King Gesar, a heroic epic of Tibetans, used to be oral literature handed down for more than one thousand years among Tibetans and now has been compiled into a book.
The book is in more than 120 volumes with over 1 million lines and over 20 million words. It is the longest epic in the world and has a very close tie with the Tibetan Buddhism.
This epic came into being in the 3rd-6thcentury, was further enriched from the early years of the 7thto the 9thcentury, and gradually became mature and widespread during the period from the 10thcentury to the early years of the 12thcentury. Along with the revival of Buddhism inTibet, monks of Tibetan Buddhism began to take part in the compiling, collection and popularization of King Gesar around the 11thcentury. Finally, the basic framework of the epic was established and the earliest handwritten copy appeared. Most compilers, collectors and disseminators of the handwritten copy were monks of theNyingmapasect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Based on ancient myths, stories, poems, adages and other folk literatures of Tibetans, the epic King Gesar was produced and developed. It represents the highest achievements of ancient Tibetan culture. In the epic, King Gesar's outstanding achievements were highlighted. He was not daunted by brute forces and difficulties. With his amazing perseverance and magic power, he fought in all sides, subdued demons, suppressed tyrannical forces, supported weak forces and benefited people. The epic fervidly eulogized the struggles of justice winning over evil and brightness winning over darkness.
This epic boasts high academic value in addition to its great worth in the research of Tibetan social history, relationships between classes, communication among different nationalities, moral concepts, folk customs, cultures, etc.