In 1358, the Sakya viceregal regime installed by the Mongols in Tibet was overthrown in a rebellion by the Phagmodru myriarch Janchub Gyaltsän, or Byang chub rgyal mtshan (1302–1364). The Mongol Yuan court was forced to accept him as the new viceroy, and Janchub Gyaltsän and his successors, the Phagmodrupa dynasty, gained de facto rule over Tibet. In 1368, a Han Chinese revolt known as the Red Turban Rebellion toppled the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China. Zhu Yuanzhang then established the Ming Dynasty, ruling as the Hongwu Emperor (r. 1368–1398).
It is not clear how much the early Ming court understood the civil war going on in Tibet between rival religious sects, but the first emperor was anxious to avoid the same trouble that Tibet had caused for the Tang Dynasty. Instead of recognizing the Phagmodru ruler, the Hongwu Emperor sided with the Karmapa of the nearer Kham region and southeastern Tibet, sending envoys out in the winter of 1372–1373 to ask the Yuan officeholders to renew their titles for the new Ming court. As evident in his imperial edicts, Hongwu was well aware of the Buddhist link between Tibet and China, and wanted to foster it. The fourth Karmapa Rolpe Dorje (1340–1383) rejected Hongwu's invitation, although he did send some disciples as envoys to the Ming court in Nanjing. Hongwu also entrusted his guru Zongluo, one of many Buddhist monks at court, to head a religious mission into Tibet in 1378–1382 in order to obtain Buddhist scriptures. However, the early Ming government enacted a law, later rescinded, which forbade Han Chinese to learn the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. There is little detailed evidence of Chinese—especially lay Chinese—studying Tibetan Buddhism until the Republican era (1912–1949). Despite these missions on behalf of Hongwu, Morris Rossabi writes that the Yongle Emperor (r. 1402–1424) "was the first Ming ruler actively to seek an extension of relations with Tibet."
cardboard box company