Surrounded by snow-covered peaks that rise against brilliant turquoise skies, the land of Tibet is a reflection of the natural power and beauty of the earth. In this peaceful atmosphere many centuries ago, the Tibetan people created a remarkable civilization, inspired both by the power of nature and the most profound religious traditions of mankind. This deeply spiritual culture continues even today, for Tibetan people all over the world share an ancient heritage.
ANCIENT TIBET offers an introductory history of this land and its people, covering the earliest periods of Tibetan history up to the ninth century. The formation of the land and the evolution of the environment over geologic time are described in summaries of recent scientific research on the Tibetan plateau. The origin and development of the Tibetan tribes and their early kings are discussed, following the accounts of authoritative Tibetan histories. A survey of the political and cultural accomplishments of the Tibetan people in the era of the Dharma Kings is based on eighth and ninth century Tibetan documents as well as the records of Tibet's neighbors and other sources.
This survey of the oldest periods of Tibetan history gives the general reader a balanced overview and provides a good background for those interested in the further study of Tibetan cuilture and civilization.
PART ONE: THE LAND
Chapters One Through Four
The land of Tibet has undergone dramatic changes over the eons of geologic time as the great Himalayas formed, the plateau rose to a platform three miles high, and the plant and animal life gradually evolved to their present forms.
PART TWO: THE PEOPLE
Chapters Five Through Eleven
The Tibetan plateau has been inhabited for thousands of years, but the identity of the earliest people is still a mystery. Tracing the history of the Tibetan tribes and their early kings, however, reveals the ancient roots of Tibetan culture.
PART THREE: THE EMPIRE
Chapters Twelve Through Twenty
By the seventh century great kings and generals began to expand territory beyond the plateau. An advanced civilization developed as new influences mingled with the old culture, and Buddhism became the religion of the land.