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Here are found the most precious treasures of Tibet, including the golden sepulchre of the fifth Dalai Lama, which is about 28 feet high. The treasures and apartments of the Dalai Lama are in the central portion of the temple palace, which is painted a tawny color and known as the "red palace" — Pobrang-marpo. The remainder of the building serves as quarters for various attendants or followers of the Dalai Lama, including a community of monks, the so-called "Namgyaltsan," whose duty it is to pray for the welfare and long life of the Dalai Lama.

Near the hill are the mint, the house for the Dalai Lama's subjects, the prison, and other structures. Upon the continuation of this hill stands the convent Manbo-datsang, where 60 monks devote themselves to the study of medicine at the expense of the Dalai Lama. A little farther north is the idol temple of the Chinese Buddhists, and at the northwest foot of the hill is the palace of the fifth eminent hutuktu Kundu-ling, and about two-thirds of a mile west of the latter is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama.

The civilian population of Lhasa scarcely exceeds 10, persons, about two-thirds of them women, although the number may seem greater on account of the proximity of two large monasteries, the many transient visitors, and the gatherings of worshipers from lamaite countries. As the political and religious center of Tibet, its sanctuaries an attraction for numerous worshipers, Lhasa becomes an important business place, as well as the connecting link in the commerce between India and northern Tibet and China with the East. The market place is located around the central or temple section, where all the ground floors of buildings and open spaces in the streets are occupied by stores and small exhibits of merchandise.

Women are preeminently the sales people, although in the stores of the Kashmiris and Nepalese men do the selling. About the town stand the principal monasteries of Tibet, Sera, Brebung, and Galdan, known under the common name Serbre yesum. Brebung, the largest, is about 7 miles northwest of Lhasa; next comes Sera, about 2 miles north of the city, and last, Galdan, about 20 miles distant to the left of the river U-chu, on the incline of the steep mountain Brog-ri. They belong to one ruling sect of Tsongkapa and were organized during his lifetime, at the beginning of the fifteenth century.

The Dalai Lama is regarded as the head of them all. There are 15, to 16, monks in all, of which 8, to 8, are in Brebung, 5, in Sera, and 2, to 2, in Galdan. In the Galdan monastery there is a vice-Tsongkapa, under the name, the "Galdan golden throne," a position established immediately after the death of the organizer, at the suggestion of his pupils and disciples. In olden times that office was filled by the choice of the Galdan monks, but on account of the confusion that followed elections the present method of installation was instituted, and the position is now filled in six-year terms by two Lamas, or, more correctly, wandering ecclesiastics, "Chzhuds," in the order of their service in the higher positions of their temple.

The present incumbent is the eighty-fifth superior since Tsongkapa, or the eighty-sixth superior of Galdan, counting the reformer as the first. Each of the monasteries has its laws and its own land, and they are thus independent of one another. The Brebung monastery is the most influential, because of its wealth and numbers, which are both the cause and the effect. Much of this superiority is also due to the fact that Brebung monks were elevated to Dalai Lamas, to whose lot it soon fell to be at the head of the spiritual and civil government of Central Tibet.

The lamaiste monasteries are now not so much places of refuge for ascetics, as schools for the clergy, beginning with the alphabet and reaching to the highest theological knowledge. Mount Mar-bo-ri, and the Palace of the Dalai-lama. Potala, the Palace of the Dalai-lama from the South. After the Tsongkapa reform, commentaries were made by yarious learned men upon those sections, which, according to the Lamas, do not differ in substance, all the commentaries adhering to the general idea of the teachings of the famous reformer.

In the monasteries mentioned religion is taught from commentaries of six scholars in seven editions, each of which has a separate faculty. Three of these are Brebung and two each in Sera and Galdan. Beside these religious faculties the first two monasteries have a faculty called "Agpa," to perform the mystic rites and to pray for the welfare of the monastery. The clergy is very unevenly divided in the various faculties.

In Brebung, for instance, there are 5, men in one faculty and only in the other. It must be admitted that the monastic communities seem more concerned in securing "daily bread" than in the education of their members. Honors and degrees are conferred only upon those who endow the community in some practical manner.

High positions, too, are encumbered with an obligation to distribute gifts among the members of the community. The principal source of endowments comes from the incarnates; that is, the incarnates of the soul of some predecessor. Whosesoever soul he may incarnate, he is recognized in the community as such only after he has distributed a certain amount of money and food.

On the other hand, howsoever learned a monk may be, he receives the degree only after he has made endowments. Consequently charity and scholarship are measured by the amount of gifts to the monastery communities. Each monastery has some special characteristic. Thus Brebung is famous for its prophets, Sera for its cells for the ascetics, and Galdan, for various old curios. The cult of the prophets or oracles is in its turn based upon the cult of the so-called "Choichong," or the guardians of learning. Judging by historical tradition it may be presumed that Buddhism, introduced into Tibet in the seventh century A.

Besides, the sorcerers or priests were no doubt defenders of the old cult. On the other hand, however, Buddhism was protected by the rulers of Tibet and was bound to spread, and in the hard struggle popular superstition was granted some concessions. This compromise between Buddhism and sorcery was made, we are told, by a preacher of the ninth century, Padma-Sambava. He compelled the former local spirits to swear that henceforth they would defend Buddhist learning only, for which they were promised honors, rendered in the form of sacrifice of wine, barley seeds, etc.

The highest of these spirits, which were imported from India, are called "Idma," while those of lower rank are called simply "Choichong," or "Choisrung. Only Choichong of lower degrees thus descend to prophets. As protectors and defenders of the faith the people imagine them to be horrible monsters in warriors' outfit. On this account the prophet, before the descent of "Choichong" upon him, dons a helmet and arms himself with spear, sword, or bows and arrows.

The sense of the descent is contained in the fact that the spirit guardian of learning becomes incarnated in the chosen prophet for the sake of the living beings. Of such spirit guardians there are many, and the prophets are correspondingly numerous. The superior among them is the one confirmed by the Chinese Government—the Prophet Naichung-Choichong, whose gold-crowned temple and church suite is in the shady garden southeast of the monastery of Brebung.

He is appealed to for prophecies, not only by ordinary mortals, but by all the higher clergy, including the Dalai Lama. Their mutual relation is as follows: Lama is "the abode of learning," and Choichong, its "guardian," having sworn to defend the religion vigilantly, will be honored of all for it.

The Lama, therefore, honors — that is, brings sacrifices to — the Choichong, and the latter forestalls all that threatens the religion and the Lama, its representative. They constitute a check on each other and are allies at the same time. Their power is so great that even the Dalai Lama and the highest Hutuktu must reckon with them; they endeavor to incline all toward themselves.

Potala, from the West-Northwest. Potala, from the North-Northeast.


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The relic curios, in which Galdan is rich, show us to what an extent the famous Tsongkapa took possession of the minds of his followers. His successor after his death sought memorials of the existence of the dear teacher, not content with his works. He did not believe that a teacher could pass away leaving no footprints, and search was made for these everywhere about the monastery he established—where he passed his last years.

His searches did not end in failure, and in various groves and among the rocks he saw traces of the wonder of the teacher, and explained them by one or another incident in his biography, and, conversely, with his biography explained those traces. Frequently meditating about his idolized teacher, he drew and chiseled his image upon rocks, and the images of the Buddhas, his protectors. In course of time all these signs and statues made by the closest of pupils of Tsongkapa under the known influence of superstition began to be taken for wonderful relics and each worshiper began to venerate them.

It is characteristic that such relics are being discovered up to the present time. Thus the present Dalai Lama obtained from a rock a treasure, consisting of a hat and other articles, ascribed to Tsongkapa. He deposited the treasure in a special chest and placed it for safekeeping at the sarcophagus of Tsongkapa and on its place erected a monument.

Journey to Lhasa and Central Tibet by Sarat Chandra Das.

We will now briefly describe the other prominent monasteries and cities we visited. The monastery of Tashilhunpo is about miles west of Lhasa, to the right of the river Brahmaputra, on the south side of a mountain peak that forms an arm between that river and its tributary, the Nyangchu, and was established in by a pupil of Tsongkapa, Gedun-dru, who is regarded as the first incarnation of the Dalai Lama.

There are about 3, monks within this place, divided into three religious and one mystical faculties.

The head of the monastery is the incarnation of "Panchen erdeni," who maintains the monks there. Five stone idols and gilt roofs in Chinese style constitute the ornaments of the monastery. About two-thirds of a mile northeast of Tashilhunpo, upon a separate rock, stands the castle Shigatsze, at the foot of which grew up a city of the same name, with a population of scarcely above 6, or 7, Here are stationed small Chinese and native garrisons.

The castle itself is well known from the fact that during the conquest of Tibet in the middle of the seventeenth century by the Mongol Gushi-khan it served as the residence of the governor of Tibet, Tszangbo, who, after a long resistance, was conquered and killed. The castle is now in a semideserted condition, and prisoners sentenced to die are thrown from its roof to the rock below. About 50 miles from Shigatsze, in the valley of the Nyangchu, lies one of the old cities of Tibet, Gyantsze, which is a very convenient place on the commercial road to India from Lhasa and Shigatsze.

From the religious standpoint it is famous for its great religious structure, Cho d den-gomang, five stories high, with many rooms and various objects of interest, especially ancient statues of Buddha. Commercially the city is known for the manufacture of rugs and cloths. Up to the recent past the Tibetans made rugs of only one-colored wool in narrow strips, but now they weave, according to Chinese samples, continuous rugs with designs, which are much inferior in elegance to the Chinese, but in firmness much superior to them, as they are made of pure wool. We must assume that rug manufacture in Tibet could be considerably developed on account of the cheapness of labor and of sheep's wool.

It is the oldest of Tibetan monasteries, having been established at the beginning of the ninth century a. Its conspicuous feature is a five-story temple, a mixture of Tibetan and Indian architecture. The latter is evident by the fact that the top story is without columns, a feature so prominent in Tibetan style.

This monastery, with its monks, is maintained at the expense of the Dalai Lama treasury, and the idols are distinguished for their comparative cleanliness and care in the make-up. According to tradition, the first ruler of Tibet, Niatri-tszangbo, was found in the vicinity of this city and set upon the throne. The place occupies a favorable point on the road from Bhutan to Lhasa, as it enters the valley of the river Tszang. On the border of Bhutan lies the city of Tszona, where there is a market each spring that attracts many merchants from Lhasa. Passing now to the government of Central Tibet, the dependence upon China is made evident by the Peking Court appointment of a Manchu resident to manage the higher government.

At the head of the local self-government stands the Dalai Lama as the spiritual and secular head of Central Tibet,. After finishing the course of instruction he receives the highest degree in theology in the same manner as the other Lamas, but, of course, with a more liberal distribution of money to the monasteries and more careful questions on the part of the learned Lamas who dispute with him and who are appointed in advance. After this, when 21 to 22 years old, the Dalai Lama enters the ripe and independent existence. Since five Dalai Lamas have reigned.

The present incumbent, the thirteenth, Tubdan-Gyamtso, was born in , so that now he is 27 years old. About six or seven years ago he had a struggle with his regent, most famous of Tibetan hutuktu, "Demo," and came out victor, which no doubt saved him from the fate of his four predecessors, who perished at various ages, frequently the result of violence inflicted by regents or representatives of other parties that were striving to remain longer close to the "power.

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The Dalai Lama assumed the head rule of Tibet, and one of his conspicuous acts is the abolition of capital punishment, which was practiced extensively by the regents. It seems in general that he is very energetic, and inclined to be a good man, with considerable love for knowledge. The second person of the lamaist hierarchy is the Panchen-Erdeni, who lives in a monastery in the provice of Tashilhunpo Tsang.

This earnest Lama was the instructor of the fourth and fifth Dalai Lamas, when he played an important role in political affairs, which served to enhance the power of the Dalai Lama. The official title, Panchen-Erdeni, and the imperial diploma and seal was granted only the third Panchen, Pande-yeshe, in at an audience at Peking. At present the sixth incarnate lives; he was born in , and is therefore 20 years old.

The Panchen is next to the Dalai Lama in official capacity, but in the supervision of the lamaists he is considerably above him, because of his holiness. Especially is he regarded as the future king of the holy world "Shambala," in which he will be the principal leader. It is customary to call the Dalai Lama also "Chyab-gong thamchad-mkhen-pa" the omniscient—the object of faith , but the Tibetan applies this name to every eminent Lama incarnate he respects, since the charm of the Dalai Lama, as a holy individual, is less effective upon the religious feeling simply because of his distance than that of a Lama more easily approached, to whom he can appeal more often with inquiries relative to his religious requirements.

The Dalai Lama, therefore, is known at places distant from Lhasa only as the principal ruler of Tibet, while the religious sentiment of the laymen is directed toward their patron, regardless of the sect to which he belongs. The teachings of Tsongkapa now reign supreme in Central Tibet, but after the struggle during the first period of their introduction they are now entirely reconciled and to a certain extent are indifferent toward other sects. The contemporary lamaist in general and the Tibetan in particular regard the objects of faith of the various sects with exactly the same reverence.

Even the central government of Tibet, with the Dalai Lama at its head, frequently bows before the representatives of the old red-hat sect the yellow-hat sect predominates now. The laity does this, of course, out of ignorance and superstition, but such explanation does not apply to the higher representatives of the yellow-hats, who are guided by Tsongkapa's way of looking at the world and possess a knowledge of the difference in the views of other sects.

We believe that the conduct of these men toward other sects is inspired by political motives, the desire to satisfy the superstitious requirements of the populace, and to be vindicated in case of popular suffering and unfortunate political events. The central government of the land is in the hands of a council presided over by the Dalai Lama, called "deva-dzung. They are appointed from prominent aristocratic families, three of them civilians, the fourth a clergyman. For the local administration governors are sent from the "deva-dzung," usually two in number with equal powers—one a clergyman, the other a civilian.

Districts are frequently leased, the lessee ruling according to established custom, being obliged to pay into the treasury a certain sum of money or to pay in kind. Usually these lessees are members of the higher administration, and they send their own representatives into the districts. Of late the central government has apparently begun to strive to accumulate land, for which purpose it takes away strips of land from the monasteries under various pretenses or makes purchases on installment from the annual income.

The affairs of Tibet in general are ruled by the hereditary aristocracy, whether it be the son who inherits his father's rights or the incarnate who inherits the rights of his predecessor.

Visiting the Dalai Lama at Lhasa: "Inside Tibet" 1943 Office of Strategic Services (OSS)

As the born aristocracy lives in strict isolation, not mingling with the common people, the central government, despite its deliberative character, may be called an aristocratic oligarchy. We stated that the Dalai Lama is the head of the central government. The question arises, Who takes his place in the interim between his death and the election of a new incarnate and until the latter becomes eligible? This question arose for the first time in , after the death of the seventh Dalai Lama, and was solved by the appointment of a regent by the Chinese Emperor under the official name "the director of the Dalai Lama's treasury," with the title "nomun-khan.

The tribunal and, in general, all administrative affairs are based on bribery, court examinations, on torture by means of lashes and similar methods, cauterization by means of burning sealing wax being regarded as the most severe. The punishments are execution by drowning, imprisonment, banishment with giving away into slavery, blinding, amputation of the fingers, lifelong fetters and foot stock, and lashes. The permanent army, maintained by the treasury, consists of 4, men. Its armament consists of spears, matchlock guns, and bows.

For the protection of the body they have a helmet ornamented with feathers, a small plaited shield, and some wear armor. They are officered by "daipons," appointed from the higher aristocracy. The soldiers usually live in their homes in the villages and only periodically gather at posts, where they are inspected and taught to fire blank charges, and the use of the bows. The army is divided into cavalry and infantry. Despite the tendency of the Tibetans in the eastern provinces to indulge in pillage and highway robbery, the central Tibetan dislikes to make war; he is much more peace loving and more inclined toward peaceful labors, on account of which he regards military duty as superfluous and interfering with domestic pursuits.

One frequently sees soldiers on the way from an inspection spin wool, stitch shoes, turn a prayer wheel, or repeat their chaplet. Speaking about the East Tibetan robber tribes, we must say they try to prey upon the goods of others without bloodshed, threatening only the cowards.

As soon as they see that the intended victims are determined to show serious resistance, they escape to their quarters.


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  • If one band of robbers strips a victim of everything, another band will clothe him and supply him with food. The monasteries are governed by their own laws, administered by their own elders, the highest of which in the principal monasteries are appointed by the Dalai Lama. Discipline and the whole regime is based on "the fear of the governors. When, on very exceptional occasions, he does meet them, he must lie down, wrap his head in his hood, and lie motionless as if dead. Justice is also based principally on bribery, and the punishment is banishment from the monastery with a fine of money and lashes.

    The material condition of plain monks in Tibet is so bad that the convicted always prefers the punishment of the lash to fines. Tibet imports from India, English materials, principally cheap cloths, enameled vessels, teapots, plates, and cups; objects of luxury, as coral, amber, brocade; medicine and dye stuffs; and various English trinkets, such as mirrors, beads, jars, matches, penknives, etc.

    All these articles are imported by native Bhutanese, Nepalese, Kashmiri, and Chinese merchants. In general, the Tibetans are of late becoming more and more fond of English products; the English rupees, too, are beginning to compete with the local coinage. The things exported to India are yak tails, sheeps' wool, borax, salt, silver and gold, yaks to a certain extent, and horses and mules brought over from northern China.

    Mountains of Central Asia Digital Data Set by People's Association for Himalaya Area Research

    From China the Tibetans import tea, which they love so well, chinaware, cotton and silk fabrics. From northern China, mules and horses are imported, and, to a limited extent, breeding asses.

    Journey To Lhasa And Central Tibet By Sarat Chandra Das S | MCADD-PAHAR

    For use by the Chinese, Tibet exports little, and the considerable amount of native manufactured articles, together with those imported from India, that are exported there go to satisfy the demands of the Mongol lamaists. The articles exported are various objects of cult, as small statues, painted images, religious books, and prints made from carved wooden blocks, incense candles, ribbons, peacock feathers, leaf-shaped seeds "tsampaka," and similar articles that bring high prices only because of the piety of the Mongol lamaist and his reverence for holy things from Tibet. The more famous the person that produces these articles the more eagerly they are purchased and the higher is the price paid.

    But Tibet also has a trade in cloths, in knit goods, and in the yellow hats of the ecclesiastics, and this class of traffic, which depends upon the religious sentiment of the purchasers, as is the case with presents to Tibetan lamas, attains a considerable sum annually. Since objects of cult are exported to Mongolia and since only the treasuries of incarnates and monasteries possess capital, the commercial caravans are fitted out exclusively by the treasuries of the Dalai Lama or other rich incarnates and by monastery communities.

    The responsible officers of the caravans are called "tsonpons. Each succeeding "tsonpon" is the auditor of his predecessor — that is, he sees that the contract is fulfilled. Here and there the merchants in Mongolia, besides their commercial operations, make collections of contributions for one or another enterprise of a monastery or an incarnate. If we add to this those immense sums that are being collected by famous and infamous lamas, whether they be invited to Mongolia or are there of their own accord, we can safely say that Mongolia to a considerable degree enriches Tibet.

    Up to a very recent period there were no relations between Tibet and Russia, although Buriats, who are Russian subjects, have for a long time made secret pilgrimages to Tibet, fearing oppression from the Russian administration, and entered Tibet under the assumed name of "Khalkhas" Mongols, fearing exclusion as foreigners. About fifteen years ago "Khalkhas" and Buriats belonging to one community in Brebung quarreled for some reason, and the former called the latter "Oros," or Russians.

    The matter reached the highest authorities, and, thanks to the able management of the affair by the Buriat lamas, it was established that, although the Buriats are Russian subjects, they are followers of the yellow-hat religion. Wikipedia article , Wikidata item. Within the city limits of Lhasa there are four courts or quarters of eminent Hutuktu incarnates, who were once Tibetan khans. They are the best buildings in the city, and as each has a certain number of pupils of the Lamas they are really small monasteries.

    Tsybikoff is a Buriat by birth, and a Lamaist by religion, who finished his education at a Russian university, and, after having prepared himself for this journey, went quite openly, like so many other Buriat pilgrims, to Lhasa. There he remained more than twelve months, making an excursion to Tsetang or Chetang and visiting some of the most venerated monasteries, after having previously stayed, during his journey to Lhasa, in the Mongol monasteries of Labrang and Kumbum.

    During his stay at Lhasa he made, moreover, a most valuable collection of books, written by all the most renowned Lama writers during the last nine centuries. This collection represents volumes on philology, medicine, astronomy and astrology, history, geography, and collections of ku-rims praises, prayers, and incantations, and so on. Entering a new maximum amount will help you stay ahead of new bids from others. By setting up an automatic bid, our system will automatically place new bids on your behalf each time you are outbid. All you need to do is enter the maximum price you are willing to bid for an item.

    Our system will then keep on bidding for you, by the smallest possible increase each time, until your maximum price is reached. View all 23 bids. Condition; fair to good copy. Fly;eaf is a little damaged. Unfortunately 1 fold-out illustration is missing [Potala, the residence of the Dalai Lama at Lhasa]. Paper is somewhat browned and smells like cigarettes.

    Please study the photos well, they are part of the description. The back contains a large fold-out map of Tibet. View all reviews. Shipping costs are for mainland destinations only. If you win more than one lot sold by the same seller in the same auction, your shipment will be combined. In this case, only the shipping costs of whichever lot has the highest shipping costs will be applied. Check out our FAQs. Contact our Customer Support. Place your bids any time, any place? Download the Catawiki Auction App. You can also find us on. Once your payment has been processed, you will immediately be able to place your bids again as normal.

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    Increase your chances of winning The full amount of your automatic bid has now been reached. Very rare edition about a trip to Lhasa and Tibet, with 34 illustrations and maps, including 5 fold-outs [one illustration is missing]. The back contains a large fold-out map of Tibet Number of Books: