Kora (Circumambulation)

Kora

Introduction: Kora is a form of pilgrimage and meditation that is shared by both Tibetan Buddhist and Bon traditions. The foundation of Kora is that, because of the trials of the pilgrimage, religious merit will be generated and obtained. Bodhicitta, or “an enlightened mind”, will result from purifying negative karma through the taxation of the body. Definitions: Kora – A transliteration …

The Lammergeier

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The Lammergeier The lammergeier is the largest of the old world vultures and traditionally revered as the sacred bird of Tibet. The Lammergeier (which is German for ‘lamb vulture’) is also referred to as the Ossifrage (Latin for ‘bone-breaker’) and the Bearded Vulture. Corpses are offered up to these vultures through a Sky Burial in the belief that the magnificent …

Windhorse

Windhorses Prayer Flags Tibet

The Windhorse is a symbol of basic goodness that is thought to possess powerful energy. This energy carries colossal power in the lives of all beings who come into contact with the wind of goodness. Windhorse, a legendary Tibetan creature, is considered to carry prayers from the earth to the heavenly gods using its strength and wind speed. Windhorse Prayer …

Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism Prayer Wheel Tibet

Tibetan Buddhism is the major religion of Tibetans around the world. It covers the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism along with Tantric and Shamanic rituals, and is in some part influenced by Bon, the ancient, indigenous religion of Tibet. Apart from the traditions of koras, prayer flags, mantras, and sutras, Tibetan Buddhism is also known for the presence of several deities …

Saka Dawa

Saka Dawa Tibet

Saka Dawa (also known as Saga Dawa) represents the holiest and most sacred days in Tibetan Buddhism. Falling on the fourth month of the Tibetan Calendar, the religious festivities of Saka Dawa peak on the 15th Lunar Day when there is a full moon. This day is associated with three major events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha – his …

Nyingma Sect

Nyingma Sect Tibet - small

The Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism is the oldest amongst the four schools and the second largest after Gelugpa sect. Nyingma in Tibetan means “ancient” and has roots going back to the 8th century when the indigenous Bon religion was strongly adhered to by Tibetans. The Nyingma sect is also known as the Red Hat sect because its Lamas wear …

Losar (Tibetan New Year)

Losar Religious Festival Tibet

The Tibetan New Year is referred to as Losar. The Tibetan Calendar is based on the lunar calendar and consists of twelve (or thirteen) months. Losar starts on the first day of the first month of the Tibetan Calendar when the new moon is sighted. Oftentimes, Losar and the Chinese New Year begin on the same date, but sometimes they …

Gelugpa Sect

Gelugpa sect Tibet

The Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, despite being the youngest, is the largest and most important school of thought. Having emerged in the 15th Century through the reforming efforts of Tsongkhapa, adherance to the Gelugpa sect is considered to be purest form of Tibetan Buddhism. The sect achieved its peak in the 17th Century with huge support from Mongols and …

Chorten (Stupa)

A row of chortens

Chorten or Stupa is an important religious monument in Buddhism, symbolizing Buddha’s presence. It also holds precious Buddhist relics and sometimes even preserved bodies of renowned lamas. Tibetans believe that performing Koras of the monument is an act of high merit. Structure of Chorten The shape of the Stupa represents Buddha with a crown who is seated in a posture …

Bön (Tibet’s Ancient Religion)

Prayer wheels in Bon religion

Bön is the indigenous religion of the Tibetans of the ancient Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. As a shamanistic religion, it is characterized by mystic rituals, spells, sacrifices, and spirit manipulation. This religion involves much emphasis on meditative practice. It was the major religion of the people of Tibet before Buddhism found its way in the 7th century and has significant influence on …