Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China

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The Dalai Lama had recognised him to be the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual leader in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy. Synopsis: This first-hand description of life in rural Tibet, , contains a clarity of view and a sharp analysis of situation as of Simultaneously, Heath reports on the various changes Tibetans have faced under Chinese rule, from eroding cultural traditions and ecology to economic development.

Synopsis: An accessible and concise one-volume complete history of Tibet from the seventh-century origins of the Tibetan state to the Chinese colony of today. He has written extensively on Chinese history and politics. Synopsis: This book gives a close look at 18th century diplomacy and travel in India, China and Tibet. Synopsis: This important work by Snellgrove and Richardson remains one of the very best surveys of the Tibetans, their religion, and their rich and complex culture. Synopsis: Niema Ash was one of the first Westerners to enter the country when its borders were briefly opened.

In this highly absorbing and personal account, she relates with wit, compassion and sensitivity her encounters with people whose humour, spirituality and enthusiasm for life have carried them through years of oppression and suffering. Synopsis: Providing an analysis of the Tibet question, this work explores essential themes and issues concerning modern Tibet.

It considers such topics as representations and sovereignty, economic development and political conditions, the exile movement and human rights, historical legacies and international politics, identity issues and the local society. Soygal Rinpoche clarifies the majestic vision of life and death that underlies the Tibetan tradition. It includes a complete introduction to the practice of meditation and advice on how to care for the dying with love and compassion.

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Synopsis: This is the as-told-to political autobiography of Phuntso Wangye Phunwang , one of the most important Tibetan revolutionary figures of the twentieth century. Phunwang began his activism in school, where he founded a secret Tibetan Communist Party.

He was expelled in , and for the next nine years he worked to organize a guerrilla uprising against the Chinese who controlled his homeland. Synopsis: This is the extraordinary life story of Chope Paljor Tsering. Born to a Tibetan nomad family in , he experienced the invasion and occupation of his country by the Chinese Maoist army.

Sino-Tibetan relations during the Ming dynasty

Pursued by the Red Army, in fear of their lives, they began a year-long journey by foot to reach the Himalayan passes. They were among the first Tibetan refugees to arrive in Mustang, Nepal. Together, in a culture where freedom of expression is forbidden, risking arrest, they forge an abiding friendship based on intuition and deep respect. Through seven journeys to Tibet, Claire chronicles a rapidly changing world. Evoking the luminous landscape of snow peaks and wild alpine gardens, the text captures the paradoxes of contemporary Tibet: a land steeped in religion, struggling against oppression and galloping towards modernity.

A unique story of insight and adventure, about an extraordinary friendship in modern Tibet. His study also offers new perspectives on the transition of diverse East Asian traditions into a single Buddhist religion. Synopsis: Written as both an introduction to the Tibet crisis as well as a refreshingly new perspective for the more well-read, Asia analyst W.

Kesler Jackson examines the Tibet crisis through a new lens as he seeks to unravel the various struggles for the Rooftop of the world. Tibetan National Flag. Websites and Blogs on Tibet. Still, although I found no shortage of Tibetans who damned the Chinese, few criticized the roads. This mammoth construction project is key to Beijing's "Develop the West" program, intended to modernize the lagging economy of western China, which includes the Tibetan Plateau. The eventual objective is to fill this open territory—as vast as Western Europe—with millions of Chinese now living in economically deprived parts of China.

Just as Horace Greeley advised an earlier generation of ambitious young Americans to go West, the authorities are urging Chinese to move in the same direction. So far results have been mixed, because lowland Chinese find the altitude, the dry, cold climate—and the Tibetans themselves—unwelcoming. Beijing's statistics, widely considered extremely low on this point, show that , Chinese are now living in Tibet. Those who do migrate generally stay no more than a couple of years, just long enough to save some money, before returning home. Mutual animosity runs high: Chinese despise Tibetans as ignorant, lazy, superstitious, and dirty.

Tibetans hate and fear the Chinese as cruel and money grubbing. The resident Chinese seem genuinely puzzled by the antagonism. I passed these convoys on several occasions, and each time I noticed that the Tibetans on the roadside would glance up, then quickly look away, fearful of making eye contact with a Chinese soldier. A sign of why Tibetans resent the Chinese can be seen, at a distance, in the form of brick-and-stone-walled compounds sprinkled across the Tibetan Plateau—the laogai, "reform through labor" camps.

Statistics on the prisoners in these camps are almost meaningless: Beijing claims that in there were camps holding 1. Harry Wu, a former inmate now living in the U. Perhaps 10 percent of them are held for their political activities. According to Wu, camps in the TAR hold some 4, Tibetans, and countless thousands more are imprisoned in neighboring provinces.

He says the Tibetans, along with other prisoners, are tortured and forced to work at hard labor and produce cheap goods for international trade; officially they are spared another indignity: the government's harvesting of bodily organs for sale. Tibetans I met acknowledged that along with oppression China has brought a standard of living far higher than that of their parents under the Dalai Lama's rule.

The Chinese have built hundreds of schools, where until the s there had been just a handful of nonreligious schools.

Books on Tibet – International Tibet Network

They've built hospitals. Everywhere I traveled, they'd halted deforestation and are replanting trees, having learned through bitter experience in the summer of that the denuding of Tibet caused the Yangtze to flood, drowning 4, people. They've built airports and are beginning the first Tibetan railroad. They've also installed a telecommunications network, one that enabled me to dial directly to the U.

Despite having a phone line to India, the best the Dalai Lama could do to send word across Lhasa from the dim recesses of the Potala Palace was to dispatch a runner. Yet Tibetans almost invariably also said that China was implementing development solely to help exploit Tibet's natural resources. It is in rough-hewn towns like Chamdo that China's colonization is most noticeable.

Along streets either ankle deep in putrid mud or swirling with choking red dust, the air foul with sour, eyeburning smoke from yak-dung cooking fires, new Chinese arrivals throw together featureless concrete shops, restaurants, and brothels to serve the needs of the road crews and other transient laborers. The new one—and two—story buildings bear signs in two languages—Tibetan script on top and larger Chinese characters below.

As thankless as I found these towns, dirt-poor Tibetan nomads are as dazzled as the proverbial rubes who see Times Square for the first time.

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Herdsmen in filthy chubas roam the dirt streets in clusters, gawking into storefronts at Chinese women in short dresses cutting customers' hair or chatting over cans of Coca-Cola. A single tube of pink or purple neon in the window of a brothel can be as exciting as all the lights of Broadway. And Beijing seems to be counting on that hope to eventually win Tibetan hearts and minds. One soft evening in the northeastern corner of the TAR, I shared dinner with Huadon and his wife, who—despite having suffered, as he put it, "the full misery of liberation and the Cultural Revolution"—seem to be bearing out that hope.

Both 54, they'd lost family members among the more than a million Tibetans killed since ; they'd never been to school; Huadon had been frustrated in his boyhood dream of becoming a monk. After the agricultural commune where they lived during the Maoist era of the s and '60s was disbanded, they began growing barley, the staple of the Tibetan diet. They scrimped and searched for business opportunities. Now Huadon owned a small cement plant and a general store, which his wife ran, and a blue pickup truck.

Despite his lasting anger over the past,Huadon didn't hesitate to tell me that "there's no comparison between the way we live and the way our parents did. Huadon and his family certainly seemed comfortably off. As is the custom each summer throughout rural Tibet, they and about 20 other families were spending three weeks relaxing, camped in a grassy field riotously spread with yellow and lavender wildflowers against a stunning backdrop of snow-streaked mountains.

A hacking gas-powered generator, a sure indicator of rural prosperity, provided electric light and pumped Tibetan and Chinese pop tunes over the fancifully embroidered large white tents. At the open front of their tent, Huadon's wife was cooking on a portable gas stove. She'd loaded a long table with dried yak meat, huge mutton ribs—which we ate with a hunting knife passed from hand to hand—bowls of steaming rice and curry, salted nuts and seeds, cookies, candies, watermelons, bottles of tepid Chinese beer, soda, juice, and water.

I asked about their three children. The couple had sent their elder son through college, and he was now working as a teacher. Their daughter was a Buddhist nun. And, to Huadon's great joy and satisfaction, their younger son, at 16, was becoming the monk Huadon hadn't been allowed to be. The Chinese government bans monastic education before the age of 18, but devout parents like Huadon quietly ignore the law. People like Huadon and Norbu, who use their participation in the new economy to help preserve the old ways, represent the leading edge of change in Tibet.

I spent my most comfortable night of the trip in a shiny new hotel in the burgeoning town of Jyekundo, a few hours drive from Huadon's camp. Proud of his success, Gama Sera, the owner, was pleased to let me use his real name. So I proposed that the local government lease me the state guesthouse for 20 years. Very quickly, they agreed. The result was a multistoried, tile-faced structure replete with gilt dragons on red-lacquered pillars, a glass-domed lobby with marble floor and electric-eye doors.

Clean rooms, clean beds, clean bathrooms, fresh towels, soap, toilet paper, TV spouting Chinese dramas and advertisements for luxury condominium communities in Beijing, and, most delicious after days of red dust and no showers, the prominently advertised "hour hot water. Gama Sera, too, is contributing to the rejuvenation of Buddhism. With his earnings, he said, "I'm helping support a lama whose teachings I follow.

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With religious practice woven so inextricably through the fabric of their lives, and with China having systematically undermined it, the Tibetans' fear of cultural genocide is well-founded. Although individuals are permitted to worship, owners of photos of the Dalai Lama, which are seized from temples and even personal shrines, have been jailed for as long as six years.

Monks feel the lash of Chinese control most severely. In the Dalai Lama's day the power of the religious establishment was complete. Nearly a fourth of all Tibetan males took the tonsure and maroon robes of monkhood.

The great monasteries counted members in the thousands and owned huge tracts of farming and grazing land. They enjoyed the right to use peasants as laborers and to recruit little boys, some of whom they may have used for sex. Claiming moral outrage, although in reality far more concerned with loosening Buddhism's hold on Tibetans, the Chinese have jailed thousands of monks during their occupation.

In Lhasa, I spoke with year-old Tashi Tsering,who also allowed me to use his real name. He said that at the age of ten he'd been recruited into the Dalai Lama's dance troupe and chose to become a drombo, or passive sex partner, for a senior monk. Tsering, who has written a book about his life, said the drombo practice was widespread, but I was unable to find any other Tibetan willing to acknowledge awareness of this sexual activity in the monasteries. Lhasa is the spiritual focus of Tibetan Buddhism, and in the heart of the city is the Potala, the deep-red, story hilltop palace that has been the residence of all Dalai Lamas since the 17th century.

The Potala is now a museum, and fewer than a dozen of its thousand rooms are open to visitors. Bored Chinese tour guides deliver rote recitations on paintings and statuary in a smattering of languages. I found a few men hanging around languidly in the dim halls, mainly for atmosphere, I thought. But like Tibetans I encountered elsewhere, they were willing to risk being caught to let a foreigner know their true allegiance.

One, prayer beads in hand, sidled up to me and whispered, "I love the Dalai Lama. I think of him every day. The monastic establishment today is a faint shadow of what it had been before the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa just steps ahead of the People's Liberation Army. I visited six monasteries, and at each one the nervous whispers were the same: By reducing the number of monks, the Chinese are attempting to destroy our religion. At Derge, an 18th-century town carved into the side of a ravine rising steeply off the east bank of the Zi Qu tributary of the Yangtze, I met two men in their 20s.

For protection, I will not identify their homes, but they'd been traveling by truck for nearly a month, and now they, as I, were gawking at the Derge Parkhang. This exquisite carmine, gilt-roofed, three-story printing house, which looks like a temple rather than a factory, was built in to produce traditional unbound books of religious and medical texts.

During the s troops of the People's Liberation Army occupied the building, gravely damaging it. The Chinese government, always in search of tourism income, restored it and opened it to visitors in the late s. Led by a Chinese government guide, after paying the cent admission fee no charge for Tibetans , we walked past walls newly painted with religious murals of fantastic demons and through unlit rooms lined with floor-to-ceiling racks holding , ancient wooden printing plates that had survived the Chinese army and subsequent neglect. Tibetan men, many physically disabled, sat by threes on the floor, each team slathering the plates with thick black ink, pressing them onto sheets of rough paper, and peeling off some 2, pages an hour of the classical texts.

This impressive output, sold inexpensively in bookshops throughout Tibet, appeared to contradict allegations among Tibetans living abroad that the Chinese ban Tibetan-language publishing. After the tour, as I chatted with the two men, it became evident that they knew a great deal about the tribulations Tibetan monks face today. Basically they tell the monks that the Dalai Lama is evil and that he wants to split the motherland. The monks must pretend to listen, but most manage to block it out by chanting silently to themselves. In an attempt to counter the impact of the age ban on monastic life, they said that the monks smuggle in boys as young as eight and begin training them in secret.

One afternoon on a roadside in eastern Tibet, I spoke with a monk I'd waved down to ask directions. He told me about his monastery, which once held monks and students and had seen those numbers more than halved by government edict. Like other monks I spoke with, he measured the strength of Buddhism by the length of monastic rolls. Not all Tibetans agree.