SOME MEMORIES OF THE GREAT LOTSAWA, GEDUN CHOPHEL

 

I’m leaving tomorrow for India with my family. My older daughter will join the TCV Cultural Camp for a month and my younger daughter will be in the Yongling Day School. I’ll keep you all posted on any interesting development that might come up in our exile capital. In the meantime I have posted an old article of mine, actually my mother’s memories, that I wrote down some years ago before she died. I think it appeared in Phayul.com.  JN.

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SOME MEMORIES OF THE GREAT LOTSAWA, GEDUN CHOPHEL
by Jamyang Norbu
(as told to me by my late mother, Lodi Lhawang, née Tethong)

It has been many years, more than sixty, since I met Gedun Chophel la, so I don’t remember very much. I just meet him a few times and only had some polite conversation with him. He was my brother Sonam Tomjor’s close friend and intellectual companion. My brother liked and admired Gedun Chophel la tremendously and would tell me about him, especially after one of their many discussions. So, in a sense, Gedun Chophel la’s presence was constantly in our house, in family conversations and such. My brother was a very sensitive person, bookish, gentle and with a sharp, inquiring mind. He was not only well read in Tibetan, but in Chinese and English as well. He may have met Gedun Chophel la through our cousin Horkhang Sonam Pembar, who was the patron of the Mongol geshe, Chodrak la, who lived at the Horkhang mansion and who was a friend of Gedun Chophel’s. Sonam Pembar was also of intellectual bent and a good companion to both Gedun Chophel la and my brother.

I first met Gedun Chophel la before he left for India. He came to our house to see my brother. He was not in monk’s robes so he had probably disrobed by then.   He was wearing a plain dark blue woolen chuba (robe) tied somewhat loosely (jon-jon). His hair was very short but not shaved. He had a thin somewhat sad face, which was not unpleasant and showed his gentle and good nature. He was of medium height. In conversation he was soft-spoken and unassuming.

My brother would spend whole evenings with Gedun Chophel la in scholarly discussions or just long, and always interesting, conversations, and would later tell me about it. He did not come often to our house, but my brother constantly went to meet him and converse with him. So I heard a lot about him from my brother. Since my brother spoke so highly of him I had great respect for him.

I clearly remember my brother telling me that Gedun Chophel la’s father was a powerful ngakpa (lay tantric practitioner), someone who could openly manifest evidence of his spiritual power, in a matter of fact way. I also heard that Gedun Chophel left Amdo to join Drepung monastery in Lhasa after he had some strange recurring dreams of being chased by a horned animal and being pushed towards central Tibet. He identified the horned animal as Damchen Chogyal, a protective deity of the Gelukpa sect, and interpreted this dreams as a sign that he should leave Amdo for Lhasa and become a Gelukpa scholar. So Gedun Chophel la, whose family tradition was strongly Ningmapa, now became a Gelukpa.

Gedun Chophel la also told my brother that when he was a monk, Kyapche Phabonka, was very fond of him. Sometimes Gedun Chophel la would go to the Phabonka’s hermitage to pay his respect to the great lama. Phabonka would embrace him affectionately and give him his blessings. He would also jokingly scratch Gedun Chophel’s back saying that scholar monks (pechawa) were so engrossed in their studies and negligent of their personal welfare that they were probably verminous. Phabonka Rimpoche would also give him presents of money and supplies to support him. Gedun Chophel la also said that Kyapche Trichang Rimpoche (the 14th Dalai Lama’s tutor) was very kind to him, and had helped support him.

My brother sometimes remarked that in this day and age there was only one real lotsawa (scholar/translator), like someone from the old days, and that was Gedun Chophel la. After he returned from his travels to India, he completed a Tibetan translation of the Dhamapadda, the collection of Buddhist aphorisms, from the Pali original. Our family decided to sponsor the publication of this translation. We had it printed in the old way from xylographs and especially commissioned the preparation and engraving of the many wooden blocks. We printed a number of copies for wide distribution to lamas, scholars and institutions. Gedun Chophel’s translation was very poetic, moving, and I am sure, true to the original Pali. I read it a number of times, and I still remember this one verse:

Nyeme pa la tsenmo ring,
nyewar ghyur la shue ta ring,
dampae choe ni mishay pae,
chiba nam la khorwa ring.

Without sleep the night is long,
Without rest the journey is long,
Without knowledge of the best dharma,
For those children, existence is long.

Our family had commissioned the publication of other works such as Dudjom Rimpoche’s Dhagyig pecha, (an elementary guide to better writing), and an unusual biography of the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsanyang Gyatso. Tashi Tsering la, the scholar, told me that this biography of Tsanyang Gyatso had been reprinted recently in Tibet, but I don’t think that any copies of our edition of the Dhamapadda translation exists anymore. Another edition (printed in metal type) was published in Kalimpong by Tharchin Babu la,  and another by the Mahabodhi Society.

We stored the xylographs in our household Kangyur Lhakang (scripture temple) in our Lhasa mansion. This temple was about four pillars in dimension (about 40×40 ft square). We stored the wooden blocks on racks along one wall. We would sometimes lend them to people who wanted to print a few copies of those texts for their own use. Once on returning to Lhasa I discovered that all the xylographs, including those for the Dhamapadda, had disappeared. I contacted my uncle Khenchung who was supposed to be looking after things while I was away, and he claimed that he had lent them to a printer but that he couldn’t remember the fellow’s name off hand. So that was the end of that.

One day in Lhasa when I was alone and my brother had departed for some official business, I heard that Gedun Chophel la had been arrested by the Lhasa magistrates and was incarcerated at Nangtseshak (snang rtse shag), the city court of Lhasa and the central jail, which was adjacent to (just north of) the main Jokhang Temple.

I immediately sent a couple of trustworthy servants to make inquiries as to his condition and to provide him some bedding and a meal. The servants came back and told me that, right then, the situation wasn’t too bad and that the constables had put Gedun Chophel la in a room on the top floor of the building, which had sufficient windows and living conditions were tolerable. Most prisoners were housed in the ground floor. The Nangtseshag was a three story building. It looked like an old monastery or labrang, and was probably one too, originally.

I sent Gedun Chophel la a brand new cotton quilt I had bought from India, with a clean new cover. I also sent him a vacuum flask full of tea and a ceramic mug (with lid), and made sure the servants took him meals regularly. I got our cook to prepare him some tasty dishes: momos and other things. I also made sure everything we sent him was clean and decent. I sent these things to him through servants who were absolutely trustworthy. I think one of them was Thondup, our maid (meme) Sona’s husband, and the other was Dawa Tsering, the husband of your old nanny, Pema Tsewang.

Gedun Chophel la sent me back notes scribbled on the blank inside surface of cigarette packets. He would also send verses he had written, many of a religious nature. One note described how one day he dropped a cigarette butt from his upstairs window to the inner courtyard of the jail below and that the prisoners pushed and shoved each other to claim it. He wrote that he felt this great surge of compassion for those wretched inmates. After four or five days, I can’t be sure, he sent me a final note in English, with just these words, “Need not to send”. He probably thought that the Tethong family would come under suspicion from the authorities if we appeared too close to him. So I stopped sending food to the prison, but I saved his notes.

At that time I had to handle this affair as my brother Sonam Tomjor, the head of the household, was away north in Nagtsang, where he had been appointed the district magistrate. When I heard that Gedun Chophel la was being charged as an agent of the Guomindang government of China, I was very worried that my brother could possibly face charges because of his close friendship with Gedun Chophel la, and even be arrested if he came to Lhasa.

I immediately dispatched Nima, our household steward (nyerpa dongen) north to Nagtsang. This old retainer, also the father of my maid Dawa Bhuti, was absolutely loyal to our family. After the death of my parents, he looked out for myself and my siblings like an older relative. He rode urgently to Nagtsang to tell my brother not to come down to Lhasa. My brother was in fact on his way to the capital and had arrived at the nomad encampment of Yangbachen, which is about half way to the city from Nagtsang. But our steward managed to meet him there and make sure he did not continue on to Lhasa.

Around that time I had to go to the minister Kapshopa’s house for some other business. While waiting for the minister in his living room, the minister’s wife came in and asked me where my brother was. At once I became suspicious, and I realised that she knew I had sent my steward to warn my brother. Then the minister himself came in to talk to me. He spoke politely and with a false show of concern. He also asked me where my brother was and I told him, as I did his wife, that he was up north at Nagtsang. He then said, “His young lordship (sekusho) should be careful with the company he keeps, or it may come to pass like the saying, ‘the father a noble sandal wood tree, the son a marsh reed. (Pha tsenden dongpo la bhu chushing yunbu soro jay yong)’”. I realised that they suspected my brother, but I did not say anything.

My brother had been approached by his friend Rapga Pangdatsang, a Khampa intellectual to join their secret revolutionary organization, the Tibet Improvement Party (which was Guomindang inspired and sponsored) — but my brother did not join. My brother had no confidence in the Guomindang and besides he was not into such things (1). A high ranking Guomindang official even requested my brother to start a Chinese school in Lhasa which he assured him the Nationalist government would finance. My brother politely refused. This official had earlier come to Lhasa as a monk (and studied at Drepung) and had rented rooms on the ground floor of our mansion. We knew him by his monk name, Besung. After some years of study he made a trip to the sacred hills of Tsari, which is located in one of the most wild and remote parts of Southern Tibet. On his return to China he wrote a book about his explorations for which he was honoured by the Chinese president Chiang Kai-shek, and granted an official rank.

Then the charges against Gedun Chophel la were made public. They were not only political but also very personal and ugly. I did not believe any of those charges then and do not, even now. My brother regarded Gedun Chophel as a genuinely great Buddhist scholar — like someone from the great days of our historical past when Buddhism was first brought to Tibet by saints and scholars. I completely believe that Gedun Chophel la was such a person.

After we made sure there were no charges against my brother, he finally came back to Lhasa. I showed him the notes Gedun Chophel la had sent me. My brother became nervous and asked me to burn them. I can understand his reasons but I regret doing so, even now.

Some years after that I left Lhasa for our estate in Shigatse. From there I traveled to India to enroll my youngest brother and two sisters in English schools. When I returned from India, Gedun Chophel la was released from prison. One day, quite unexpectedly, he appeared at the front door of our house. He seemed to be somewhat inebriated and he wore his chuba untidily. My brother rushed down the stairs to greet him. As soon as he saw my brother he stumbled forward and embraced him clumsily. My brother quickly ushered him inside our house and into an inner chamber.

So once again my brother resumed his intellectual evenings with his mentor and friend. By that time my brother was not the magistrate of Nagtsang anymore and his official duties were light, He only had to spend a couple of hours every day at a government office in Lhasa, after which his time was his own. He would go over to the Gomang Khangsar building in the northern end of the Barkor area, where Gedun Chophel la had a small apartment(2).  The building itself was probably owned by Drepung Gomang College. The two of them (and sometimes other friends) would order a kettle of chang (costing five sangs, ngosang nga) and some boxes of American army field rations, which they would have as snacks. Then they would sit back and talk about all sorts of things. They did this for a year or so.

After the Second World War there was a great deal of military surplus stuff being sold all over Tibet by enterprising Tibetan merchants. One of the most popular items was the American army field rations packs which were regarded as an excellent snack item by many Tibetans. Each pack had one small can of meat: corned beef or pork mixed with carrots peas or other vegetables. This was accompanied by three thick unsweetened biscuits. There was also one sachet of instant coffee, four sugar cubes, one small pack of (five) cigarettes (Lucky Strikes, Camels, or Old Golds) and a book of matches. For sweets there would be one thick slab of chocolate and a few sticks of chewing gum, usually cinnamon flavoured. There was also some sheets of toilet paper. This all came in a small cardboard box encased in wax.

Gedun Chophel la told my brother stories of his journey to the many Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India and Nepal. He mentioned that the night before seeing the great Buddha image at Lahaul (Garsha Phagpa) he had actually dreamed of the statue. He also claimed that when he saw the statue he heard a great roaring sound. I think Gedun Chophel la may have mentioned this incident in his Guide to Buddhist Holy Sites in India. I mention this as some ill-informed people these days seem to have no hesitation about claiming that Gedun Chophel was an atheist or that he had no faith in the Dharma. In fact he was a genuinely spiritual person. He also advised my brother not to make derogatory remarks about trulkus and lamas. He said that whenever he would meet a lama, he would invariably have a dream of Chenresig the night before.

By that time my second youngest brother, Rakra Rimpoche, was also friendly with Gedun Chophel la and sometimes studied under him. One day Rakra Rimpoche approached me with a request from Gedun Chophel la. He asked me to paint him a picture of Jetsun Dolma (Arya Tara). Rimpoche had most probably told Gedun Chophel la that I painted in my spare time and Gedun Chophel la had assumed that I could do a thangka for him. I said that I could not, and that I might get the proportions or iconography wrong, which as you know is a big sin. But Gedun Chophel la insisted that I paint him a picture of Tara. He wanted one done by a woman as he felt that females had special powers that could benefit spiritual practices. So I agreed to do the painting, and on its completion I sent it to him. Soon afterwards he came to our house and thanked me for my work. He offered me a khatag and a Chinese silver dollar, the kind issued in Sichuan province with the image of the emperor (or whoever) wearing a tung motse cap with long pheasant feathers, I kept the coin as a souvenir and a precious item in my mendel offering, and have it to this day.

I traveled to India in 1948 and then returned to Lhasa in the summer of 1949 to make arrangements for my younger sister Tashi’s marriage (to Changoepa Dorje la). It was around then that I heard that Gedun Chophel la was living with a woman. I would sometimes go to visit my uncle Tesur (Palden Gyaltsen), who was an official at the Lhasa Telephone and Telegraph Office (Tarkhang) in the area of the Tengyeling monastery. Overlooking my uncle’s house was an old delapidated park (probably belonging to the former Tengyeling monastery) which had been neglected for some years. From his window my uncle pointed out two people sitting on a patch of lawn under a willow tree. It was Gedun Chophel la with a khampa woman, sharing a kettle of chang. My uncle told me that the two of them would come quite regularly to that park and drink chang.

That was the last time I last saw him. You (J.N) were then about then one year old. It was just after the Chinese invaded Kham and captured Chamdo. We left Lhasa soon after that.

Since lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo (12th century) Tibet has probably never really had such a great lotsawa as Gedun Chophel la. It was deeply sad what happened to him, and such a tremendous loss for our country and people.

Notes:
(1) One of the few deeply-read progressives in Tibetan society, Sonam Tomjor was as much opposed to Fascism as he was to Communism. He greatly admired the Fabian Society and would advise myself (JN) and other young Tibetans in Dharamshala (in the sixties and seventies) to work at modernizing Tibetan society in a gradual and evolutionary manner. Add Wahid comment

(2) My uncle Tsewang Chogyal (TC), who was about fourteen or fifteen at the time remembers accompanying his older brother Tomjor to Gedun Chophel’s apartment at the Gomang Khangsar building. TC remembers Gedun Chophel reading aloud from a book by Lin Yutang, The Wisdom Of India (an anthology of Indian philosophical and religious writings) that Tomjor had ordered from India. Alternately reading in English and translating into Tibetan, TC recalled Gedun Chophel reading this line from a Buddhist text “ All matter comes from a cause… chos nam thamchey gyu lay jung…”. TC’s impression of the room was that it was rather dark and only had one small window. It was also sparsely furnished. In this somewhat dreary setting TC remembers Gedun Chophel finding an occasional moment to express his romantic nature. Once, as if he were in a theatrical play set in the Imperial Age, he commenced to act the role of the Minister Gar. “This is what Lonpo Gar would have said…” Gedun Chophel remarked, then loudly declaimed some heroic dialogue lines he made up right there. “ Of course then Songtsen Gampo would have replied…” and so on.

Comments

  1. lhamo | June 26th, 2009 | 12:33 am

    wonder what were the other charges apart from him being an agent of the Guomindang government of China? I got a book on Gedun Chophel which is in Tibetan ….time for me to go through it to know more about the great scholar. Thanks Jamyang La for the article.

  2. KP | June 26th, 2009 | 11:24 am

    Thanks for sharing this great piece of oral history from your mom. Always enlightening!
    Have a great time in Dharamsala. Please update about the Samdhong Rinpoche’s infamous call for resignation. Some says it is just politics to keep the discussion of two term limit alive hoping for amendment to the Tibetan charter. Chitue Penpa seems to pushing towards that end in the panel discussion organised by Tibetan NGOs.
    Keep safe and waiting anxiously for your next postings.

  3. TY Senge | June 30th, 2009 | 10:31 am

    Jamyang Norbu la
    Thanks for narrating us about the Gendun Chophel’s core stand about the buddhism and his general things. it really nice and gaining to read your article.
    for me You and S Rinpoche both are really worth to call living Gedun Choephel.

  4. Dhargyal | June 30th, 2009 | 1:02 pm

    What happened to Gendun Choephel is unacceptable,
    I recommend you to watch the “Angry Monk”, in which Jamyang Norbu la also comments.
    It is interesting to know that JN also take his kids to India for Tibetan school summer camp, preparing his kids for the future struggle. I admire his courage and unflinching patriotism. Good luck Jamyan la. Dont get mobbed in Dharamsala… for your comment on RFA and VOA.
    Actually, you opinions and thoughts are more of a support for HH’s long term legacy.

  5. Khawai Shonu | July 1st, 2009 | 6:15 pm

    Jamyang Norbu la,
    Thank you so much for narrating story of LOTSAWA, GEDUN CHOPHEL. You are the best resource for Tibetan youngsters. I would really appreciate if you could come down to south India to give public talk regarding current Tibet issues.
    Bhod Gyalo.

  6. Aravinda | July 7th, 2009 | 10:17 am

    Dear Mr Jamyang Norbu
    I am part of a small group in Bangalore called Think Tibet. It was started by my friend Tenzin Jangchup Lingpa. For the last one year, we have been working on a publishing idea and are happy to tell you that we released two titles for children on June 26th. Our publishing house is called Lama Mani Books and the two titles, made possible by a grant from FUR, are part of a series called Meyul and feature life in the Mundgod Gyenso Khang, and the sweater sellers’ story.
    We plan to make them available at some bookstores in Dharamsala shortly so do look out for them during your visit – the books are Dorje’s Holiday at the Gyenso Khang, and Dolma Visits the City.
    Thank you.

  7. rinchen | July 7th, 2009 | 1:29 pm

    དེ་ལྟར་མིན་པར་མ་འདས་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་ངོས་འཛིན་བྱེད་པའམ། ཡེ་ཤུའི་པོབ་དང་དགའ་ལྡན་ཁྲི་པ་ལྟ་བུའི་ལམ་སྲོལ་ཞིག་ལ་ཕྱིན་པ་ཡིན་ན་ཡང༌།

  8. Ginger Eades | July 10th, 2009 | 7:37 pm

    Dear Jamyang,

    I am very pleased to see you have a blog and are regularly making posts on SHADOW TIBET. You and I were first acquainted in late 1990s via friends with common interests living in town. Later, with the assistance of a mutual friend coupled with your guidance, knowledge and expertise I spearheaded an SFT chapter at The University where I served as Director until my health declined and I moved to Nashville.

    With the dedication of local members and activists, including support from The Cumberland Center for Justice and Peace, our Students for a Free Tibet chapter brought awareness to the community about the political, environmental and human rights situation in Tibet. The SFT chapter developed a collection of resources available for the community and we never could have done such a great job had it not been for your wonderful dedication to the cause. I want to thank you for that and I hope to re-connect with you as I see you are still very active. I will be sending you an e mail soon or if you’ve time you can let me know you received this by replying at gingereades@aim.com or gingereades@aol.com so we can catch up. I have a friend who holds your writing in high esteem who is moving to India that I’d like to talk to you about.

    I am looking very forward to reading more on your blog and excited about re-connecting with you, as it has been many years. Thank you for your work and all that you do!

    With utmost respect,
    Ginger Eades

  9. Lobsang Dolma | July 14th, 2009 | 11:21 am

    Hi JN, Sorry this is not directly related to the blog posting. I am wondering if you had read this book “Freeing Tibet: 50 Years of Struggle, Resilience, and Hope” by John B. Roberts II and Elizabeth A. Roberts. I want to hear what you have to say about it before I buy it. Thanks in advance.

  10. tenpa | July 17th, 2009 | 8:41 am

    dear jn la,

    i am pleased to read on GC that too with first hand narration. i would like to know, what is your research on the GC imprisonment? Was it to be the base of his ‘Tibetan Revolutionary Asso.’ that he and close (intellectuals)frds founded in Kalimpong, as shown in ‘Angry Monk’ or due to his research on the 1914 Simla agreement and British India’s negative image on him after then.

    I will be plz. to know on this issue.

  11. tentseringc | July 18th, 2009 | 12:07 pm

    Dear Jamyang Norbula,
    Im sorry this is completely out of context but I made this image from an existing image I found on the internet.
    Here is the link : http://i939.photobucket.com/albums/ad236/tentseringc/jn.jpg

    Hope you like it.

    Best wishes,
    tentseringc

  12. dorjee tsering | July 18th, 2009 | 12:09 pm

    Mr jamyang norbula
    here i really approciate your thought. i always read your articles from your website. so i hope you send me your article in my adress

  13. khangsarboy | July 18th, 2009 | 12:59 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH JAMYANG LA FOR POSTING THIS ARTICLE. I SAW THIS BEFORE BUT I DIDN’T GET GOOD TIME TO GO THROUGH THIS BEAUTIFUL AND SAD STORY OF OUR ONE AND ONLY LOTSAWA GEDUN CHOEPHEL LAK, ONE OF MY FAV WRITER.

    I ENJOYED IT.

    THANKS ONCE AGAIN,…

  14. kalsang | July 20th, 2009 | 3:15 am

    If your mother had not stop her brother to enter Lasa and went for throughly investigation with him or at least had one Elite member stand side by his(GC) charges ……. then Gendun Choephel had not been accused of such charges and had been released much earlier and saved many things there after. I am sorry to express this one another truth behind your article after reading it once.

  15. Moon | July 24th, 2009 | 1:23 pm

    just a suggestion,

    May be it is not Chiba which means children, but Chimpa,Household. Thank you so much for the story.I was lucky enough to hear your Amala’s aaccount with Gendun Choephel in Latse Library a few years ago.

  16. newgenerationtb | July 25th, 2009 | 3:51 pm

    I wanted to share two critical articles on what if China changes its policy towards so called minorities and even eliminating the word “Autonomy” from constitution, then our present proposal and upcoming clarifying proposal has no context. China can do anything if something fits and fullfils its political ends. I am still happy that TYC and other few independent inthinkers and scholars still keeping the rangzen alive. With rangzen as the ultimate goal, no matter what China changes in its policy as well as constitution regarding minorities, we are still safe and we are carrying forward this grand mission of rangzen.

    China rethinks autonomy for ethnic minorities; Tibetans, Uighurs and other ‘nationality groups’ are excessively privileged and over-indulged, many say

    source: http://www.kelowna.com/2009/07/24/china-rethinks-autonomy-for-ethnic-minorities-tibetans-uighurs-and-other-nationality-groups-are-excessively-privileged-and-over-indulged-many-say/

    Autonomy? Think Again!

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/OPINION/Edit-Page/Top-Article-Autonomy-Think-Again/articleshow/4795693.cms

    NG

  17. Lobsang | July 26th, 2009 | 3:45 pm

    Dear Jamyang Norbula,
    I`m sorry this is out of context. But can you recommend me some Books about traditional tibetan clothing?
    Thank you.
    Lobsang

  18. lhakpa Dhondup | July 28th, 2009 | 9:27 pm

    Respected sir

    I am writing this mail from TCV Gopalpur, and last week I got a chance to listen your presentation and I am deeply touched. So I deeply thank you for that.

    When I was in IBD- Sarah at Dharamsala, I met monk named Koyon Tara of Dalai Lama’s office and he promised me to give a map of Tibet written by British but later he turned off when I went there twice. So I think it would be very helpful to you if you can get it from him.

    Till then good bye and take care

    Lhakpa Dhondup (Teacher)

  19. tamding | August 2nd, 2009 | 4:19 am

    Respected sir ,
    i am deeply touched by your last week presentatin in tcv
    gopalpur.since i was came from Tibet in 2000 and ,un till know i didn’t knew that we had so much proved of “FREE TIBET “.so thank you very much. And your information of reshaped snow land.
    MANY MANY GREETINGS
    TAMDING 12

  20. Thoesam | August 3rd, 2009 | 1:11 pm

    Deare Keewang JN la. I wanted to thank you from my bottom of the heart that have visited to Bangalore and gave a wangderful talk about Tibet and Tibetans situation. YOu are the only person who gave more affective informations about tibet. When i think about your talk and those valuable documents which you have showed and along with interpreted it to us during your visiting to Bangalore. ya there is no doubt Tibet was an independent country. If we will fight for independence then which method and policy we have to use for the Chinese Govt? This quetion is always fixed in my mind?

  21. Dhargyal | August 4th, 2009 | 10:06 am

    A True Champion
    When I was 17, I sling over a gun and run hither and thither along with my companions at the Tibetan Armed Resistance in Mustang. Said Jamyang Norbu (JN) at a talk in Toroton In Canada, which I looked up in Youtube. JN is one of Tibetan exile’s most vocal advocate for Rangzen and no doubt a great political commentator, I had the fortunate to speak with him on Tibet issues.

    By his look, he probably well past over his middle age. Based on my knowledge of Tibetan people’s struggle, JN’s contribution for the sustainability of the Tibetan people’s movement, political awareness has been immeasurable giving the effort of Tibetan individual.

    The more I read and listen to his thoughts and ideas on Tibet politics and, the more I respect him as great Tibetan. When listening to his speech at a Toroton in Canada, right before the Olympics in China, JN called for Tibetans to rise up and do whatever an individual is capable of doing for the Tibetan cause. He has a great vision and he is passionate and realistic in his goal for Tibetan independence. At the meeting JN outlined the possibility of China’s downfall and Tibetan opportunity for a free country.

    JN is not only a literary critic, he is a renowned political commentator, sometimes even transgressing the redline. Undeterred by any minor incidents of hostility and potential mob violence against his unanticipated comments and writings on HH the Dalai Lama’s person and entourage , he set up Tibetan weekly newspaper in the early 90s, as a springboard for public discussion on contemporary Tibet issues. The paper become extremely popular, but editor’s particular comments relating to the persons of HH the Dalai Lama, backfired. Probably he touched on the nerve of Tibetan people. As result of his open and bold commets, he was not only threatened but hassled in the Dharamsala streets. Elder Tibetan people jeered at him for his unholy comments fueled by rumor mongers . Eventually, “Mangtso’ did not survive and subsequently Ani Machen institute lost its lustre.

    The other day, in my conversation with a relative in South India, he excitedly reported to me, that JN came to Sera and gave talk to to the monks on the theme of “Rangzen”. Surprisingly the monks, majority of them applauded his individual efforts in bringing awareness and education to the Tibetan masses on Rangzen. And of course there are few monks who appeared to be agitated with JN for his off the exile official and the Dalai lama’s approach to solve Tibet issues.
    True to his words, JN’s tour to south India is aimed to reach out to the Tibetans people and remind them that “Rangzen” can not be belittled and forgotten. I believe JN learnt to carefully chose his words when talking of the Dalai Lama. He has finally understands it to his own advantage. For I noticed in his speech, he referred to Gyalwang Ripoche with sincere reverence and veneration. That goes well with the Tibetan people. JN is a true shining star, and he is a practical and action oriented man. Exile Tibetan needs more of such a patriotic and intelligent person and less of political demagogue, who is all talk ,no action

  22. bodpa | August 6th, 2009 | 5:44 am

    good , thank you

  23. lobsan dakpa | August 7th, 2009 | 4:30 am

    Hello Dear prof JN la
    thank you very much

  24. john willam | August 7th, 2009 | 4:32 am

    Hello
    JN

    Nice to see your article… its really good
    thanks for you are sharing such a wonderful story to us. I like Gen dunchoephel also

  25. Karen Stone | August 8th, 2009 | 6:39 am

    Tashi Delek and thank you for this wonderful piece! I study TTM in Amdo and it is always wonderful to learn more about the Ngakpas.

    best wishes

    Karen

  26. lhamo | August 13th, 2009 | 6:16 am

    actually, the infamous logo designed by GC also have word written in tibetan, english as well as in chinese n the tibetan word reads as “nub boe lekchoe kyiduk la kher” n to translate it as “tibetan revolutionary party” as we see in british india’s document is a whimsical charge against GC. In fact, the english word reads as “Tibet Improvement Party”.
    The creative art work includes a mountain, river, sickle, machete n a bridge n to charge tat organization as “communist” cuz there is a sickle n machete (Russia) is weird. GC’s only fault was to draw map n the logo for his fellow citizens who were Russian paid chinese spies but then he was a great painter too who earned his living by painting.
    The greed for power n post made our government officials of tat era blindly act on the British government’s complaint of GC n the party’s conspiracy to overthrow the Tibetan government in Lhasa…how ignorant…..
    An innocent man caught in the whirlpool of Russian, Chinese n British stinky diplomacy…..i believe they all have self interest in Tibet. Yea he was truely an innocent intellectual man. The realization tat we lost a great man to foul politics puts me off…..emotional mayhem…. wat else to say……

  27. Mike Hamel | August 17th, 2009 | 10:25 am

    Dudjom Rimpoche’s Dhagyig pecha, (an elementary guide to better writing).

    Do you know where I get obtain this text?

    Thank you,
    Mike Hamel

  28. Choni Tsultrim Gyatso | August 20th, 2009 | 10:45 pm

    It is so mcuh dear and compassionate words try to decribe JN here. I don’t believe that he is compassinate man but I do believe that he went to school knew few english word then some of us. Don’t be so suprise by that….guys and girl…..One day we all will be able to do the same thing.

    One thing needs to be clear is that JN uses his KNowledge try to connect Present Tibetans situation to the world that is some thing everyone needs to follow and be suprised because as we see there are a lot of knowledgeable men and women out there have the tool to help Tibet but after 15- 20 year free education only be able to wash dishes in Chinese fast food Kitchens that is shame and shame.

  29. Charles | August 25th, 2009 | 2:11 am

    I will be in Dharamsala August 31 to Sept. 19, 2009 to record a personal documentary called “I Walked Out.” about Tibetans who walked from their homeland to McLeod Ganj. Anyone who wishes to testify about their experiences can check with me at the Hotel Hunted Hill. Thanks, Charles

  30. Prescott | September 2nd, 2009 | 1:45 am

    Prescott here, back from spelunking several months in Paraguay. I encountered more horrendous bat terd than I care to recollect, but that’s a bit off topic.

    Great to see the recollections of the brilliant scholar Gendun Chophel. Better still to have a forum to freely express our views, whatever they may be, not to mention follow the not-so-covert Chinese intruders for the occasional laugh. But more on that later.

    Patel’s grown a bit disgusted with the censorship on Phayul.com. It seems several of his pals can’t even get their opinions past the censor. It makes sense….since the Tibetan people are about to become a part of China (we only have to await the 675846 round of negotiations for that). I imagine the exile government has initiated a new campaign of censorship to further disguise the fact that Tibetans have always been dying for Rangzen, and that the Middle Way does not reflect the will of the Tibetan masses. It does reflect a good, solid defeatist attitude though. Kind of like a kid getting beat up who starts punching himself since he figures that, without any other imaginable recourse, he might as well take sides with the bully.

    So, thanks JN for providing the forum for a little freethinking jargon, and a bit of freewheeling fun (in my own case, at least).

    I plan to be on this forum for a bit, although I do have a pending exhibition match with Kirby Zhang (remember him?) It seems he’s been furiously studying ch’i kung and is convinced that he can now melt me with some techinques he picked up in a book from the Boxer Rebellion. As for me, I’ve been working out with Hu Jintao’s photo on my punching bag, getting fired up for the fight. I set the picture at 4’6″ because I realize that most of the Chinese imposters, cowering behind their computers, have a physical stature as miniscule as their moral one.

    But jokes aside, I am not against the Chinese people. I’m just against the ones who think they have a place inside Tibet.

    Regards,

    Prescott, with Patel sitting aimlessly by

  31. ngachoe | September 4th, 2009 | 8:42 am

    Dear Jhola Jamyang la,
    It was a pleasant reading at your blog site.Congrats and thank you for the interesting matter.So you have two lovely girls!!!!
    An old student of TCV SCHOOL

  32. arura | September 6th, 2009 | 1:18 pm

    Thank you for posting this great memoirs . It’s help for understanding the history of our prolific scholar Choephel la.

  33. KALON TRIPA 2011--Bridging the Gap and Dispelling the Darkness | September 8th, 2009 | 12:42 am

    Hi one and all,
    As you know, Kalon Tripa post is the highest people-elected seat in the exile govt. It’s a huge responsibility.
    The individual holding this post could affect the welfare of Tibetans worldwide in a positive or negative way depending upon his/her qualities actions and decisions.

    Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that we choose the right leader- a leader who is young, energetic, patriotic, modern, thoroughly educated and one who has the guts to speak up his mind despite pressures from hell or heaven and puts practical effort for the benefit of our people.

    It is simply our responsibility. There is no denying this.

    I have 3 deserving candidates below who given the opportunity could make a big difference in the lives of Tibetans everywhere.

    1. Lhasang Tsering….Ex-TCV Principal, Ex-AMI Director, Ex-president of TYC

    2. Kelsang Phuntsok…MA holder, former president of TYC

    3. Phurbu Dorji…….Lawyer,served in Tibetan justice for 10 years, MA holder from USA

    You can choose any candidate. All I need is the greenbook number from 25 endorsers/supporters for each candidate so they can be on a Kalon Tripa website.

    If none of the above candidates deserves even your glance, you can responsibly come up with a one others find worthwhile to support.

    The whole goal here is to let the public have more choice to choose from and let them know the education/experience/ability/achievements of potential Kalon Tripa 2011.

    Our people do not know our leaders/MPs/potential Kalon Tripas. Our leaders hold no election campaign in various Tibetan areas for the reasons best known to them.

    The last minute Dharamsala lecture/campaign/pulling legs miserably fails to bridge the informational gap between the masses and the leaders.
    Please forward it to as many as possible.

    Thank you

    Mila

    917-889-0421
    milarangzen@yahoo.com
    eFax:718-228-8154

    Free Tibet!

    P.S.
    Jamyang Norbu la,
    The above may not be related to your article but all my attempts to find your contact numbers/email IDs failed. Hence, I resort to this here.
    I have already nominated Phurbu Dorjee with 25 endorsers but my brother-in-law wants to nominate Lhasang la for kalon tripa 2011 with 25 endorsers. Would you give me Lhasang la’s bookworm contact number? I want to ask him if it’s ok for my brother-in-law to nominate him so he can be on a kalon tripa website for public discussion and awareness about this great individual. I very much appreciate your help here.
    Thank you.

  34. Khawai Shonu | September 8th, 2009 | 5:17 pm

    Dear Genla,

    Thank you so much for keeping the RANGZEN flame alive. I sincerely thank you for your continuous effort to achieve our goal RANGZEN. I have been anxiously waiting for your next article and have been checking it on daily basis. I hope very soon you will come out new things which will enlighten our younger generation.
    I have one request for you sir, Could you please write brief history on Tibetan Muslim on this RAMZAM festival, how it came to Tibet and their current status. I have heard that some of Tibetan Muslim are settled in Kashmir, Darjeeling, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi, Turkey etc. But so far I have never met any Tibetan Muslim in my life. I am bit curious to know about them as they are also very much Tibetan. And it’s important for us to know about our fellow brother and sister.

    With regards
    Khawai Shonu Bhu

  35. tenzin Dolker | January 26th, 2010 | 12:52 pm

    Hi ghen Jamjang Norbu la,
    Thank you so much for keeping the freedom flame alive ..
    I really appreciate all your good works …
    Hope you are well & your family also..
    I am a Ex-TIPA..& you are the best TIPA Director that we ever had..
    I learned many things from you & I really respect you a lot…..
    I heard you are i New york…these days i am in New york also..so hope to see you on losar…I am going to sing there ..
    take care & be happy always.
    Tenzin Dolker

  36. wangduegyadro | December 21st, 2011 | 2:18 am

    Sir with respect.
    thanks for sharing your late mother’s oral history of Gedun choephel la. we have to learning something from him and we have to imply his visions for our culture and people. thanks very much have great blogs to read us.

  37. dawa tseten | February 20th, 2015 | 1:18 pm

    JN la
    I already read ur website n ur resource r very useful for me n I got lots of gain from ur website n I m going to say U thanks alot…..
    Please write more about the gedun choephel….. I admires him alot he is one of the my best writer …..actually I m learning about Tibetan poetry n with English language. I m not gud in English but I m trying to learn……
    BOD GYALO……
    By tsang- fast eye(nyurmig)

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