21].

Historical and legendary sources establish, beyond doubt, the fact Gampo was the first great Tibetan king. The boundary of the empire extended up to Nepal and China during his reign. Tibet showed its excellence in various creative activities. It is learnt from some sources that pottery was in use at that time. Water mill and handloom spindles were invented and made popular during the rule of Gampo. Scholars differ with regard to the level of cultural and social development of Tibet in this period. But none of them disputes the fact that SronTsan Gampo was the best administrator of Tibet. He was a great social reformer and an ardent patron of art and culture. Tibetan alphabet owes its origin and development to the patronage and initiative of emperor Gampo. This father figure of Tibet is traditionally credited with the introduction of Buddhism in the land of Tibet. He is instrumental in establishing classical Tibetan as the literary language of Tibet[22].

It is said that Gampo was born at Gyama in Meldro, a region to the north east of modern Lhasa. He was the 33rd ruler of the Tubo Regime in Tibet. He is considered to be the real founder of the Tubo Regime. According to Buddhist legendary tradition in Tibet, he is looked upon as the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara. This highly esteemed ruler of Tibet was blessed with a long life. He accepted to the throne at the age of thirteen after his father was poisoned to death. He established Tube Regime and moved the capital to Lhasa after he had subdued the rebellion from all parts of the region. Under his wise leadership, the Tibetan people entered a united, prosperous and powerful age. He governed the Tibetans for long sixty two years. The old Tibetan chronicle records that Gampo’s government did not intend to engage in warfare in order to subjugate the rebelling territories or occupy new territories because of the expenses to be incurred in battles. Rather, Gampo and his ministers used diplomacy whenever possible to obtain territorial gains. It was in this manner that Emperor Gampo was able to extend his Tibetan empire and use his new subjects as allies. At the peak of his rule, Tibetan empire ranged from the plains of India and the mountains of Nepal to the frontiers of China. It must, however, be admitted that peaceful diplomacy and the policy of amity and incentives were not the only way of expanding the Tibetan empire. Despite his utmost attempt, warfare could not be avoided altogether. The seventh century mighty Emperor died at the age of eighty two at a place named Salabhi which is located to the north of Phanual region.

As a part of diplomacy for expanding his empire, Gampo married Nepalese princess and Chinese princess. Gampo had a son named Gungu-Trong-Gang Bhuchan from his Nepalese queen. But this son of the Nepalese queen died during the life-time of his father himself. Gampo had also a son from his Chinese queen. After the demise of the great Tibetan emperor, the son of the Chinese queen was enthroned as the emperor. He was only fifteen at that time. In the beginning, he seemed to be over burdened with the great task and responsibility, left behind by a towering personality of the statue of emperor Gampo. But ultimately he was able to prove his mettle and capability in ruling the empire. After the death of Gampo, the Chinese rulers under-estimated the power of the Tibetan empire. The Chinese instigated wars against the Tibetan ruler. The Chinese forces were defeated in such a war against Tibet. But the Chinese rulers continued to subdue the Tibetan kings from time to time. After their repeated defeats in the battle-fronts, the Chinese rulers had to retreat. The Chinese kings were compelled to offer their princesses in marriage to the Tibetan emperors. Successors of Empire Gampo continued expansion of Tibetan Empire. Tibetan army fought with the Chinese army on their eastern frontier. They became so powerful that they even forced the Chinese to pay them yearly tax of silk rolls. When Chinese emperor Wang Peng Wang refused to pay such tax, the then Tibetan king Tresong Detsun invaded Chinese capital. In 783 A.C a peace treaty was agreed between Tibet and China.

The decline of Tibet in terms of power began with the clashes between the supports of native Bon religion and the supporters of newly adopted Buddhism. After the war between two armies in the year 800 A.C, a cease-fire agreement was signed between two countries wherein China called an uncle country and Tibet a nephew country. This was the first diplomatic treaty between China and Tibet.

The status of Tibet is now a debatable international issue. The People’s Republic of China claims that Tibet is an integral part of China. The Tibetan government-in exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under the unlawful occupation. The question is highly relevant for at least two reasons. First, if Tibet is under unlawful Chinese occupation, Beijing’s large-scale transfer of Chinese settler into Tibet is a serious violation of the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which prohibits the transfer of civilian population into occupied territory. Second, if Tibet is under unlawful Chinese occupation, China’s illegal presence in the country is a legitimate object of international concern. On the other hand, If Tibet is an integral part of China, these questions falls as China claims, within its own domestic jurisdiction. The issue of human rights, including the right to selfdetermination and the right of the Tibetan people to maintain their own identity and autonomy are, of course, legitimate objects of international concern.

China makes no claim to sovereign rights over Tibet as a result of its military subjugations. Rather, it bases its claim to Tibet solely on the theory that Tibet has been an integral part of China for centuries. It, however, remains an unresolved international issue. The fact remains that Tibet is, no longer, an independent nation, but an autonomous region under China. Still, the Tibetans, in general, do not accept their survival status under China. They are in quest of the revival of a saga of Tibetan war victories and a golden page in the history of Tibet. “He is, indeed revered as an incarnation of Spyan-ras-gzigs (Avalokiteshvara, Lord of Mercy), the patron diety of Tibet”[23].

King Sron Tsan Gampo is considered to be the real founder of the Tibetan Empire. He brought various tribes together to create the Kernel of what is now Tibet. This great king is traditionally credited with introducing Buddhism in Tibet. It was believed that he was an incarnation of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Tibetans looked upon him as a god and enthroned him, despite his physical deformities.

King Gampo showed leadership skills and other talents at an early age. He introduced pro-people laws and regulations, and Tibet prospered immensely under his rule.

Footnotes and references:


Buddhism and Lamaism of Tibet, L.A. Waddell, p. 22.


Ibid, L.A. Waddell, p. 20.


2500 years of Buddhism, P.V. Bapat, p. 63.—“Amshuvarman has been identified with Ang-shu-fa-na of Yuan Chwang’s Records. He was the minister of Licchavi King, Sivadeva, but after sometime the former himself became the real master of the valley, as all power was concentrated in his hands. He ruled for at least forty five years, and originated an era which is generally believed to have begun in 595 A.D.”—“History of Ancient India, Ramashankar Tripathi, p. 332.


Buddhism and Lamaism of Tibet, L.A. Waddell, p. 21.


2500 years Buddhism, P.V. Bapat, p. 63.


Buddhism and Lamaism of Tibet, L. A. Waddell, p. 22.


Buddhism in India and Abroad, A. C. Banerjee, p. 222.


Buddhism in India and Abroad, A.C. Banerjee, p. 224.


Ibid, p. 224.


Tibet Me Bauddha Dhamma, Rahul Sankrityayan, p. 5.


Tibet & Tibetans, Shen and Liu p. 4.


Ibid, p. 72.


Ibid, p. 72.


The heterodox Tibetans, the Bon, in adapting it have turned the ends in the reverse direction.. Buddhism and Lamaism of Tibet, L. A. Waddell, p. 389.


Bauddha Sanskriti, Rahul Sankrityayan, p. 402.


Buddhism in India and Abroad, A.C. Banerjee, p. 222.
They were:
(i) Srog-mi-gcod-pa.not to kill any living being.
(ii) Ma-byin-par-mi-len-pa.not to take what is not given.
(iii) Log-gyem-mi-byed-pa.not to fornicate.
(iv) Rdzun-mi-smra-ba.not to tell a lie.
(v) Phar-ma-mi-byed-pa.not to slander.
(vi) Tshig-tsub-mi-smra-ba.not to speak harsh words.
(vii) Nag-hehal-mi-smra-ba.not to speak senselessly.
(viii) Brnab-sems-mi-byed-pa.not to covet another’s property.
(ix) Gnod-sems-mi-byed-pa.not to think of doing injury to others.
(x) Log-lta-mi-byed-pa.not to turn to heretical views (false doctrine).


Ibid, p. 223.
They are as follows:
(i) Panatipata veramani.abstaining from taking life.
(ii) Adinnadana veramani.abstaining from taking what is not given.
(iii) Abrahmacariya veramani.abstaining from adultery.
(iv) Musavada veramani.abstaining from telling a lie.
(v) Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani “abstaining from taking intoxicating drinks
(vi) Vikalabhojana veramani.abstaining from cating at the wrong hour.
(vii) Naccagitavaditavisukadassana veramani “abstaining from worldly amusement
(viii) Malagandhavilepanadharanamandanavibhusanatthana veramani.abstaining from using unguents, ornaments and the like.
(ix) Uccasayanamahasayana veramani.abstaining from sleeping on a high and big bed.
(x) Jataruparajatapatiggahana veramani.abstaining from accepting any gold or silver.


Tibet Disappears, Chanakya Sen, p. 2.


Bauddha Sanskriti, Rahul Sankrityayan, p. 403.


Ibid, p. 403.


Buddhism in India and abroad, A.C. Banerjee, p. 225.


Buddhism in India and abroad, A.C. Banerjee, p. 225.


Buddhism in India and abroad, A.C. Banerjee, p. 225.

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