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Development of Tibetan studies: Religion and philosophical thinking
    Date:04-22-2011 Source:Xinhuanet Author:    

 Here lies another major part of Tibetan studies. It concentrates on the facts that the ancestors of the Tibetan race believed in the Bon religion. Buddhism spread into Tubo in the mid-7th century and gradually evolved into Tibetan Buddhism which boasts unique philosophy.

    Tibetan scholars have been studying influential people in history and modern times for centuries. Tibetan Buddhism attracted worldwide attention in the last century. Many have since entered Tibet for information and investigation, though out of varied aims. Studying Tibetan Buddhism in a modern way began.  

    Following the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, much headway was made in studying Tibetan Buddhism. In the 1980s and thereafter, Tibetan studies developed apace. During this period of time, Tibetan studies institutions mushroomed, and many academic papers produced. From 1984 to 1994, for example, the Chinese scholars published more than 200 papers on Tibetan religion, some 200 translated papers, over 40 books, and some 30 translated books. Studying Tibetan Buddhism involves studying a dozen subjects including history, sects doctrines, monasteries, classics, doctrines, monasteries, classics, eminent monks, the reincarnation of Living Buddha , Tantric Buddhism, and the relations between Tibetan Buddhist leaders with the Central Government. Studying the Bon religion involves studying history, rituals, sorcerers, with craft, deities, documents, and Buddhism. The scholars went into many fields which have never been touched, and good results were made. In recent years, fresh efforts were made to study the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism, and breakthrough was made in this regard. Gratifying results have also been made in studying Tantric Buddhism. Efforts have also been redoubled to study the Qing Dynasty's religious policies in the Tibetan areas. Studying the Bon religion, with a weak foundation, is also crowned with great success.

    In the last 10 years or more, many works on Tibetan religion have been published. The most authoritative of these is the Concise History of the Development of Tibetan Buddhism by Wang Sen, which features rich content in terms of historical evidence and records. In producing the book, the author had read as many historical records as possible. On this basis, he made analysis from the historical materialist point of view to go into the essence of history. For example, the book tells of the source, background, and social impact of the Grand Summons Ceremony held in Lhasa. In telling the history of the 13 wanhu (10,000-household offices) in U-Tsang, the author uses seven kinds of Tibetan materials to make comparison with the History of the Yuan Dynasty. This makes it possible for readers to better understand the Yuan Dynasty's rule over Tibet. The book should be the number one in studying the source of the titles of the Dalai Lama and the text of certificate issued to grant the Dalai Lama the said title. The author was the only one then to be able to read classics in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese, and make comparison between the three kinds of works. The book also contains unique view in studying the text of certificate issued to grant the title of Diba Sanggyai. The Qing Dynasty Government and Lamaism by Zhang Yuxin is composed of two parts the relations between the Qing Government and Lamaism, which is the major part of the book; and inscriptions on the stone tablets of Lamaism during the Qing Dynasty, which is the data part of the book. In the major part of the book, the author tells of the relations between the Qing Dynasty and Tibetan Buddhism in six aspects Policies of the Jin (Qing) regime on Lamaism before and after it crossed Shanhaiguan Pass; entered the Qing area; historical characters of the Qing Dynasty in its early period; the Qing Dynasty rule over the Mongolian and Tibetan races; the Qing Government's use of Lamaism in rule over the Mongolian and Tibetan races; the Qing Government's management over and restriction on Lamaism; and historical influence. In the data part of the book, the author records 140 kinds of stone tablets related to Tibetan Buddhism. Books on famous religious personages have the Biography of the Dalai Lamas and the Biography of the Panchen Erdenis as the representative works. Authored by Ya Hanzhang, both books record the Dalai and the Panchen Living Buddha systems, including their birth, demise, reincarnation and enthronement of their soul boys. They contain objective evaluations of major historical events and personages. The two books have the struggle against imperialism and the Central Government's rule over Tibet as the Theme. The Chronology of Various Generations of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Erdenis by Dainzhub Angben plays an important role in studying the Dalai and the Panchen Living Buddha systems and the Tibetan history.

    In the past, studying Tibetan Buddhism concentrated mainly on inheritance; not enough efforts were made to study its doctrine; research fruit stressed outlook on life. In the last decade, however, the study turned to the philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism. Representative of this is the Outline of Tibetan Buddhist Thinking by Banban Dorje, which explains the doctrines and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism from the philosophic angle. It represents new achievement the Chinese scholars have made in this field.

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