Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha Statue

An example of a 

Tibetan Buddha Statue adorned by dzi

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According to Tibetan histories, Buddhism first took hold in Tibet during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo ( died ca. 650 CE ), a ruler whose ancestors came from the Yarlung Valley.

King Songtsen Gampo succeeded in unifying Tibet and although he was not himself a Buddhist, he had 2 Buddhist queens, 1 Chinese and 1 Nepalese, who are said to have ordered the building of Tibet's first Buddhist Temple, the great Jokhang in Lhasa city, Tibet's most revered Buddhist shrine.

Every Tibetan looks to Lhasa city as the most sacred place of pilgrimage and the Jokhang Temple is the primary place to visit. The Jokhang Temple attracts pilgrims from all over Tibet (and the world) who come to offer devotion to an image of the Buddha known as the Jowo Rinpoche.

Within the Jokhang Temple, the main object of devotion is the Jowo Rinpoche statue--the principal Shakyamuni image. It is a special object of faith and reverence among the Tibetan people.

Said originally to have been made in India, it was brought to Tibet by Weng Chen, King Songtsen Gampo's Chinese queen, and has been at the Jokhang since 650 CE.

It was believed that whatever prayer one offers in front of Jowo Rinpoche never goes unfulfilled. That's why Tibetans call Jowo Rinpoche, "Joshak-Yishin Norbu" the wish-fulfilling Gem.

From the above picture, one can see many precious Tibetan dzi beads which are used to adorn the Jowo Rinpoche statue. This helps one to appreciate the significance and importance of dzi beads in Tibetan culture and society.