Sunday Service: Tibetan Buddhism

Buddhism, ‘a science of mind’

Buddhism, ‘a science of mind’ (Photo credit: zensquared)

I was supposed to give a talk at church today about my beliefs. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I couldn’t be there and my talk had to be read by someone else. But I thought I would share an excerpt from it with you. I am a Tibetan Buddhist, so I included a brief history of Tibetan Buddhism in it.

Tibetan Buddhism is kind of like the High Church of Buddhism, in the sense that there’s lots of incense and chanting, like a Catholic church. Tibetan Buddhism thrives on ritual and chanting and beliefs in extraneous beings, like Bodhisattvas, and demons, and gods.

A long time ago, Tibetans spent all their time warring with each other in separate tiny principalities. They believed in the Bon religion, an animistic religion that reinforced their warlike behavior. One of the warring princes, Padmasambhava, journeyed to India and heard about Buddhism there. He was converted, and returned to Tibet, bringing with him many original sacred writings of Buddhism, written in Sanskrit. These writings are still stored in monasteries in Tibet and are at great risk of destruction by the Chinese invaders and must be smuggled out to India because they are often the only copies left of these original Sanskrit Buddhist writings. Padmasambhava united all the principalities of Tibet under himself as king and converted almost the entire population of Tibet to Buddhism to stop the fighting. But the people incorporated some of their old beliefs in with their new beliefs.

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