Film «Indian Roots of Tibetan Buddhism»

The Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India released a documentary film titled “Indian Roots of Tibetan Buddhism”.

Filmed in various parts of India and Tibet, the documentary directed by Benoy K. Behl, traces the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism to its roots in ancient India’s Nalanda University and the hundreds of year-old spiritual relationship that India share with Tibet.

The documentary features quotes and analogies from various Tibetan Buddhist teachers and scholars including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche.

Buddhism was one of the largest religions in ancient India before its decline due to numerous political and cultural changes. The practice of Buddhism as a distinct and organised religion lost its influence and declined gradually in the land of its birth.

However, the decline of Buddhism in India was not without some significant impacts. Through the efforts of hundreds of Indian scholars including Atisha and Shantarakshita, the Nalanda tradition has gained stronghold in Tibet and many other Himalayan countries. As a result, Tibetan Buddhism is currently practised widely in Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia and in various parts of Russia, Nepal and India.

Tibetan Buddhism also spread to many western countries as a result of the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the subsequent exodus of Tibetan people from Tibet. The Tibetan diaspora spread this religion to many western countries where it has  gained widespread recognition.

The Tibetan people regard India as ‘Arya Bhoomi’ the land of the great teachers. However, as Buddhism declined in India, it was Tibet which preserved this ancient Indian knowledge in the form of Tibetan Buddhism.

Some of the largest repositories of these ancient Indian knowledge is preserved only in the Tibetan language, translated from the original Sanskrit by Tibetan translators. Therefore, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama rightly says, “India is our Guru (teacher) and Tibetans are their Chela (students). And we are a very reliable Chela.”



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