Saturday, August 27, 2005

History of Tibet

History of Tibet. This is an essay which covers the history of the Asian nation of Tibet.

Many claim that Tibet is currently under Chinese occupation. However, international law is clear on the point that the sovereignty and legitimacy of a government is based on international recognition. As such, China legally owns Tibet right now as not a single nation recognizes an independent Tibetan government. Whether this is moral is another story...

Unlike many areas which have active (and perhaps misguided) independence movements such as Hawaii, Texas, Scotland, Chechnya, Alaska, Okinawa, Nevis, Wake Island, etc., Tibet actually has a good claim for being a nation under occupation. There has never been a valid transfer of sovereignty from Tibet to China and it is possible that an independent Tibet may be able to get some international recognition in the future. But probably not as China is growing in power and I doubt any nation is going to want to annoy China on the behalf of the Dalai Lama.

From the site:

Little is known of the ancient history of Tibet, the first dynasty having been founded by the Indian prince Rupati; but the historical period begins at the end of the sixth century A.D., when the first king, Luntsang, made inroads to India. Luntsang's son is the celebrated Srong-tsang Gam-po, one of the great champions of Buddhism; in 639 he married Bribtsun, daughter of Ançuvarman, sovereign of Nepal, and in 641 the princess of Wen ch'eng, daughter of the Chinese emperor T'ai- tsung. Under their influence, the Tibetan prince gave a great extension to Buddhism in his empire; he founded in 639 Lhasa, formerly Lha-Idam where for centuries his heirs governed the country with the title of gialbo in Tibetan, and of tsanp'o in Chinese. The Tibetans were the allies of the Khalif of Bagdad and they invaded the Chinese provinces of Yun-nan, Sze-ch'wan and Kan-su, as far as Ch'ang ngan, capital of the T'ang emperors. The two most ancient historical edicts have been found by Dr. L.A. Waddell upon a lofty pillar of victory which stands at the foot of Potala Hill, under the castles of the ancient kings, now incorporated in the palace of the dalai lama; they date between A.D. 730 and 763, are the earliest historical Tibetan documents hitherto discovered, and throw a sidelight on the ancient history and geography of China. The eighth century is the culminating point of Tibetan power, which was destroyed when the Uighurs became the masters of the whole country between Peit'ing and Aksu.

During the eleventh century the priests of the Sakya Monastery began to be predominant in Tibet; they were called Hung Kiao, Red Church, on account of the colour of their garments and of their headgear. The laxness of their morals, the marriage of monks, and sorcery were the chief causes of the reform undertaken by Tsong K'apa or Je Rinpoch'e (b. at Amdo near Kuku-nor in 1358), founder of the Gelupa Sect, who adopted a yellow dress (hwang kiao), and obliged his followers to return to the religion of Buddha; he founded the monasteries of Gadan and of Sera, and died in 1418, having established the lamaist hierarchy. His successor, Gedundub, built the Monastery of Tashilumbo, which became in the seventeenth century the residence of the second lama, the panch'en rinpoch'é, which the first lama or Dalai Lama settled in 1641 to the west of Lhasa. The panch'en lama, Paldan-yeshes, died at Peking on the 27 Nov., 1780, during a visit to the Emperor of China. During the eighteenth century the Chinese Emperor, K'ien-lung, began to establish his supremacy over Tibet; already in 1725 two high Chinese commissioners had been appointed to control the temporal affairs of the country, and in the first moon of 1793 an imperial edict ordered that future Dalai Lamas were to be chosen from the names of children drawn from a "golden urn".

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