Saturday, November 7, 2009

An Introduction to the History of Tibetan Buddhism

The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Guatama. The word Buddha means awakened one. Buddhism has a special gift for helping people calm their minds and learn to live more happily. As Tibetans have been forced into exile by the Chinese invasion of their homeland, they have shared the gifts of Buddhism with other nations. This is a gift to all facing the difficulties of life in this world. This is perhaps the only good that has come from the "Buddhist Holocaust". The Dalai Lama speaks freely about the history and problems of Tibet, and his own growth from the experience. "Not having a sheltered life and having to suffer and struggle has helped me to grow. Worldly difficulty can lead to faster spiritual growth and greater strength of mind." ~Dalai Lama

Buddhism was brought from India to Tibet by Emperor Songsten Gampo in the 7th century. The buddhist Dharma (teachings) are concise and powerful. It was the Buddhist wisdom that slowly worked it's magic on the people of Tibet making them more happy, gentle and peaceful. After a few centuries the Tibetans worked very hard to make the Buddha Dharma the center of their lives. It took one thousand years for Tibetans to succeed in establishing Buddhist ideals in the government itself. The 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century integrated the sacred and the secular. The entire Tibetan social system centered on people's spiritual development according to the Dharma.

The extinction of Tibet, as well as it's culture would affect all humanity. I am adding this appeal, this call to arms, for all peoples to help the Tibetans preserve the treasure that is their cultural heritage. Public support and sympathy toward the Tibetan cause is needed. It is especially crucial, for anyone practicing Buddhism to understand what is at stake here. The Tibetan traditions have been maintained now for many years outside of it's home. This may not last over time, and the sacred land of Tibet is vital to it's long term survival. Active support of this cause is not just politics, it is Dharma.

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