Lamaism is the name given to the religion of Tibet and a large part of Mongolia. It is a composite faith consisting of a debased (not the classical) Buddhism, which accommodated to itself elements of the early native "bon" (see below, § 3) religion and of Hinduism and then developed its own forms of belief and of government. The word lama means a "superior," and is applied by courtesy to all monks above the grade of novice, though originally given only to the abbots.
Tibet is a region of Central Asia bounded south by the Himalaya, north by the Kuen-luen Mountains (which almost meet on the west), west by Kashmir, and east by China. It is a region of high plateaus cut by extremely deep and often precipitous valleys, divided by a lofty mountain range running east and west so that geographers make two main divisions--the northern, inhospitable, entirely unknown to occidentals, intersected by parallel mountain ranges running east and west, between which are valleys and lakes frozen eight months in the year, where the population is sparse; the southern, richer in its possibilities and possessions, several times traversed in whole or in part by western travelers, and containing the sources of the Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej, Ganges, Mekong, Hoangho, Yang-tse-kiang and other important rivers. The population is estimated at between one and a half and three and a half millions, of whom about half a million are said to be monks. The ethnological affinities, as indicated by the language, are with the peoples of the Himalayas and Assam, but observation points to a mixing with the Chinese on the east and the Hindus on the south. In the settled regions polyandry is the rule, among the noroads monogamy prevails, while the wealthy are frequently polygamous. The culture is of mixed native, Chinese, and Indian origin. The principal points of the history, so far as it is known, are necessarily related in the story of the religion. China claims the region as a part of the empire, and a resident at the capital, Lhasa, is the representative of the suzerain power.
The first European visitor of record was Odoric of Pordenone (Odoricus Forojuliensis), who in 1330 led a company of monks into the country and reached Lhasa, which he described (cf. H. Cordier, Les Voyages en Asie . . . du . . . frère Odoric de Pordenone, Paris, 1891). Of the result of his preaching nothing is known. In 1624 the Portuguese Jesuit Antonio D' Andrada (q.v.) went from Delhi to western Tibet and was kindly received by the local chief of Tjaprang. His success as a preacher was such that the foundation of a cathedral was laid, but the position was abandoned when apparently all was favorable. Lhasa was again visited in 1706 by the missionaries J. de Asculi and F. M. de Torin, who stayed but a short time. During 1716-27 Hippolytus Desiderius and Emanuel Freyre resided in the land, protected by the local ruler against the prejudice of the people, in whom the tendency toward isolation was beginning to show itself. Other missionaries were sent out in 1719 and 1730, but the opportunity to establish Christianity was lost. About 1760 the isolation of the country was brought about, and thereafter entrance was difficult to effect and was usually accomplished only by craft. In 1811 an English physician reached Lhasa disguised as a Hindu and in attendance upon a Chinese general. The Abbé E. R. Huc (q.v.) arrived there by way of Mongolia in Jan., 1846, but was compelled to leave in March of the same year. In spite of the policy of exclusion, reports from Hindus, from Mongolians, and from Russian subjects have made the situation and appearance of Lhasa and its vicinity well known. From nearly all sides the city has been approached by numerous travelers, but access to the capital was strictly barred until the recent British expedition, which failed, however, to reach the Lama, who retired as the English drew near, and finally went to Pekin, where he stayed
recensions. The literature includes rules for the discipline of monks and nuns, metaphysical treatises, discourses of the Buddhas, legends from their lives, treatises on magic, hymns to deities, commentaries on the canon and commentaries on commentaries, dictionaries of philosophical terms and phraseology and of language, and works on philosopay, medicine, astronomy, and astrology, translated from the Sanscrit. Many of these are diglots of Sanscrit and Tibetan, and the literature has been translated also into Mongolian, a large collection of the plates of which was kept at Peking and destroyed during the Boxer uprising. The red church literature outside of the foregoing is by the yellow church held heterodox, and the principal work is the book of the legends of Padmasambhava, existing in many editions in Tibetan, Lepcha, and Mongolian. The popular literature is also immense and various-apocalyptic, miraculous, prophetic, and ritualistic. Noteworthy are the works of Milareba (1438-1122), a story of his life and travels, and the " Collection of 100,000 Songs." Both are valuable as pictures of the language and customs of the times. Another monk of about the same period, Kasarrgyalpo, wrote a huge epic on the deeds of heroes assigned to the eighth century, which has been widely diffused in the Mongolian and Kalmuck languages. The principal printing-press is at Nartang near Shigatse, in the jurisdiction of the Tasi Lama. Block printing is done from wooden plates, 12x24 inches in size, each block representing a page of text.
The language, while akin to the crude dialects of the wild peoples of the Himalayas, has been so developed by the monks as to be capable of expressing with fulness and precision the sublimest and subtlest thought of India. The religion of Lamaism hasmade of Tibet a land of culture so far as the monasteries are concerned, but has not raised the MaM Of the
population much above the level of animistic peoples, so hedged about is life with ritualistic and magical observances. GEO. W. GILMORE.BIBLroGRAPHY: The best account of the religion available in English is L. A. Waddell, The Buddhism of Tibet, Lon don, 1894. An excellent though condensed account, covering the literature and the history, is A. Granwedel, in Die Kultur der Gegenwart, 1., iii. 1, Die orientalieehen Re ligionen, pp. 136-161, Berlin, 1908, of. his Mytholoyie des Buddhismus in Tibet and der Mongolei, Leipsie, 1900. The account in P. D. Chantepie de la Sausmye, LehrbwA der Religionagesehichte, ii. 113-117, is so abbreviated as to be misleading. Material is found also in E. Scblagint. weit, Buddhism in Thibet, London, 1863; idem, Lebene be8ehreibunp des Padma Sambhava, in Abhandlunpen der k6niglichen bayriachen Akademie, Munich, 1899, 1903; W: W. Roekhill, The Lamaiat Ceremony called " Making of Mani Pills," in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1890, pp. xxii.-xxiv.; idem, The Uae pof Skulls in Lamaiat Ceremonies, ib. Pp, 8$IYI I~l~l., ,~Q11CLDana, Journey 10 Lhasa and Central Tibet, London, 1902.
Still of use is B. H, Hodgson, Essays on the Languapea, Literature and Religion of Nepal and Tibet ib. 1874. For travels consult: G. Sandberg, The Exyloration of Tibet IB.g3-1904, Calcutta, 1904 W, W, gockb01, The Land of the Lama*, New York 1891; H. S. Landor, In tha Forbidden Land London, 1898; O. T. Crosby, Tibet and Turkestan New York 1905; L. A. Waddell, Lhaeaa and
its Mysteries, with a Record of the (British) Expedition of 1903-01,, London, 1905.
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.