Remembering Kelsang Namtso

4 years ago today, one of the most important yet unfortunate events took place. Like many days before and after September 30th, 2006, a group of 75 Tibetans were attempting to flee the iron fist of China and reach the refuge of Nepal, via the Nangpa La Pass through the Himalayan mountains.

The trip had already been  harrowing enough. From the truck packed with people, resembling sardines in a can, to the harsh travel through the mountains, to the twine holding one’s shoe sole to the rest of the shoe to keep their feet warm, it soon became a test of survival rather than a simple escape to freedom.

Morning had just broken, and the group was on the move, hoping that the journey would soon come to an end. It was not the case, and frostbitten toes were the last of their worries. From the peaks they saw shadows scrambling and then the loud popping noises were heard, as was the sound of bullets buzzing by.

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The Ingratitude of Man: A Tibetan Folk Tale

The Ingratitude of Man (found at Sacred Texts)

Once upon a time in a far, far away land, in a very high, high land, when the old world was very, very young and animals and men spoke and lived together, such a thing as gratitude was known.

Away in the mountains was a narrow road that passed along the side of a deep chasm. It was a dangerous place to travel, and along this path one night, just at dark, when a man, a crow, a rat and a snake were walking along together, a part of the road gave way and they fell into the depths below. They were not hurt, but much shaken, and they sat there waiting and thinking of their plight, wondering how they could get out, or what they could do to keep from starving, when a traveler coming along reached the broken road and looked down and saw them. They all at one time began to clamor and beg to be helped out, so he threw a long rope down to them and drew them all out one after the other. They all professed great gratitude and said they would never forget him and never forget the help he had given them, and that some time they’d help him. The traveler, in his heart, rather scorned the professions of friendship from the crow, the rat and the snake, and really didn’t believe they could do anything for him, but thought possibly the man might be able to aid him some time.

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A Message from SFT: Art for Tibet

Press release below cut and pasted from an e-mail message announcing the event.

The Art for Tibet II Online Auction is now open:

We’re excited to kick-off Art for Tibet II with an online auction and art preview beginning at 12pm (EST) today! Standing in solidarity with the Tibetan freedom struggle and persecuted artists, writers, and intellectuals in Tibet, more than 100 acclaimed international artists will be exhibiting works at this incredible event.

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Interview with musician/ activist, Shenpenn Khymsar

I had a chance recently to talk with Shenpenn Khymsar, Tibetan activist, producer of the documentary “Journey Of A Dream” and guitarist in metal act Avatara. We talked a bit about his background in music and his intentions with the documentary. For those that don’t know about the film, here’s a brief snippet from the website, there is also a trailer for the film at the bottom of the interview…

“This revolutionary politically driven Rock-U-mentary is the first of its kind to put a spotlight on the hidden musical talents of his birth place Darjeeling that struggles to survive much less get noticed. Journey of a Dream takes a candid look into the lives of generations of Tibetan refugees in Darjeeling, Dharmsala, New York and Canada. Tibetans all over the world are politically, philosophically, and spiritually loyal to their history, culture which is what keeps the dream of a free Tibet alive for future generations. For Khymsar expressing his dedication and love for his occupied homeland Tibet through Heavy Metal, a musical form as complex and undeniably passionate as his own struggle, was a natural evolution.”

Click to read the interview

Book Review: Murder In The High Himalaya

“Murder In The High Himalaya”
by Jonathan Green
Published by Public Affairs Books

“We all felt that we had to get our people out of there as soon as we could because this could get uglier,” said one expedition leader. “The feeling was that we were being watched, and now that people were talking about it in base camp, it was very uncomfortable”

We’ve all seen the video by now of the CCP straight up shooting at a line of Tibetans on the Nangpa La pass from Tibet to Nepal, if not click the links but be warned you will see people being shot to death.

“Murder In The High Himalaya” is the story of that cold, dark day in the mountains of Tibet. Not only from the perspective of the Tibetans who managed to escape, but from the climbing expeditions climbing the Himalayas that day.

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Demonising the Dalai Lama

Ed. Note: is running a series this week, from Tibet. I have not been a fan of some of the condescending articles that have been written so far, but I thought in this particular article the writer made some valuable points. His “know-it-all” voice gets in the way a bit now and again, but for the most part I think this article is important to read and pick apart.

From series inside Tibet
It’s not often I feel the urge to defend the Dalai Lama, having never been a fan of his vogue spiritualism or a supporter of the idea that he’s the man to bring liberty to Tibet. But things change when I find myself in conversation with Tibet’s officials. Their belief that the ‘Dalai clique’, as they call it, is behind every problem in Tibet is so wrongheaded that it’s enough to make even a Dalai doubter like me rush to the giggling monk’s defence.

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A Brewing Issue, the “Recognized” rebirth of Gyalrong Dedrug Rinpoche

We saw it all start with the CCP’s “choice” for the Panchen Lama, after of course kidnapping the officially recognized rebirth and hiding him away somewhere (who knows if he is even still alive). This is the future folks, the Chinese gov’t will continue to stick their noses into things they don’t understand in order to control it.

The Chinese officials say the law, which was passed in August 2007,  regulating rebirths is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.” Of course it’s important for you, dolts, it’s an easy way for you to continue to suppress and depress the Tibetan culture.

From the Central Tibetan Administration website

Recognising the incarnations of Lamas/Trulkus is a unique Tibetan practice related with Buddhism. It has nothing to do with politics. Using religious figures for political purpose, therefore, goes against religion. On 18 July 2007, the State Administration of Religious Affairs of the People’s Republic of China issued the Regulation on Management Measures for the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism by transgressing the bounds of both religion and politics.

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Are You A “Fashionable Buddhist”?

I’ve been reading a bit lately from Alexander Berzin and the following paragraphs got me thinking. Was I like this when I got started? Did I really look like “that guy”?

“Now, there are many different levels of practice of Buddhism and how we would go about applying it into our daily life. There is a very, very superficial level which doesn’t really do very much to change us internally. And, then there is a deeper level, in which we are actually working on ourselves, working on our personalities, working toward the goals of liberation and enlightenment. Now, in the beginning, many people are attracted to this superficial level and so they deal with externals. By externals I mean you have to have a red blessing string around your neck, or around your wrist, or both, and wear a mala…a rosary of beads…around the other wrist and, maybe when we are walking around or sitting, then you thumb the rosary and mumble something. And we have to have a good supply of incense and candles, and all the proper meditation cushions, and Tibetan paintings and pictures, and, if we really go far in this direction, we might even start to wear some sort of Tibetan clothing.

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Keep those affected by quake in Tibet and China in your thoughts

As we’ve all heard by now, another disastrous earthquake has hit. This time it hit inside Tibet and as of this moment 580+ have been confirmed dead and hundreds, if not thousands, are still buried. From Lamas and monks, to mothers, fathers and children, everyone has been affected.

My sincere, heartfelt thoughts go out to all affected by this earthquake, and all the others that have happened recently.

Times are insane here folks, regret nothing and live today, right now. You never know when it’s going to end, make sure those you love know it.