Tonmi Sambhota : The Founder of Sambhota Lipi
April 02, 2021
Tonmi Sambhota was the inventor of the Tibetan Script.The Sanskrit part of his name, Sambhota, is comprised of "sam", meaning scholar, and "bhota", meaning Tibet. He was born in 619 AD into a family of a minister of Tibet in a place call Tu. Since early childhood, he was extremely intelligent. In 622 AD,the king Songtsen Gampo sent Tonmi and other young ment to india to study and research scripts in order to create a script for the Tibetan Language. At that time, Tonmi Sambhota was only fourteen years old.In India, Tonmi Sambhota studied language, grammer, lexicography, poetry, literature and philosophy for seven years.
Unfortunately, all of his companions died because of the tropical heat and Tonmi Sambhota was the only one who safely returned to Tibet. He brought along with him many texts on Sanskrit grammer, but also other books.This books are said to be the first Buddhist texts to enter Tibet from India. Then, Tonmi Sambhota sat in Lhasa and commenced the great project of inventing the Tibetan Script. The script pattern he chose was based on the Devanagari and Kashmir scripts. The basic construction included thirty consonants and four vowels.
Tonmi Presented his new script to the emperor in a royal assembly that was attended by all the ministers. The emperor was highly pleased and even decided to retire for four years just to master the new script and grammar. From this momment on , Tibet became a literate country. There is no record of the year of Tonmi Sambhota's death or the lenght of his life but, he is said to had a son and at least one grandson.