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Posterior Propagating Period of Tibetan Buddhism

The Posterior Propagating Period of Buddhism is another important period in the history of the Tibetan Buddhism.

From the beginning of the 10th century, Buddhism was revived in Tibet because of continuous efforts of the remaining monks' and the popularization of Buddhism by the Guge Dynasty. Guge Kingdom was located in Ngari region in the western part of Tibet in the 10th century. The King Kho-re (Ye shes vod), the second king of the Guge Dynasty, handed his throne to his brother and became a monk (Dharma Name: Yeshes'od).

Yeshes'od revived Buddhism with the support of the royalty. He dispatched many monks to India to get Buddhist canons and study Buddhism, organized people to establish and repair monasteries and translate Buddhist canons. When he heard that there was a great master named Atisha in India, he decided to invite him to propagandize Buddhism in Tibet. In order to raise the fund needed to invite Atisha, he disregarded his seniority and led troops to attack the neighboring nationality that believed in Islam. But he failed and was captured by his enemy. The victorious ruler said that it would take gold equivalent to his body weight to trade back his freedom. Therefore, Yeshes'od's grandnephew Byang Chub 'od tried his best to collect the gold needed. However, when his grandnephew brought enough gold to trade him back, Yeshes'od declined the offer. Instead, he asked Byang Chub 'od to take the gold to India to invite the great master Atisha to propagate Buddhism in Tibet, and before long he himself died of illness in jail.

The Buddhist master Atisha was moved by the piety of Yeshes'od and accepted the invitation regardless of his own seniority. He arrived at Guge in 1042.

Atisha's propagation of Buddhism in Tibet was very successful. At that time, people did not have clear understanding of Buddhism that was newly revived and the Open School and Secret School continuously disputed and insisted on their own opinions on the issues of cultivation and practice. In view of the situation, Atisha wrote a sutra to clear away the confusion among people. This sutra has become one of the famous books in the Posterior Propagating Period of the Tibetan Buddhism. Because of the continuous efforts of Atisha and the Tibetan monks who still lived in the Snowy Region, the Tibetan Buddhism finally realized the systematization of dogmata and the standardization of practice, and ushered in a prosperous period of the Posterior Propagating Period till the reign of the Dalai Lama.

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