The Culture of Tibetan Name
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The Culture of Tibetan Name

Update: Jan. 14th, 2013

an old Tibetan people

The Buddhism culture has deeply influenced Tibet culture regarding to the philosophy, religion, language, music, art, architecture, and the Tibetan names. The name is the symbol of people's, which is the representative of the best wish of the parents. The culture and history of Tibetan name is also profound and age-old, which is the precious treasure that succeeded from the ancestors.

The Culture of Tibetan Name

All the Tibetans believe a religion in their lifetime. They originally believe the primitive religion in old times. During the rules of Songtsen Gampo, the Buddhism has been introduced into Tibet region, which gradually became the major religion of Tibetan people. Almost each Tibetan believes Tibetan Buddhism since then on. Therefore Tibetan Buddhism influenced a lot in Tibetan philosophy, Tibetan religions, Tibetan language, Tibetan music, Tibetan art, Tibetan architecture and Tibetan names.

Before Buddhism introduced into Tibet region, the meaning of Tibetan name is very simple and easy. After Tibetan people start to believe Tibet Buddhism, the name was usually named by the monks, and the meaning of the names is also related to the religious ideas, for example, at that time the girls were usually named Zhuoma and the boys were usually named Duogye, etc.

When people would like to be a Lama, he had to get a religious name by the Living Buddha after canceling the originated name. The religious names are usually a part of the name of the Living Buddha, for example, a Living Buddha named Gyangpai Chilye, he would also named the new lamas like Gyangpai Tuogye, Gyangpai Wangtui, Gyangpai Pingtso, etc. Since then on, Tibet Buddhism started to influence people's name.

When the lama got a higher professional qualification, the name of the position would be added before his name, for example, a lama called Panchen Erdeni Qyegyi Gyantsen, Pan Erdeni is the name of the position, and Qyegyi Gyantsen is his name. In general, the monastery's name should be added before his name, for example, when Tuogye Cairen was the Living Buddha of Reting Monastery, his name was changed to Reting Tuogye Cairen. People called them Reting Living Buddha, Tongga Living Buddha, etc.

The name of ordinary people was called differently. Most of them were named without the family name. The 1st and the 3rd characters of the name would be called for short. For example, a person named Gengtui Qyunpei, he should be called Gengqyun for short. The former two characters or the latter two characters would be also called for short, for example, a person who named Solang Wangtui, people could call him Solang, or Wangtui for short, too. But people never called the 2nd and the 4th characters of the name for short. Children would be named by the Living Buddha, or the older people, or the famous people. The name usually representative a kind of meaning, for example, a child who named Tsiren, it is the best wish of their parents, as the name literally means longevity in Tibetan language.

In addition, people also add the place name in the name such as Yatong Wangtui, Tuiqyong Wangtui, both of Yatong and Tuiqyong are the place name in Tibet region. Besides, people are named themselves based on the philological feature, such as Tuogyi Shakuo (Shakuo means blind).

After the liberation, people started to name themselves in different ways, not only regarded to the religious meaning, for example, Degyi Meituo means "happy flower", Zhang Nima is characteristic of the family name of Han people's.

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