Thursday, March 29, 2018

I Love Tibet Shirt

Coinciding spring break, the Capital Area Tibetan Sunday School organized a White House tour for the Sunday Bodyi Lapta students. The registration for the tour was required a month in advance and every details of the person going for the tour had to be furnished as demanded.

  This thoughtful tour to the most powerful symbol of American democracy and power house of the administration was the brainchild of Bodyi Lapta headmaster, a self-less man who genuinely cared for the Tibetan children’s Tibetan language education for a long period of time. And he continues to dedicate himself for this cause of making the Tibetan born in the US molded into a person of character and discipline laced with their own Tibetan identity. 

 Usually the Tibetans protestors are seen on March 10th, rallying for support outside the White House. This time Tibetan American youth and their parents took the message inside the White House. A benign and yet conspicuous and powerful message, was their I LOVE TIBET T-shirts. I LOVE TIBET screaming loudly from their white T-shirts was the most noticeably things, and most the effective message that they all carried during the entire tour.

 School headmaster Tenzin Lhundup la procured the shirts for the last minute for the students thanks to his perseverance and hard-work. As the kids put on the T-Shirts, our team of 41 people for the first day White House Tour had unified identical look and cohesiveness as we walk to the White House. Pedestrians notice the message on the TV shirt, loud and clear react their approval and flash up thumb up signs, others vocally express their admiration for the message that the kids are projecting innocently on their chest.

 Waiting for a bee lines for the 10:00am White house tour, our group of elder and younger children with their symbolic white TV shirts with the I LOVE Tibet written in green was inescapable to the eyes of other visitors, who came every corner of the United States.

They are school students group, adults and so on. After passing through layers of security checks, finally we are ushered into a beautiful marble white building. The presidential history lays out in bare, with the sights of priceless China porcelain that the first ladies and presidents received from foreign dignitaries.

Furnishings and interiors are renovated dates back to many years .The existing interior and furnishings date back to as early as 1902 during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt, when it underwent renovation.

 Like a museum, there are beautiful portraits of former president Ronald Reagan and pictures of past presidents and first family adorned the hallways. There are antiques and handmade carpets beautifully decorates the numerous rooms. In this majestic building, which is called White House, after workers hundreds of years ago white washed the walls from decay. There are rows after rows of rooms, for dinning, for guest reception, for library and so on. For every rooms you look into, you get a sense of the finest of the most luxury and royal appearance, that each of West Wing portrays to visitors. They are state dining room, which can seat as many as over 140 people.  There are libraries, the red room is parlor since the early 19th century is often used by first ladies to receive guests, and the elegant oval room has long been a reception room.  

Every piece of articles in this towering building shares a history, and symbolizes something larger than life. The visitors are all amazed by the grandeur of the finest furnishings on display. The tour is a treasure hunt for arts collectors, history buff, political avid and peoples of all trade.  It is comfortably said the building is for the American people, except that only the elected president can occupy it.
All visitors don’t want to pass up this rare opportunity by capture their moment in the White House by pose and poses to photos, but I would have spent hours appreciating the beauty of the White House and its symbolism. It was a most memorable tour, and not only that we feel enriched by the depth of this short tour experience. Our students with I love Tibet Shirts are being admired and noticed by those visitors.       

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Ant and the Cicada

                                 The Ant and the Cicada

Translated by Dorjee Damdul, from original story in Chinese.

The scorching sun shines on the vast land. On the limitless farmland, the golden millet, has grown tall. The ant and the Cicada are neighbors. The ant is busy moving the millet [ unhusked rice ]to the house from dusk to down and get ready the stock for the winter. But the Cicada indulges in playing, singing and dance, and does not work a bit. Though the two are neighbors, they hardly to go to each other.

When winter arrived, the ant stays in the house comfortably [with plenty of things to eat].

One morning as the sun rises and begins to shine brightly. The ant takes out the stock provisions and dries them out in the sun. Just then a very hungry famished Cicada flys by.  Without much energy and strength, the Cicada said to the Ant: " My dear good neighbor, can you please lend me some food to eat, I have not eaten one good course of a meal for a while."

" But have you not prepared any food grains for yourself, " asked the ant. " In the summer, there are so much food grains in the field, why you have not stocked some in your house?.
The Cicada replied:  " In summer, i was busy playing, and enjoying, so didn't have time to /move the food grains."

"I see," said the ant, fully understand what Cicada just said.

" When you don't work in the summer, then, of course, you don't have anything to eat in Winter. We only help those who help themselves through hard work; we do not help those who are lousy, and we do not help those who do not like to work.
So you better leave now!"

The Cicada upon hearing that from the ant can not help, but fly away. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Journey of Life Time

I have sent my wife and daughters off to meet my Mother and relatives in Chengdu, China. Owing to a variety of reasons and factors, I could not go. But this time, my wife and kids embargoed a  trip to meet my mother and relatives, at a location of their convenience. I wonder what my mother will react when seeing my two daughters, and Choekyi. Even though she could not meet me this time, but my wife and kids will fill my shoes in bringing her jubilation, and joy and happiness.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Grappling WithThe Theft of Car

An exhausting day with my kids has drained me physically after taking them out to library, picnic and play. Blame it or not thus, I forgot to lock the car, which led to theft of my Toyota car.

 This morning Tuesday, 21st  I woke to find my car stolen from our assigned parking lot in front of my townhouse. I didn't realize it until my neighbors, who run to me and told that someone has rummaged her car, and she called the police and asked me if I would check my other cars for any suspicious activities.

When I looked into my Honda CRV. To my utter astonishment, the doors were ajar. My wallet is thrown open on the front passage seat, and other stuff in the car in the driver seat is thrown open with an apparent sign of ransacking in the driver's seat side holder. Only then I realized vaguely, that my other Toyota Corolla car is missing. I rushed back to my house and informed my wife if she is aware of what happened to our car. I was in a state of delirious and panic attack. I couldn't believe it, that your car could be stolen in front your house.

 Now after several hours while sitting in the car, that I recall something. Last evening, when I took the kids to picnic, I left my wallet and our Toyota vehicle key back in the Honda car, because it was felt heavy and my pocket was bulging. So the possibilities are that when the thieves get into my unlocked Honda CRV car (I always thought the car lock automatically) then they found the spare key for the Toyota, and making it easy to steal

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mysterious Over Momo: Book Discussion

                                                     Mysteries over Momo                        
           I am humbled to be part of D.C's elite Tibetan book club, and here is a snapshot of our last Friday discussion.

Who have thought, that the discussion of a serious subject as the Institute of Tibetan reincarnation and Chinese emperor would turn into such a fantastic night of fun and learning?

Primarily it was all set into motion with the generous hospitality by our gracious host Tashing and Tsering la. I was throw off completely when I step into their door and see everyone inside was busy like bees surrounding the countertop in making Momos, kneading the flour, mixing the ingredients, flattening the dough and styling the Momos one by one while engrossed in chitchat and with occasional rapturous laugh. It was a love of labor. It was a party!

Momos, (steamed dumpling), a traditional Tibetan delicacy, that is known for its laborious process, is a great feast for all because of its mouthwatering delicious taste. With a great sense of comradeship and fraternity, everyone is comfortably and pleasantly involved in all that take place in the house. Except few newer faces, the familiarly of all others put everyone at ease and home.

So at the backdrop of this, we met Friday, June 17  for our monthly book discussion on "The Dalai Lama and the Emperor of China: A Political History of the Tibetan institution of Reincarnation. By  Peter Schwieger 2015, Columbia University Press.

No sooner the food was ready, around 8:00 pm. We start to self-serve the steaming juicy momos with mouth stinging spicy chilly with a delicious veg platter, a feast for the eye and palate. 

As we dine and wine, our hostess Tsering la led the book discussion with the sharing of an insightful piece by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on reincarnation. This supplementary reading along with another interesting perspective shared by a Living Buddha as tulkus are known from YouTube video set the stage to dig into our proposed book for discussion.

The moderator has created a friendly and conducive environment for everyone to share their thoughts, whether they have read the book or none. This allows everyone to enjoy a moment of complete freedom to express their thoughts without reservation and any sense of inhibition.  As the wine and Momo warmed us up, everyone is apparently bubbling with ideas and questions. The discussion revolving around the Institute of reincarnation was very focused and matured. Everyone's intellectual caliber and inquiry into this subject are remarkably sound mainly based on critical thinking and analytical reasoning.

Our discussion attempt to answer the following questions that the book also explored:

How did the political role of tulku position develop? What was its nature in various circumstances? and how did the Emperor of China try to influence this role? Overall, we realize at the heart of this history is the relationship between the Dalai Lama (and their regents) and the emperor of China?

With examples from the book as a pointer for discussion, some shared anecdotal examples of ludicrous nature on the folly and abuse of the reincarnation Institute, and the Tulkus. Except that the difference is just in the nuance, everyone has more or less the same attitude, belief, and faith in reincarnations system. The questions, concerns and comments are very pointed and at time blunt and straightforward.

The wit, sarcasm and humor injected generously by our members during the discussions make the discourse light-hearted without losing the essence of the meaning.

From the conversation, it becomes clear to us that the Institute of reincarnation is unique to the Tibetan Buddhism. The identification, selection and installation of reincarnated are ridden with mystery and mysticism. Except little noticeable reincarnation, such as the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, and Karmapa, all other Tulkus are susceptible to abuse, cronyism, and nepotism during the selection process. As Tulkus is a social position of the privileged class with entitlement to wealth, inheritance and power.

The club members are particularly intrigued by the reference to a description of how to father a trulku in what is known as "treasure literature." Everyone was curious and got interested in acquiring that knowledge, but alas this was a mere temptation, and nothing was fully revealed, even when we passed well over midnight.

If we take history seriously, the Chinese Emperor deserves credit for popularizing the Institute of Tibetan reincarnation. The priest-patron relationship and its impact are fully shown in the following statement: 

"From the time Qing emperors began enforcing their sovereignty over Tibet in the early part of the eighteen century right up to the end of the nineteenth century; essentially none of the Dalai Lama exercised any political power of his own. But in their efforts to attain social and political stability, the Qing emperors had fashioned the Dalai Lama into the sacred head of the Ganden Podrang government, and thus inadvertently helped promote the image of Tibet as a country guided by the incarnations of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. When after more than two centuries the institution of the Dalai Lama was occupied once again the Charismatic personalities, this image had become such a strong force in Tibetan politics that the new Chinese government could no longer control it". (p.221)

My apologies, if you couldn't bear with my rumbling nonsensically, but I could not pass up in noting down the memorable night of fun and merriment and learning we had from the book discussion. Whenever there is Momos and Mosas I will miss it, so looking forward to the next discussion on certain articles that Yangkyi la will recommend. Cheers.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Memoir of A Tibetan Under the Chinese Rule

Noryang's sharing from the latest book discussion prompts me to reflect on the previous book discussion at my place. I believe, it is better late than never, so let me share you a synopsis of our discussion that took place couple months ago. I feel I owe it to you.

Khentsum la's "The Memoir of a Tibetan" is a fascinating account of one man's tryst with the Chinese rule. But his story is not isolated one man's story, rather Khentsum la's story represents the collective suf...fering and injustice that all Tibetan have gone through at the hand of Chinese. His narrative and portrayal of Tibetan prisoners' hardship in the various detention center are unbelievably horrifying. All those who read the book will agree that the Jew's suffering from the concentration camp in Hitler's Germany had more or less being replicated in Tibet under Chinese rule.
I can recall our discussion was meaningful with the loving presence of the author. He is a gray-haired man in his seventies who could still reminiscence vividly the defining moment of their lives under the most testing circumstances.
Khentsum la's memoir was published at the urge of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to share with a broader audience of the faithful account of all those individual who has experienced hellish suffering first hand in China occupied Tibet. This book would bear the testament of Tibetan people's undying spirit, and the will to survive amidst all those atrocities meted out by the aggressors.

The book discussion in the presence of the author was a real bridge of generational gap, as such the elder generation passing down their true story to the younger generation, by which the later is inspired to carry on their responsibilities and know their root.
Despite all those hardships he endured, the author is still alive in heal and hearty and bear testimonial for the unthinkable with no remorse and regret.
Khentsum la's willingness to spend an evening with us and to field questions from our members from the book was most fulfilling. He represents the quintessential of the finest Tibetan character and persona. It touches us to see him so unassuming, so gentle with a great sense of humility and considerate to the restlessness of us younger soul.
It is also noteworthy that the RFA feature program on that book discussion was well received by RFA listeners, with request and inquiry on where to get the book pours in.Here is a link to the program you can listen..…/dc-tibetan-book-club-disscusion-with-a…
So this ones a month book discussion has good impact and we need to keep it up...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Are we ready for Democracy?

                                            Are Tibetan Ready for Democracy?

The process of introducing democracy in exile has started over fifty years ago, but even today it has become necessary to ponder if the democratic system is appropriate for the exile Tibetan diaspora. Generally speaking, It is still doubtful that the general populace has fully grasped the eventual benefits of a such a political system.

Those who realize this new found democracy and freedom in a democratic and open society, start to explore avenues to express their freedom and rights. But for the most, it is still that the democracy is inseparable from their individual faith and belief. Those who have a full grasp on the functioning of democracy and their rights are always aware of the potential that a free and democratic society has in bringing disunity to the fragile Tibetan exile society.