Buddhism refers to Tibetan-language Buddhism, also known as Lamaism.
In the early 7th century, Songtsan Gambo wed Tang Dynasty (618-907)
Princess Wencheng from the Central Plains and Nepalese Princess
Bhributi. Each princess brought to Tubo a statue of Buddha, and
the Jokhang and Rampoche Monasteries were built to house the two
statues. Artisans who accompanied the princesses had monasteries
built, while accompanying Buddhist monks set about translating
the Buddhist scriptures. As a result, Buddhism made its way into
Tubo life, and Buddhist tenets gradually infiltrated its politics,
economics, culture, education, customs and habits. Tibetan Buddhism
that emerged was widely worshipped by the Tubo residents.
Through a prolonged period of cultural exchanges, Tibetan Buddhism
has spread to other ethnic groups in China, such as the Mongolian,
Tu, Yugu, Lhoba, Moinba, Naxi and Pumi ethnic groups. It has worshippers
not only in China's Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang
and Inner Mongolia, but also in Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia
After 10th century, Tibetan Buddhism was separated into Nyingma
Sect, Sagya Sect, Gatang Sect, Gagyu Sect and Gelug Sect. Gelug
Sect that was derived from Gatang Sect has become a main sect.
Because the monks of the sect wear yellow hats, it is also called
During the heyday of Tibetan Buddhism, each Tibetan family was
required to provide at least one member to become a monk or nun.
This is why Tibetan monks and nuns made up 25 percent of the Tibetan
population in the 16th century and thereafter. In 1950, there
were 100,000 monks and nuns, or over 10 percent of the Tibetan
population in Tibet in 1951. Following the peaceful liberation
of Tibet, the Central Government followed a policy of freedom
of religious belief in Tibet. After the Democratic Reform in 1960,
various monasteries conducted reform according to suggestions
by the 10th Panchen Erdeni. Tibetan people have since enjoyed
freedom to be lamas or resume secular life. Nowadays, there are
1,787 religious activity centers, and 46,000 monks and nuns or
2 percent of the Tibetan population in the Tibet Autonomous Region.