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Introduction to Tibet
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Introduction to Tibet

According to mythology, the Tibetan people are the descendents of a male Monkey and a female Rock-demon. This tale may have been invented by outsiders when they witnessed the Tibetan custom of covering or painting their faces to protect themselves from harsh weather conditions. Later on, the story changed to the Monkey to Avalokitesvara, a disciple of Buddha and known as GuanYin by Han people (Jiaga in Tibetan) as a goddess, the Venus of Han. Moreover, the Rock-demon became a goddess (Tara or Mother-savior, Jeo-Tuu Muu) in Buddhism). In fact, the great 5th Dalai Lama further claimed that the Tibetan King, Srong-tsan-gam-po (Songtsen Gampo), was a reincarnation of Avalokitesvara, and his Han wife, princess Wen-Cheng, was the reincarnation of the goddess Tara or Mother-savior. This becomes an important story of Tibet. Even today, the palace of Dalai Lama in Lhasa is called `Potala Palace'. Note that `Potala' is the residence of Avalokitesvara which in Han Character is `Putou', and there is an island in the East China Sea with the name Putou San which is supposed to be the residence of GuanYin.

The Kings of Tibet descended from the heaven by means of ropes. Upon their deaths, a heavenly creature would pull the ropes up with their bodies. Therefore, there were no remains of their bodies, and there were no tombs for the first seven Kings of Tibet. The eighth King accidentally cut off the rope during a fight against a rebel. From thereon, the bodies of Kings could not go up to the heaven, and were buried in the southern part of Tibet.

The Kings usually were crowned at the age of 13 years with the helps of the uncles on the mother side. It is hard to image that all old Kings passed away at precisely that moment.

The above was the story of Tubo Dynasty of the southern Tibet. There was another kingdom at the northern part of Tibet, Shangshung Kingdom. More than 2,000 years ago, what is now Ali was Upper Shangshung; the present day Changdu, Lower Shangshung; the present day Wombu, Middle Shangshung, the centre of the kingdom. It was conquered by Trisong Detsen, the 5th king of Tubo Dynasty.

An ancient written language, bone-oracle, already existed. It will be interesting to decipher the old written language. In the 7th century Indian alphabets were adopted into the written language. Some pre-7th century poems passed down in the modern Tibetan written language.

The religious is a kind of Shamanism, which was called `Bon', later on it became the Black branch of Buddhism, and was translated to Han Character as `Stupid' if you were Buddhist or `Root' if otherwise. The `Bon' priests could sit on drums to fly to the sky. In today's Tibetan dances, sometimes you see the figures ware deer musks, those are the priests. After the introducing of Buddhism to Tibet in 7th century, Bonism was retreated to Northern Tibet, the area of ancient Shangshung kingdom, and other tribal areas.


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