In the 7th century, Mahayana Buddhism was brought to Tibet through King Songtsen Gampo. The Tibetan Buddhism adopted quite some elements from the original Tibetan Bon religion, a shamanistic religion about spiritualism and demons. For example, the colourful prayer flags with religious texts originate from the Bon religion. The colours represent the five elements - blue stands for sky and space, white for air and wind, red for fire, green for water and yellow for earth.
Some important Tibetan Gods:
Buddha is someone who has achieved enlightenment and nirvana.
Bodhisattvas strive for the rank of a Buddha for the benefit of life.
Shakyamuni is a Buddha of the present.
Maitreya is a Buddha of the future.
Dipankara is a Buddha of the past.
Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche is known as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism under the Tibetan King Trisong Detsen in the 8th century.
Chenrezik or Avalokitesvara is a four-armed Bodhisattva of compassion.
Tara is a female Bodhisattva of compassion.
Fun & Interesting
There is a famous legend about a demon that initially prevented the propagation of Buddhism: Songtsen Gampo’s first wife, Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal, lent the money for the construction of today's Jokhang Temple. Nepalese builders tried to drain the so-called Milk Lake (Othangi Tso) to construct the temple on that area. However, every night the lake filled up again with water. Princess Wencheng, Songtsen Gampo's second wife, who was familiar with Chinese Astrology, found the cause. A demon, lying on his back, prevented the propagation of Buddhism. The water of the Milk Lake was believed to be the blood of the demon. Princess Wencheng threw her golden ring into the lake to fix the flow of the vital force qi and the disharmony of the elements. From then on, goats were used to carry soil to the Milk Lake to drain it. That’s why under Songtsen Gampo, the city became known as "Rasa" - "Ra" meaning goats and "Sa" meaning soil. Only later, Rasa became known as Lhasa ("land of gods").