Tibetan Buddhism is to be found not only in Tibet, but right across the Himalayan region from Ladakh to Sikkim, as well as parts of Nepal. It is the state religion of the kingdom of Bhutan. It also spread to Mongolia and parts of Russia (Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva) Tibetan refugees have brought it back to India, where it can be found in all the many Tibetan settlements. In modern times it has become very popular in the West. Tibetan Buddhism is distinct from other forms of Buddhism due to a combination of historical, cultural, and doctrinal factors. Now let's talk about what are the distinct features of tibetan Buddhism.

1. Vajrayana Practices:

Unique to Tibetan Buddhism, Vajrayana emphasizes specific practices known as "tantras" or "secret teachings." These practices often involve complex rituals, visualizations, and the use of symbols, mantras, and mandalas.

2. Dalai Lama and Reincarnation:

The Dalai Lama is a significant figure in Tibetan Buddhism, recognized as the spiritual leader of the Gelug school. According to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, the Dalai Lama is considered the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who, motivated by a desire to achieve Buddhahood and help all living beings, make a promise to be reborn in the world to assist humanity.

Dalai Lama and Reincarnation

3. Lamaistic Hierarchy:

Tibetan Buddhism has a hierarchical structure with lamas (spiritual teachers) playing a crucial role. The transmission of teachings often occurs through a lineage of lamas, creating a strong teacher-disciple relationship.

4. Monastic Tradition:

Like other forms of Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism has a strong monastic tradition. Monasteries, such as those in Lhasa and Sera, are centers for learning, meditation, and the preservation of Buddhist scriptures.

Potala Palace

5. Meditation and Mind Training:

Meditation practices in Tibetan Buddhism often include visualization techniques, concentration on deities, and analytical meditation. Mind training, known as "lojong," is a key aspect, emphasizing the cultivation of compassion and altruism.

6. Prayer Flags and Prayer Wheels:

Unique to Tibetan Buddhism, prayer flags are inscribed with prayers and mantras. When hung, they are believed to spread positive energy. Mani wheels, cylinders containing prayers, are also spun as a form of prayer.

Prayer Flags

7. Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead):

The Bardo Thodol is a funerary text that guides individuals through the intermediate state (bardo) between death and rebirth. It is used in death rituals and is believed to assist the deceased in navigating the afterlife.
These distinctive features contribute to the rich tapestry of Tibetan Buddhism, offering a unique blend of philosophy, ritual, and spiritual practices.

8. Thangka Paintings:

Intricate and detailed thangka paintings serve as visual aids for meditation. These artworks depict deities, mandalas, and sacred scenes, providing practitioners with a visual guide for their spiritual journey.

Thangka Paintings


Through these 8 features, you've learned about the strong religious beliefs of the Tibetan people and how they deeply influence their daily lives. Buddhism is central to their faith, guiding their actions with noble moral principles like compassion and karma. They aim to accumulate good deeds for a better future.

If you're curious about Where is Tibet and want to experience its unique culture and beliefs, consider a Tibet tour. Besides beautiful landscapes, Tibet has ancient temples and a rich cultural heritage. You can meet locals, learn about their faith, and have an unforgettable journey, whether you're interested in religion, nature, or culture.


Related Articles:

Have You Witnessed People Pilgrims In Prostrate Worship In Tibet

Explore the Rich Diversity of Tibetan Bracelets

The Power of Faith

What Is the Core Idea of Buddhism?

The Profound Benefits of Kalachakra Thangka Paintings

Leave A Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published