The Real Threat to the Dalai Lama

Photograph in Meng Zang Yuebao of “The Divine Child” (lingtong), May 1939, Kumbum Monastery.

That Tibetans are devoted to the Dalai Lama is pretty much a given. Most of them express this devotion enthusiastically (but quite innocently) by celebrating his birthday, his Nobel Peace Prize day and also by holding elaborate “Long Life” (tenshug) ritual ceremonies in his honor. On the “yin” side of things those seeking official advancement and political patronage demonstrate loyalty through conspicuous and scurrilous attacks against those who might disagree with His Holiness on the question of Tibetan independence.

What is puzzling though, is that beyond rituals, ceremonies and vilification of fellow Tibetans, none of these people seem capable of any initiative when it comes to the actual well-being and security of the Dalai Lama. Right now, at this moment, the very institution of the Dalai Lama has come under active existential threat, and Tibetans don’t even seem to have noticed it.

On Monday 18th January, China announced the launch of its Living-Buddha Authentication Site and Database.  The Wall Street Journal came out with this headline “China Launches Living-Buddha Authentication Site, Dalai Lama Not Included”. The South China Morning Post was no less flippant: “China Compiles Database of ‘Living Buddhas’ … and Guess Who’s Not on the List?”

But as snarky as they were, those headlines did highlight the underlying threat that China’s latest action posed to the Dalai Lama.  As Amnesty International’s Nicholas Bequelin put it clearly “This living Buddha database and the whole policy toward reincarnation is clearly a pre-emptive move by the government to control what happens after this Dalai Lama.”

Officials at the launch of the database in Beijing. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The official photo of the Database launch showed Buddhist and Communist officials circled around a large transparent plastic sphere (containing many white spherules?) that looked suspiciously like the Powerball Lottery Machine. Is this how incarnate lamas in the future will be selected? Is this a futuristic version of the Qing dynasty “Golden Urn”, with ideas and “technology” filched from the USA – as usual?

Fun and games aside, the present “Living Buddha Authentication Site” is essentially a follow-up to a special commission the Chinese government set up a few years ago to select the next Dalai Lama. However shortsighted China’s leaders may appear to be in matters relating to birth-control, environment, real-estate bubbles and so on, they have always kept their eyes on the long game in their dealings with exile-Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama has raised occasional and mild objections to the PRC’s attempts to control the selection of lamas, but on his own reincarnation he has been decidedly diffident, one might perhaps even say coy. He has spoken of his reincarnation being selected in papal fashion (by a college of geshes?) and recently raised the possibility of a female successor, adding jokingly that she should be “attractive” – which had some feminists up in arms.

But to those Tibetans with real fears about China’s increasing control and manipulation of Tibetan historical and cultural institutions, the Dalai Lama’s repeated off-the-cuff public statements about his being the last Dalai Lama, have not been at all welcome. A year ago in an interview with the BBC he categorically stated “The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease.”

The Dalai Lama’s statement appears to have been made with no consultations with other Tibetans leaders or religious institutions. His Holiness justified his decision to the BBC with this argument “Better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama.” He also pointed out that the next incarnation could be “a stupid one” in which case it was “better to have no Dalai Lama”.

There is an easy logic of sorts to the Dalai Lama’s rationalization, but in the real world things are, of course, never quite so cut and dry. For most of the Dalai Lama’s followers any Dalai Lama would be better than no Dalai Lama. Let us remind ourselves that one of the most beloved of his incarnations was a young poet and ladies man, who whiled away his time with his buddies at the island park behind the Potala, drinking beer and practicing archery.

Beijing will certainly have no problem coming up with a cute little Tibetan boy. If exile Tibetans haven’t found their own candidate before that, the Chinese will have won by default. And this should worry Tibetans. All Tibetans. Even if you are not a believer, or you happen to follow a lama who takes issue with His Holiness on the worship of Shugden, this is definitely your problem. Make no mistake. This is just one feature in the Communist Party’s program to eventually control ALL incarnations, including that of your personal root-guru (tsawae-lama). Beijing is creating a kind of religious “Confucius Institute” to control not only monasteries, temples and lamas within Tibet but also those in exile, including Dharma centers worldwide. I know a few that have already been taken over.

Most Tibetans will immediately take up their usual fatalistic refrain: “China is too powerful. There is nothing we can we do.” Actually in this instance there is definitely something that can be done. His Holiness should make a public declaration that he will be reborn. Furthermore he should make it absolutely clear that it will not be in occupied Tibet, but in a more benign location in the Tibetan cultural world – somewhere in northern India: Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, or Arunachal Pradesh. This will not only be acceptable to all Tibetans but also be hugely gratifying to the Buddhists inhabitants of these areas. For me the beauty of this solution is that it immediately drags in India (on our side, of course) into the political storm that will inevitably follow. The government of India will have no choice but to stand behind this incarnation, or risk losing the loyalty of its citizens in its northern frontier.

Ugenling Monastery, Tawang, birthplace of the 6th Dalai Lama. This small gompa belonged to his father Tashi Tenzin, a Nyingma lama.

Arunachal Pradesh might be the ideal place. The 6th Dalai Lama, Tsanyang Gyatso (Melodious Purity) was born there. The political sensitivity of the state and China’s constant provocations on the issue, ensures that it will never lack national attention. Any Indian Government that did not support a Dalai Lama born in Arunachal, will be savaged by the opposition and the media. But Ladakh or Sikkim might do do as well.

His Holiness mentions in My Land and My People that when the 13th Dalai Lama was in Amdo, on his way back from China, he is said to have “looked for some time at the house  where I was born and remarked that it was a beautiful place.” Perhaps he could now make such a suitably prophetic observation about a place in Mon Tawang, or write a cryptic poem as the Sixth did about the location of his next incarnation. In the case of the Thirteenth one of the clues that led to his discovery was mention of a village house before a mountain shaped like an elephant (Langdun) in Dhakpo.

The first step would be to announce the formation of a committee of spiritually qualified Gelukpa lamas and scholars, with perhaps also a personality or two from other schools. The present Karmapa comes to mind. A lay scholar might also be included with expertise in this particular field. Samten Karmay, an eminent research scholar from the French Centre national de la recherché scientifique, has just published his translation of the autobiography of the 5th Dalai Lama.

But what if His Holiness decides – no? The Chinese candidate would then have a clear field. To make matters worse the issue wouldn’t come to a close in the exile world, even on His Holinesses prior say so. CTA officials would be forced to do something. Even if we could ignore the Chinese incarnation, the power and resources the Dalai Lama would leave behind would be impossible for any Tibetan politician to ignore. One could safely predict a knock-down-drag-out fight within the Dharamshala establishment. Samdong Rinpoche (with his Ganden Phodrang Foundation) fielding one candidate, forcing the Sikyong, and the Parliamentary Speaker, to hurriedly look around for suitable children.

Some Tibetans will recoil in horror at this suggestion and declare that a such a sacrilegious thing could never happen in our community. But we only have to recall the vicious power struggle at Rumtek after the passing away of the previous 16th Karmapa Rinpoche. The combatants were lamas themselves and disciples of Karmapa. Can we seriously expect mere Dharamshala politicians to be more restrained and virtuous?

In concluding I should make it clear that in spite of my stated concern for the future of the Dalai Lama institution, I have long come to realize that this particular institution, and indeed the whole business of lamas reincarnating has served its spiritual and historical purpose and should “cease one day” as His Holiness quite rightly told the BBC. It’s just that at this pivotal moment in our history, for reasons of pure political strategy, we absolutely must safeguard this institution for one last future incarnation. Otherwise it is near certain that the Communist Party of China will use its very own “Divine Child or Soul Child” (lingtong) to tranquilize Tibetans into accepting its oppressive and malignant rule, and perhaps even bring about the end of our long history, culture and civilization.


52 Replies to “The Real Threat to the Dalai Lama”

  1. As days go by we are getting closer and closer to another crucial (and potentially chaotic) turn in our history. As an ordinary Tibetan I can only hope that the leadership in Dharamsala are capable of at least grasping the historical significance and the far reaching impact of each and every decision they will make with respect to the succession of the 14th HHDL and can only pray that they do have a plan that will at the least not relegate our generation into the black list of Tibetan history.

  2. Thank you so much Jamyang La for your such sense of concern plus insightful suggestions by keeping up-to-date ever with their vicious doings. _/\_

  3. Thank you Jamyang la for your insightful and thought provoking article. His Holiness The Dalai Lama is the most important figure for six million Tibetan people. What ever we are today is because of Kundun. Without His Holiness, we Tibetans won’t be able to do much. That much we know. So to protect the institution of Dalai Lama and future reincarnation of His Holiness is our collective duty and responsibility. I thank you Jamyang la for raising these important questions and awareness among Tibetans. His Holiness already mentioned in the past that whether His Holiness reincarnate will depend on the wishes and aspirations of the six-million Tibetan people mainly. But please look at the way our current Sikyong Lobsang Sangay is treating the institution of Gandhen Phodrang. Current Kashag under Sikyong LS is not following Kundun’s guidance with regards to Kalachakra. His Holiness agreed to accept Long Life Offering from one of the organizations but Kashag refused to accept it. His Holiness was really disappointed by the whole incident and stated that now Kalachakra is becoming politicized and hence it was postponed. Hence Sikyong Lobsang Sangay misled to the whole world about the actual reason behind the postponement of Kalachakra during his press conference last time. Kashag made a clarification statement where they blamed Tsokto Penpa Tsering la instead. Press conference where there is no questions and answers. Can you imagine such a press conference. I feel sorry for Tsoktso Penpa Tsering la but Tibetan public knows that Tsoktso PT did not lie to the Tibetan public. We know China is our enemy but first let us elect rightful and honest Sikyong candidate who has served under His Holiness for almost two decades. We will not elect someone who replaced Kundun’s portrait from Washington DC office and replace with one’s own photo. Current status I don’t know but they definitely did it and this important question was raised by Chitue Tashi Namgyal la in our exile parliament. If someone have doubts then make an inquiry at secretaries of Gandhen Phodrang and our Chitues and then truth will come out. Just by smiling and taking close photos with His Holiness, one cannot fool Tibetan pubic all the time. Truth will prevail.

  4. Xi Jiping and HH Dalai Lama are two soccer game captains. But the ball is on Xi Jiping side and has the best player in the world, Messi and HH Dalai Lama has all the raw players. The world spectators are watching the game even though game is one sided.

  5. No matter what we do, what we plan in regards to future Dalai Lama, China will pursue their own political agenda of recognizing high profile Lama’s in Tibet just like they have done with Penchen Lama and Karma pa. Why should we pay attention to the Chinese dramatization of Tulku recognition in Tibet while not believing in any concept of future life? OK China has fake Penchen Lama under their control. What are they going to do with him? As long as people of Tibet does not recognize the Lama, the person is useless. If China can encourage people of Tibet to believe in Lamas they recognized then serous problem is imminent.

    Can China appoint a Pope? Do Catholics worry about it?

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama repeated said who ever future Dalai Lama may be it must and has to be somebody who continuously pursue the vision and mission of current Dalai Lama. Other wise it can not be genuine Dalai Lama.

  6. Jamyng-la,

    This makes a lot of sense for anyone who would buy even a tiny wisdom and think seriously and remotely why Dalai Lama matters, beyond taken for guaranteed realm of rituals showcase. I would only think this again is a reminder for all of us, “we the fellow Tibetans,” that Jamyang Norbu-la is NOT an anti Dalai Lama, albeit at times, he may seem critical of some of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s political philosophy and views. To me JN truly understands the REAL historical significance of His Holiness for Tibet and Tibetans – now and future. Thank you.

    Happy Losar,

    Tsepak Rigzin

    Tsepak Rigzin

  7. As a veteran supporter of freedom for Tibetan people, I encourage all Tibetans to not give up in their continued fight for freedom. Having come from a exiled refugee Estonian family, I finally saw a free Estonian flag fly proudly in Tallinn Estonia in 1991, after the downfall of the Russian communist takeover. Although, my father did not see the day of liberation, he never gave up hope his beloved fatherland would be free. The Dalai Lama and his massive respect and love globally will counter the usurpation of the Chinese war lords.

  8. Wishing everyone a warm Losar Greetings. Hope Losar proves especially auspicious for Bernie Sanders tonight in New Hampshire! Oh please, please, please, please, please………

  9. There is a quiet war going on amongst Umaylam Sikyong candidates and their supporters. One rumor has it, Lobsang Sangay ducked a debate against Penpa Tsering in Dhasa. Mud slinging of “murderer” and “liar” are flying back and forth between the supporters….one PT surrogate, (Thupten Thokmey) in his long winded anti-Sangay rant, claims he wouldn’t be shocked at all to learned that LS had put up a portrait of Kundun in a toilet stall. Imagine Lukar Jam making such an argument using His Holiness in this way?

    I can’t deny that I don’t enjoy these umaylam spats – can’t look away from train-wrecks.

    Was watching the Sikyong school students about the dam construction by China over Brahmaputra, and how, the consequence of that, could become a serious ecological problem for India. He questioned the audience, “Do you know the Brahmaputra?” And instantly, without waiting for reply, proceeded to list a litany of rivers: “Yellow River, Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Yangtze…” On another topic, in a another video, he again, condescendingly queries, this time to a Tibetan audience, “Do you know Croatia; where it is?” And, again, without ado, rolls out, “Belarus, Austria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Lithuania, Yugoslavia…..”

    Now I hear that when the pizza man delivered a pizza to Dr. Sangay’s house, the PM didn’t tip the guy, instead, the PM gave him an education on pizza, saying, “Pizza – it’s made of, Pepperoni, Bacon, Tomato sauce, Ham, Anchovy, Mushrooms, Cheese, Onions……”

  10. I am thoroughly bored by this Kalchakra issue. This issue is put out there to distract the public from the real issue, which is the total lack of fairness in the election system and rampant violation of democratic principles. Once you shut out the dissenting voices and agree not to discuss the real problems of our society, the only kind of issues left to discuss are about scheduling of religious gatherings and what picture should be hung in an office. Yawn!!! Where is my glass of Chang?

  11. The issue of Kalachakra is relevant here because our Sikyong Lobsang Sangay has lied to the Tibetan people. Sikyong LS has dragged the name of Gadhen Phodrang and His Holiness. LS used his Kashag to blame everything on Tsoktso Penpa Tsering la. By now we all know that one of the organizations based in Dharamsala earlier requested His Holiness to accept Long Life offering during Kalachakra which was kindly accepted by His Holiness. Gadhen Phodrang provided that information to Kashag. However, Kashag under Sikyong did not accept that program as part of their Kalachakra program. During the course of this event, Kashag made some mistakes but they are not telling us the truth. That is why His Holiness was really disappointed and even got angry and thus asked Kashag to postpone Kalachakra as it is becoming now too political. So to cover up Sikyong’s mistake, Kashag came up with the formal press conference where they cited the reason for Kalachakra’s postponement due to hectic schedule of His Holiness and requested His Holiness needs to take more time to rest. My question is: are they not aware of His Holiness hectic schedule well ahead of time. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s schedule and programs are well fixed ahead of time well before one year. So how come Kashag did not realize that. Can Kashag say whatever they want depending upon their Sikyong’s much needed re-election. They presented a case that is mass appealing that Sikyong-care so much about His Holiness and something that request came from Kashag to Gadhen Phodrang. However, the latest press conference at Dharamsala by Kashag came up with a different version of reason. There was no Q/A after that press conference. Our Sikyong used his Kashag members to blame Tsoktso PT la and LS did not even have the guts to face the press members. We even came to know that Sikyong did not show up for public demand debate in Dharamsala that was organized by one of the earlier Sikyong preliminary candidates. Tsoktso PT la has the guts to face the public demand debate and made his clarification to eagerly waiting people in Dharamsala. In democracy during election time debate is a must so that voters can make informed decision. But why Sikyong is running away? All the efforts were made by VOA, RFA, VOT and other prominent exile organizations for the last couple of months but Sikyong never gave them proper response. Finally we are expecting one debate in March 2 which is so close to actual voting date. Our Sikyong is trying his level best to avoid debate as much as he can until the last minute to avoid his mistakes. Now under Sikyong LS, we have to receive embarrassing letter from US Congress about the misuse of their funding. What a shame? When it comes to criticizing Shugdhen follower, our Sikyong will only say oh they have RC and they can stay in our Shichak and their kids go to our schools thats all. He has no guts to criticize openly like Tsoktso PT la. We need a brave and able and honest and experienced leader like Tsoktso PT la as our new Sikyong, some one who is true follower of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. PT la has spent his last twenty years serving under His Holiness and PT la is the most deserving candidate for our new Sikyong. Our democracy is given to us by His Holiness and so to carry forward that vision of democracy, we need a leader like PT la. So please vote wisely and responsibly and Bhod Gyalo!

  12. “The Dalai Lama. PT la has spent his last twenty years serving under His Holiness and PT la is the most deserving candidate for our new Sikyong. Our democracy is given to us by His Holiness…”

    Why not simply cut out the Middle Man?

    Why not return power back to His Holiness? If He don’t want it, give it to the Karmapa, or to another monastic dynastic head? If you solicit us to choose a Sikyong merely as the sounding-board for Kundun, there is just no guarantee, the mouth will regurgitate verbatim His Holiness’ pronouncements. See Karma Chophel and the 108-113yr flip-flop.

    If we want the incumbent to echo His Holiness precisely, then we can’t discount the all too common fact that people make mistakes, people misinterpret, people get things wrong – wouldn’t it be much better, much simpler, to hear it from the source rather than from any tributary?

  13. It’s a middleway world where middleway worldview predominate. Plus, Lukar Jam made a tactical error. Words, especially in the public domain, have consequences; not realizing it, is a huge lapse in judgement. On the other end, Lukar Jam had said that he was “forced to run.” Which makes one think that he contested in these elections largely to expose the electoral, and by extension, Democratic shortcomings. (And indeed he proved the contention, that the establishment is bias.) If it’s something like that, then people still demanding Lukar be the Sikyong, missed the point.

    I wonder how many voters Dr. Sangay lost since the prelims? Lot of shit piling up about him online: Shit that may stick.

    Since Lukar Jam got off the teeter-totter, the playing field levels out so that the two remaining Umaylam candidates are force to play by the same rules. This might not be a bad thing, transparency-wise, since, in the interest of seeking answers, they and their fans help expose things that are generally secret, such as, “Who was behind what?” – which is normally privy to only a few in power.

  14. A Tibetan media junky has aired his frustration about Sickyong’s campaign stop at VOA and FRA.

    At VOA, big mouth-no-substance Shastr’s half-hearted efforts for equal time equal subjects ( as they did with Penpa Tsering) was utterly disregarded by the Sikyong who went to renting about his half-cooked ideas or no ideas and left no stone unturned attacking his opponent and shed crocodile tears for His Holiness….

    And at RFA, I was stunned as many viewers as to how it was pre-planed as a friendly fire event. The interviewer, some Khampa head -Damul-virtually initiated the Sikhong to rebut what Penpa Tsering had said or accused the Sikyong of uring his visit USA tour.

    Rumors are afloat the RFA staff in general of completely kept in the dark. Many hardly knew the Sikyong is being interviewed. In insier has it that the RFA event was arranged by the disgraced and Sikyong freak out Karma Dorji and Damdul. Poor Tethong has almost no control.

    No original question of import was raised, and FRA intentionally avoided raising, what is actually unavoidable if your are a worthy media outlet, and that is the alarming acquisition by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California about the conduct of the Tibetan Elections Commission. While the issue as the talk of the town and beyond, both VOA an RFA shamelessly chose to ignore it altogether. If this not self-censorship of the highest orer, what is. Hint is that RFA and VOA staff are evenly divided in their support of the two candidates.

    Finally, did any one see the RFA’s CEO, that Chinese dragon (Libby) spewing his artificial video Tibetan Losar message. I was told it was a drama. Since Ngabo’s departure, she dare not visit the Tibetan service section for good. What is way befool the god-fearing Tibetans.

  15. Finally it seems our EC is waking up after a deep sleep. They have issued a notice letter clearly mentioning in particular Ari Dhonchoe Kaydor not to use his official position and campaigning for Sikyong LS. He was recently campaigning in several US cities for Sikyong. This is clearly in-violation of EC rules. Thanks mainly to US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher who recently sent a letter of complain regarding the conduct of The exile Tibetan EC along with the misuse of funds provided by US Govt. to CTA. These are serious issues and one must question
    our Sikyong while he is on campaign tour. Shedding crocodile tears for His Holiness but giving false clarification to Tibetan public, making His Holiness embarrassed and dragging the name of Gadhen Phodrang, Kashag and blaming everything on Tsoktso Penpa Tsering and taking down of Kundun’s portrait from Washington Tibet Office and replaced with Sikyong’s own photo and the list keeps on growing. So wake up brothers and sisters and do your proper research before we cast our votes on March 20. I think his main purpose during VOA and RFA recent interview was to make Tsoktso Penpa Tsering look bad but I think now our Tibetan public are not that stupid and can make right choice. My message to all Rangzen Wallas, I salute your feelings and I understand your frustrations. But right now please join hands with us and support our candidate PT la who will do everything in his power to unite Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet. He has that sincerity and ability to lead us in that direction unitedly. As we all know Sikyong already mentioned in the past that we don’t seek democracy and in the last 4 and half years nothing concrete was achieved in terms of our negotiations with China. Yes, I have created this much funds and that much funds more than Katri Samdong Rinpoche and that is his mantra of achievement. Is that Self-Reliant? When we realize that our elected leaders are lying then that is the time to change our leaders. So to say choose our leaders wisely and vote wisely. Bhod Gyalo!

  16. Jamyang la,
    Thank you for your articles. Your writing is like a light in a dark tunnel. Too many Tibetans in Tibet are either frightened or drunk with new wealth. Almost all the Tibetans in exile are craven creatures who call themselves Buddhists but practice a form of Buddhism that Buddha would go “Dude I didn’t teach that. From where did you pull it out?” Most of the Tibetans are intolerant brutes who resort to “should shut him up” “should beat him up” “should shame her” blah blah when talking about people they disagree. When they run out of arguments, which they do the moment they open their stinking mouths, they resort to using the “how dare you insult HH” card. When I see Tibetans these days my soul vomits.

  17. Thokmey is right on the issue of Tibetan media manipulated left and right. Any serious followers of Tibetan politics know that after Gaden Prodrang engineered expulsion of Ngobo Jigme for refusing to play second fiddle at the cost of press freedom, RFA Tibetan broadcast is not the same like before.

    Voices of many independent minded reporters seemed muzzled. People who talk sense but not the thing that Dharamsala wants to hear like Jamyang Norbu are banned. Now there are censoring the voice of U.S congressman? I hope it is not true.

    It is too bad that we have fight communist China’s firewall and air jamming censorship, but internal censorship in America, can’t be true. May be, it’s high time Congressman should hold a hearing on the question of RFA’s self censorship. The congressman should call among others, Jamyang Norbu, former Tibetan Service Director Ngabo Jigme. Media independence is very important but journos must also maintain high standard of intregrity, which is found lacking if one watches recent interview with Sikyong Lobsang Sangay.

  18. To Pemtse la, I have removed your last posts since you are just using this comment section to campaign for Sikyong candidate Pemba Tsering. Sonam la, please take note. This space is essentially for people to comment on my post and also on related issues, no matter how controversial. No campaigning allowed, even disguised as support for the Dalai Lama.

    Furthermore in my post I have pointed out how critical the situation now is for the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama and for the future of Tibet. Both Pemba Tsering and Lobsang Sangay and so many other’s don’t give a damn about this. They are just using the Dalai Lama for their own greed and ambitions.

  19. My honest opinion about reincarnation is may be HH has a point. Tibetans need to grow up and take care of themselves and not behave like a herd of sheep which always needs a shepherd.
    Dynamic personality that holds together people is lovely until that dynamic entity has a cold and sneezes. Then the whole flock starts going berserk.


    It’s time to shake our wings and test the winds
    Our roost is worn and he soon flown
    It’s time to make the journey on our own
    It is only right our needy wishes he rescinds
    Or we will never make it across the valley
    Wherein the weakly cannot safely parley
    Leaving us to fend for ourselves is only natural
    For only the strong- willed shall endure;
    Grow flight feathers and mature
    Ours journey long and our flight path astral
    It is our dream to fly free you cannot deny
    We will resist, and not lie down and die chained
    Come brothers, gather around the precipice
    Pray to the heavenly bodies in the sky
    its’ time, its’ time, it is time to fly free

  21. Are you talking of dying or returning to Tibet? .As always very beautiful written but the imagery is open for interpretation, hence the question.

  22. Jamyang Norbu Lak,
    This seminal work will definitely rekindle those cinders in such a ddarkness. It can also bring a sense of responsibility amongs us(Tibetan). This particular article has truly touched my rationality and intuition. Thank You.

  23. JN wrote many articles on Tibetan issues to awaken and educate us, Tibetans. They are all treasures. I tell my kids to go as far back as possible and read all his articles leisurely, between their studies. When my college kids come home for holiday, much of our discussion center on Tibet issue. We always come to talk about what new JN wrote. Perhaps, JN,himself does not know how much he is contributing to keeping Tibetan issue alive.

    Of all the articles, this one, because of the gravity and importance of the issue for the cause of survival of Tibetan struggle, I will say is the most important. This needs to be translated in Tibetan and the last paragraph of the essay needs to be highlighted in BOLD LETTERS. Thank you, JN. But I will also say, you should provide little space for people to talk about both Sikyong candidates. It will drive traffics to your blog which will be good and it will also provide education to close minded people to get a taste to how intellectuals and true patriots think and WHY .

  24. A Tibetan media junky has aired his frustration about Sickyong’s campaign stop at VOA and FRA.

    At VOA, big mouth-no-substance Shastr’s half-hearted efforts for equal time equal subjects ( as they did with Penpa Tsering) was utterly disregarded by the Sikyong who went to renting about his half-cooked ideas or no ideas and left no stone unturned attacking his opponent and shed crocodile tears for His Holiness….

    And at RFA, I was stunned as many viewers as to how it was pre-planed as a friendly fire event. The interviewer, some Khampa head -Damul-virtually initiated the Sikhong to rebut what Penpa Tsering had said or accused the Sikyong of uring his visit USA tour.

    Rumors are afloat the RFA staff in general of completely kept in the dark. Many hardly knew the Sikyong is being interviewed. In insier has it that the RFA event was arranged by the disgraced and Sikyong freak out Karma Dorji and Damdul. Poor Tethong has almost no control.

    No original question of import was raised, and FRA intentionally avoided raising, what is actually unavoidable if your are a worthy media outlet, and that is the alarming acquisition by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California about the conduct of the Tibetan Elections Commission. While the issue as the talk of the town and beyond, both VOA an RFA shamelessly chose to ignore it altogether. If this not self-censorship of the highest orer, what is. Hint is that RFA and VOA staff are evenly divided in their support of the two candidates.

    Finally, did any one see the RFA’s CEO, that Chinese dragon (Libby) spewing her artificial video message for the Tibetan Losar. I was told it was a drama. Since Ngabo’s departure, she dare not visit the Tibetan service section for good. What a way befool the god-fearing Tibetans.

  25. Leaky tso,

    Why you blaming VOA and RFA? Both did good asking pertinent and difficult questions. Now if Sikyong manipulates and twists everything to his advantage what to do? Everybody from the top to bottom has been mesmerized by his big talk , maneuverings and tactics, not just Khampas. He doesn’t represent Khampas. He is a survivor and he’s learnt early on how to work the system to get ahead just like many other people.
    You, by your constant us Utsangs vs Khampas are instigating voting on regional lines. Although Penpa Tsering himself has not used such language all his campaign platforms are on those lines.So, I’m sure this time the voting will be along those divide lines and not on real substance once again.

  26. Chime Gonpo la:
    This poem (I hope it qualifies) is neither about dying nor returning to our fatherland; rather it is my humble opinion in regard to the lack of risk-taking in our current struggle for independence by the people in power. As Jamyang la, rightly states in this article should our leader not proactively put in place a plan of action before HH passes there will be chaos in our community when he does. We have been fed and feathered like a baby bird but the time has come and we stand at the precipice and if we fumble at this critical juncture, we may end up dead at the bottom of the cliff. We need to think of ways other than Umay Lum to propel desire for independence. Sadly the other choice, Rangzen is being branded as anti DL, foolish, violent and aimless. In other words, we wasted the first thirty years of our exile doing the exactly the same foolish things?

  27. GyalpoT: Thanks. Always enjoyed your poetry. Feels the same way. What to expect when we elect clowns as Sikyong. Though a no fan of Tsoktso, the incumbent excels in one thing, being able to fool His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the parliament and general public. He is best described as modern day Agu Tenpa but with no sense of goodness for others or witticism. He is doing what Lallu Prasad did to poor Biharis.

  28. Recently I had a discussion with a friend of mine who is supporting Lobsang Sangye. I asked why he is supporting Lobsang Sangey? He said if there is a lone blind woman in the country who else should he get married. He originally supported Lukar Jam so I asked why he supported Lukar Jam? He simply said because he is a Rangzen advocate. Of course then discussion turned into Rangzen vs MWA. So my next question was what makes you think we can get Rangzen? First he has no answer then he talked about being violent some sort of guerrilla warfare or terrorist activity in Tibet. He said this will do two things; first, drive Chinese out of Tibet and stop massive influx of migrant Chinese coming into Tibet, second, by doing this will protect our culture from marginalizing.

    We all know very well what China is capable of doing evil things. Lets say if I become terrorist, unlike other nations, China won’t spare any single person in my family irrespective of their involvement. So the question is who is willing to take such a dangerous task inside Tibet.

    Unlike Umai Lam, believing in Rangzen demand serious actions. Tibetans can’t just sit around and believe in Rangzen, can we? Especially we have to do something to convince Tibetans inside Tibet that we can get Rangzen. Ultimately the spirit of Tibetans inside will determine the future of Tibet. There are reports that many educated Tibetans inside Tibet only speak Chinese. This is not a good sign for Rangzen.

  29. White: F you for your make believe moronic conversation.
    It show you two things: one – how much you hate Rangzen advocate. Two – you are Lobsang Sangay supporters. Whenever you write, one thing comes to my mind that is F you.

  30. Natives in Americas and Aboriginals in Aussy land and NZ, prefer independence! Alas, it is only a dream! They can have independence in their reservation, but for the entire land once occupied by various warring tribes! The most recent headlines is, Islamic people migrating to Europe partly due crisis resulted from revolutions in the Middle East, partly because of economic conditions just like Tinetans! Experts project Europe well turned into a Eurabia by overwhelming outsiders with stiff cultural and religious ideologies with exponential reproduction potential that far outperform European fertility rate, such inp nodding scenarios gives way to ultra nationalist to expel migrants and protecting homes! Tibet is already a done deal either in Tibet or in exile, except occasional demos! Tibetans overwhelmed in Tibet, especially Han Chinese can now reproduce maximum two children which was once a special privilege to minority families! Exiles are economic migrants to western countries and leave CTA as a hollow structure and Dalai Lama is aging and loosing appeal amongst pseudo radical young exile generations. With shrinkage of space for him to maneuver around th globe, so is the chic of free Tibet number stickers. You can google Tibet, Dalai Lama,and China! The equation is completely changed last 10 years!


  31. @ 35 CHIME GONPO

    Which school do I need to go to use F word? What kind of credential do I need to use F word?

    You are entitled to have your opinion. Now listen to my opinion. I don’t want kind of Rangzen, the country that is filled up with guys like you.

  32. NG

    Read The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples known as UNDRIP which are adopted by the United Nations in 2007.

    Then read about Middle Way Approach policy of CTA and compare.

    Following are the few examples: “Article 3 the UNDRIP recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, which includes the right “to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Article 4 affirms Indigenous peoples’ right “to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs,” and Article 5 protects their right “to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions.” Article 26 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned”.

  33. @white: you are absolutely right. You have go to the place of injustice and determine future, at the moment, exiles are at the wrong place or they freely decided to their future in India or given opportunity in western countries. This is the fact part. You know, UN is an organization created after the failure of league of nation, it is reagent of western powers to create a structure where powers are uneven distributed. It is for big goons to argue who can have what. By the way, IMF and world bank are another monetary system that favors western interest. Obviously, west will resis t to give it up until they are compelled by situation unfavorable to them. So, let’s not read someone’s book and boost our respective arguments. Even in democratic society, there is no self determination by indigenous people. As exiles like to contrast India’s great democracy with China’s one party rule, well, Kashimir has been suffering for exerting right to self determination and some of the north eastern regions too. Recently, it played on the campus of JNU with police storming on fancy charge of sedition! If you can’t have right to speech for self determination, forget about actually fighting for it in a democratic country, what can you expect from one party rule whose only mission seems rejuvenate the Chinese nation and crush anyone on its mission? Let’s not read someone’s idea or some or some countries laws or hollow UN principle as real law for self determination! Otherwise, we end up like debates in Tibetan schools where whoever cites Amnesty international, or non-profit profitable organizations for human rights or UN empty words as a core of argument considered as intellectual and wins the debate! Real debate should be on the ground, if you are a fighter, battlefield is the place to fight! Anyway, different tribes in US can declare as UN says, but we know it is futile. Only thing can do is, tell the genocide, demystify certain holidays such as Thanksgiving or Columbus days! Other then this, reality is too bitter to do anything! Tibet seems not far from it!


  34. WHITE :

    ” I don’t want kind of Rangzen, the country that is filled up with guys like you.”

    1. F you.
    2. Go and live under China. That is the only place where you won’t find people like Lukar Jam, Jamyang Norbu and others like me or people who cherish Rangzen will be locked in prison away from prostitutes like you.
    3. Leave your holier than thou attitude, at least on this blog. Are you the one who threaten JN of spamming his blog and did try to spam it when he blocked you temporarily? People like you make me sick. I will take rebirth every time wherever thugs like you are found.

  35. @chimiGompo: actually Tibet and China should be your place and of the prison! I meant it sincerely, it really drives home your courage and determination. You will get UN letters, human rights propagating your case, and last but not least, you will get a Nobel peace prize! If you are afraid of being locked away in prison or in China to fight the fight! You are nothing but fool armchair pseudo intellectuals! How real man made changes under duress and extraordinary circumstances at great personal risk! Which rang zen wallas did it? The one who stood for rang zen and imrpisoned, later their position to different ideology!


  36. 40 CHIME GONPO

    Young immature child love to use words like Kyakpaso, Nyangmadha, Chinpathoong when they are angry to their peers. I used to say those words.

    Lets get to the point. What have you done in your life towards achievement of Rangzen beside constant spitting of venom against people of Tibet, CTA, Dalai Lama? Nobody want to settle for less but I want to believe in something that make sense, that is realistic. I don’t want to believe in something that is next to impossible. You can believe whatever you want and get nothing out of it.

    Jamyang la and his hordes can say and believe whatever they want, without the support of people of Tibet they can not even have their identity.

    Does Jamyang la and any of you here make any attempt to unite people of Tibet? For example, Jamyang la’s words like “none of these people seem capable of any initiative when it comes to the actual well-being and security of the Dalai Lama” are very divisive. Which group of people Jamyang la referring to? Do not forget leaders in CTA are elected officials by people of Tibet. So do you guys want to stand against people of Tibet?

  37. NG Please don’t talk or bring up UN. This Org is run by 5 bullies and even a veto by single bully is enough to stall or close the case.

    UN has welcomed AK47 totting Arafat into its august building while never allowed the dove like HHDL.

    So please don’t whitewash UN or PRC.

  38. @42 WHITE:

    “Do not forget leaders in CTA are elected officials by people of Tibet” –

    Really? People inside Tibet can vote to elect CTA officials?

    First of all, White, since you are a Middleway supporter and advocate, You don’t get the right to tell what should Rangzen believers do or don’t do. Living in exile and refusing to accept Chinese rule in itself is an act of defiance and expression of Rangzen belief.

    It is the Middleway advocates like you and CTA leaders, who have already accepted Chinese Sovereignty and have already agreed to live under Chinese Constitution and Law, who needs to act on what you are actually saying by going to China and resolving whatever grievances you have in Chinese courts. It is not the Rangzen believers fault that your MWA proposals is being used by Chinese leaders to wipe their asses after taking their daily dump. JN la and other’s have merely pointed out the futility of MWA long time ago because they have a better understanding of the enemy we are facing. I personally don’t mind if majority of people in exile decide to go back to Tibet tomorrow and live under china. What I don’t like is the expectation that we all are suppose to pretend as if these jokers in CTA are actually doing something about our cause. And as if we really have “democracy” in exile.

  39. Very bold and interesting… Tibetan’s fatalistic disposition is aptly cited, hilarious… With this blog, I recollect 10th Sikh Guru Gobind Singh leaving Sikh Holy Scripture as their last successor. I reckon it is the smart move causing no conflict in future. I believe this is the reason they exist peacefully, contrary to Muslim Shias and Sunnis. I fear, the growing number of Rinpoche and lama with their resources and schools: Conflicts seem inevitable… Oh the other part, “Can we seriously expect mere Dharamshala politicians to be more restrained and virtuous?” It is amusing, especially after reading “Noodle maker of kalimpong”…

  40. I am done with religion and superstition. I agree with Jamyang Norbu la. These institutions have been corrupted by power before. Can you imagine Buddhist monks fighting each other for their schools? Even the karmapa, there are two. We should adopt the compassion culture but ditch the metaphysical nonsense. you get rid of shugden by not believing in it and its religion at all. I don’t know how many atheist Tibetans are out there but Jamyang la this Atheist Tibetan full heartedly supports your suggestion.

  41. It seems very likely that the Tibetans who deal with such matters will identify the 15th Dalai Lama, and may well have him/her enthroned or groomed for leadership for the very reasons J Norbu puts forward here. As HHDL has said in the past, it will be up to the Tibetans to decide. Yet along with political and cultural survival issues, also relevant is the serious loss that NOT recognizing the next Dalai Lama would mean not only to Tibetan Buddhists but the great numbers from all backgrounds who have been positively and profoundly influenced by him, where exposure to this great teacher is largely made possible by the fame and power of “Dalai Lama institution.”

  42. I don’t think DL Institution needs to continue. Although, I can understand the political reasons behind JN la’s suggestion, but I think in the long run those political maneuvers will not be of much effect to our struggle to regain independence.

    My personal opinion is that HH most likely doesn’t want the institution to continue but he feels that it is not up to him. And he has made many statements to that effect. But the truth is only he can make such a declaration.

    That China will come up with its own candidate is without any question. But I am more concerned about how many candidates the Tibetans themselves will bring in. As we all know our history is rife with troubling experiences during these interim periods. It has been one of our main weaknesses.

    I think it will set in motion a refreshing turn of events in our history if HH declares that there will be no further reincarnation. When such a high lama stops reincarnating others will have less excuse to claim their holiness on the credulous masses. And the true Buddhists can finally strive to become philosophers and intellectuals rather than remain lama worshipers.

    The real project for this and the future generation of Tibetans is to rescue the Tibetan national, political and cultural identity from the straitjacket of faith-based and cultish mentality. Only then we can have a real hope and a real future.

  43. #49 ANGRY OLD TIBETAN, very well said.
    Succinct and to the point.
    I too think hat is the best solution for Tibet, short term and long term.


  44. For the average Tibetan Lamas and monasteries are indispensable;Tibetans by and large view their lives incomplete without the two; therefore, reincarnation phenomenon is there to stay including the most important of all, the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.

    I think Tibetans must seriously attempt to understand and evaluate the precious political gift of the Dalai Lama; the devolution of his political powers to the elected representatives; Tibetan democracy needes to be upgraded on par with the best of democracies in the world. Nothing would please the Dalai Lama more if Tibetan leaders can show to the world that under the guidance and kindness of the Dalai Lama Tibetans can make the best out of the political gift that was so generously given to them by the 14th Dalai Lama.

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