Our History Series 8

Our History Series 8 has brought us right across our northern border and it is that part of our history which has remained virtually sealed off from us. Its significance is very grave and it demands our serious attention, so let us get on:

The first picture is that of Princess Bhrikuty of Nepal, daughter of King Angsuburman Thakuri of Kathmandu, she was married to King Srong Tsen Gampo of Tibet in 642 A.D. The Tibetan potentate was also married to Princess Weng Chen of China and between two of them they were able to convert their heathen husband into the path of Four Noble Truths. She had influenced the nation of Tibet to such a degree that the Tibetans out of gratitude deified her to be Goddess Tara and she has been worshipped wherever Lamaism prevails till this day.

The next picture is the natural corollary of the first; Princess Bhrikuty had brought an icon of the Enlightened One as a part of her dower with a royal mandate to build a suitable temple to house the icon. She was accompanied by artisans and craftsmen and in due course of time was able to build a temple in Jorkhang which exists till today and according to the Dalai Lama, is the holiest of all shrines of Tibet.

The founder of Tibetan Buddhism, known as Lamaism however was Padmasambhawa a Nepalese Lama who had gained fame having established several monasteries, namely at Thyangboche in Eastern Nepal, Ghoom in Darjeeling, Rumtek in Sikkim and Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan. Impressed by his achievements Tison Detsen, King of Tibet invited the young Lama from Nepal in 745 A.D. to establish monasteries in Tibet.

The fourth picture is that of Xuan Zang, Hiuen Tsiang who had visited Kathmandu in 638 A.D. but was greatly disappointed by the Kiratis worshipping Hindu gods in the Buddhist monasteries as his chronicles show. He discovered a lake whose water would catch fire if a burning stick was thrown in it. Fourteen hundred years later, the Chinese geologists have discovered methane gas in Kathmandu Valley and are now harnessing it for domestic consumption.

In 1543 A.D., the Celestial Emperor of China appointed Sonam Gyatso, a Mongolian Prince as the Dalai Lama III as seen here in the fifth picture, explaining that he was the incarnation of two of his predecessors. Thus, Sonam Gyatso became the first ever pontiff of Tibet but recognized as the Third. To assist him in day to day administration of the land, the Emperor appointed two Ambans, Chinese Foreign Service Officers whose office was terminated only in 1950. Hundred years after the office of the Dalai Lama was created, in 1644 A.D. the Chinese Emperor appointed Lama Lobsang Yeshe, with a title of Panchen Lama as the spiritual head of Tibet leaving the Dalai Lama as the administrative head of State. To distinguish between them, the Celestial Emperor granted Yellow Hats to the Dalai Lama and his followers and Red Hats to the Panchen Lama and his followers worn by them till this very day.

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