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Religions Architectures

Religions Architectures

TibetThe Tibetan Plateau, with an average elevation of 4,000 meters, has long been known as the Roof of
the World, where the weather is cold, rainfall is limited, natural conditions are rather harsh, and there
are not many forests but plenty of stone.

Among Tibet's buildings, the achievement of Tibetan Buddhist buildings is the highest. In the seventh
century, the Tubo Tsampo Kingdom emerged on the Tibetan Plateau. Along with the development of
Tibet's relationship with the inland areas and Southeast Asia, Buddhism was introduced from India
and the central plains.

The two wives of TSongsang Gampo, king of Tubo Tsampo, namely, Princess Wencheng of the Tang
Dynasty (entered Tibet in 641) and Princess Chizun of Nepal, both worshipped Buddhism. Organized personally by Princess Wencheng, the
Reshazu Lakang, the first Buddhist structure in Tibet, built in Luoxie (present-day Lhasa), is the predecessor of the still existing Gtsug-Khang
Monastery. In the year 762, Khri-sron-btsan, king of Tubo Tsampo built Tibet's first formal temple, Bsam-yas Monastery, and seven Tibetan youths
were tonsured to become monks.

Before Buddhism was introduced into China, Tibet had already had a primitive religion, Bon, which was later blended with Buddhism. In addition,
due to the strong influence of Tantrism of Indian Buddhism and elements of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism developed a very strong mystical color
obviously different from Buddhism in the inland areas. In Tibetan Buddhism, commonly called Lamaism, the temple is called a Lama temple, and
the pagoda is called a Lama pagoda.

Beginning from the Yuan Dynasty, Tibet was formally included into Chinese territory WC can say that there is no other place in China like Tibet,
wherein religion stands above all else, where life is full of a strong religious flavor and culture contains a strong theological atmosphere. Tibetan
Buddhism was introduced into the Mongolian region in the Yuan Dynasty and was gradually widely accepted by the Mongolian people. During the
Ming and Qing dynasties, the emperors also built some Lama temples and Lama pagodas in Beijing and north China in order to unite the Tibetan
and Mongolian nationalities.

LhasaTibetan Buddhist monasteries can be classified into three kinds-Tibetan, mixed Tibetan/Han, and Han
types. The Tibetan-type Buddhist monastery almost prevails all over Tibet and its neighboring provinces.
The Tibetan-Han mixed type based mainly on the Tibetan-type monasteries is found mostly in Inner
Mongolia. There are also a small number of Han-type monasteries. The Lama temples in Beijing,
Chengde and Wutai Mountains are mostly of a Han type or Tibetan/Han mixed type based mainly on
Han style.

Tibetan-type Lama temples can also be divided into those built on level ground and those set up at the
foot of mountains, with the latter accounting for the greater part. Flatland temples are often of a semi-
regulated and symmetrical form, with the image of the main big hall as the composition center being
most outstanding. A free-style layout is used for temples at the foot of mountain areas, which lacks both an overall axis and a pre-determined
plan, although they still follow some rules for arrangement. For example, most temples lean against slopes in the north and face flatlands in the
south. At the back of the terrace are arranged tall colorful scripture halls and Buddhist halls, and in its outer part are mansions for Living Buddhas.
The further Outer part is encircled by a large stretch of low small yards in which ordinary monks are living. A large temple was often gradually
completed over several decades of development.

StupaStupa (Chorten in Tibetan) is an important religious monument in Tibet. This unique religious architectural form
expresses significant religious symbolism and presents Buddha's physical presence. It generally consists of three
parts; a whitewashed base, a whitewashed cylinder and a crowning steeple or shaft. The square base foundation,
representing the Buddha's lotus throne, symbolizes earth, the state of solidity and five forces (faith, concentration,
mindfulness, perseverance and wisdom. The four stepped base may or may not have openings. Above the base is
a square or hexagon four stepped pedestal which represents The Buddha's crossed legs. Seated on the base is
the cylinder, representing his torso. This symbolizes water, the state of fluidity and seven essential conditions of
enlightenment: concentration, effort, equanimity, flexibility, mindfulness, joy and wisdom. Sometimes a stupa has
a shield like grillwork in one face. This allows relics of high lamas, statues and other items to be put inside.
Between the cylinder and the crowning steeple, there is a square box, called Harmika, which represents the
Buddha's eyes. It is considered to be the residence of the gods, symbolizing the eightfold noble path. The crowning
steeple, the Buddha's crown, is usually hand-made of brass and/or covered with gold leaf. It is segmented into 13
tapering rings, a parasol and a twin symbol of the sun and the moon. Those rings, representing fire and the thirteen steps of enlightenment,
successively symbolize ten powers of the Buddha and three close contemplations. The stylized parasol, representing wind, wards off all evil. At
the top of the steeple is the twin symbol of the sun and the moon, which represent wisdom and method respectively. A flaming jewel may be
found atop the twin symbol, symbolizing the highest enlightenment.


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