First teachers coming to Tibet

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HandsomeMonkeyking
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:36 pm

First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by HandsomeMonkeyking » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:34 pm

Hello,

Did the first teachers who brought Buddhism to Tibet alter it to suit the needs, mindset and existing culture of the Tibetans so they could accept and train in it more easily?

Is there something academic where I can read this kind of subject?

Is there something I could read to make me understand why Tibetan Buddhism seems different? Honestly I don't know whether its that different. For example I have no idea how the Buddhism in China and Japan is. Whether its also so colorful.

Varis
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by Varis » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:09 pm

One thing I can think of off the top of my head is the water offerings. While this practice probably already existed in other regions, Atisha established it as being better than offering food, gold, etc.

Tibetan Buddhism seems different from other forms of Buddhism because it, along with Newar Buddhism in Nepal, are the only forms of Buddhism that retained the latest (and highest) tantric Buddhist teachings in India before the religions decline in the region.

HandsomeMonkeyking
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:36 pm

Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by HandsomeMonkeyking » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:07 am

How do we know that it only survived there vs was developed there?

Not meant as an attack, I would just like to understand the reasoning behind it.

Punya
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Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:50 pm

Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by Punya » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:47 am

The Lotus Born is an inspiring and readable account of how Buddhism was established in Tibet.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

Varis
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by Varis » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:26 pm

HandsomeMonkeyking wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:07 am
How do we know that it only survived there vs was developed there?

Not meant as an attack, I would just like to understand the reasoning behind it.
The same way scholars know anything about history. Examining the historical documents, like the original Sanskrit tantras and the like. There is no evidence whatsoever to assume that tantra was invented in Tibet. That's not to say that it didn't change in Tibet, like additions of Buddhicized Tibetan practices. Or the terma tradition, but the content of those texts is standard Buddhist tantra. There's nothing that is a radical departure from its Indian antecedent.

Bristollad
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Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by Bristollad » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:50 am

HandsomeMonkeyking wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:34 pm
Is there something I could read to make me understand why Tibetan Buddhism seems different? Honestly I don't know whether its that different. For example I have no idea how the Buddhism in China and Japan is. Whether its also so colorful.
Different to what? I guess from your admission that you have little knowledge of Buddhism in China or Japan either, that you mean different to Theravada. One good book that looks at the commonality of the Buddha's teachings that come down to us in Pali and in Sanskrit is One Teacher, Many Traditions by HH Dalai Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron:

https://www.wisdompubs.org/sites/defaul ... review.pdf

“Now that people around the world have unprecedented access to all traditions of Buddhism, a growing number of Buddhists find themselves drawn to theories and practices from different traditions. This makes this book especially valuable, for it presents clear and accurate comparisons between the Pāli-based and Sanskrit-based schools of Buddhism, showing the common ground and significant differences in their interpretations of key themes of the Buddhist path to liberation. I highly recommend this volume for everyone seeking a more global understanding of the many traditions of Buddhism, all inspired by the one Teacher, Buddha Shakyamuni.”
—B. Alan Wallace, author of The Attention Revolution

Ven. Thubten Chodron also has a series of talks based upon book:

https://thubtenchodron.org/series/buddh ... raditions/

TsultimNamdak
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:59 pm

Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by TsultimNamdak » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:28 pm

With regard to books dealing with the early days of Buddhism in Tibet from a more academic viewpoint, I would recommend Matthew Kapstein: The Tibetan Assimilation og Buddhism and Jacob P. Dalton: The Taming of the Demons.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tibetan-Assimi ... 195152271/
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Taming-Demons- ... 300187963/

For traditional Tibetan sources, see Dudjom Rinpoche: The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Gos Lotsawa: The Blue Annals, and Jamgon Kongtrul: Treasury of Knowledge - Buddhism's Journey to Tibet.

HandsomeMonkeyking
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:36 pm

Re: First teachers coming to Tibet

Post by HandsomeMonkeyking » Mon Jan 21, 2019 8:21 pm

Very helpful. Thank you!

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