Songtsen Gampo

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Songtsen Gampo (Tib. སྲོང་བཙན་སྒམ་པོ་, Wyl. srong btsan sgam po) (c.605-650) was the first of Tibet's three great religious kings and was an emanation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. It was during his reign that the first Buddhist temples in Tibet, the Rasa Trulnang (future Jokhang) and the Ramoche, were built. He married the Nepalese princess Bhrikuti and the Chinese princess Wencheng.

Kapstein writes:

Later Tibetan historiography attributes three great civilizing innovations to the emperor Songtsen Gampo: the introduction of a system of writing, the codification of the laws, and the inception of Tibetan Buddhism. These themes have been much mythologized in the writings of post-eleventh-century historians, and their accounts can only be used with great caution. Nevertheless, their association of literacy, legislation, and religious change probably does represent a genuine insight into fundamental relationships among three undeniably crucial developments in the cultural history of early medieval Tibet. [1]


  1. Kapstein, M. The Indian Literary Identity in Tibet. In Sheldon Pollock (ed.), Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia (2003), pp. 752.

Further Reading

  • Richardson, Hugh E. "How Old was Srong Brtsan Sgam Po" in Bulletin of Tibetology, 1965. 2.1. pp 5–8.

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