Tibet under Yuan rule

Last updated
Tibet under Yuan rule
Region under the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs

宣政院轄地
1270–1354
Yuan dynasty and Tibet.jpg
Tibet within the Yuan dynasty under the top-level department known as the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs (Xuanzheng Yuan).
Religion
Shakya sect
GovernmentYuan hierarchy
History 
 Established
1270
 Disestablished
1354
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Mongol Empire
Phagmodrupa dynasty Blank.png
Part of a series on the
History of Tibet
Lhasa Potala.jpg
See also
Asia (orthographic projection).svg Asiaportal Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Chinaportal

Tibet under Yuan rule refers to the Yuan dynasty's rule over Tibet from approximately 1270 to 1354. During the Yuan rule of Tibet, the region was structurally, militarily and administratively controlled [lower-alpha 1] by the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty of China, a division of the Mongol Empire. In the history of Tibet, Mongol rule was established after Sakya Pandita got power in Tibet from the Mongols in 1244, following the 1240 Mongol conquest of Tibet led by the Mongol general with the title doord darkhan. [1] It is also called the Sakya dynasty after the favored Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Contents

The region retained a degree of political autonomy under the Sakya lama, who was the de jure head of Tibet and a spiritual leader of the Mongol Empire. However, administrative and military rule of Tibet remained under the auspices of the Yuan government agency known as the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs or Xuanzheng Yuan, a top-level administrative department separate from other Yuan provinces, but still under the administration of the Yuan dynasty. Tibet retained nominal power over religious and political affairs, while the Mongols managed a structural and administrative [2] rule over the region, reinforced by the rare military intervention. This existed as a "diarchic structure" under the Yuan emperor, with power primarily in favor of the Mongols. [3] One of the department's purposes was to select a dpon-chen, usually appointed by the lama and confirmed by the Mongol emperor in Beijing. [3]

History

Yuan dynasty, circa 1294. Yuan ch.png
Yuan dynasty, circa 1294.

Conquest of Tibet

Prior to the Yuan dynasty, Tibet had previously been invaded by the Mongol Empire. The first invasion was by Prince Köden or Godan, grandson of Genghis Khan and son of Ögedei Khan. The second invasion by Möngke Khan resulted in the entire region falling under Mongol rule. Kublai Khan incorporated the region into his later Yuan dynasty, but left the legal system intact. [4] Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, the Sakya lama, became a religious teacher to Kublai, who made him the nominal head of the region.

Yuan rule

Although the Yuan maintained administrative rule of Tibet, scholarly opinion on the exact nature of this rule is disputed: according to different sources, it is considered a direct subject, an indirect part of the Yuan dynasty or an "autonomous" region outside direct Yuan rule, but subject to the greater Mongol Empire. [5] [6] [7] [8] While no modern equivalents remain, the relationship is analogous to that of the British Empire and the British Raj in India. [3]

The rule was described in the Mongolian chronicle "Ten Laudable Laws", which describes "two orders", one order based on the religious and one order based on the secular. Religious is based on the Sutras and Dharani, secular on peace and tranquillity. The Sakya Lama is responsible for the religious order, the Yuan Emperor for the secular. The religion and the state became dependent on each other, each with its own functions, [9] but the will of the Emperor, through the d-pon chen, held the de facto upper hand. [3]

Through their influence with the Mongol rulers, Tibetan lamas gained considerable influence in various Mongol clans. Besides Kublai, there were, for example, clear lines of influence between scattered areas of Tibet and the Mongol Ilkhanate based in Persia. [10] Kublai's success in succeeding Möngke as Great Khan meant that after 1260, Phagpa and the House of Sakya would only wield greater influence. Phagpa became head of all Buddhist monks in the Yuan empire. Tibet would also enjoy a rather high degree of autonomy compared to other parts of the Yuan empire, though further expeditions took place in 1267, 1277, 1281 and 1290/91. [11]

Kublai Khan

Drogon Chogyal Phagpa, the first Imperial Preceptor of the Yuan dynasty. Chogyal.JPG
Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, the first Imperial Preceptor of the Yuan dynasty.

Drogön Chögyal Phagpa was the spiritual advisor and guru to Kublai Khan. In 1260, Kublai appointed Chögyal Phagpa as "Guoshi", or State Preceptor, in 1260, the year when he became Khagan. Phagpa was the first "to initiate the political theology of the relationship between state and religion in the Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhist world". [12] [13] With the support of Kublai Khan, Chögyal Phagpa established himself and his sect as the preeminent spiritual leader in Tibet, and in the wider Mongol Empire. In 1265 Drogön Chögyal Phagpa returned to Tibet and for the first time made an attempt to impose Sakya hegemony with the appointment of Shakya Bzang-po, a long time servant and ally of the Sakyas, as the Mongol approved dpon-chen, or great administrator, over Tibet in 1267. A census was conducted in 1268 and Tibet was divided into thirteen myriarchies. While maintaining administrative control through the dpon-chen, Kublai's relationship with the Sakya Lama became known in the Tibetan tradition as the patron and priest relationship. Subsequently, each Yuan emperor had a Lama as a spiritual guide. [14]

According to Rossabi, Khublai established a system in which a Sakya lama would be "Imperial Preceptor" or Dishi (originally "State Preceptor" or Guoshi), who would reside in China and supervise all the Buddhists of the empire, and a Tibetan called dpon-chen (Ponchen) or "Civil Administrator" would live in Tibet to administer it. [15] Nevertheless, this system also led to conflicts between the Sakya leaders and the dpon-chens. [16]

Kublai Khan commissioned Chögyal Phagpa to design a new writing system to unify the writing of the multilingual Mongol Empire. Chögyal Phagpa in turn modified the traditional Tibetan script and gave birth to a new set of characters called Phagspa script which was completed in 1268. Kublai Khan decided to use the Phagspa script as the official writing system of the empire, including when he became Emperor of China in 1271, instead of the Chinese ideogrammes and the Uyghur script. However, he encountered major resistances and difficulties when trying to promote this script and never achieved his original goal. As a result, only a small amount of texts were written in this script, and the majority were still written in Chinese ideogrammes or the Uyghur alphabet. [17] The script fell into disuse after the collapse of the Yuan dynasty in 1368. [13] [18] The script was, though never widely, used for about a century and is thought to have influenced the development of modern Korean script. [19]

Revolt

The Sakya hegemony over Tibet continued into the middle of the fourteenth century, although it was challenged by a revolt of the Drikung Kagyu sect with the assistance of Duwa [20] of the Chagatai Khanate in 1285. The revolt was suppressed in 1290 when the Sakyas and the Yuan Mongol army under Temur-Buqa, Kublai's grandson, burned Drigung Monastery and killed 10,000 people. [21]

Decline of the Yuan

Between 1346 and 1354, the Yuan dynasty was weakening from uprisings in the main Chinese provinces. As Yuan declined, in Tibet, Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen toppled the Sakya and founded the Phagmodrupa Dynasty, the rulers of which belonged to the Kagyu sect. The succession of Sakya lamas in Tibet came to an end in 1358, when central Tibet in its entirety came under control of the Kagyu sect, and Tibet's independence was restored, to last nearly 400 years. [22] "By the 1370s the lines between the schools of Buddhism were clear." [23] Nevertheless, the Phagmodrupa founder avoided directly resisting the Yuan court until its fall in 1368, when his successor Jamyang Shakya Gyaltsen decided to open relations with the Ming dynasty, founded by a native Han Chinese.

See also

Notes

  1. Scholars argue whether administrative control extended to complete political control, whether the Yuan dynasty directly ruled Tibet, and how separate Yuan rule of Tibet was from Yuan rule of China proper. However, it's accepted that the Yuan dynasty had administrative control over the region.

Related Research Articles

Sakya One of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism

The Sakya school is one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the others being the Nyingma, Kagyu, and Gelug. It is one of the Red Hat Orders along with the Nyingma and Kagyu.

History of Tibet aspect of history

Tibetan history, as it has been recorded, is particularly focused on the history of Buddhism in Tibet. This is partly due to the pivotal role this religion has played in the development of Tibetan and Mongol cultures and partly because almost all native historians of the country were Buddhist monks.

Altan Khan Khan of Tümed

Altan Khan of the Tümed, whose given name was Anda, was the leader of the Tümed Mongols and de facto ruler of the Right Wing, or western tribes, of the Mongols. He was the grandson of Dayan Khan (1464–1543), a descendant of Kublai Khan (1215–1294), who had managed to unite a tribal league between the Khalkha Mongols in the north and the Chahars (Tsakhars) to the south. His name means "Golden Khan" in the Mongolian language.

Araniko Nepalese artist and architect

Aniko, Anige or Araniko was one of the key figures in the arts of Nepal and Yuan dynasty of China, and the artistic exchanges in these areas. He was born in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, during the reign of Abhaya Malla. He is known for building the White Stupa at the Miaoying Temple in Beijing. During the reign of Jaya Bhim Dev Malla, he was sent on a project to build a golden stupa in Tibet, where he also initiated into monkhood. From Tibet he was sent further to North China to work in the court of the emperor Kublai Khan, the founder of Yuan dynasty (1279–1368), where he brought the trans-Himalayan artistic tradition to China. In his later life, he renounced monkhood and started his family in China. He married seven other women from whom he had a total of six sons and eight daughters.

Drogön Chögyal Phagpa Tibetan Lama

Drogön Chogyal Phagpa, was the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was also the first Imperial Preceptor of Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty, division of the Mongol Empire, and was concurrently named the director of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. Historical tradition remembers him as the first vice-ruler of Tibet under the Mongol Khagan as well as one of the Five Sakya patriarchs. Although this is historically disputed, he played a very important political role.

Sakya Pandita Tibetan Lama

Sakya PanditaKunga Gyeltsen was a Tibetan spiritual leader and Buddhist scholar and the fourth of the Five Sakya Forefathers. Künga Gyeltsen is generally known simply as Sakya Pandita, a title given to him in recognition of his scholarly achievements and knowledge of Sanskrit. He is held in the tradition to have been an emanation of Manjusri, the embodiment of the wisdom of all the Buddhas.

Sakya Monastery building in Peoples Republic of China

Sakya Monastery, also known as Pel Sakya is a Buddhist monastery situated 25 km southeast of a bridge which is about 127 km west of Shigatse on the road to Tingri in Tibet Autonomous Region.

Ming–Tibet relations relations between Ming-dynasty China and Tibet

The exact nature of relations between Tibet and the Ming dynasty of China (1368–1644) is unclear. Analysis of the relationship is further complicated by modern political conflicts and the application of Westphalian sovereignty to a time when the concept did not exist. Some Mainland Chinese scholars such as Wang Jiawei and Tibetan scholars such as Nyima Gyaincain, assert that the Ming dynasty had unquestioned sovereignty over Tibet, pointing to the Ming court's issuing of various titles to Tibetan leaders, Tibetans' full acceptance of these titles, and a renewal process for successors of these titles that involved traveling to the Ming capital. Scholars within China also argue that Tibet has been an integral part of China since the 13th century and that it was thus a part of the Ming Empire. But most scholars outside China, such as Turrell V. Wylie, Melvin C. Goldstein, and Helmut Hoffman, say that the relationship was one of suzerainty, that Ming titles were only nominal, that Tibet remained an independent region outside Ming control, and that it simply paid tribute until the Jiajing Emperor (1521–1566), who ceased relations with Tibet.

Mongol invasions of Tibet

There were several Mongol invasions of Tibet. The earliest is the alleged plot to invade Tibet by Genghis Khan in 1206, which is considered anachronistic; there is no evidence of Mongol-Tibetan encounters prior to the military campaign in 1240. The first confirmed campaign is the invasion of Tibet by the Mongol general Doorda Darkhan in 1240, a campaign of 30,000 troops that resulted in 500 casualties. The campaign was smaller than the full-scale invasions used by the Mongols against large empires. The purpose of this attack is unclear, and is still in debate among Tibetologists. Then in the late 1240s Mongolian prince Godan invited Sakya lama Sakya Pandita, who urged other leading Tibetan figures to submit to Mongol authority. This is generally considered to have marked the beginning of Mongol rule over Tibet, as well as the establishment of patron and priest relationship between Mongols and Tibetans. These relations were continued by Kublai Khan, who founded the Mongol Yuan dynasty and granted authority over whole Tibet to Drogon Chogyal Phagpa, nephew of Sakya Pandita. The Sakya-Mongol administrative system and Yuan administrative rule over the region lasted until the mid-14th century, when the Yuan dynasty began to crumble.

Buddhism was first actively disseminated in Tibet from the 6th to the 9th century CE, predominantly from India. During the Era of Fragmentation, Buddhism waned in Tibet, only to rise again in the 11th century. With the Mongol invasion of Tibet in the 13th century and the establishment of the Mongol Yuan dynasty, Tibetan Buddhism spread beyond Tibet to Mongolia and China. From the 14th to the 20th Tibetan Buddhism was patronized by the Chinese Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and the Manchurian Qing dynasty (1644–1912).

Dharmapala Raksita was the head of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, which was the most powerful school in Tibet under the Yuan dynasty from 1280-1282. He also held the title of Imperial Preceptor (Dishi), from 1282-1286.

Jamyang Rinchen Gyeltsen, was the ruler of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, which had precedence in Tibet under the Yuan dynasty, in 1286-1303. He also held the title of Imperial Preceptor ( Dishi) from 1304 to his demise in 1305.

Zangpo Pal, in full Danyi Chenpo Zangpo Pal, was the ruler of Sakya, which held a precedence position in Tibet under the Yuan dynasty. He ruled nominally from 1298, in reality from 1306 to his death in 1323.

Rinchen Gyaltsen was a Tibetan imperial preceptor at the court of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. His tenure lasted from 1274 to his death in either 1279 or 1282.

Yeshe Rinchen was a Tibetan Imperial Preceptor (Dishi) at the court of the Mongol Yuan dynasty. He hailed from Sakya, the foremost monastic regime in Tibet in this period, and held the title from 1286 to 1291.

Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs government agency and top-level administrative department set up in Khanbaliq (modern Beijing) that supervised Buddhist monks in addition to managing the territory of Tibet during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) established by Kublai Khan.

The Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, or Xuanzheng Yuan was a government agency and top-level administrative department set up in Khanbaliq that supervised Buddhist monks in addition to managing the territory of Tibet during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) established by Kublai Khan. It was originally set up in 1264 as an autonomous office named Zongzhi Yuan or the Bureau of General Regulation, before it was renamed in 1288, which was named after the Xuanzheng Hall where Tibetan envoys were received in the Tang dynasty. In the Mongol Empire, Tibet was managed by the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs, separate from the other provinces of the Yuan dynasty such as those governed the former Song dynasty of China, but still under the administrative rule of the Yuan. While no modern equivalents remain, the political functions of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs might have been analogous to the India Office in London during the British Raj. Besides holding the title of Imperial Preceptor or Dishi, Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, the fifth leader of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, was concurrently named the director of the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. One of the department's purposes was to select a dpon-chen, usually appointed by the lama and confirmed by the Mongol emperor in Beijing. Tibetan Buddhism was not only practiced within the capital Beijing but throughout the country. Apart from Tibetan affairs, the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs managed the entire Buddhist clergy throughout the realm, and supervised all temples, monasteries, and other Buddhist properties in the empire, at least in name. According to scholar Evelyn Rawski, it supervised 360 Buddhist monasteries. To emphasize its importance for Hangzhou, capital of the former Southern Song dynasty and the largest city in the Yuan realm, a branch Xuanzheng Yuan was established in that city in 1291, although Tibetan Buddhism took public or official precedence over Han Chinese Buddhism.

Dpon-chen

The dpon-chen or pönchen, literally the "great authority" or "great administrator", was the chief administrator or governor of Tibet located at Sakya Monastery during the Yuan administrative rule of Tibet in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the Mongol Empire the office of the dpon-chen was established in the 1260s and functioned for all practical purposes as the Tibetan government at the pleasure of the Mongol emperors of the Yuan dynasty, unlike the Sakya Imperial Preceptors (Dishi) who were active at the Yuan court.

The Imperial Preceptor, or Dishi was a high title and powerful post created by Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty. It was established as part of Mongol patronage of Tibetan Buddhism and Yuan administrative rule of Tibet.

Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia

The Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia was the domination of the Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia in the 13th and the 14th centuries. The Genghisid rulers of the Yuan came from the Mongolian steppe, and the Mongols under Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) based in Khanbaliq, a Chinese-style dynasty that incorporated many aspects of Mongolian and Inner Asian political and military institutions. Actual Yuan rule extended to Manchuria, Mongolia, the Tibetan Plateau and parts of Xinjiang. People from these Inner Asian regions other than the Mongols usually belonged to the Semu class. In addition, the Yuan emperors held nominal suzerainty over the three western Mongol khanates, but they were essentially autonomous and ruled separately due to the division of the Mongol Empire since the Toluid Civil War in the 1260s.

Khön clan of Sakya is a Tibetan clan and nobility originally based in Sa'gya. The clan traces its history to the time of Bod Chen Po. The Sakya Trizin of Sakya school was exclusively chosen from members of this clan. The current head of Khön clan is Ratna Vajra Rinpoche.

References

Citations

  1. Wylie. p.110.
  2. Wylie. p.104: 'To counterbalance the political power of the lama, Khubilai appointed civil administrators at the Sa-skya to supervise the Mongol regency.'
  3. 1 2 3 4 Dawa Norbu. China's Tibet Policy , pp. 139. Psychology Press.
  4. Schirokauer, Conrad. A Brief History of Chinese Civilization. Thomson Wadsworth, (c)2006, p 174
  5. Kychanov, E.I. and Melnichenko, B.N. 2005. 'Istoriya Tibeta s Drevnikh Vremen do Nashikh Dnei [The History of Tibet from Ancient Times to the Present Days]. Moscow: Russian Acad. Sci. Publ.
  6. Smith, W.W. 1996. 'Tibetan Nation. A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations'. Boulder: Westview.
  7. Sperling, E. 2004. 'The Tibet–China conflict: history and polemics'. - Policy Studies, v. 7 (Washington, East–West Center). - http://www.eastwestcenterwashington.org/publications/publications.htm.
  8. 'The Mongols and Tibet. A Historical Assessment of Relations Between the Mongol Empire and Tibet'. 2009. DIIR Publ.
  9. Franke, H. 1981. Tibetans in Yuan China. - In: China Under Mongol Rule. Princeton.
  10. Authenticating Tibet: Answers to China's 100 Questions, by Anne-Marie Blondeau, Katia Buffetrille, p13
  11. Dieter Schuh, Tibet unter der Mongolenherrschaft, in: Michael Weiers (editor), Die Mongolen. Beiträge zu ihrer Geschichte und Kultur, Darmstadt 1986, pp. 283-289.
  12. Laird 2006, pg. 115.
  13. 1 2 F. W. Mote. Imperial China 900-1800. Harvard University Press, 1999. p.501.
  14. Uspensky, V.L. 1996. Lamaist Beijing: from Shun-Chi to the Tao-Kuang. –Oriens (Moscow), no. 4
  15. Rossabi 1989, p. 144
  16. Rossabi 1989, pg. 221
  17. Rossabi 1989, p158
  18. Laird 2006, pp. 114-117
  19. Laird 2006, pp. 115-116.
  20. M.Kutlukov, Mongol rule in Eastern Turkestan. Article in collection Tataro-Mongols in Asia and Europe. Moscow, 1970
  21. Wylie, Turnell V. (1977) "The First Mongol Conquest of Tibet Reinterpreted," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 37.1: 103-133.
  22. Rossabi 1983, p. 194
  23. Laird 2006, p. 124

Sources

  • Laird, Thomas. The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama (2006) Grove Press. ISBN   0-8021-1827-5
  • Petech, Luciano, Central Tibet and the Mongols: the Yüan-Sa-skya period of Tibetan history (1990) Istituto Italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente. ISBN   978-88-6323-072-7, OCLC   29671390, ASIN   B0006F23TK
  • Rossabi, Morris. China Among Equals: The Middle Kingdom and Its Neighbors, 10th-14th Centuries (1983) Univ. of California Press. ISBN   0-520-04383-9
  • Rossabi, Morris. Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times (1989) Univ. of California Press. ISBN   0-520-06740-1
  • Smith, Warren W., Jr. Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-Tibetan Relations (1997) Westview Press. ISBN   978-0-8133-3280-2