Two Tibetan monks set themselves on fire in protest

September 28, 2011

Edward Wong: Two young Tibetan monks set themselves on fire on Monday at an embattled monastery in western China to protest Chinese policies in the area, according to a Tibet advocacy group. The monks were apparently taken to a hospital, and it was unclear what condition they were in on Monday night.

The monastery, Kirti, in a remote area of Sichuan Province, has been the site of at least four recent self-immolations, including the two on Monday.

The latest monks to set themselves on fire were Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, both estimated to be 18 or 19, according to Free Tibet, the advocacy group, which…

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Tibetan exile mani stones

July 30, 2011

Tammy Winand writes:

Mani Stones are stones featuring carved mantras, most often the Chenrezig Buddha of Compassion mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum. They may be heaped together in mounds or walls, and often appear near Buddhist places of worship (temples, stupas, holy lakes and mountains, or remote places where strong spirit presences are believed to exist).

The following are some examples I have come across during my travels in Tibetan exile communities in northern India.

Mani Stone Outside the Main Temple of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama-McleodGanj, India

Mani Stones and Image of Guru Rinpoche near Tsuglakhang, McleodGanj

Mani Stones, including a Kalachakra Mantra, at Tsuglakhang

Mani Stone Pile Outside Choekling Monastery in Bir … Read more »

Tibet’s quiet revolution

March 20, 2011

It’s been startling to witness mass demonstrations in countries across the Middle East for freedom from autocracy, while, in the Tibetan community, a die-hard champion of “people power” tries to dethrone himself and his people keep asking him to stay on. Again and again the Dalai Lama (who tends to be more radical and less romantic than most of his followers) has sought to find ways to give up power, and his community has sought to find ways to ensure he can’t. It could be said that almost the only time Tibetans don’t listen to the Dalai Lama is when he tells them they shouldn’t listen to him. Now, on the eve of an important … Read more »

Dalai Lama to retire from political life

March 10, 2011

The Dalai Lama has announced he will retire from political life within days.

In a speech posted on the internet and delivered in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamasala, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said he would ask the Tibetan parliament in exile to make the necessary constitutional changes to relieve him of his “formal authority” as head of the Tibetan community outside China.

The assembly, which meets early next week, is expected to approve his request. Though long-anticipated, the move away from the limelight by one of the world’s best known political figures signals a dramatic change.

Analysts and supporters have described the decision of the Dalai Lama, whose office traditionally combines spiritual … Read more »

To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron: review

February 9, 2011

There is a telling moment in one of Colin Thubron’s early films. He is travelling with a BBC crew along the Silk Road in China when he professes that he is tired of filming and needs to be alone. He turns aside and enters the desert for a moment of meditation; a moment that is recorded by the film crew, who are presumably still beside him.

The tensions between Thubron’s natural tendency to solitude and the travel writer’s need to communicate and share experience are what give his books their strength. He is never garrulous and when he does reveal something about himself, the reader feels that these are confidences hard won.

Title: To

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Tibetan lama faces scrutiny and suspicion in India

February 8, 2011

His daring escape from Tibet seemed out of a movie. Then only 14, Ogyen Trinley Dorje was one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most revered incarnate lamas, and his journey through the icy passes of the Himalayas was viewed as a major embarrassment for China. The youth arrived in India in early 2000 to a euphoric greeting from Tibetan exiles.

India, though, was less certain about what to do with him. Intelligence agencies, suspicious of his loyalties and skeptical of his miraculous escape, interrogated him and tightly restricted his travel. He remains mostly confined to the mountainside monastery of a Tibetan sect different from his own. And that spurred an idea: He wanted his own monastery. Eventually, … Read more »

Groupon Superbowl ad trivializes the suffering of the Tibetan people

February 7, 2011

Groupon, an outfit that offers discount coupons online, ran what it no doubt thought was a witty little ad during the Superbowl (apparently some kind of US sporting event in which massive numbers of people celebrate physical excellence by sitting in front of TV sets for hours, consuming large quantities of calories washed down by alcoholic beverages).

The ad begins with what appears to be a serious tone, with the actor Timothy Hutton saying: “The people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture in jeopardy.” This is of course, true. Since the Chinese occupation began, Tibetan culture and religion has been oppressed. Many Tibetans have fled the country in order to escape persecution. Monasteries … Read more »

Buddha’s not smiling: examining knee-jerk reporting about the Karmapa

February 3, 2011

‘Is the Karmapa a Chinese spy?’ ‘Is the possible successor to the Dalai Lama a Chinese mole?’ ‘Is this another clever ploy of China to take control of the border regions?’ The media have gone berserk with speculations about the Karmapa Lama. Sadly, the coverage has failed to do any groundwork research. This episode not only exposes the way the Indian media works but also jolts the Tibetan faith in Indian democracy and harms India’s long-term interests in Tibet.

The police raid found a few crore (100,000) rupees worth of cash. At most, this may be a case of financial irregularity or non-transparent dealings by the managers of the Karmapa’s monastery for which they should … Read more »

Tibetan Buddhism can solve global conflicts: Karmapa

January 5, 2011

The four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism are trying to find common ground to carry forward Lord Buddha’s teachings in way they can be used to resolve geo-political conflicts, says Thrinley Thaye Dorje, the 17th spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

‘The awareness that the four schools have to find common ground is getting stronger. It will happen because unity among the Buddhist sects is crucial to world peace,’ 27-year-old Thrinley Dorje told IANS in an interview in Bodh Gaya, the seat of Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment.

‘It can solve conflicts because the teachings of Buddha are based on bringing inner and outer peace,’ he added.

The four schools are the ancient … Read more »

Dalai Lama speaks — at Universal Studios

February 23, 2010

LA Times: The exiled Tibetan leader speaks to an audience of thousands in what some might consider an incongruous setting. But his message is unchanged: The path to happiness is not paved with stuff.

In his first major public appearance in Los Angeles in more than three years, the Dalai Lama spoke to a crowd of several thousand people Sunday about his hopes for Tibet, the need for dialogue in resolving conflicts and the importance of spurning the material world to cultivate compassion.

People today are “too much concerned with exterior material values and not our inner values,” the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said.

Happiness, he said, touching his heart, “ultimately depends on here.”… Read more »