The Great Earthquake at Jyekundo

Dhondup Ling Sakya Monastery complex at Jyekundo. Photo: Andreas Gruschke

To read something insightful about this terrible tragedy, and also respectful of Tibetan history and culture, readers should to go to

Webmaster Christophe also compiled a high-resolution satellite image of Jyekundo City prior to the earthquake of April 14, 2010, from around one hundred Google maps screenshots. This image of 12212 x 5596 pixels can be downloaded from the following URL (23,4Mb):

Please feel free to use it and distribute it wherever necessary. Among others, it could prove particularly useful in rescue efforts or in detailed reports. A credit to the Rangzen Alliance would be welcome.


108 Replies to “The Great Earthquake at Jyekundo”

  1. What Tibetan language bloggers say:
    Sue the Chinese government for:
    1 The collapsed housings in Yushu/Kyigu didn’t meet the requirement of local building codes, especially of those New Socialist Village housings and school buildings.

    2 Not giving warnings of the earthquake
    3 Not provide immediate relief assistance to general Tibetan people, gave priority to rescue of Chinese officials and military personnel.
    4 Concealing real numbers of death tolls and tried to make the disaster insignificant to the outside world.
    5 Prohibited Tibetan volunteers to go to the hit areas to assist the victims

  2. Hello everybody,
    We should urge our government and non government organisations to raise fund for earth quake victims in our fatherland.

  3. Lets not fight over even the Tibetan Bones!I hesitate to say anything on this occassion. But the politicals will always react in a combative political manner. The religious will react in a prayerful manner. Two sides of the same coin. Lets not fight over the bones of the fallen.

  4. We should also urge those rich monastries, labdrangs and individuals to donate something for the same purpose.

    We cannot stay quite at this moment. We should do something immediately. Come on!

  5. if prayers had worked, Tibet would have been free by now. It is time monasteries sent their monks along with the SFT students to ask for donations and pray at the same time – something practical. They need money not prayers.

  6. Burning sorrow from the core of who I am
    Melting the lonely tales of tragedy churned up by the earth
    Who am I peacefully swimming in the endless tears of my people?
    The fate I hate but can’t get enough of it

  7. After getting various information from different media sources available to us, the common people, it seems that PRC is giving priority on political propaganda through CCTV and Xinhua News Agency.

    But monks from nearby monasteries have done a great job.

  8. This was posted on Digital Tibetan Altar

    Chinese people are mobilizing their own grassroots aid for Tibetan earthquake victims. This photo, taken just a few hours ago in Chengdu’s “Tibet Town,” shows a street corner collection point for blankets and emergency supplies.

    In a strange turn of events, the Kham earthquake has had considerable effect on the way average Chinese perceive Tibetans. Heretofore, that perception was largely negative — a reflection of the way Tibetans are portrayed in the media. However, now that broadcast images from the disaster zone have flooded state-controlled Chinese television, people are for the first time getting a glimpse of reality. Indeed, Newsweek is running with a story on this phenomenon, as are other media.

    In consequence, Chinese people are opening their hearts. In addition to state-managed aid, which is proceeding at an almost unprecedented level, virtually every town and city in China is organizing fundraising campaigns, and opening collection points for material aid. People are sending blankets, warm clothing, tents, and all manner of necessities.

    Chinese Buddhists, who of course number in the millions, are said to be particularly active.

    Meanwhile, our sources in the region have informed us that 500 monks have been dispatched to Jyekundo from Sertha, and also others from Dranggu. There is, so tragically, now a necessity for many monks to help with the dead.

    UPDATED: Xinhua is reporting the death toll at 1,300 and rising, as rescue efforts pass the 72 hour window. On the ground estimates from the region tell us to expect that number to quickly reach 4,000.

  9. Dave,

    For you information, Wen Jiabo made no such reference to the Han majority in any of his speech, as alleged in the NYT piece. In fact it is inconceivable a government that claims to represent all peoples of China would have committed such a political folly (we Muslims would immediately seek our own independence should the state were to become of the Han only. The mistake on the part of the NYT “report” simply shows once again the entrenched racial discourse of the U.S. when Americans can only see anything through their own tinted lens.

    I agree that this is a time we put the interest of the quake victims and their families above anything else and show our basic human decency.

  10. alas kigudo!
    3000 dead
    20,000 injured
    mud housing for tibetans
    concrete housing for chinese
    injustice everywhere in town!
    85% mud town collapsed
    tibetans went down
    15% concrete stood tall
    and chinese care less
    100% discrimination
    ground reality!

    help to the dead and injured
    priority to chinese
    officials and security personnel

    help to the tibetans
    if any
    just fake and propaganda!
    an insult to the injury
    justice nowhere in sight!
    salt to the wound
    my resolve not to be part of
    evil that china is
    remains strengthened
    till the last drop of my blood.

    who to contact to give donation that would directly reach the hands of the devastated tibetans, not chinese authorities? big thanx.

  11. Alrighty, we hear so much accusations and complains by the exiled Tibetan saints. The Chinese are great; they create earthquake to kill Tibetans. Is that all that we need to hear.

  12. to keep the discussion going on..

    3 questions

    1. what have you middle way regime achieved toward the autonomy goal for the last 23 years?
    2. is middle way policy preventing the chinese population transfer that threatens to reduce tibetans to the same fate as native americans?
    3. what are middle pathers’s plans and strategy(other than asking, waiting and hoping) to achieve autonomy?

    3 requests

    1. i request the dalai lama to respect the true wishes of tibetan people for independence by working on it. in the greater scheme of things let your personal individual philosophy go! people may have empowered you through mps to go ahead as you think is best for tibet but do recognize that they did so out of faith on you and also because of fears of being branded anti-dalai lama and ostracization that follows, and not because they want or have any hope for autonomy. they have faith on you, not in middle way whose author you are.
    2. i request the tibetan people to speak up for what’s inside their heart. loud and clear at every given opportunity. fear none. respect all.
    3. i request mps to truly represent the tibetan people for their desire of a free and independent tibet and their willingness to sacrifice for their supreme goal. stop getting into loyalty to the dalai lama contest. pretty childish.

  13. Tibetans inside Tibet are not only taking the forefront task of emergency rescue work. They are also donating money, food, clothing and their emotional supports to the victims of the earth quake.
    Tibetan singers including Yadong and other artists will be holding prayer fundraising event on 4/21 in Tsongkha city , Qinghai.
    A famous Tibetan comedian appeared on Tibetan TV and urged people to donate Tsampa, butter dried cheese and homemade breads and cash.
    Tibetans across Amdo and Kham and U-zang are donating Tsapa, Cheese, butter, homemade Breads and money for food, tents and clothes.
    A Tibetan blogger named Shonu Damey wrote on Tibetan Language Khabdha that he learnt by phone this morning that local Tibetans in Rebgong, Chentsa and Hualong in his home region are donating Tsampa, butter and Tibetan Bread and additionally those with good income are donating 500 Yuan each and those with modest income donating 300 Yuan and individual Tibetan teachers are also donating 300 Yuan each for the cause. He learnt local Tibetan Lamas and monasteries are in forefront of delivering the donations to Jkyiku.
    This time, Tibetans both lay and monks, from income earning individuals to day labor wage earners, from farmers to nomads, singers to writers , Tibetans across the country united in one and whole to share the tragedy, the sorrow and tears together.

  14. The Salar,

    Your inclusivity with Han is commendable, but when it comes to Tibetans you can’t wait to fight for ‘your’ share of egg before they are even hatched.

    My wise neighbor says, if it smells like a pork, may be it’s pork!

  15. Salar, You said, “It is inconceivable that a government that claims to represent..etc.” With China anything is conceivable. Don’t you remember Tiananmen? Is it “conceivable” for a national government to send tanks to murder thousands of its student for conducting a peaceful demonstration? Or do you buy the official propaganda about the incident?

    Banlastheway, Yes China has created earthquakes to kill Tibetan. Do you forget the Cultural Revolution. The ruins of the monastery and other older buildings that you see in the latest photographs, are acutally buildings that were painfully rebuilt after the destruction of the Cultural Revolution. Far more people were killed in the Jyekundo area in the sixties than the 1339 people killed by this terrible earthquake.

    I am sure you guys are fenqing doing your stuff for the propaganda ministry.That includes you, Pema Kadag. I really don’t mind. It adds spice to the discussion. Why don’t you just use your real Chinese names?

  16. Dear Jamyang Norbu,

    With due respect, I must say you have confused two things. I was merely referring to the official discourse and language on the multinational state of the PRC, and it is inconceivable that Wen Jiabo would make that statement as he did not. Unfortunately, many Western reporters fail to do their homework and lose their credibility by repeatedly making that kind of mistake. I read it as a Freudian slip, which reveals the coherent logic of American racial discourse.

    Of course we all know the government often says one thing and does the opposite. The day of judgment will come to right the wrongs that include Tiananmen. Because we live in such a system of state propaganda, we are constantly alert to the possibility of being brainwashed and do our best to keep our eye open. What is troubling to me is that people who live in the so-called “free system” of corporate media and money politics have no sense of themselves being brainwashed, too.

  17. Jamyang La…Your singling me out like that brought back memories of school when my teacher knew that I was up to no good and I thought that I was able to “get away with it”. Thank you Jamyang La for the memories. I am not well versed in political talk as you can obviously see. I suppose my views in a blog such as this don’t really account for much as I have only recently started reading about Tibetan politics only because I have married a Tibetan woman. She “puts up” with my questions. I am an American and student in the Nyingma sect. I for one do not have a Chinese name. My name is Mark Fasi and my profession is a winemaker.

    I support democracy. Democracy did not exist in Tibet prior to the Chinese incursion and it certainly does not exist now. The chinese have killed many of my lineage teachers and relatives of my wife’s family. I hope to not go to this grave angry or having regrets. I suppose the reason I post what I post is because the response from the usual comments which are posted are so predictable. I am not on the ground in Tibet, and frankly I certainly do not trust any chinese accounts but, as an american who is schooled to be skeptical, I do not completely swallow your Tibetan sources as the truth either. I am not saying they are false…just that they are, unfortunately, one view. I really think that people who are politically inclined have a strong habit to color every situation that arises with their opinion even before they receive alleged facts. I cannot believe that within the first hours of the disaster the politicos were already screaming about chinese injustice. Making sure the bones were labeled Tibetan and not Chinese. Or who did the shoddy building construction. I can only hope that the article that I posted from the Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar blog is accurate in saying that there is a large movemement of chinese buddhists to mobilize aid. I don’t know if it is true. But whether true or not it is a positive idea with hopefully some truth to it. Call me naive. It wont be the first time and will not be the last. So will i will ask the same questions that I have not received an answer for maybe because now that I am considered a dog eater chink baby eating abortionist anything Tibetan murderer, hopefully Jamyang La will come down from his Ivory Tower and educate this uneducated barbarian.
    1.How can europeans and americans know what is happening in Tibet? Are their accurate reports in the CIA or any government run secret police you trust?
    2. Now for my biggest naive question! Is there legal recourse for Tibetans in the chinese courts, if there is such a thing, at any level? For shop owners, farmers, on up to civil and criminal? I ask this because if there were…then things can be changed from within. Ha Ha ….you are saying!

  18. SANGAY-or whoever you are,

    I normally would ignore people like you or I can’t even contemplate posting here. But let me cut it loose just once, following the logic of political branding made on Pema Kadag or Mark Fasi. I suspect you are just a fenqing paid by the propaganda ministry to ruin the image of the Tibet cause. Our neighboring Amdo nomads have a much better knowledge of how good we Salar are as butchers. During the harvest season we slaughter and skin up to 80% of the sheep in Amdo, hired by Tibetan herders who are uncomfortable to kill the sheep because of their Buddhist faith. So we know better than our Amdowa neighbors the quality of sheep hide and whatever hides underneath.

  19. Jamyang La…I do not know you and you do not know me. I will say in light of the fact that your greatest insult to me, a man of average intellect, is to call me “chinese”, bespeaks of racism. How do you, of all people, intend to be taken seriously if your worst insult, is to group a person who is only asking questions and seeking positive response, is to call me chinese. This is the crack in the dam where your Cause will fail. Simple racism. I hope I am wrong. But you of all people…but then again maybe you are a racist and I just do not know you well enough. Are you a racist? Do you harbor hatred for all chinese? When you rely on clever intellectual argument you fall prey to ordinary hatred and intolerance. The Dalai Lama has never or will never refer to “chinese” as an object of derision or hatred.

  20. Pema Kadag or Fasi, whatever your real name is:

    Not that Jamyang la won’t have an answer for you. But as a supporter of JN la let me answer your question.

    If hating the Chinese (Hans) who are supporting CPC’s line of argument for occupying our land is racism, then I am a racist.

    If hating the Chinese (Hans) who are spreading into our land like vermin without care for our culture, religion, language and environment and forcefully displacing our people is racism, then I am a racist.

    If hating the Chinese who support the CPC’s policies of forcefully relocating our nomads (80% of Tibet’s population) into ghettos where they plan to slaughter them like pig when time comes is racism, then I am a racist.

    We Tibetans didn’t bring racism to them, the Chinese people with their Communist party brought it to us when they justified occupation of our country by calling us barbarians. Perhaps you didn’t know, this is a war between races and it has been right from the beginning.

    If the Chinese people leave our country and go back to China we won’t have any reason to hate them. Its as simple as that.

  21. Kalsang Phuntsok
    Thank you for clearing things up for me in regard to your views. So….why would Professor Jamyang Norbu refer to me as chinese in the derogatory way in which he did? Look…personally I really do not care what he calls me. I do find it curious that anyone that does not fall into the rank and file opinions which this blog represents are labeled as chinese. I have a problem with anyone who uses hate as a justification for an argument. Being new to Tibetan politics I find most of what is commented on as not being educational but rather combative with no real exchange of ideas. JN’s articles are the only source of information which may be valuable.

    The Han “vermin”, as you put it, who are streaming into Tibet…are they being encouraged economically by the PRC to move into Tibet?(the tone in which I am asking these questions is a genuine tone of wanting to get an answer from you…not a challenging tone)So IF the PRC is giving economic encouragement to Han vermin and these same vermin who cannot think for themselves because they are being fed PRC propaganda take the bait of a “better life” in the TAR or Shizuan or Quinghai….why should they be condemmed as “vermin”? I ask you this not because I support this…I ask because I want to know what the reality is.

    If in fact the Han Vermin are recruited by the PRC to move and settle in Tibet with an economic carrot; then they do not deserve to be vilified by you or any other Tibetan. I would assume they have no idea what is really taking place there in Tibet until they get there. So…if this is the case then you are very wrong in your justified racism. As is Jamyang. If I am wrong then please give me some facts or a place I can read the facts myself where these vermin are acting as vermin out of spite for tibetans and not to make a better life for their families.

  22. Kalsang Phuntsok: bravo! Unfortunately, Pema Kadag won’t understand this kind of position. As himself put it, he “only recently started reading about Tibetan politics” (seemingly *only* because he married a Tibetan) and his understanding is obviously seriously biased by the wonderful Shangri-La picture promoted by Tibetan lamas to Westerners…

  23. Christophe
    My reason for wanting to know more about Tibet does not suit your standards? You do not like the dharma in the west? You know my mind? Watch your own mind.

  24. Kalsang Phuntsok,

    I replied only lately to your question on Rangzen Alliance’s facebook page about Jyekundo’s name. Since it might be of interest to other, below is the Q&A. Thanks to anyone who can contribute to this topic.

    Your question: Can you shed some light on Yushu vs. Yulshul and Jyekundo vs. KyeKundo? Some say Yushu is Chinese and others say its actually Tibetan as in Yulshul (place – trace). I noticed Jyekundo in Amnye Machen map but TGIE and others refer to this as Kyekundo. Also more recent news articles have Jiegu not Jieguduo as you wrote above.

    My answer: Place names are a real issue with Tibet and can be a long argument. In short, there are no standards. Jyekundo is the most common English spelling and has been used for more than two hundred years of literature and travelers’ reports; it’s based on Khampa pronunciation. Kyekundo, Kyikudo, etc. are based on Lhasa dialect and has only been used since exile. Google returns 22,300 results for ‘Jyekundo’, 103 for ‘Kyekundo’ and 88 for ‘Kyekudo’.

    As for the Chinese name, it’s transliterated as ‘Gyegu(do)’ but real pinyin transcribes it as ‘Jiegu(duo)’ 结古(多) — somehow like Chamdo, which is known in Chinese as ‘Qamdo’ but should actually be romanized as ‘Changdu’ 昌都.

    Finally, if I remember well, Tashi Tsering from AMI told me that Yushu was actually an old Tibetan name, but I can’t remember the details… Maybe it was your ཡུལ་ཤུལ།

  25. Hi Christophe,

    I don’t blame you if you confuse me with someone else. My name may be one of the most common Tibetan names of all, after Tenzing perhaps.Your post was very informative though and I learned something new. Thanks.

  26. Pema, you won’t get it because your people are not being overwhelmed and reduced to a minority in your own country, your culture destroyed, your people oppressed beyond the decency of animals. And no, just because you married a tibetan woman doesn’t give you automatic and spontaneous knowledge of all things Tibetan, even if you wear a swami bun hair and the multi-colored robe of an ascetic. And if you had your lineage teachers and your ‘wife’s’ relatives killed, then how come you have such a difficult time believing our story, especially when they won’t let foreign media in and basically created a blackout except for their own reportage. Now you see why we have a difficult time believing you?

  27. The Chinese government offers tax and other incentives to those Hans who open business in Tibet. There are actual government programs to encourage the jobless Han peasants to go to Tibet to find jobs. Look at Lhasa, today the majority of the population is Han Chinese.

    When the Communist government says it has allocated billions of dollars for Tibet, the major part of the budget goes to the army and paramilitary forces and their families that are stationed there. The rest goes to programs which only benefit the Hans who have settled there. Almost all high government posts in Tibet are held by Han Chinese.

    If you don’t know all this you should do your own research.

    WE are not shouting just because we hate the Chinese people. We are shouting because the situation in Tibet is really desperate for the Tibetans. And that desperation was brought upon us by the Chinese. Every single Chinese who moves to Tibet makes the situation worse.

    You should also study the history of America. Same sort of excuses and reasoning as used by the Chinese today were used by the European colonizers to subjugate and annihilate the native population. Will you call the native people racist?

    If you enjoy bashing the victim, then go ahead call the Tibetans racist. Cos you know what, we don’t care.

  28. Pema Kadag a.k.a Farsi,

    My post # 40 was for you.

    Also let me add the following to your post where you write ” I would assume they have no idea what is really taking place there in Tibet until they get there. So…if this is the case then you are very wrong in your justified racism”

    To me every Chinese in Tibet is at least guilty of willful ignorance.

  29. Pema/Mark,

    Please pass the information to your American friends who may want to help with the rescue/relief/reconstruction efforts in Jyekundo. The link are to two truthworthy international NGOs, run by Tibetans and for Tibetans inside Tibet, with solid track records and on-the-ground expertise. I happen to know some dedicated members from Machik (the first link) but have also heard good things about the second one. Thanks!

  30. kalsang phuntsok and Tenpa…I appreciate your information. I don’t think that you believe my sincerity. That is fine,afterall we are not speaking face to face, and I am hoping that if we did speak face to face I might understand your tone. This was the first stop in my “research”. You need to have a little more patience with people who may appear to be less experienced in this situation. My questions to all of you are not necessarily reflective how I feel about Tibet and China. I wanted to ask questions which dealt with the chinese in Tibet and how and why the peasants are there and if there is legal recourse. If tibetans were given autonomy as in the Middle Way..then the courts would still be chinese law. I have wanted to know what if any standing tibetans have in Chinese courts. That is all. I do not feel my questions or statements warrant your borderline personal remarks…as a matter of fact I don’t even see why they would get you so fucking riled up! If you have no patience for me then why petition the west for understanding and support? My questions are not that hard…and actually really arent that pertinent.

    Kalsang…thanks for the info regarding the Han and the PRC’s incentives…but you lost me at “bashing the victim” WTF. Where did I bash the victim. If I appeared to bash it may have been directed towards your’s or JN’s comment. Where have I bashed Tibetans? You are really reaching. I don’t think disagreeing with you is bashing an entire tibetan population…from what I see the majority of tibetans i know would be hard pressed to say you represent the manner in how you present your view and more specifically your shrill disdain for chinese.

    Tenpa…I know as much as I can know about what is and has transpired in Tibet. I think my interest in this blog was first, I enjoy JN’s informative articles, secondly, as much as I do not like what the PRC has done to your Tibet i find your arguments not very convincing. Though you do not need to convince me. You in paricular. You have no patience and you resort to childish inuendo in regard to someone’s dharma practice. Why waste your time commenting on what I say…obviously I do not know anything about this. I find it interesting that you have a hard time when anyone wants information regarding how Han “vermin” get to settle in Tibet. You would think that I had spat on the Tibetan flag. If you were anywhere in Tibet and you came across one of these Han vermin and they needed your help as they may be bleeding or their child needs life saving assistance…I would hope you would lend your hand.

    Look…the bottom line is that if my questions upset you so much then … guys need to hone your skills. I feel as though I have stepped into a dog fight…its exhilerating but it is also dissappointing. I feel as though I have taken up too much space and time on JN’s blog away from the regulars. I’ll check in and read…but i will keep my opinions to myself. Thanks for the inside look at the Tibetan intellectual movement.

  31. pema kadak,
    i demand independence and to me every chinese in tibet is a colonist and must quit tibet now. this sounds childish emotion? well, dont keep your opinions to your self. express yourself(you do well) as it helps sharpen my skill if any to render a swift kick to the rear of chinese running dogs.

  32. Mark Fasi aka Pema Kadak

    Refer to your comment 31, and here’s the answer: What is the ‘reality’, it doesn’t matter. The “verminization” has to be stopped first, period.

  33. Pema Kadag, Jamyang Norbu was apparently mistaken to include you in a group of people whose posts led him to assume they were Chinese, but how is it “racist” simply to think another person is Chinese? If you are the one who says “Chinese” is an insult, then who is manifesting the racism? Jamyang la is no racist, but I’m glad you turn out to be an American winemaker. The more wine is made, the better, I say.

  34. Pema Kadar, I am not trying to convince you because I see that is a lost cause. If you have married a tibetan woman and you practice Tibetan buddhism, and as you claim, know that your wife’s relatives were killed and more importantly, your lineage teachers have been killed also, I don’t see how you can doubt our story on the equal measure as the red bloodied hoodlums. Either you are really dense or you are basically trying to skip over their propaganda in a ‘ yes, but?’ sort of way, which essentially belittles the opponent’s point of view in a pretentious undertone. Second one we see quite a lot from the running dog lot. I for one don’t buy your story simply because somebody who claims to be half-way in the Tibetan world exhibit such gross lack of understanding of the basic Tibetan reality. Or you are really that dense.

  35. Tenpa..”just when I think I’m out…they drag me back in” Al Pacino in the Godfather III. If what you say about me, personally, were true then obviously I would have to agree with you. But is there a chance that you are blinded by your own rhetoric? I probably know more about, as much as any westerner can who is not directly involved in Tibetan politics,Tibet than you think. It is not that I doubt your stories at all…I challenge you to show me in quotes where I have felt that your story is inaccurrate? I may have said that I do not trust some things that come from any political organization. I do know for sure that there is nothing that I trust that comes from the PRC. So…there you have it. Will you have my head for that? I have chosen to ask some questions about the chinese and the chinese courts and chinese peasants in Tibet because I want to KNOW. Do I need to come to your Anti-chinese party wearing my “I hate all things Chinese” button before my questions are answered?
    What do you propose to do about Tibet? Tell me NOW! You have no patience for a “DENSE” person such as myself how will you deal with the PRC, since we are assuming as you have pointed out very clearly that you represent all Tibetans. I hope not. And if you do not plan on dealing with the person who is holding the knife to your mother’s throat… then what will you do? WHAT!??? Easy to say as Mila said, “swift kick to the ass of the chinese running dogs”. But first you will have to make the chinese run away from you. How will you do that?!! Tell me NOw! I have had my father, uncles, and others fight in WW II. They never talked about kicking ass or killing because they know it all too well. In the USA it is always the hot head wanna be soldiers who are “patriotic” and have never seen a man die by his own hands, and know deep down inside THEY will never need to fight, that clamour for war. So tell me all of you Tibetan patriots what will you do about the PRC? You spend all of your time discussing setting up “house” before you even have a land to build on. Maybe all of you are vying for a piece of the tibetan government pie for the future? I understand you want to fight but you can’t. So what will you do? I want to know! Certainly discussing the style of government without a country makes no sense.

    Dave…take you Psych 101 and shove it up your ass

  36. Dave BTW…yes I do make good wine..if ever in California…that goes for any of you that like wine…happy to share a few bottles with you.

  37. Pema Kadag,

    May be I went a little far in insinuating that you enjoy bashing the victim. I apologize for that. You should understand that we are very weary of westerners claiming to support the tibetans but only manage to tell the Tibetans to give up their struggle and try to work it out with the Chinese while failing to put any pressure on China to stop these migration and other atrocities. They are mostly either Dharma types or those who represent the business interest of the west in China. While we appreciate sincere support for the tibetan cause from the west, we also run the risk of suffering distortion of facts from these western talking heads who call themselves tibet experts and whom the western media often enthusiastically seeks for opinions whenever something happens in Tibet. These people are mostly paid through shadowy organizations directly linked to the PRC government. We call them “Barefoot Experts” and “Running Dogs”. I call them “Victim Bashers”


  38. Christophe, thanks for posting the links to the earthquake pictures, harrowing as they are. I’ve forwarded them to my list of local Tibet supporters, and the response indicates that people are being inspired to donate to relief efforts. People can read about disasters and “know” what happened, but the photos really evoke the emotional reaction.

    Pema Kadag, please excuse my clumsy attempt to be civil while still correcting your mischaracterization of J. Norbu, for whom I have a great deal of respect. (Think I’ll have to pass on the bottles of wine, though – that Psych 101 book is all I have room for.)

  39. Kalsang thanks for the clarification on the meaning of “running dogs”…that term was directed at me! No apology needed.

    Dave…you are too sensitive. I too respect JN as well. I only asked if he considered himself a racist. I do not know him well enough to make that judgement.

  40. as for our friends and supporters, while we greatly appreciate their sympathy and support, it is not for them to determine what the goal should be. Voluntary help and support is always gratefully accepted from those who believe in or approve of a cause from a pure motivation. But it is only natural to expect that the goal be determined by those whose lives, future, and very survival are at stake.

  41. Pema, more than learning about Tibetans and what they are doing to regain their country back you should learn about the nature of the CPC machinery which is run by the majority Han people. How meticulously and ruthlessly they are carrying out their long term project of wiping out the Tibetan population from their homeland. Then only you’ll understand where we are coming from.

  42. Steven Seagal, is that you?

    Ok, maybe not.

    Look Mark, I don’t want your head, especially in my bed when I wake up (Godfather 1), and definately not in front of a relay of ‘Chinese-haters’ as you so lovingly called us. I am saying I got the impression that you were giving equal weight to the veracity of the events from Chinese or Tibetan sources and that I feel is deeply misleading. We all know why we don’t have faith in anything that comes out of the propaganda outlet but I am wondering why you don’t trust the Tibetan sources? Do you have any personal reasons why you would be inclined that way?

    And what in the god’s ass is this rant after that paragraph? You call me childish and then you go on a temper tantrum and bring in middle path and rangzen. And Yes, I do have a plan but because you are being an obnoxious little whiner and didn’t ask politely, I refuse to answer. Nah-huh. I WON’T TELL YOU!! NO! . Too much wine that night perhaps? Or did you take that Dense remark a little too seriously? I guess the meditation crap is not working for you then?


  43. Tenpa dargya Gapsila,
    I know what you meant by “need money not prayer”. it shows your lack of understanding of Ideas and perpose behind the prayer. there is big diffrence between magic spell and prayer.Prayer dosnt trun water into wine and rock into a gold. prayer is to keep hope in hopeless situation. prayer is to keep your sanity in insane circumstances. prayer is for happiness and sadness. prayer is to nourish your wounded soul. prayer is to united. it serves many perposes. evedently right in this blog, if you clik writer Woser la’s blog posted by Christophe. there is a video footage of cremating loses from Jyekundo’s earthquake and you can hear woman praying. what would you tell to this woman? So dont be too naive. I am sick and tired of some of our brothers and sister smearing with their own petty prospect of our one and only culture that we shall be proud of. I am sure your intention is for our common cause but read some dharma book. i am sure you will find some insperation there to proud of. dont get distracted by some kusho riding yahama bike. Buddha had already warn us in advance, “GangSa la Ma-thoe, Choe la thoe. Choe la Ma-thoe, Yhe-she la thoe.” it is deep.

  44. Tenpa…
    My my my…Did I strike a nerve? Or are you really not reading what I am writing? As for your PLAN? Please, Please tell me all knowing ONE!!!
    Look, can we cut the sarcasm and the BS on both sides? You are under the ILLUSION that you, Tenpa Dhargyal Gapshi, speak for all Tibetans. As I said, I hope this is not true. Every comment from you has taken a personal tone on my family, my dharma practice and now my profession. Keep them coming as it only bolsters my point that you have nothing. What will you do about the PRC in Tibet? Tell me!

    There is one thing that experience tells me…and that is whatever happens it will happen from a direction that no one has anticipated or prepared for.

    I applaud and support every single Tibetans view point. I think that you setting up “house” without even the land or the foundation to build on is on the surface, pointless…but it is also necessary to be prepared.This I understand.But you argue about the furniture in this dream home of your’s.

    I mentioned Mila only because of his comment regarding “swift kick” blah blah blah.

    The Steven Seagal comment is a low blow. You are a hater of western people as well? You do not practice dharma so you ridicule my meager practice? Did the Ancient Indian buddhists ridicule you Tibetans because in their minds the Tibetans were very “faddish” when they were tamed by Padmasambhava?

    Let us all know your plan. I for one would like to know. I am sorry you doubt my sincerity but I think you are only interested in the worse of what the west has to offer you and that is money and yuppies that kiss your tibetan ass. Please, understand that this is directed at you Tenpa…Not all of your Tibetan people…that is if you are Tibetan. You single handedly, if given the venue, could turn anyone away from the Tibetan cause.

    Now MAN UP!!!! Tell me your plan.

  45. JN la,
    I think you are correct about this Pema Kadag-Mark Fasi guy. I don’t buy him as American winemaker. If he is American why pretend to be Tibetan. My English is not good but when I read him I don’t get a feeling of a natural born English speaker or writer. I think this thing of being winemaker and having Tibetan girlfrend is just his Chinese fantasy.

  46. Thanks Christopher,
    The deathtoll is indeed devastating and hopefully the bastards are not going to hamper international efforts to help with the victims. Hopefully, we can all cough up few more dollars and do what we can to alleviate the immense suffering inflicted upon our people. People in Toronto, we have a brunch at Tibet Kitchen organized by GTPN this sunday to help raise more money. Please bring your friends, your aunts, your husbands and your cousins to this event. Please feel free to duplicate a similiar event in your area or any other way you can think of and lets all do our best in this time of need.

    Pema Kadar, I am not telling you. You sound like a bi-polar person to me. You make sense one minute and then you fly off the handle the next. Do I still get my bottle of wine?

  47. Folks here, Time off…. please. time ooff. I think this kind of argument is not getting us anywere. lets get a grip on our Khampa temper. I belive this blog is not like one of those about celeberity or fashion. It is for the freedom of six million people. so lets not make it cheap by abusing eachother. I can understand those emotion when we sense some fishy commentator like Banlastheway and Salar, but we should well come folks like them on this platform under what ever form or name. let it be spy, PRC nationalist or just a curious one. lets not use offensive words, but be resolute on our stand in a civil way and swing the Jampaiyang’s dagger. fuming words is what our opponents wants to see in this blog which lead to a Collateral Damage.
    Pama kadak la, count me in for wine testing party… 🙂

  48. Tenpa…maybe Im bi-polar…I will never know. But absolutely yes. I would very much enjoy giving you a bottle of my best! Thompa you too.Dave, Jamyang La,Kalsang La, whoever drinks. Whoever is in California and wants to come to the Northern part of the state. I will meet you anywhere, or come to my home. Good Luck, Tashi Delek!


    In light of Hu’s visit who can say that hearts were not won
    The bowed heads, the flowers, red flags at half mast
    Rows of people, children even the military on display
    Celluloid captured to cast a softer image of a rabid dragon

    The world saw the colorful pageantry and staged mourning
    And hearts won; they sympathized with middle China
    Messages of condolences flood Tiananmen Square
    Despots is suits, now gallant heroes of the middle kingdom

    BBC I implore you to turn your lights and cameras on Tibet
    In Jyekundo where the real tragedy unfolds day by day
    Beijing is not where flowers and kind words should go
    Put the focus on the distraught and the wounded in the dust

    Where’s your dignity, telling of truth, has it too been sold?
    Your picture of the day, a flower laden display faraway
    The dying discarded and the death toll rising untamed
    No half mast flag faraway can feed or heal their wounds

    Maroon heroes pushed aside for photo ops, look on urgently
    Cameras gone, left to hand-dig for faint sounds of life
    The flames from the funeral pyres light the dark night
    The search goes on relentlessly, only faith lifts their spirit

    And in the cold mountain night, Jyekundo trembles and quakes
    No heroes in the spot light, no rescue workers stalking
    The lights are gone; the cameras packed away in boxes
    Only the people left to bury their dead and to say a few words

    Jyekundo, we will remember your bravery on this sad day
    The world and the CCP paid lip service and nothing else
    But you carried on alone and unaided beyond lens range
    Our prayers are with you, God speed your return to happiness

    April 21, 2010

  50. Hi sonam la,
    I apologies for misunderstand. I am quit aware that not every one here is Khampa. And it should not matter since we are all Bhopa. The only khampa I know here in this participant is non other then myself. I meant that term, ‘Khampa temper’ in a humorist way since khampas are known with their temper. Even if they were not angry, their temper seems to be always high… 🙁 that’s Aaro khampa. They seem to be grumpy but that’s their normal. Once you get to know them, you will find most honest, kind and humanely in them, but grumpiness is still there though. It is part of the package. Sooorrrry…:) BhoGyalo

  51. Oh Thompa, I forgot to reply to your earlier post about my ‘sent money not prayer’ or something like that. I think you misunderstood my intention behind it. Prayer is good if it helps the individual person (and I wouldn’t dream of asking the victims not to pray in the desperate situation)but in such situation money and physical help is more important and thereby the dig. During the March revolt in Tibet, many people, mostly youngsters took to the street in every which way to highlight the plight of Tibet but there was a huge group of people who assembled in the hall and “prayed”, drank hot bhoecha, eat snacks, and just gossiped instead of helping out in the cold street in the time of need. It was a disheartening scene for me and that is why I hate people who use prayer as the first offensive as they know they don’t have to do shit that way. Of course, there are many devout people who came in front of the Chinese consulate day in day out and prayed in the cold grass and I applaud that. See, where I am going with this?

    “Pray to the gods but keeping rowing to the shore” is more like my mantra.

  52. nawang pema
    Kyekudo or Jyekudo or Kyikudo are all the same. It’s in Chinghai so some people assume its Amdo but its traditionally Kham. It was the seat of the Gaba chieftain Traupon whos in exile.
    The do at the end implies its place as a junction -a trade route so to speak like dartsedo. Over the years its grown and so its poulation has large numbers of khampas from other areas too.

  53. Jigme, Thanks for the name clarification. In transcribed Tibetan letters (sorry, my computer doesn’t do unicode Tibetan script) it would be Skye-dgu Mdo, which I believe means”valley of the myriad beings” or something like that. Skye-dgu, or skye-rgu appears in Buddhist scriptures from a thousand years ago. There are different explanations, but some take the number ‘nine’ seriously here, and say that there are three realms, and that when beings die in one of them they might be born in any of the three realms, so — 3 times 3 equals nine. Maybe instead of ‘valley’ it means a place where rivers join together. The press stories say Yushu is the Chinese name of the larger area. Is that correct?

    Oh, and I think if prayers are being said for the brave survivors of Kyegudo, we should keep praying for them for a very very long time. Long after the journalists have stopped talking the grief will continue.

  54. There are different spellings of Kyegudo in Tibetan language as well.
    སྐྱེ་རྒུ་མདོ (skye rgu mdo)
    སྐྱེ་དགུ་མདོ། (skye dgu mdo).
    I don’t know if the spelling/pronunciation of Jyekundo is based on any Kham or Amdo dialects (if any). Kyigudo seems to be based on U-tsang dialect.
    To me Kyegudo sounds to be the closest to the spelling and pronunciation of source language given the fact that U-tsang dialect is the most widely used among Tibetans.
    The short form of Kyegudo is Kyegu or Kyedo, as is Dardo from Dartsedo. The interchangeable between rGu (རྒུ) and dGu(དགུ་) in the Tibetan spelling of this name clearly indicates that dGu is not to be understood as a number nine. While dGu could mean number nine, in this case it most likely means “all”or “everyone”. The combination of sKye and rGu means all sentient beings as is this word sKye rGu in our national anthem འཛམ་གླིང་ཡངས་བའི་སྐྱེ་རྒུའི་ཞི་བདེ་དཔལ་ལ་སྦྱོར།
    Kyegudo then means the junction of all sentient beings. Contextually that doesn’t make much sense. There is another way to look at it. According to the traditional Khampai mentality, sKye (སྐྱེ་) could only mean male as in sKye pa pho, female as Zhema mo. Kyegudo as a junction where all these male merchants and caravans used to gather for business. Essentially you could say almost all merchants were male in the old days.

    སྐྱེ་དགུ་མདོ་ སྐྱེ་དགུ་ Jyegu and 結古Jiégǔ Jiegu.
    Chinese media write Jiegu as the standard spelling.
    ཡུལ་ཤུལ་-玉树ཡུས་ཧྲུལ། This is insane. Tibetans should write ཡུལ་ཤུལ་ not following after pinyin pronunciation as ཡུས་ཧྲུལ།

    ཡུལ་ཤུལ་(Yushu) is the name of a county in the Yushu autonomous prefecture in Qinghai province. Kyegu is in Yushu county.

  55. I made some arrows to indicate the formation of these names but I think this website doesn’t support the formats.
    So here is a simpler one:
    སྐྱེ་དགུ་མདོ་–> སྐྱེ་དགུ་—>Jyegu & 結古—->Jiégǔ—>Jiegu

  56. Hi Tenpa la, I am sure you meant well but I have commented on what you have said and there is no illusion that You have bluntly express this; I am quoting from your post,
    “If prayers had worked, Tibet would have been free by now. It is time monasteries sent their monks along with the SFT students to ask for donations and pray at the same time – something practical. They need money not prayers”.

    I have commented on your post explaining what the prayers are for and it’s not a voodoo short of. And your respond to my comment seems even more contradicting yourself. Your rational behind anti dharma sentiment is because you heard that, during March tenth some people were on street and some people were inside the temple drinking hot bhocha and eating khapse. This sounds very much like cheap patriotic talk at Zoha café in Meclodganj. My question here is, who you referring this, “huge group of people drinking Bhocha”? The monks?? Well, I am sure you have seen, “huge line of monks” surrendering with their rifle, in documentary film shot during 1959. Agree?
    On the other hand, I have never heard your “drinking bhocha” story. Maybe it’s true but sure not so popular one. One of the popular goes like this. When we were losing Chamdo, in Lhasa a group of people wrap in Chinese brocade were busy playing Chinese mahjong game. So if I were you I would be anti mahjong. Not that I am, for the record.
    Your mantra seems more of an unnecessary worry then real mantra to me because all the sensible people in our community are keep rowing toward the shore specially the monks, as you have seen at Jyekudo incidents, forefront rescuer are monks. Tenzing tsundu la’s long march, Unconditional hunger strike, you name it the monks are there, even though they are not obligated to do so. To tell you the truth they belong in the cave, totally different path that they have chosen when they took the vow. And I would never criticize or against with any bhopa who chose not to take part on for our main cause. It’s simply not my style. It’s totally individual freedom as long as they don’t point their gun towards us. We don’t have to be like barking Chinese dog. And again Tenpa la, as I mention in my previous comment, please contemplate on differences between magic spell and shal-dhone. I am not using word ‘prayer’ this time because it’s not the right word for shal-dhoen. It’s more of a chanting but not every Shal-dhone is chanting. So you see there is bit of a study that you need to do for your sake. Bho gyalo… and again, don’t forget that we are on the same side… 😉 peace

  57. traditionally kyikudo this area is part of the Nangchen federation under the Nangchen king which was one of the largest autonomous kingdoms in Kham. So the Gaba tribes also loosely aligned as part of the 25 chieftains of Nangchen but this up to debate coz the Gabas over time decided to get an identity of their own.

  58. “as an american who is schooled to be skeptical”
    When I read that one I knew I had to write something here.
    There is a thing called ” collective responsibility ” ! Ask the next New Age Buddhist German that comes to your place to buy some of your tasty wine.
    That goes for every chinese that has committed crimes against the Tibetan people, those chinese that have profitted in any way because of these crimes. B and also anyone that has kissed the poisoned chinese ass !
    Your understanding of the chinese as an “American” does not surprise me at all because you are also living on ground stolen from the Native Americans. Next time you get round to being skeptical, think about your local reservation and give them a cut !

  59. Thompa, I know what prayers are for and I have no illusions of it and you don’t have to tell me what books to read as I have a shelf full of it. There is nothing wrong with what I wrote. And before you think otherwise, I am actually quite religious, although I am sure it didn’t come off like that. What I am asking is for more active participation and not ‘magic spells’ as we have a tendency to hide behind the facade.
    Monks taking part in revolution and during Tenzing Tsundue’s march (actually it should be people’s march,not his but whatever) is active participation and not not just mere recitation of texts. And I am with you on the idea that monks belong in caves or in contemplation of the oneness of the universe (emptiness) rather than in mundane affairs which could get quite dicey, to say the least. But as long as they are there, make it count in a meaningful way like the Vietnamese monks or the Burmese Monks. Why do I feel like we are arguing the same point?

    The huge group is in Toronto and it is not what i heard but what i know as fact. Those monks who took up rifles are exercising the reality of the world and responding in kind and I have no problem with it. Whether they are following true dharma or not is not relevant to me. But I don’t want to go on and on with this topic as I have a feeling we are on the same page as far as religion goes and my friend told me not to waste Jamyang La’s band-width with my crap.

  60. When it comes to the belief system, please leave it to who believes in whatever in however way the one wants to believe. That is no rational argument about it.

  61. Arihant

    When the other person believes that I should die and suffer in hell just because I don’t believe in what he believes, then I have every reason to criticize and fight against such beliefs.

    Faith is not a virtue.

  62. Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    You made a big statement here. It raises more questions than answers as far as I am concerned. Is the a universal virtue, a virtue that everyone agree on?
    I think both faith and virtue are subjective. So you can’t make a rational argument on these two topics. That’s why I am saying that arguing about these only perpetuates what you wish to argue out of. Because we have different “Lords”, and different teachings, different passports to get to different heavens and hells.
    Each professes theirs is the only way and high way to get to the “ultimate goal” of our lives and implying any other way is wrong way.
    These faiths in these beliefs are highly wired with emotions so it’s hard to make an objective argument on these topics. It’s not like a format war between companies where whichever has the most over all ups will win the battle.

    As long as a person doesn’t act out of one’s belief to launch a “jihad” against you, bring God’s “message” in your living room, to “liberate” you from duhkha of this mundane world, they have every right to believe in their own belief system.

  63. Arihant,

    Faith is belief in the absence of reason. Therefore I don’t consider it a virtue. In fact it is the most destructive of all human emotions. If I am not wrong, the Buddhist word for this is “Timug” (Ignorance) and this is the source of all the sufferings.

    Yes we can get to answers the majority can agree on with regards to what is right or wrong and what is good or bad. We humans have an inner moral and reasoning conscience to which we listen to in our daily lives. That’s why majority of the Muslims don’t spend their lives plotting how to kill infidels to ensure themselves a place in heaven with 72 virgins. That’s why majority of Christians don’t spend their energy and time to hasten the second coming of Christ. Because if they really believe word for word what their holy book says, that’s what they should be doing. So I ask why bother calling oneself a Muslim, a Chrisian or a Jew or a Buddhist. If your idea has universal relevance, why put a religious label on it.

  64. Kalsang Phuntsok Rinpoche,
    What a lousy monk you are not to distinguish དད་པ་ and གཏི་མུག
    I am sure you are wrong to think that faith is གཏི་མུག་ in Tibetan language of Buddhism. By the way I am not interested in talking about different categories of faith in Buddhist teachings. You can do your work home.

    I must say that the truth or presence of reason is not always a virtue as much as faith is not always a non-virtue thing.
    Remember we are human beings. Our thoughts and feelings are all wired with emotions. If your faith in making at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in your life is one of the forces that keeps you living (as is one of the guys in Alchemist), you don’t need to know all the reason why this guy’s faith keeps him living his life. It’s his faith. It’s as real to him as it’s not real to you. It’s a virtue to him. It isn’t a virtue to you. Therefore, there is no end to arguing about whose is virtue and whose isn’t virtue.

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama says it was ripening of bad karma that those Tibetans were killed in the earthquake. He says this because he believes in the Buddhist concept of past, present and future life and karmic consequence of our actions that goes between these lives. It’s a belief system.
    But I don’t think that Buddhist doctrine can present some rational arguments beyond a reasonable doubt that we can connect the action of a present life to a future life. What can we say? I remember that when the hurricane Katrina happened, His Holiness was on the Larry King’s show. HH the Dalai Lama gave the same karmic theory on the disaster. Even though I don’t know karmic relationship between a disaster and people being killed in a disaster, I had to defend His holiness’s honest words against Joel Osteen’flat-lip evangelistic tune among some of ari friends showing the show.
    Sometimes it’s the faith that triumphs over “reasoning conscience”.

    Do we as human beings have “inner moral” and “reasoning conscience” that’s innate to us that is universal to all of us? I don’t think so.

    If so there wouldn’t be these contradictory belief systems that divide human kind. The best thing I think is to think that we all are products of different society where we live and we learn to respect the different lines drawn.

    If you want the next discussion would be the source of “moral ethic”. Did moral ethic that is innate to us give the shape of religion or religion that gives the shape of moral ethic.
    I am sure we will get some ideas of it when we look at the animal kingdom as a whole and see how animals have evolved over time and what traces are passing through generation to generation. thank you.

  65. Arihant,

    You have a bad habit of jumping to conclusion about my identity. Once before you randomly assumed I was someone else. Now you think I am a monk. And don’t call me Rinpoche.

    Now, can you define Dhepa for me?
    Read carefully what I wrote: “Belief in the absence reason”.

    Perhaps you are one of those who despite living in a human society can’t see any reason to be moral and good to other humans without some sort of supernatural sanction or a promise of a better next life. That’s why you don’t believe morality is innate in us.

    Yes, it may not come automatically to us, that’s why a little extra effort of reasoning is needed, which it seems may be hard for you to do.

    Yes, it is possible for one to spend their entire life believing in god and afterlife and other nonsenses and still be good normal humans. But that doesn’t make what they believe true. At best I call this harmless delusion. But at the other end of the scale there are those whose religion, if followed to the word, mandates persecution, subjugation and annihilation of those who don’t believe in their particular notion of God. All I am saying is it is important to make that distinction.

  66. Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    It’s obvious that people here would not assume you were a monk who you couldn’t distinguish between faith (དད་པ་) and ignorance (གཏི་མུག). I will happily revoke the rinpoche title from you.

    I think you are asking me to define sDigpa (སྡིག་པ་) right?
    Have you ever heard sDigpa aKhur (སྡིག་པ་འཁུར།)? This phrase is a swear word used by Tibetans from some parts of Tibet. It means I will take your sins if what I said is not true.
    Do you know what Digtruk (སྡིག་ཕྲུག) means? Instead of son of beach, it means son of sinner.
    How do you earn sDigpa? You earn it by breaking laws.
    Each religion has its own laws regarding what is legal or virtuous or illegal or non-virtuous. It’s illegal to kill animals according to Buddhist law. Of course there are loopholes in the laws where you can get away with killings. For others, killing animals is God given right. You are just harvesting meats for your delight. I am sure you know these stuffs so I’ll stop it here.

    So you see the idea of “sin” is based on what is not moral. If the current globalization(in most of the case, it’s westernization)takes the whole world by surprise by wiping out all indigenous local cultures, then you can expect more standard westernized moral ethics so that you will have more standardized sins that you can easily cash your sins in major corporate hells. Many of the indigenous hells will have to be declared bankruptcy and will be closed for customers like me.

    So far you have been trying to tell me that anything that is void of reason is non-virtue. Right?
    So far I have been trying to tell you that it doesn’t have to be true or fact to be virtuous. You can tell a girl that she is beautiful even though you know she is ugly. What’s good or virtuous about being truthful by telling her that she is ugly?
    If Buddhist’s belief of making circumambulation (སྐོར་ར་)of a holy temple in a clock-wise and Bonpo (བོན་པོ)’s belief in going counter-clock wise around gompa do make sense to them, then they don’t have to prove their belief to you beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether their belief is void of reason doesn’t determine if their action of sKor-ra is virtuous.
    Without further due, with banality of this topic we are discussing on Jamnor’s blog, let’s close this case with an open ended statement so that you can reopen if you want.
    How far you want to go distinguishing “bad religious ideas” versus “good ideas” based on what law?

  67. Arihant,

    It seems you are not reading carefully what I have written. I never asked you to define “Digpa”. Because you accused me of confusing “Dhepa” with “Timug” in the preceding comment I asked you to define the word “Dhepa”.

    You wrote “You can tell a girl that she is beautiful even though you know she is ugly. What’s good or virtuous about being truthful by telling her that she is ugly?”

    So, what you are essentially saying here is that you are happy to remain content that other people don’t know what the truth is. Hmmm…sounds patronizing to me.

    See I believe there is beauty in truth. one just needs the right perspective to look at it. Religion often fails to provide that perspective instead often ends up potraying the victim as the cause of his own suffering.

    The answer to your question at the end is ‘Science’ or rather the “Scientific method of reasoning and experimenting”. Now this is not to say that there are no such thing as “bad science”. If there are, the only antidote to that is good science and more science.

  68. Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    Did the Chinese consulate from your area come to you home to destroy Tibetan language font from your computer? Why can’t you proudly type Tibetan language like དད་པ་ and སྡིག་པ་ here? Or at least type the transliteration of the Tibetan word?
    We poetically call diabetes mellitus as “Starvation in the midst of plenty”. Even though there are plenty of glucoses circulating in your blood, your body is starving from the lack of sugar for energy.
    You, Gashi (he’s okay maybe), tsering, pema and mila all are culturally diabetic. This is my diagnosis for you guys today. The prognosis is pretty bad because even though you are in the midst of plenty of opportunities to study Tibetan language and Tibetan culture in the Freedom in Exile, you are proudly starving and culturally dying without seeking any treatments. When you are this sick, how can you effectively fight with Chinese because they are destroying your culture and language? That’s one point.

    Kalsang Phuntsok la, if somebody points at one of your clothes and says that’s so ugly on you. Can you still see the beauty in that statement?

  69. Arihant,

    What a arrogant, self-admiring, condescending, egotistical, pathetic jerk you are. Is it ever possible to have a straight forward debate with you? Instead of acknowledging your mistake, you go on a rant and have the audacity to again make a judgement of my feelings for Tibetan culture and my knowledge of Tibetan language. Our posts are here for all to see and judge who is right and who, far from admitting to an obvious mistake, is portraying himself to be somewhat superior just because he knows how to type a few Tibetan words on a English language blog.

    I think it is time for you to go study again or give meditation another try.

  70. Tsewi Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    I apologize for misunderstanding dedpa for digpa. It’s not me being an arrogant here with my Tibetan language typing “skill”. Rather it’s this Tibetan language that you can type is something you can be proud of. You are proud because you have your own language even though it’s not the most profitable language, and proud that language too has different dialects.
    You are proud because you have your own cuisines though not the most delicious one. You are proud that you have your own dress even though they aren’t the most fashionable and comfortable one. You are proud that you have your own culture though not the most popular and practical one. You are proud because you have your own community though not the most successful one.
    To make the most out of anything, it’s you who is the one making it possible. Maybe it’s these feelings that made me to write the way I wrote. If we think our Tibetan culture and language should be preserved, we not only need to keep them alive but make them thrive in our own everyday life. If we hang our culture and language on a life support (meaning that our culture and language isn’t making any practical contribution to our everyday life) , it will take a big toll on overall social development by shifting our manpower just to preserve our culture while others live and breathe their culture in everyday life. This is a generation statement of my thoughts.
    I believe we all share similar concerns and hopes that pull us all to this website. I may be seen as someone who rants here most of the time but my hope and intention is to be a stimulus to ignite different perspectives, to spark one’s outlook at society and criticize negative social trends and so on and so forth.
    I wasn’t personally criticizing you for not writing Tibetan characters. I see a negative trend in our exile community with this notion that learning and understanding Tibetan language is an exclusively the task of monks and nuns. I have heard many stories of Tibetans (including new arrivals from Tibet) who take pride in declaring that they don’t know Tibetan language. I am not here to instill a guilty feeling in them but want to make it clear that my labeling “culturally diabetic” for these Tibetans still stands if they still believe in the preservation of Tibetan culture and language. What I am saying is if we see the importance in learning our own language, with a little individual initiative effort, we can manage to learn it.
    I’m sorry it got dragged into a couple paragraphs about our culture and language. But I am not targeting this writing specific on you as I don’t know you except your comments on this blog. I can reassure you that I am not showing off anything. The way I write is the way I write. Sometimes my writings are “uncivilized” and rude. But there aren’t any dangerous ill-intents behind these writings.

    How do I define dedpa? I think we can’t describe the exact meaning of faith as faith of each individual is as unique as thousand different flowers in a garden. No two flowers alike in its shape, color and fragrance. Your definition of faith is more in line with the monotheist religious belief. In Buddhism, it seems they are different faiths based on the different level of the understanding of the nature. So it’s progressive in nature not rigid. I think we need to see faith in its own scope. When we see a flower, we experience its beauty. We rarely if ever think of putting it in a harsh climate to see if it can withstand the weather. It’s unnecessary to subject our faith to “rational test”.

    Mila la,
    I didn’t get what you wrote in comment #91 without a context to it.

  71. Arihant
    If you are saying never question your faith. That’s how suicide bomber occurred. Faith or dhepa is cultivated from sincere trust and believe. That believe and trust has to be base on rational finding. Buddha said, “ to authenticate the purity of gold, you cut the gold, burn the gold, rub the gold as goldsmith does.”
    People who are not capable of rational thinking can be sway by preaching eloquently. There is popular story of a great Tibetan master who was bit sarcastic tells a story of suffering of radish (labok) at nunnery hall and made all nuns shed tears.

  72. Tsewi Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    Read this. I was stumbled into this interview with Robert Thurman by someone from New York Times while reading on something else. Here is the last half of the interview:
    “What do you think about when you meditate?
    Usually, some form of trying to excavate any kind of negative thing cycling in the mind and turn it toward the positive. For example, when I am annoyed with Dick Cheney, I meditate on how Dick Cheney was my mother in a previous life and nursed me at his breast.

    You mean you fantasize about being breast-fed by Dick Cheney?
    It’s a fantasy of releasing fear and developing affection. It’s a way of coming back to feeling grateful toward him and seeing his positive side, finding the mother in Dick Cheney.

    What would Freud say about that?
    Freud would freak out. He would say, “Well, you are seeking the oceanic feeling of the baby in the womb.” Infantile regression — that’s what he thought the quest for enlightenment was.”
    Robert Thurman, I think it’s neither “infantile regression” nor “the quest for enlightenment”. Maybe there is this beautiful pinky hue shining from your red heart. Maybe you should let that pinky hue liberates itself from the depth of your heart.
    The reasons why I quoted this interview are to tell you that believe in afterlife is one thing. What is most important is the experience that comes with this belief. You are blocking this experience to happen when you think that this belief life-after-death must be proven with some hard evidence that can be tested with investigative tools that scientists use.
    Anyway, believing in afterlife is not an end to itself in Buddhism. The practitioners of Buddhism would think things in term of ཐབས་ཤེས་ཟུང་འབྲེལ། There is this idea of afterlife and then there is this accompanying behaviors of being loving compassionate even that means falling in love with Dick Cheney la.

  73. Thompa la,
    What made you think that I’m saying never to question ones faith? Your inquiry goes before you develop a faith. You assess ups and downs of the faith you are interested. Though you don’t fully know the bases of the faith, you decide your life is better off having faith in it.
    As I said somewhere here, Buddhist faiths seem to progress from an entry level to higher level as you realize different knowledge and experience.

    What’s “labok”? I googled it and found out that only the Urban Dictionary has an explanation of the word. It says labok is a politician in New Lenox, Illinois known for his witty antics, and dry, sarcastic humor…
    Shedding tears from developing compassionate feelings regardless of the object on which the compassion arises is a thing to laugh at. It all adds up to develop positive feelings in the mind training practices. It doesn’t matter the object is a “labok” as a radish or “Labok” as a politician. It’s the experience you gain from the faith that matters. Whether you mom believes the dog’s tooth you present her as a Buddha’s tooth is real Buddha’s tooth or realizes that you cheated her with a fake tooth, all it matters is the experience of it.
    Isn’t our lives as we see it made up of experiences that we have gone through? What virtue does it bring to our lives for being so cold and rational about everything? At the end of the day, when you sum up your life it’s the positive experience you had in your life that matters.

    The Buddha’s teaching you quoted here may not be suitable or practical with certain type of faiths even in Buddhism. The gold is something you can cut, rub and authenticate its purity. The faith as I said is like flowers in a garden is a unique feeling and experience that can’t be put to test in a universally accepted standard “rational thinking” if there is one. One of the principles of that piece of Buddha’s teaching may be that you have the freedom to develop your own idea. If Buddha believes that there is universally accepted rational ethics, he might have said that either you believe in my teaching which is the universal truth or you head in the wrong direction.
    Anyway, your statement implies that you need to question your faith. How about questioning your faith in Buddha? What made you believe in Buddha? You can ask the question to any religious groups and their answer is invariably based on their religion. The “rational thinking” in the eyes of faithful buddhists is the rational thinking based on their particular Buddhist logics. For centuries, religious scholars in India debated for their particular line of thoughts without any success of coming to a clear victory for any particular line of thoughts.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we don’t stretch too far from the topic of the blog? Or at least relate our discussion with Kyegudo earthquake? Is there a such thing called PTSD in Tibetan བསམ་བློ? Though we may have Tibetan blood in us that makes us Tibetans but when we think about Tibetans in Tibet, we need to understand what they think the way they think because the way we (live outside of dominantly Tibetan cultural environment) think is not “really Tibetan”. So the question again is if there is such thing as PTSD in Tibetan psyche, how do we traditionally treat them? In the Western cultural environment, PTSD is spreading like a wild fire after any disaster so claimed by the Western psychologists. Is PTSD innately a Western phenomenon from ancient time or is it a product of “West psychology based on scientific researches” that was expanded in the last century?
    Is there any particularly psychological need for Tibetans in Kyegu except the wish to meet with their Lamas?

  74. Ning ne Tsewai Arihant la, I think you are the only Tibetan who google Labok online. Why don’t you go to china town, It is $1.99 per lb. he he… J sorry, I just can’t help laughing.

    Ok then, are you saying it is ok to question your faith? If yes, then what you mean by, “it is unnecessary to subject your faith to “rational test”?? If not, then what you mean by, “ you assess ups and down of the faith you are interested”??
    Regarding story of labok, I am not talking what does matter and does not. What I meant was, if you are not rational thinker then your faith or Dhepa is vulnerable to any sweet talker.
    It seems like you didn’t get the massage behind my story.
    I have heard of your tooth story since I was junior high and for me it was a story of tooth fairy and still is. I don’t think it is realistic.

    You are right, there is no virtue in being cold. But being rationalist? Two different things here to keep in mind.
    Quotation that I made from Buddha’s teaching is not suitable for the current discussion, FAITH?? There is even certain types of faith in Buddhism that doesn’t need to generate from rational wisdom?? Give me one example please. That will be eye opener for me. I am currently talking about the faith, “Dhepa” in Tibetan, although there is bit difference in concept. Hope you know it.
    Your description of faith as a flower in garden, reminds me of my gopse friend in San Francisco, which She is a tree-hugger and little bit out of touch with real world. Sorry.

    You said, regarding quote that I made, Buddha might have said, “either you believe in my teaching which is the universal truth or you are heading toward wrong direction? Are you testing my gut or you are truly naïve? Go look for labok, first.

    Regarding PTSD question, why don’t you ask to Arihant? He seems to be the expert on this field since he talks about Sigmund freud and so on.
    I am not physiologist.

    Wonder why you concern about talking too much about dharma on this blog and at same time you want to talk about completely unrelated subject like physiology????… Ummm

  75. Arihant,

    Apology accepted. Moving on…

    You wrote the following:
    “Anyway, believing in afterlife is not an end to itself in Buddhism. The practitioners of Buddhism would think things in term of ཐབས་ཤེས་ཟུང་འབྲེལ། There is this idea of afterlife and then there is this accompanying behaviors of being loving compassionate even that means falling in love with Dick Cheney la.”

    Give me one example of a moral or compassionate deed that I can’t do or an statement that I can’t make without believing in after life or the previous life?

    The real question is not whether there is life after death or whether the soul is transfered into another body etc. etc. I think almost everybody here knows deep within that there is almost no evidence to support that proposition. The question really is whether this sort of reasoning or rather the invention of reasons, is necessary to invoke the moral or compassionate sense in humans. I don’t think so.

  76. Kalsang la, I think what Arihant meant was compassion of bodhisatva which we dont have yet. yes, base on buddhist text, it says this is one of the method aomong many to invoke or awake the compassion of budhisatva.(jangchup ki sem) the comapssion that we have is like candel in the wind. very weak.

  77. Correction in comment #96 in 4th paragraph.
    It should be corrected as “Shedding tears from developing compassionate feelings regardless of the object on which the compassion arises is not something to laugh at”.

    Gashi la,

    I googled “yawnnnnnnn” and turned out a picture of a big gorilla yawning under a tree. Anyway, I also found out that even unborn babies and animals do yawn sometimes. So Kalsang Phuntsok and Mila should not rush to find a rational reason why Gashi is yawnnnnnnning unless he is passing out.

  78. Tsewi akhu Thompa la,
    When I say “Here is the apple”, you then ask me “Are you saying there is no orange?”
    I said you can question your faith. I said you can have faith without fully knowing the object of your faith. Once you have faith it becomes a part of your world view. Even though you see some shortcomings of your faith in a particular religion, after weighing in the ups and downs of it, you settle with the faith you are most comfortable and it becomes your identity.

    It’s unnecessary to subject your faith to “rational thinking” because “rational thinking” itself is subjective. Unfortunately, our brains are not digitized. The same inputs our brains receive from outside are interpreted differently inside. Therefore, what you think is a “rational reason” may very well be interpreted as an “irrational reason”.

    See ཨ་ཁུ་ལགས། and Kalsang Phuntsok la, what we think what we are discussing here is important is seen as a “silly squabbling” by others is a live example of what I am trying to tell you that we see things differently.
    Regarding lapug (ལ་ཕུག) story, we conclude two different morals of the story. Yours and most probably Kalsang Phuntsok’s take of the story is not to blindly believing in what others preach. Mine is it doesn’t matter whether the story is falsified with whatever reasons. The important thing here is the experiences these nuns had from the story.
    It doesn’t matter whether there is a life after death. The important thing is the ability of Robert Thurman to experience love toward Dick Cheney with this belief.
    ཨ་ཁུ་ལགས། you asked me an example of a Buddhist faith that doesn’t require “rational wisdom” as its base. While if you come to Mimang Lhapsol tomorrow, I will show you a couple of bus loads of Tibetans who have “Buddhist faith” that aren’t borne out of “rational wisdom”. I don’t care how technically the concept of faith is described in Buddhism or any other religions. What I care is how it has been used by living-breathing human beings. The important thing for me is what has happened and what has experienced not what is written in a text.

    Regarding your quote, I have used “if” Buddha thinks that his teachings are universally accepted truth, then He implies any another contradictory “truth” claimed by any other religions are not the truth. If that’s the case he might have said “either you believe in my teaching which is the universal truth or you are heading toward wrong direction?” I don’t think that’s the case here. I think Buddha means to say that “don’t believe in my words as I say. Come to conclusion on your own”. That is what I have been doing all along by not jumping from one set of mentality to the other.

  79. Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    I see your emphasis on the importance of “rational reasoning” rather than “superstitious thinking”. I myself would best be described as an agnostic if I have to subject myself to a category. But I see the importance of the merit of the experiences we have in our lives. At the end of the day, what really counts is the pleasant experiences we have in our lives no matter whether they are coming from a fanciful ideal such as dreaming Rangzen while CCP is burning the very bed you are sleeping on, ruling an imaginary castle with a magic stick, thrilling with a freakish adventure, or calculating every feeling and thought in the “rational formula”.
    Sometimes I think faith is one of the building blocks of your dream. You work with the faith as a guide. Faith does also condition you in certain mental dispositions. As His Holiness often tells to injees that the drastic change from one’s own faith to another may bring more inconveniences than good, the same goes the other way around for Tibetans. Abandoning one’s own traditional mentality to another set of mentality can bring conflicts within self. I am not only talking about individual life. Changes to our society that are foreign and drastic can bring more conflicts within the society. I won’t stray away from our main topic.
    Of course, there is the danger to fall in the trap of one’s own faith that could turn out to be a disaster. The same goes to the romantic love. I think these things such as love and faith can get in the way of our rational thinking. That should not be the reason to denounce love and faith and superstition from our lives. I think millions of people all around us walk and breathe and live on simply because they hold onto a love, a faith, a superstition, or fantasy.
    Can we let our rational thinking dictate our love, faith, fantasy, superstition, so on and so forth that are very much parts of who we are?
    What if this earth is a petri dish of aliens from other planets that our thinking processes or brains are mysteriously controlled by parasites created by them?
    You asked me to give you an example of something that you who don’t believe in afterlife can’t do what people who believe in afterlife can do. Robert Thurman loving Dick Cheney in the reverence of being Dick Cheney a possible mother in the previous life is something you can’t have. That was the reason I brought this example in here to say that believing in afterlife whether is unprovable but out of a blind faith doesn’t really matter that much. Because believing in afterlife is not an end in itself. What is important is the accompanying feeling that comes with this belief.
    Therefore, trying to collect evidence if the existence of afterlife can be proven is like trying to understand why an apple falls on the ground. There are people like you who would investigate the reasons why the apple falls while there are other people like me would just eat the apple and have me nourished.
    Kalsang Phuntsok la, you left one of T.D’s question unanswered. I think it’s one of the strongest arguments from people who believe in life-before-birth and life-after-death?

  80. Arihant,

    First of all I don’t know why Prof. Thurman felt the need to compel himself to love Dick Cheney. Second of all, whether this thought action of him is a moral act or not is questionable. Who is benefitting from this act other than Prof. Thurman himself? I can be quite sure that Dick Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass what Thurman thinks of him. Should we thank Prof. Thurman for not killing Dick Cheney?

    Even if I grant you that this is somehow a moral act, it only manifests in Thurman’s mind after altering the reality in his mind and therefore no strong a compassion than anyone else’s. I don’t have any real hate or affection towards Dick Cheney, but if I were to find a reason to show some compassion towards him and forgive him for whatever mistakes he may have made, I would simply think of him as a human being and human beings make mistakes. No elaborate fantasies required.

    I hope my English is simple enough for TD to understand.

  81. Kalsang Phuntsok la,
    I think we have expressed enough to make our points across. Any differences in our stands are because there are different opinions out there for different reasons.
    In the course of our discussion, I hope that we both have gained some new perspective on things that are parts of our everyday life. I am anticipating to have discussion with you on some other topics as well.
    Bod Gyalo.

  82. For those who have volunteered to take offence on behalf of Tibetan Buddhism, let me assure you that my intention is not to redicule my own culture. I am proud to be a Tibetan. If left to chose between all the world religions, I will not hesitate to chose Buddhism. Not because I am a Tibetan but because it offers way much more than any other religions of the world. My frustration though, is that the tenets and philosophies of Buddhism are often founded on unnecessarily complex logic and when you add rituals and the peripheral beliefs on top of it, it begins to look a lot like any other religion.

    I think that the main task of the students of Buddhism today should be to filter out the real knowledge from the rest of the stuff and offer it to humanity and do away with the religious aspects while developing and promoting the philosophical aspect of Buddhism.

    Thank you.

    Bhod Gyallo!

  83. truth does hurt sometimes initially but ironically in time it is truth which heals and helps the experiencer find a new direction in his life. it may not be meant for him who is faint hearted and cannot learn from experience and grow. for him truth be not told instead shove it up his rear literally by simply leaving him for good.
    well i see you forlorn with a big beer bottle in your hand running around the building in which she has just moved with her new man. you know what? try this…sing this song….”kya huwa, tera wada!”

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