That is the question. “The exile Tibetan administration has called for a boycott of festive celebrations during Losar.” Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay, has requested all Tibetans to forgo the usual new year festivities this year, given the “continuing tragic situation” in Tibet, and instead hold prayers and perform religious rituals. But there is another point of view from inside Tibet calling on us to not only celebrate Losar but do so with gusto, style and defiance. I came across this POV in a sublime commentary written by someone who calls himself “Invincible Courage”. The reader should study this piece thoroughly before taking the irreversible step of dumping the khapsay and sha-kambo into the garbage bin and pouring the chang into nulla . JN.
LET’S CELEBRATE COMING LOSAR IN GRAND FESTIVITY
By spobs pa mtha’ya (Incincible Courage)
translated by Sonam Gyatso
I want to celebrate the coming Losar in grand festivity because this year many martyrs of Tibet have demonstrated their selfless action by voluntarily sacrificing their precious lives for the restoration of Tibetan independence. In the Tibetan [historical] tradition, we never mourn the death of patriots who lost their lives in battlefields. I, as a Tibetan, too want to sustain this [historical legacy] by not mourning for our martyrs who have sanctified their souls by offering them for the cause of Tibet. In the mid 20th century, China’s so-called People’s Liberation Army invaded my fatherland, Tibet. The Chinese invaders killed a Tibetan martyr named Kunsang Dhargye. While leading the funeral procession of this slain martyr, instead of mourning, his sister kept singing songs, because she was very proud of him, as he had a noble death in battlefields rather than a normal one.
There is an ancient Tibetan saying:
The bravest man dies in the battlefield,
It takes only a thin arrow to transfer his consciousness to the next life,
A vulture can guide the path.
It is believed that if a person dies in a battlefield, one does not need to summon reincarnate lamas and perform phowa, the transfer of consciousness [ritual], because the most superior form of the transfer of consciousness is considered to be death in the battlefield.
Ordinary people die for [the sake of] spirituality. He or she needs a lama to perform the transfer of consciousness. He or she needs spiritual texts for guidance.
My dear fellow countrymen, we must celebrate this year’s Losar in grand festivity. Unlike all other years, the previous year was the one in which we witnessed many brave Tibetan souls. Last year was the year of regenerating the embers of the Tsenpo’s (ancient Tibet’s emperors) courage. It was the year when we could summon the bla (soul) of all three categories of martyrs.
If we do not celebrate Losar this year, then when will we celebrate it? Let’s not mourn in despair but fight for our rights. In the past, Communist China both requested and forced us Tibetans to celebrate Losar. Unlike those years, we must celebrate this year’s Losar in grand festivity. We must subject China to such a situation that it would be compelled to plead us not to celebrate Losar.
During the past few years, as many as about hundred Tibetans have set their bodies on fire while proclaiming the slogan for Tibet’s independence. Therefore, this year, we must not sit in grief and despair. There should be at least one individual from each community who takes initiatives to celebrate Losar in grand festivity.
During the celebration, we must display the images of our heroic martyrs and make offerings to them. We must invite our neighbors and share with them moments of pride and glory. We must have conversation about these brave sons and daughters of Tibet and discuss their glorious last wills. This is not just a celebration of a traditional festival but also a political statement. We must not grieve. Why should we have to feel sorrow? We have not done anything wrong to feel sorry about. We can only rejoice in pride and dignity for these great souls who sacrificed their lives for our country.
If there is someone who needs to be ashamed of and feel sorry, it should be the Chinese. They are the colonizers with blood in their hands. To resist their cruelty and failed policies, the Tibetan martyrs had opted for this drastic act of self immolation.
My dear fellow Tibetans, let us rejoice and celebrate Losar. I say it again: celebrate Losar in grand festivity. The best tea and chang during this Losar must be offered to those brave souls who have fallen for Tibet. They are our masters and deities. They are the ones who defended the existence of Tibet by sacrificing their lives. We must sing songs of praise and remembrance for them. We must engage in bro and cham to demonstrate our love and unity. We must perform gar to honor their inspiration. Only by celebrating Losar in such a grand way, we can ensure the legacies of Tibet’s heroism.