Lhasa – Origin of it’s name and history

Only after we came to Lhasa, we knew that the area around Bakuo Street, centered on the Jokhang Temple, was called “Lhasa”, meaning “Buddha’s Land”.

Jokhang Temple is the center of Lhasa people’s life, and centre of religion revolve around it.

Lhasa is called “Rasa” in ancient times, Tibetan “goat” is called “Ra” and “Soil” is called “Sa”. It is said that when Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty married to Tibet empire in the seventh century A.D., it was still a barren grass beach. After the construction of Dazhao Temple and Xiaozhao Temple, the bedding pond was filled with goat’s soil. After the completion of the temple, more missionaries and Buddhists came to the dynasty. Many hotels and hotels were built around Dazhao Temple. Residents’houses have formed the rudiment of the old city centred on the Dazhao Temple.

Xiao Zhao Temple

Jokhang Temple

The direct reason for the construction of the large and small Zhaosi Temple is that Songzan Ganbu married the 16-year-old Princess Chizun of Nepal and the literary Princess of the Tang Dynasty. The two princesses each brought a statue of Sakyamuni Buddha as their most valuable dowry.

_Princess Chizun of Nepal

_Songzan Ganbu and Princess Wen

Princess Nepal brought a Sakyamuni figure when she was 8 years old, while Princess Wencheng brought a 12-year-old Sakyamuni figure from Chang’an. This is the first two Buddhist statues to enter the snow plateau. In order to worship them, Songzan Ganbu built the earliest Buddhist buildings in Tibetan Buddhist history, Dazhao Temple and Xiaozhao Temple.

_8-year-old statue of Sakyamuni

_12-year-old statue of Sakyamuni

Among them, Princess Wencheng invited this 12-year-old statue, which is said to have been created by Sakyamuni in his real image while he was alive and blessed by his own light. Tibetans believe that seeing it is the same as seeing the Buddha 2500 years ago. The entry of these two statues into Tibet also marks the official introduction of Buddhism in Tibetan history.

_12-year-old statue of Sakyamuni

There are only three statues of Buddha like Sakyamuni in the world. When Sakyamuni Buddha was alive, he opposed idolatry and did not set up temples for offering idols. On his deathbed, he only agreed to draw his own statues of three different ages and draw them himself. Among the three statues, the bronze statue of Sakyamuni as the prince at the age of 12 is the most exquisite and noble. The statue flowed into the Tang Dynasty from ancient India.

Song Zanganbo, a hero of that year, moved the political and cultural center from the south to Lhasa, built a magnificent Potala Palace, and sent envoys to Datang and Nepal to seek their relatives. The Emperor of the Tang Dynasty did not agree at first, so Songzan Ganbu made excuses and fought a battle with the Emperor. Later, the Emperor allowed Princess Zong to marry him out of consideration of political interests.

_Sun Zangganbu married Princess Wencheng

But Princess Wencheng herself did not want to go to the remote and backward Tibet. It took her more than three years to get to Lhasa. So there was a legend that the princess’s homesickness broke the mirror of the sun and the moon into the mountain of the sun and the moon, and her tears flowed back into the river.

When she arrived in Lhasa, Princess Chizun of Nepal, who was closer to her, arrived happily. So Dazhao Temple is dedicated to the 8-year-old statue of Sakyamuni Buddha invited by Princess Chizun. Princess Wencheng’s 12-year-old statue of Buddha from the Tang Dynasty was enshrined in Xiaozhao Temple.

After they all died, that is, in the 8th century AD, Chidezuzan married the princess of Jincheng in the Tang Dynasty. Princess Jincheng welcomed the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha brought by Princess Wencheng to the main hall of Dazhao Temple, and formulated a set of rituals for offering sacrifices. Three white pagodas called “Bagagagarin” were built between Hongshan Mountain and Yaowang Mountain, forming the gate to Lhasa.

Since Princess Jincheng transferred the 12-year-old statue of Sakyamuni from Xiaozhao Temple to the main temple of Dazhao Temple, the Buddha has become the center of Tibetan belief in the whole snow area, and worshippers and worshippers continue to flock.

Jokhang Temple

Now the people here have witnessed the devotion of Buddhism. You can see monks who have traveled long distances and have a round cocoon on their forehead. Every evening, there are Buddhists, men, women, old and young around Dazhao Temple. Because of the most sacred statue of Buddha, the name “Jassa” was renamed “Lhasa”, meaning “the land of God and Buddha”.

It can be said that Lhasa is now popular in the Jokhang Monastery, because the two princesses joined Tibet, and more importantly, the statues of Sakyamuni they brought.

Today, standing on the top of the Potala Palace overlooking the whole city of Lhasa, the whole city of Lhasa is full of new buildings hidden in the green trees, only around the Bakuo Street are flying through, rippling with mulberry smoke.

Here, there are houses and streets with national style, and people from all over Tibet are gathered. Many of them still wear traditional costumes of their own nation. It is as if they never leave the prayer tube and rosary beads, which clearly shows that Buddhism has actually become a way of life.

Lhasa is located in the warm valley of the Lhasa River, but it is still one of the highest cities in the world.

People say it is a city of sunlight. The simplest reason is that it can get an average of 8 hours and 15 minutes of sunshine every day, almost half as much as the eastern part of the same latitude and twice as much as the Sichuan Basin.

At a high altitude of 3,658 meters, the air is thin, the water vapor content is low, but there is no dust content. The atmospheric transparency is especially good, which makes the sunshine shine better on the land of Lhasa.

On sunny days, the sun is bright and bright. Looking at the snow peaks in the distance, the sky is clear and unusual. The dark blue sky sets off the dazzling sunshine even more.

To feel the charm of this sunshine city, you have to find some doors, know some skills, even how to be dazed, that is exquisite.

Watching Baiwei’s Life in front of Dazhao Temple

Sitting in front of the Dazhao Temple, we can see the old Tibetans around us building their own shrines with barley grains and the pious figure of the long-headed pilgrims.

About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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