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Princess Bhrikuti

If the history of Buddhism in Nepal is traced then there won't be much proof that would be found about Princess Bhrikuti and her contributions and life of Bhrikuti as princess in Nepal. It is believed that she was a princess in the kingdom reign by Licchavi Emperor of Nepal. But Bhrikuti had played a major role in the development of Buddhism in Tibet and also promoted the Buddhism of Nepal in Tibet as well as the skills of many Newar Buddhist craftsmen in Nepal. Princess Bhrikuti along with Emperor Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng change history of Buddhism in Tibet. They are known as legends in Buddhism.

Princess Bhrikuti was a licchavi Princess in Nepal was known as Bal-ma-bza' Khri-btsun, Bhelsa Tritsun or Royal Lady in Tibet. Princess Bhrikuti was considered as the first wife of Emperor Songtsan Gampo of Tibet. According to history of Buddhism, Princess Bhrikuti was believed to be the daughter of King Anshuvarma, the successor of King Srideva of Licchavi Kingdom. Princess Bhrikuti was a devout Buddhist and brought great Buddhist change in the land of Tibet and many Buddhist scholars believed that Princess was the incarnation of Tara, major Bodhisattva an embodiment of Buddhahood who protects the Dharma and Buddhist teachings.

princess-bhrikuti

Princess Bhrikuti and Buddhism in Tibet

According to history, Princess Bhrikuti was married to Emperor Songtsan Gampo in around 638 BCE due to very close relationship of Nepal with Tibet. As a part of Dowry, Princess Bhrukuti brought Buddha statues of Shakyamuni Buddha statues which was the inspiration of Tibetan Buddha statues in Tibet. Most of the Tibetan Buddha statues are quite similar to Nepali Buddha statues due to various reasons, such as the influence of Newar Buddhist craftsmen who were brought by Princess Bhrikuti as a part of dowry and another reason would be the influence of Buddha statues of Shakyamuni Buddha. Princess Bhrikuti even brought many Buddhist sculptures from Nepal.

Jokhang Temple, one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Tibet was originally built by King Songtsan Gampo in order to house all the Buddhist sculptures brought by Princess Bhrikuti. Originally the heart or core of Jokhang Temple was the Nepali Buddha statues of Shakyamuni Buddha brought by Bhrikuti until the death of the king when second wife of King Songtsan Gamp i.e. Princess Wengcheng brought Nepal Tibet Buddha statues of Vairochana Buddha, one of the Pancha Buddhas and make it the heart of Jokhang temple. Even though the effort of King Songtsan and Princess Bhrikuti helped in the construction of great Buddhist pilgrimage site of Tibet, i.e. Jokhang Temple.

Besides various Buddhist sculptures, Princess Bhrikuti also brought many Buddhist scriptures that contains the teachings and practices related with Vajrayana Buddhism and Newar Buddhism practices. These Nepalese Buddhist practices and methods helped in the thorough development of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal thus, it deepened the relationship of Buddhism in Tibet with Newar Buddhism.

Contributions of Princess Bhrikuti

Besides various Buddhist sculptures, Princess Bhrikuti also brought many Buddhist scriptures that contains the teachings and practices related with Vajrayana and Newar Buddhism practices. These Nepalese Buddhist practices and methods helped in the thorough development of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal thus, it deepened the relationship of Buddhism in Tibet with Newar Buddhism.

Potala Palace, one of the wonder of Tibetan Buddhism is consists of many parts i.e. White Palace, Red Palace etc. It is said that Red Palace was built and constructed by Newar craftsmen under the wish of Princess Bhrikuti. Samye, one of the oldest Buddhist monastery in Tibet consists of many Buddha statues and Buddhist sculptures such as Tub wang was also built under the wishes of Princess Bhrikuti. Due to her devotion and contribution in the development of Buddhism in Tibet, Princess Bhrikuti was considered as Green Tara in Tibetan iconography while Princess Wencheng of China was considered as the White Tara in Tibetan iconography.

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