For those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area who would like to show support, here's a quick update on the case of imprisoned Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, who made the documentary "Leaving Fear Behind," which is embedded above. Wangchen and a collaborator who is a Tibetan monk are in prison in China for the crime of making this film. It documents the opinions of ordinary Tibetan people about China's communist government, and the exiled Dalai Lama, in the year leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They interviewed 108 Tibetan people; that number is a sacred number in Tibetan Buddhism.
Wife of imprisoned Tibetan filmmaker to deliver birthday cards to China Consulate in SF, Wed., Oct. 9, 2013
As the world marks the Dalai Lama’s 78th birthday, the Tibetan community marks a grim milestone: 120 Tibetans, mostly youth, have burned themselves alive to protest China’s repressive rule. Xeni Jardin traveled to Washington, DC to document a group of Tibetan-American activists asking lawmakers to open up immigration doors for political refugees, and hold China accountable.Read the rest
Sunday marks the most important date for all Tibetans; those inside Tibet as well as those in diaspora across the globe.Read the rest
Above, a short video I shot yesterday on my iPhone in which Samten explains some of the history and symbolism behind the "Wheel of Life" mandala, which is based in a very old tradition but also encompasses some newer creative elements.
It was a beautiful thing to see and hear, over the course of days. The chakpur, those conical metal tools you see in the video that they use to "paint" with the sand, make a raspy percussive rhythmic sound. It's hypnotic. When you can hear that you've achieved just the right pace and rhythm with that sound, one monk said, you know your mind has reached a meditative state of emptiness, and that is where you're supposed to be when you are creating the mandala.
The environment was reverent but there was also some goofing around, as evidenced in the photo below, in which Ven. Thepo Rinpoche takes an iPad snapshot of Samten's head. Yes, some monks carry iPads and iPhones and other gadgets, and they sometimes use them in interesting ways.
"His bald head is a mandala!" Thepo-la said as he snapped the picture. And then they both cracked up.
Read the rest
If you're in Southern California, here's a week-long event well worth checking out. Starting this weekend, The Santa Barbara Summit for Tibet (SBST) is hosting a "Tibetan Cultural Week of Celebration and Education to increase awareness in our city of the Tibetan culture’s philosophical and spiritual richness, as well as the challenges it faces."
Here's a schedule of events, all of which are free to the public.
On December 1st, 2012, 6pm-9pm, Tibet House in New York is hosting a silent art auction featuring live music performances, and bidding on art by a number of different artists to benefit Students for a Free Tibet.
Ryan McGinness, Mark Borthwick, Sasquatch 23, Michael Avedon, Bwana Spoons, Kenji Hitara, Cody Hudson, Rostarr, Kiino Villand, and Shepard Fairey (work shown at left) are among the artists represented.
For those who can't attend in person, you can participate via the online auction. Online bidding is now open.
Read the rest
Read the rest
China won't permit human rights monitors in Tibet, because hey, come on, nothing bad is going on there, you guys
We're releasing this parody video titled, "Tibetans Challenge Xi Jinping - Gangnam Style." On the eve of China's leadership transition, amid the wave of Tibetan self-immolations, we felt we needed to inject a little humor and hope into an otherwise terrifying situation.
Liz To has designed a coat-hanger-based disassemblable stove for Tibetan nomads who cook indoors. It's a clever way of recycling one of the more pernicious waste products of western society (coat hangers) and relieving one of the worst health problems faced by Tibetan nomads (indoor pollution from dung fires). Apart from the rather unfortunate orthography (it's called "thab." -- all lower case, with a superfluous period), this is just great.
thab. is designed for Tibetan Nomads who live and cook inside tents. For cooking, they usually use the three stone cooking method however that causes health issues. They use yak dung as their cooking fuels.
They often boil water or soup therefore thab. must be strong, durable, efficient, safe and inexpensive.
Tibetan Nomads travel from one place to another every few months therefore thab. is designed to be disassembled so it can be portable.
As of August 8, 45 more Tibetans have resorted to self-immolation inside Tibet, 35 of whom have died, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. The incidents on Monday would bring the total number of self-immolations since February 2009 to 48. Tibetans in exile have also resorted to self-immolation.
A woman identified as Rikyo, said to be 33 years old and the mother of three young children, burned herself to death today in what is believed to have been another desperate act of protest against China’s repressive policies in Tibet. According to the Tibetan pro-sovereignty website Phayul, she set herself on fire near the Jonang Zamthang Gonchen monastery in Zamthang county, in Ngaba region, the epicenter of a continuing wave of Tibetan self-immolations.
Rikyo’s body is currently being kept at the Jonang Monastery, although Chinese security personnel have reportedly demanded the body to be removed. Rikyo is survived by her husband and three children, the eldest, a 9-year old son and two daughters aged 7 and 5.
Just three days ago, two ethnic Tibetan men self-immolated in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, at what is considered to be the ancient city's most important temple. Chinese police and firefighters arrived at Jokhang, extinguished flames, and removed the men. Their whereabouts and conditions are unknown.
Read the rest
Read the rest