Tibetan Buddhism is considered as the body of Buddhist institutions characteristic and religious doctrine of Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan, Tuva, Kalmykia, and particular regions of Himalayas such as northern Nepal, as well as India particularly in Dharamsala, Arunachal Pradesh, Spiti and Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. This is also the Bhutan’s state religion. It’s also practiced in the country Mongolia and some parts of Russia and Northeast China. The texts recognized as commentary and scripture are contained in Tibetan Buddhist canon, in which Tibetan is the spiritual language of such areas.
The Tibetan diaspora has also spread Tibetan Buddhism to numerous Western countries where the tradition became popular. Among the prominent exponents is the known 14th Dalai Lama, which can be found in Tibet. The number of the adherents of Tibetan Buddhism is approximately 20 million.
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Tibetan Buddism consists the teachings of 3 Buddhism’s vehicles, which are the Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Foundational Vehicle. Mahayana goal of the spiritual development is to get the enlightenment of Buddhahood to help some sentient beings attain the state. Bodhicitta mind of enlightenment is considered as the motivation, which is an altruistic intention to be enlightened for all the sentient beings’ sake. The Bodhisattvas are known as revered beings who are have already conceived the vow and will to dedicate their lives with the bodhicitta for everyone’s sake. Tibetan Buddism also teaches the methods of reaching Buddhahood much quickly through including in Mahayana the Vajrayana.
Buddhahood is also defined as the state free of obstructions to liberation and those to omniscience. When some is freed from the mental obscurations, it is said that he or she will attain the state of continuous bliss combined with the emptiness’ simultaneous cognition, which is the reality’s true nature. In this particular state, all the limitations on the ability of a person to help some living beings are eliminated.
It’s also said that there are several beings who have already attained Buddhahood. However, it is also believed that the karma of an individual might limit the ability of Buddha to give them help. Therefore, even though Buddhas possess no limitations from their side to help some people, the sentient beings continue in experiencing suffers as the result of the limitation of the negative actions.
Tibetan Buddhism – The General Methods of Practice
Realization and Transmission
There’s a long story behind the oral transmission of the teachings when it comes to Tibetan Buddhism. The oral transmissions by the lineage holders traditionally may take place in a little groups or a mass gathering of listeners. This could last for several seconds like mantra. It may also last for months in some cases. The transmission may also occur without actually hearing like the visions of Maitreya of Asanga.
Oral transmission’s emphasis is important compared to the printed word that derives from the Indian Buddism’s earliest period, when this allowed teachings should be kept from those who must not hear them. Oral transmission prepares the hearer for the realization based on it. People from who hear the teaching must have heard this as a link in a succession of the listeners who went back to its original speaker.
Fixation Meditation and Analytic Meditation
Spontaneous realization on the transmission’s basis is possible yet it’s rare. Typically, an intermediate step is required in the analytic meditation form like thinking what a person has heard. Entertaining doubts as well as engaging in the internal debate over them is encouraged in several traditions.
Analytic meditation is one of the two meditation’s general methods. When this achieves the realization’s quality, one is encouraged in switching to fixation or focused meditation. In this way, the mind will be stabilized on that realization for periods that are long enough to gradually habituate this to it.
The capacity of a person for an analytic meditation may be trained with logic. For successful focused meditation, the capacity may be trained by calm abiding. The meditation routine may have the involvement of alternating sessions of the analytic meditation in achieving realization’s deeper levels, as well as focused meditation to combine them. The realization’s deepest level is Buddhahood.
Devotion to Gurus
In some traditions of Buddhist, a guru is highly prized. At the start of a public teaching, lamas will do the prostrations to the throne in which he will teach because of its symbolism or to the Buddha’s image behind the throne. Then, the students will do the prostrations to the lama after he seated.
There’s a general sense in which any lama is called. The student may have considered teachings from tons of authorities as well as revere them all as the lamas in the general sense. But, typically, he will have one held in the special esteem as his very own root guru as well as encouraged to view some teachers who are not really dear to him, yet more exalted their status as the subsumed and embodied in by root guru. Oftentimes, the teacher that the student sees as root guru is typically the one who firstly introduced him to Buddhism, yet students may also change their personal view of which teacher is his own root guru anytime.
In Tibetan Buddhism, skepticism is an essential aspect. A critical skepticism’s attitude is encouraged to promote the abilities in analytic meditation. Tibetans are also fond of quoting sutra to the effect that one must test the words of Buddha as one would the gold’s quality.
The skepticism’s opposing principles and guru devotion are actually reconciled with the injunction of Tibetan to scrutinize the prospective guru thoroughly before consider adopting him as without the need for reservation. Buddhist may also study with a lama for years before accepting him as their own guru.
Tibetan Buddhism in the Modern World
Nowadays, Tibetan Buddhism is observed widely in Tibetan Plateu, Bhutan, Nepal, Kalmykia, Siberia, Mongolia, and Russian Far East including Buryatia and Tuva. Some regions in India like Ladakh and Sikkim, which are both known as independent kingdoms in the past, are also home to some Tibetan Buddhist populations.