Akshobhya embodies steadfastness and battles anger. Ratnasambhava embodies compassion and battles desire and pride. Amitabha embodies light and is the antidote to malignancy. Finally, Amogasiddha embodies dauntlessness and battles envy.
Tibetan Buddhism is based on four noble truths and the eightfold path to enlightenment. The first noble truth is the existence of suffering, in that birth, death, disease, old age, and not having what we desire are painful. The second noble truth is the cause of suffering, or the craving of desire. The third noble truth is the end to suffering, in that to be free of suffering, one must get rid of craving, so that no passion or desire remain. The fourth noble truth is the end of pain through the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path is, according to Tibetan Buddhism, the way to reach nirvana, or an end to suffering. First, one must accept the noble truths. Second, one must renounce pleasure, and hold no ill will towards anyone. Third, one must not slander or abuse anyone. Fourth, one must not destroy living creatures, steal, or commit unlawful sexual acts. Fifth, one must earn a living through an occupation that harms no one. Sixth, one must attempt to avoid evil. Seventh, one must be observant, strenuous, alert, contemplative, and free of sorrow. Finally, one must meditate.
Additionally, there are five basic precepts Tibetan Buddhists must follow. These are included in the path to nirvana, but also include some which are tied to the steps, but not mentioned directly. First Buddhists should not kill any living thing. Second, Buddhists should not steal. Additionally, Buddhists are not to commit adultery nor lie. Finally, Buddhists are not to take intoxicants or drugs.
There are other precepts followed only by Tibetan monks. These include a precept to eat moderately and only at appointed times. Additionally, the monks must avoid excitation of the senses and the wearing of adornment. Finally, they must not sleep in luxury nor accept silver or gold. In all areas, the goal is to avoid pleasure.
There are certain practices that are also unique to Tibetan Buddhism. Those not initiated into the faith may gain merit through food and flower offerings, religious pilgrimages, or payer. They may also assist local monks in their rituals. Further, local villagers can receive blessings through attendance of religious festivals. Some festivals unveil the thongdrol, a large painting believed to free observers from sin.
For those who practice tantra, rituals and objects provide important additions to meditation and the chanting of mantras. Meditation techniques include the mahamudra, dzogchen, and yoga. Mandalas, or special cosmic diagrams, are also used to assist inner development. Finally, the Cham, a dance ritual, it used to revitalize spiritual energy which thereby generates wisdom, compassion, and the healing powers of enlightenment. However, it should be noted that the practice was banned when China took possession of Tibet.
Tibetan Buddhism has had drastic influence on the country of Tibet, and of the people of the country. Because the precepts of the religion hold strongly to the concept that to harm another is to forgo nirvana. During times of attack and invasion, Tibetan Buddhists, in order to maintain their faith, had to remain passive, resulting in the loss of their country. However, the people have retained their faith, even amidst political, religious, and social discrimination. The faith has spread across the world, and has, for centuries, led the way for peaceful, loving, and caring existences for the people of Tibet, and around the globe.
Buddhist Scriptures: The Tibetan Canon." Buddhanet. (2004). http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/s_tibcanon.htm (Accessed May 5, 2007).
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Yoshinori, Takeuchi. Buddhist Spirituality: Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and Early Chinese. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1993.
Shambhala. "Tibetan Buddhism" the Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion (Canada: Shambhala International, 1994): 245.
Franz Michael. Rule by Incarnation (Boulder: Westview Press, 1982), 101.
Buddhist Scriptures: The Tibetan Canon." Buddhanet. (2004), http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/s_tibcanon.htm (Accessed May 5, 2007).
Takeuchi Yoshinori, Buddhist Spirituality: Indian, Southeast Asian, Tibetan, and Early Chinese (New York: Crossroad…