Published: April 17th 2009April 17th 2009
Dela, our favorite lady!
We love Dela, we have met her many mornings circumabulating HH residence and then spending the entire day prostrating at the temple!
Our Indian visa's are just about expired, 1 month remaining, just enough for our Buddhist meditation retreat for 9 days which we are backing up with an 11 day silent meditation retreat, possibly punishment? we are not sure.... 20 days in silence and lotus position, hmmm...
Our program for 11 days is as follows.
4:00 am. --------------- Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am. ----------- Meditate in the hall
6:30-8:00 am. ------------ Breakfast
8:00-9:00 am. ------------- GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
9:00-11:00 am. ------------ Meditate in the hall
11:00-12:00 noon ----------- Lunch
12noon-1:00 pm. -------- Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm. ------------ Meditate in the hall
2:30-3:30 pm. ------------- GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
3:30-5:00 pm. ------------ Meditate in the hall
5:00-6:00 pm. ------------- Tea
6:00-7:00 pm. -------------- GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
7:00-8:15 pm. ------------- Teacher's Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm. ------------- GROUP MEDITATION IN THE HALL
9:00-9:30 pm. -------------- Question time in the hall
9:30 pm. ------------ Retire to your own room--Lights out
However a quick recap over the last 6 weeks.
The mountain walks have been superb, rhododendron forests in bloom, leading to slate scree slopes, to alpine meadows,and finally nearing the
Dolma, Glen & Tashi
our students and good friends
top are vast boulder fields. It was here we had an encounter with a swooping vulture checking out his prey, but luckily at last moment we think he caught the glare off Glen's ginger beard and thought better of it. Which we were glad of as the boulders weren't close enough for shelter, and that vultures beak was looking large!
The 50 years commemoration of Tibet's failed uprising which led to HH Dalai Lama's escape into exile, was in March, so it was a hive of activity. This commenced by singing of the banned Tibetan national anthem and traditional dancing. HH the Dalai Lama then spoke and said "The Chinese government have made living in Tibet like hell on earth" which managed to make all the worlds news.
This was followed by a candlelight vigil that night, walking from the main square to the temple. Chinese political prisoners from Hong Kong spoke out in support of democracy for their Tibetan brothers and sisters.
Many marches were also held with thousands of participants calling for a free Tibet.
The day before the 50 year festivities HH the Dalai Lama blessed all the religious items for the year which entails him
touching scriptures and statues to his head, he also touches his head with the high lama's to transfer his knowledge to them. He blessed enough food to hand out to the 3000 people at the temple. We were given a fruit bun blessed by him.
Leanne found Rogpa baby care centre an absolute delight to spend her days. She stayed an additional 2 weeks beyond her committed time due to the lack of volunteers and her love for the centre.
The perfect end to her time was an afternoon trip to the temple which Glen was able to also volunteer for. He loved meeting some of the older children and was able take photos for the centre. (Photos are of course prohibited, however these were for the centre and have been approved by the parents). Due to the large number of children and lack of staff and volunteers we are not able to get them outside often, so the temple trip was a great treat. They were so well behaved, filing into the temple holding their hands in prayer position, and turning the prayer wheels, as instructed.
Leanne will miss them...
Another of our favorites in the community
is Dela shown in one of the photographs. She is an elderly refugee we have met most mornings circumabulating HH Dalai Lama's residence and then spends the entire day prostrating at the temple, this is extremely strenuous work, and we wonder how she does it. We don't know exactly how old she is but she makes bracelets to sell trying to fund her way back to Tibet. Her ambition is to return home to her family to die. She looks far from death and has the most beautiful smile, so we give her a little money each time we see her in the hope she will also make it home. Dela is never seen without her spinning prayer wheel.
Tashi and Dolma we continued to meet daily, many of you have heard about Tashi's plight recently which we have attached below, we will update all involved on her progress. Tashi would also like to sincerly thank everyone who has donated.
Dolma whom we have not mentioned as much about had a very different upbringing than Tashi. Her father was educated in Beijing and has held government positions all her life, this made her lucky enough to get an education.
circumambulating HH residence
Lucky is defined as having a Chinese education, her Tibetan language is still lacking, but she speaks and writes fluent Chinese. This has placed her in the position to obtain a job.
This week she moved to New Delhi to work as a Chinese translator.
Furthermore to Tashi's story below we today learnt that, her family attempted to send her into exile at the age of 12years for an education, but she was caught by the Chinese and jailed for 15 days without food or water! She was then returned to Lhasa by armed guards pointing guns at her, threatening to kill her if she was caught escaping again (a 12 year old girl this is!).
However at the age of 15 she was successful in reaching the Nepalese border safely. This was purely her families wishes for her to receive an education. She is the youngest of 11 children. This size of family which was once traditional in Tibet is now regulated by forced sterilization from the Chinese government. Her Grandad was also killed by the Chinese when she had just been born.
We will continue to support Tashi in anyway we can, but her situation is a
This week we ventured down to the warm valley below to see HH the Kamapa ( http://www.kagyuoffice.org/karmapa.html ) the second highest lama living outside Tibet, he gives a public audience and short talk and then you file past him and he presents you with a red piece of string. He has an amusingly blasé style of speaking,but at the age of only 24 had some moving words.
It has been a very welcoming community and we have certainly been made to feel part of it.
Tashi's story is below. Create Good Karma Today!
Tashi is a 22year old girl, whom escaped Tibet 7 years ago, leaving her family behind in a small village on the outskirts of Lhasa.
Tashi comes from a farming family, and never had the opportunity of an education within Tibet due to the Chinese occupation. She therefore felt she had no other chance than to leave Tibet for an education in India within the exile community. Prior to leaving Tibet she could not read or write Tibetan or English.
At present her family can only offer limited support, as
the Chinese have taken her families farming land which they now charge numerous fees that no farmer can afford (especially for land that was theirs!) As a consequence many farmers are now starving as they are unable to grow crops or graze cattle as was previously done. These families were self sufficient and were also able to provide for the community.
Tashi is very homesick as her family live within Lhasa's region, the Chinese are tapping her families phone and launching regular raids on her home due to the fact that she is living in exile. Tashi is therefore too scared to phone her parents in fear it may create more trouble for them.
Tashi's ambition is to one day return home to Tibet, however this remains a far off dream as she has no passport, (the Chinese make it impossible for Tibetans to obtain one). The only way for her to return to Tibet would be to walk for at least 20days crossing 5000-6000m passes over the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau, and if found by the Chinese she would be jailed, with probable torture.
Her only chance to return safely to Tibet would be to
obtain citizenship of another country as she would no longer be entering as a Chinese citizen.
This is a near impossible situation for an uneducated girl.
Tashi has a friend in Canada, however if she was granted entry to Canada it would be difficult for her to get a job without any training. This is a future possibility with the help of her friend. In the meantime she is going to focus on some training for a career, the best possibility for quick results is for her to become a beautician. Training to become a beautician is around USD$900. Her friend in Canada is also fund raising for her so we would only need a small amount, and honestly any small amount would help her tremendously and goes along way in India!
Tashi is a genuinely kind person and has not requested any help for the 3months we have been teaching her even though she desperately needs it. On our first day of teaching English to her class at the monastery (keen students are also able to attend the monastery to learn English) she sincerely thanked us both on behalf of the class for giving our
time to teach them all. Later that week she asked if she could practice reading and conversation with us to fast-track her English and we have met her daily since. Tashi has become a good friend, jumping to help when we have been sick.
Please don't feel like you have to donate, Tashi feels that simple telling of Tibetans suffering can help her country, but if you want to create some good karma, your money will go to a good cause!
To Donate press on the link below which will go to the paypal account we have set up for her.
There are more photos below