Know Before You Go
Tibet Travel Guide
Tibet Culture & Religion - Tibetan Buddhism
Religion here has a strong Tibetan cultural flavor, while keeping the original basic doctrines of Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism has a great influence in the daily life of the Tibetan people.
From Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, to the pastoral villages spread throughout the grasslands, there are many temples with golden roofs shinning under the sun.
Another important symbol of Tibetan Buddhism are the pilgrims who prostrate themselves every nine steps on their way from their hometowns to the holy city of Lhasa. Pilgrims can also be seen throughout Tibet visiting religious sites to erase their sins and accumulate virtue.
The monasteries are also the places where monks study Buddhism and where religion, art and customs have coalesced into one whole in Tibet.
The development of Buddhism in Tibet
China is home to a multiplicity of religious beliefs, with the world's three major religions - Buddhism, Catholicism and Islamism - all having large congregations, organizations and activity venues in the country. Buddhism in China mainly includes Han Chinese language Buddhism, which spread into China in 2 B.C.; Tibetan language Buddhism, which spread into Tibet in the 7th century; and Pali language Buddhism, which spread into China in the 13th century. Tibetan Buddhism refers to Tibetan language Buddhism, and is also known as Lamaism.
Tibetan Buddhism has exerted extensive and profound influence on the Tibetan race. Buddhism spread into Tibet in the 7th century, and gradually infiltrates Tibet's history, politics, economics, culture, exchanges and habits and customs to become the most extensively worshipped religion of Tibetans. Prolonged ethnic cultural exchanges also enabled Tibetan Buddhism to make its way into the Mongolian, Tu , Yugu, Luoba, Moinba, Naxi, Purmi and other ethnic minority nationalitites throughout China. Buddhism has long been widely worshipped in China's Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, and the Xinjiang Uygur and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions. It has also made its way into Sikkim, Bhuttan, Nepal, the Mongolian People's Republic and Buryat in the Republic of Russia.
More than 1,400 Tibetan monasteries and other religious venues were renovated and opened following the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951. Chinese government and policies for religious freedom enable 34,000 monks in various monasteries to freely study Buddhist sutras and hold various types of Buddhist activities in their respective monasteries. In addition, the broad masses of religious have set up shrines, Buddha halls and sutra recitation rooms in their homes, and undertake pilgrimages to sacred sites.