Langdarma

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Langdarma
Tibetan name
Tibetan གླང་དར་མ་།་འུ་དུམ་བཙན་པོ
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 朗達瑪
Simplified Chinese 朗达玛

Langdarma (Wylie: glang dar ma "Mature Bull" or "Dharma Bull", proper name Wylie: U dum brtan) was the last emperor of the unified Tibetan Empire, who most likely reigned from 838 to 841 CE. Early sources named him Tri Darma meaning "King Darma". His domain extended beyond Tibet to include Dunhuang and neighboring Chinese regions.[1]

History[edit]

By tradition Langdarma is held to have been anti-Buddhist and a follower of Bon. He is attributed with the assassination of his brother, King Ralpacan, in 838 CE and he is generally held to have persecuted Buddhists. According to traditional accounts, during the first two years of his rule, Langdarma remained a Buddhist, but under the influence of Wégyel Toré (Tibetan: དབས་རྒྱལ་ཏོ་རེ།Wylie: dbas rgyal to re), he became a follower of Bon.

The anti-Buddhist portrayal of this king has been questioned by several historians,[2] most prominently Zuiho Yamaguchi.[3]

Langdarma's reign was plagued by external troubles. The Uyghur state to the north collapsed under pressure from the Kyrgyz in year 840, and many displaced people fled to Tibet. According to one source he only reigned for a year and a half, while others give six or thirteen years.[4] According to traditional accounts, a Buddhist hermit or monk named Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje assassinated Langdarma in 842 or 846.[4][5] His death was followed by civil war and the dissolution of the Tibetan empire, leading to the Era of Fragmentation.[1]

Langdarma is said to have had two sons: Tride Yumten, by his first wife and Namde Ösung by his second wife.[6] They apparently competed for power, the former ruling over the central kingdom of Ü, and the other ruling over the "left wing", probably the eastern territories.[4]

One of Langdarma's grandsons, Kyidé Nyima Gön (Wylie: skyid lde nyi ma gon), conquered Western Tibet in the late 10th century, although his army originally numbered only 300 men. Kyidé Nyima Gön founded several towns and castles and he apparently ordered the construction of the main sculptures at Shey. "In an inscription he says he had them made for the religious benefit of the Tsanpo (the dynastical name of his father and ancestors), and of all the people of Ngaris (Western Tibet). This shows that already in this generation Langdarma's opposition to Buddhism had disappeared."[7] Shey, just 15 km east of modern Leh, was the ancient seat of the Ladakhi kings.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Samten Karmay in McKay, Alex (2003). Tibet and her neighbours : a history. London: Edition Hansjörg Meyer. ISBN 3883757187. , pg. 57
  2. ^ Jens Schlieter. "Compassionate Killing or Conflict Resolution? The Murder of King Langdarma according to Tibetan Buddhist Sources". University of Berne. 
  3. ^ Yamaguchi, Zuiho. “The Fiction of King Dar ma's Persecution of Buddhism.” in Drège, textes réunis par Jean-Pierre (1996). De Dunhuang au Japon : études chinoise et bouddhiques offertes à Michel Soymié. Genève: Droz. ISBN 2600001662. 
  4. ^ a b c Stein, R. A. (1972). Tibetan civilization ([English ed.]. ed.). Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press. ISBN 0-8047-0901-7. , pp. 70-71
  5. ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (1993). The Tibetan empire in Central Asia : a history of the struggle for great power among Tibetans, Turks, Arabs, and Chinese during the early Middle Ages (4. print., and 1st pbk. ed. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 0-691-02469-3. , pp. 168-169
  6. ^ Davidson, Ronald M. (2008). Tibetan renaissance : Tantric Buddhism in the rebirth of Tibetan culture (1st Indian ed. ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-8120832787. 
  7. ^ Francke, A. H. (1914). Antiquities of Indian Tibet (2 volumes) (1972 reprint ed.). S. Chand. , pp. 89-90.

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ralpacan
Langdarma
r. 838-841
Succeeded by
'Od-srung (俄松; Guge) and yum-brtan (乞离胡; Lhasa)