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Religion & Culture

The customs and culture of the Tibetan people are recognized as an important example of one of the last remaining authentic cultures in the world. It would be fair to say that religion forms a central part of life for Tibetans, and is fundamental to this culture. Tibetan Buddhism used to be the the world's best kept secret, shrouded in mystique in the mountains of Tibet. Now, Tibetan Buddhism is a worldwide movement with its teachings widely promulgated and the Dalai Lama widely revered by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

Tibetan Buddhism is recognized as one of the primary forms of Buddhist practice, and is presently practiced by people in many parts of the world. The popularity of Tibetan Buddhist practice is due largely to the work of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. The Dalai Lama engenders the teachings of the Buddha which include tolerance, compassion, wisdom, and meditation. Another fundamental aspect of the teachings of the Buddha is the concept of interdependence. The Buddha said that because we are all fundamentally inter-connected, none of us can truly be free from suffering as long as there are others suffering. Therefore, violence towards other human beings is considered to be one of the fundamental causes of suffering by all human beings. Only by cultivating compassion and tolerance can world peace truly be realized. This section of Xizang Zhiye includes religious, philosophical, and spiritual information.

Om Mani Pedme Hum (or Om Mani Pedme Hung), is the most common mantra in Tibet, recited by Buddhists, painted or carved on rocks, prayer wheels, or yak skulls and seen around most usually. Tibetan people, almost all Buddhists, Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying the mantra (prayer), out loud or silently to oneself will relieve negative karma, accumulate merit, help rescue them from the sea of suffering and achieve Buddha hood. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel (or prayer wheel) is also believed to give the same benefit as saying the mantra, and Mani wheels, small hand wheels and large wheels with millions of copies of the mantra inside, are found everywhere in the lands influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.