Sky Burial

Sky burial in Seda

In Tibet, there are different ways to bury bodies after death, including water burial, cremation, burial in the ground, and sky burial, which is the most common practice. Sky burial sites are found all over Tibet. What is  Sky Burial? Sky burial (དུར་ཁྲོད།) is also called “bird burial,” because the body is offered to vultures. The most famous places for …

Mani Stones

Mani stone

Mani stones  (མ་ཎི་རྡོ་འབུམ།)are stone plates or rocks that are carved with the Tibetan Buddhism six-word mantra Om Mani Padme Hum. But nowadays people not only carve the six words, but also carve other texts from Buddhism. The Meaning of Om Mani Padme Hum The first word, Om, symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure …

Saka Dawa

Saka Dawa Tibet

Saka Dawa (also known as Saga Dawa) (ས་ག་ཟླ་བ།) 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 – …

Nyingma Sect

Nyingma Sect Tibet - small

The Nyingma sect (རྙིང་མ་པ། ) 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 …

Losar (Tibetan New Year)

Losar Religious Festival Tibet

The Tibetan New Year (བོད་ཀྱི་ལོ་གསར། ) 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 …

Gelugpa Sect

Gelugpa sect Tibet

The Gelugpa Sect  (དགེ་ལུགས་པ།)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 …

Derge (Dege )

Dege Prayer Flags Tibet

Derge (སྡེ་དགེ ) in the native tongue which means land of mercy in Tibetan, is located in the Garze Tibet Autonomous Prefecture in the Kham area of the Tibetan Plateau. The town is regarded as the cultural hub of the Kham region in the northwest of Sichuan province, close to the border with the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The town of Dege sits in …

Chorten (Stupa)

A row of chortens

Chorten or Stupa (མཆོད་རྟེན་དཀར་པོ།) 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 …

Bön (Tibet’s Ancient Religion)

Prayer wheels in Bon religion

Bön (བོན་པོ། )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 …