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Best Time to See Religious Rituals in Tibet

Time: 2016-12-03

 Tibet is the land of diversity in culture, landscape, custom and religion. And there are khampas (Tibetan people who are from north eastern part of Tibet and quite strong physically), Amdo (who are from south eastern part of Tibet and also quite strong) and U-tsang (who lives in the center and western part of Tibet). This is the division of people in Tibet. They all have their own customs and traditions.

Accordingly, There is diversity in religion. Religion is important to the Tibetans and has a strong influence over all aspects of their lives. There are Buddhism (which around 90 percent of Tibetan people are practicing), Bon religion (first religion which we have in Tibet), and Muslims. In addition, you might be surprised that we have Christians in southeastern part of Tibet, which was started in 19th century. But most of people who come to Tibet for religious ceremonies are for Buddhism.

Nowadays the major influence is Tibetan Buddhism, a distinctive form of Mahayana and Vajrayana, which was introduced into Tibet from the Sanskrit Buddhist tradition of northern India. Like other countries which have their religious ceremonies and rituals on a specific period, there are kinds of rituals in tibetan Buddhism.

April in Tibetan Calender is the Best Time to Visit Buddhism Religious Rituals

For those who are interested in Buddhism or those who are practicing Buddhism, we will tell you the best time for you to come to Tibet for a perfect experience.

The fourth month in Tibetan calendar (May or June in Solar Calendar) is well known as the "Buddhism month", also called the Saga Dawa Festival in Tibetan language. This month consists of when Lord Buddha was born, became a monk, died and enlightened and preached Buddhism to sentient beings. That’s why Tibetan Buddhists and also those who practice Buddhism consider that month as a holy religious month.

In Tibet lots of Tibetan people quit having meat during that holy month because we believe that whatever good things you do in that holy month, you will gain more virtues than usual, and whatever bad things you do, you will also gain more sins than usual. During that month hundreds of Tibetan people circumambulate around the Barkhor, Tsekhor (Circuit around Potala) and Lingkhor (the biggest round including all minor temples, about 14km). They also liberate fishes into Lhasa River (Kyichu) and other animals according to their own budget. Some of them are used to liberating the same number of lifes according to their age.

In temples and monasteries, you will be able to see monks reciting prayer in the Assembly hall and serving butter tea during intermission. Hundreds of Tibetan people line up in Drepung Monastery for making their donation to the monks chanting prayers in assembly hall, and you will see the same scene in other monasteries. Most of Tibetan people are busy with visiting various monasteries with flask full of butter in their hand for butter lamp. Most of them carry lots of small change for offering in monasteries and also for beggars. During that month you will see many beggars in Lhasa.

During this Buddhism month, lots of Tibetan people who are willing to make a pilgrimage will trek to Mt. Kailash. On the 15th day of that Tibetan month, you will be able to see the ceremony of erecting of prayer flag pole. You can also start your treking after the ceremony as lots of people will do it. You will have a precious memory if you can worship the Holy Mountain accompanied by the Tibetan local pilgrims. 

Besides, lots of Indians will also be there. They come to worship the God Shiva. If you are practicing Hindu, it is also a really great time to come to visit Kailash.