Posted by: Tibet Foundation | August 6, 2008

‘They Lost Their Sight, Not Their Vision’

Institute of Contemporary Arts London (ICA) presents BLINDSIGHT, a documentary that “follows the gripping adventure of six Tibetan teenagers who set out to climb the 23,000 foot Lhakpa Ri on the north side of Mount Everest. A dangerous journey soon becomes a seemingly impossible challenge made all the more remarkable by the fact that the teenagers are blind” (Blindsight). The film has received 4 international awards and has claimed praising reviews. The screening will begin on the 8TH of August, and will continue to run throughout the Olympics, until the 28TH of this month.

Interview with director Lucy Walker

Interview with BLINDSIGHT protagonists

For screening schedule and tickets, please visit http://www.ica.org.uk/

Related links http://www.blindsightthemovie.com/film.html

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Producer and publisher Michael Wiese documented a captivating pilgrimage to the sacred sites in Central Tibet. He and his companions, namely Steve Dancz – musician and composer for National Geographic television specials, Khenpo Tashi – Mongolian monk and internationally renowned scholar and Buddhism teacher, and Glenn Mullin – translator and author of various books on Buddhism, reached the caves that brought Buddhist masters enlightenment, the monasteries where the Dalai Lamas have taught, and had meditated at the Oracle Lake, at a 16, 000 feet altitude.The documentary, released in 2007, was shown on July 27 by Tibet Foundation at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green and enjoyed the presence and company of Michael Wiese. Here you can read his statements following the screening.

“I had no idea we would be making a film”

Steve performed with his jazz band for the Dalai Lama’s Sacred Music Festival in India. The Dalai Lama was so impressed with the energy, that he granted Steve a private audience with Him. Steve called a few years later and said ‘I’m going to Tibet. Want to come with me?’ My wife sitting next to me went ‘Say yes’ and that’s how it started.

 

I had no idea we would be making a film. I told Steve I wasn’t bringing my camera because it would get in the way of the experience. He said ‘OK, but I want 5 bucks for each time you’ll say I wish I had my camera’. So I took the tiniest camera I could find. I’m used to having someone behind me for help when shooting film. This time, I didn’t.

 

The Dalai Lama was the first to see the documentary

The first person to actually saw the movie was the Dalai Lama. Glenn was in Mongolia. At the same time, the Dalai Lama was there and Glenn managed to speak with his interpreter. He told them about the pilgrimage we made and the Dalai Lama asked if he could see a version of it. Glenn just happened to have an early copy on him and he asked the Dalai Lama to look at it on his way to Dharamsala. We were expecting a ‘review’, but we haven’t heard from Him. Still, it is a great honour that He really was the first man to see it.

The altitude was a real problem. There’s no oxygen. You really walk 10 feet and you’re exhausted. In the first days of shooting, you could hear us breathing with difficulty.I woke up in the night starving for oxygen, with my brain in complete panic, thinking I was going to die. I got rubbish footage before I found these Chinese oxygen sprays. Six puffs and you’re all right again. Thank God for them! We saw  people being decompressed and taken to a lower altitude.

Filming in temples is not allowed. I did have that concern in my approach and I was as respectful as I could possibly be. I was encouraged to film and I did ask for permission. Something that I learnt from my wife, who’s a professional photographer, is that you don’t take pictures, you give pictures. So I was giving back, I was appreciating the presence that was there. And they loved it, I mean you saw them laughing and carrying on. We had a great time and that’s what I tried to do wherever I went. As a film maker, you’re supposed to give up all those considerations and get yourself out there and do what you’re supposed to do.

 

“It’s about presence”

When we reached our destination I was stuck: everybody was meditating and having visions and I went: Great! Now should I film, or should I join them as well? Shoot vs. visions, shoot vs. visions. I was the film maker. I made a commitment on choosing to bring the camera. Everybody else had a vision or at least a vivid dream. Steve declared this film to be my vision.

 

What’s been amazing at some more informal showings is that people who could not get in the room stayed outside and listened to the soundtrack. It’s something about the power and the light of the places I’ve filmed that transcends to the media. What I did as a standard film hardly pulls together at all, but that doesn’t matter because it’s not about that. It’s about presence.

 

There is an amazing presence at these places and the longer we were there the deeper that presence seemed to be. Think about it: hundreds of thousands of pilgrims go there for thousands of years, great masters teaching there, vibrating music being played, rituals of all kinds: it’s all very tangible. Things happed with me ever since I’ve been on that mountain, for example I can’t even kill insects. I’m trying to capture a spider without hurting it to get it out of my house.

 

An incomplete view

The film told me later what to include and what not to. My work was not intended to do any harm, we didn’t want to wrong anyone. The idea was to film a pilgrimage, therefore the film is about rejuvenation and that is what I wanted to focused on. If you want to learn about the other stuff and not about the culture it’s easy to do it, but I chose to go a different way with it, as an incomplete a view as that may be.

 

For purchasing the DVD, please contact Tibet Foundation office

Related link:

http://michaelwiesefilms.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | July 23, 2008

MONK

Buddhism has become a most embraced religion, especially in Europe and on the North American continent. It is available to you and me in light forms. But few of us have the priviledge to gain insight into the world of those keeping its philosophy sacred. Photographer Zang Chaoyin has been granted access. Please take a look at the Buddhist monastic lifee.

Tibetan monks durin an outdoors assembly

Gelug-pa, or the Yellow Hat sect, is a Buddhism school founded at Ganden. Its founder was Tsongkhapa (1357 – 1491), a Tibetan leader and a philosopher

Monks praying at the altar of the founder of the Tibetan Empire, Songtsan Gampo

Waiting for the po cha (butter tea) to be served

Studying the sacred teachings

Soccer is extremely popular with young Tibetan monks. They often improvise a ball and forget themselves in the game.

Relaxing after dinner

Preparing Kapsey is a good excuse for monks to have a good time. The crispy dessert is made out of dough, which is rolled in different shapes for good luck.

Official matters

Many Buddhist rituals are connected with nature and the monks are educated in respecting and cherishing it

Photography with the Courtesy of Zang Chaochyin

Alternative sources: http://www.wikipedia.org

Please contact the administration for bigger resolution images

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | July 18, 2008

Tibet Foundation Earthquake Appeal 2008

Tibet Foundation has so far sent £24,000 to schools in the disaster area inside Tibet.
This is around RMB 325,000 Chinese Yuan or $ 48,000 US Dollars.

There remains an urgent need for long term rehabilitation work particularly in schools.
Our second stage target is to raise £50,000 for rehabilitation and relief work in the Tibetan areas in which we have been working since 1993 through our Aid to Tibet programme.
Our current identified priorities remain for community level interventions where we can make a real difference through local action.

Donate Now:
http://www.justgiving.com/tibetearthquake
Other Ways to Donate:
http://www.tibet-foundation.org/tf/donate.php
One of the best ways of helping is to set up a standing order:
http://www.tibet-foundation.org/tf/forms/generic_tf_boform.pdf

Money Distributed so Far

We have supported schools with food and blankets to a total of £9,000.
We have committed £13,000 to furniture and equipment for schools.

We have supported an orphanage with an immediate grant of £2,000 for children with special needs. This has doubled its numbers to over 100 needy children and we will make a series of small grants to schools and longer term education sponsorships for children in the earthquake areas.

The Ark – Longkang Orphanage has 43 children aged 3-12. They are of Tibetan background, with mental and physical special needs. Some minor, some more serious.
They have one doctor and rely on their own resources, with a lot of volunteer, labour, materials and benefit in kind support from local communities. It is located 2 miles north of Jiuzhaigou National Park. The plan is to take in another 60 young people with special needs from the Quake area in the next weeks.
However there isn’t the capacity long term to house and feed over 100 children, especially given the extra needs of these young people.
Therefore this is likely to be for the short term (less than 1 year). Although there is currently a great deal of uncertainty in the aftermath of this huge disaster.

Contributions have come in from our supporters and many Tibetans from across the world.

We are very grateful for this and are committed to working to help the vulnerable who will bear the consequences of this terrible natural disaster.

My sincere appreciation for your generosity,
Karma Hardy

Director
karma.hardy@tibet-foundation.org
Switchboard +44 207 930 6001

One of the best ways of helping is to set up a standing order to Tibet Foundation, please contact the office to find out the best way to do this or click on the link below and print out the form and return it to us.

http://www.tibet-foundation.org/tf/forms/generic_tf_boform.pdf

Tibet Foundation is a registered UK charity founded and managed by Tibetans to work both in exile and inside ethnic Tibetan areas in China.
The area in which we have been working is Kandze is all within 300km of the epicentre of the earthquake near Yingxiu.
Kandze is the name given both to the region (Kandze Autonomous Prefecture) and a county (Kandze County) in the north west of Sichuan Tibet Foundation is continuing to approach other funders and we welcome the opportunity to discuss our appeal and would like to make the offer of being available by email, telephone and meeting in person.
The 12th May 7.9 earthquake hit the Sichuan Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Wenchuan County and affected more than half of China and beyond to neighbouring countries.
The epicentre was in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
Aba is also known as the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.
Aba Tibetan Prefecture has been affected mainly in terms of infrastructure, roads, bridges and transport hubs in the region.
Tibetan areas adjacent to Wenchuan (which in Tibetan language is called “Lung Kuo”) were badly affected by the quake. But Wenchuan and the surrounding towns and cities are mainly Han Chinese. The Tibetan areas lie further afield. For that reason, the damage may prove to be less extensive there than closer to the epicentre. As Tibetan homes tend to be traditionally made of wood, they are better able to withstand quake damage. Although the effects of the quake were felt very powerfully above 3000m, the damage was greatest in the zone of 500m to 1000m with the higher population.

Fax +44 207 930 6002
office@tibet-foundation.org
Tibet Foundation (Charity No. 292400).
2 St. James’s Market. London SW1Y 4SB

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | July 9, 2008

Four Seasons In Tibet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography with the courtesy of Zang Chaoyin

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | June 25, 2008

Mani Wheels

Tibetan prayer wheels are mechanical devices called Mani wheels. A Mani is made up by a wheel or ‘khor (Tibetan) on a spindle made from metal, wood, leather or coarse cotton, and a tiny swinging counterweight. Inside the wheel, one can find rolls of thin paper imprinted with mantras, sutras and Buddha’s teachings, written in Tibetan or Indian script. The scroll is protected by a box, which is spun around an axis. The wheel is carved with mantras on exterior as well.

The idea of a prayer wheel is a physical manifestation of the phrase ‘turn the wheel of the dharma’, a metaphor refering to Buddha’s teaching methods. Tibetan Buddhists envoke the embodyment of compassion – Chenrezig, by reciting the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra. The same effect is believed to be achieved with the viewing of a written mantra or with the spinning of the prayer wheel.

The first account of a prayer wheel dates from 400 AD and was given by a Chinese pilgrim, who was travelling through Ladakh, where he saw it for the first time. Wheels were used in Tibet with the sole religious purpose. Carts and any device featuring a wheel were avoided on purpose.Mani must be spun clockwise. That is due to the fact that it has to follow the sun’s direction and because the words of the mantras have to pass before the before the eyes of the spinner in the order they were written. The practitioners must recite the mantra before and after the spinning, otherwise they will not gain any merits. Small prayer wheels can be spun either by hand, or by the rising heat and steam of a stove. The large prayer wheels are spun by hand, wind or water. They surround a sacred site, or are placed next to shrines and pathways.
 
 
 
   
 

        

                        

Photography by Zang Chaoyin

Sources:

http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/prayer-wheel.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_wheel

For more related images, please refer to

http://flickr.com/search/?q=prayer+wheel

NOTE: The images were taken in Tibet.                                                                                                         
Silver and copper prayer wheels can be purchased from Tibet Foundation.                                                
   

 

 

 

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | June 18, 2008

Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa Festival: The Buddha Day

Tibet Foundation is hosting a Tsok Puja (Feast Offering) to mark Saga Dawa, the most holy day of the year according to the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. The full moon day of the fourth lunar month marks three important anniversaries: the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. Tibetans regard this as very special and devote the day to prayers and good works for the benefit of others. Merit from good works on this day is multiplied many millions of times. Join us for our feast to mark the occasion.

Venue: Tibet Foundation, 2 St. James’s Market, London, SW1Y 4SB Tel: 0207930 6001

 

A 5-minute interview with Tenzing Nio, young Tibetan Film maker, on Saga Dawa 

How would you describe Saga Dawa?

 

Saga Dawa is an extremely auspicious day for the Buddhists. It is a holy day presumably because Buddha was born and escaped to Nirvana on this very specific day. It is a day of kindness, it’s a day of thought and celebration all joined together. People normally go vegetarian on Saga Dawa to try accumulate their merits by three or four folds, rather than just seeing this day as an ordinary day, because it isn’t.

And people do a lot of good on this day to accumulate their karmas. In the evening, people normally tend to put out a lot of butter lamps, a lot of candles to celebrate this special occasion. As you know light, in Buddhist context, is associated with wisdom and knowledge and peace. As a kid I remember going around Baylakupee with my friends and stealing candles and butter lamps throughout the full moon night, which you should not do because it contradicts the whole celebration of Saga Dawa. Stealing is not permitted. But as a kid you would not know. It is a beautiful day when everyone gathers together for the good will of Sage Dawa.

 

 

Why would you need to acquire those merits?

Buddhists think there is this selfless act which I still try to come to terms with. Basically you try to accumulate these merits for the benefit of your own future, for the benefit of your coming rebirth.

 

You come from Bylakupee. How does it look like there on Saga Dawa?

It is really stunning. At night, you see galaxies of butter lamps everywhere. It’s mesmerizing the sight in itself because of the amount of butter lamps placed everywhere: down the streets, on the walls, on people’s gardens… Especially in the old camp, the part where I’ from, whereas the houses in the new camps are so much more disperse, whilst in the old camps the homes are clutched together. In that sense, it creates this extremely beautiful vision.

 

How big is the Tibetan community in Bylakupee?

Bylakupee supposedly hosts the biggest Tibetan Diaspora, bigger than anywhere else in the world, except than in Tibet itself.  It is a rural area. There has been a lot of development going on, which I personally can understand but I cannot fully agree with because it affected the wild life in a big way and nature has basically played an intricate part in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

 

Is Saga Dawa a family celebration or a community celebration?

It’s definitely both. It is a family celebration in the fact that, at night, everybody would come together after meal and started praying, with offers made at the altar. The butter lamps are kept burning all through the night. And it’s also a community festivity because, as I told you, it’s a close community. You get to hear everyone else praying, and see what everybody else is doing. In that sense, it is a joined celebration.

 

Do you have to prepare for this day in a certain way?

Not that I know of. You have to bare in mind that I left the place when I was nine years old, so I haven’t had any palpable experience in that place for about twelve – thirteen years. I’m sure that they have to prepare beforehand.

 

Will you celebrate it tonight?

I will, in my own little way: I will light a few candles and make an offering.

 

Sources:

www.tibet-foundation.org

Image

http://i102.photobucket.com/albums/m81/namobuddhas/SagaDawaICON.jpg

 

Many thanks to Tenzing Nio

 

For more information and images, please visit our related links and:

Melange Magazine

http://melange.enigmatic.org/

Issue no.1 – Seven Days In Tibet

and

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ingiro/2077781423/

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | May 22, 2008

Vacation

Tibet Foudation is taking a 3-week posting break. Please visit us again on June 19th.

Tibet Foundation Blog Admin

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | May 14, 2008

The Unwinking Gaze

Tashi Delek!
We would like to inform you that the Tibetan Community in Britain is organising the screening of the latest documentary film on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet titled “The Unwinking Gaze” by Joshua Dugdale on Friday, 16th May 2008 @ 7:30pm at Kailash Centre, 7 New Court Street, St John’s Wood, London, NW8 7AA.
In view of the current situation in Tibet and the incessant sincere efforts from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in engaging and resolving the issue of Tibet, this film by Joshua Dugdale, who follows His Holiness over a period of three years portrays the struggle and offers unique, behind-the-scenes insight into the recent working life of His Holiness.  The screening will be followed by a QA opportunity with Joshua Dudgale.
For more about the film, please visit: http://www.unwinkinggaze.com/

All are invited for this Entrance free screening of the film.

With regards,
Tenzin SAMPHEL (Mr)
CHAIRMAN
Tibetan Community In Britain
www.tibetancommunity.org.uk

 
 
The 14th Dalai Lama has been an object of fascination for documentary makers for many decades. Expressing Tibetanness to its core, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso’ , born Llhamo Döndrub, the present Dalai Lama and the spiritual leader of all Tibetans, has focused his entire life around keeping the Tibetan culture alive. The clips below are not part of The Unwinking Gaze. They simply illustrate aspects of being and becoming the Dalai Lama.   

RENEISSANCE (features the voive of Harrison Ford)

 

 

THE DALAI LAMA

 

 

 

 

 

MANTRA (photography slide show)

 

Please also visit:

http://www.dalailama.com/page.157.htm

http://www.thedalailamamovie.com/ 

http://www.dalailama2008uk.com/ 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | May 7, 2008

Hands Building A Living

During the late 80’s and early 90’s, Neil Cooper followed the Tibetans around the Indian sub-continent and managed to record intimate shots of their daily life. This present series shows how earning a living and preserving a culture go… hand in hand.


Ploughing settlement land, Karnataka, South India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnowing maze, Karnataka


Building new refugee health centre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvesting bananas at refugee camp, Karnataka


Ploughing land at refugee settlement, Orissa, East India


Delivering milk to settlement diary, Karnataka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Peeling’ maize cobs


Roadside Tibetan gift store, Pokhara, Nepal


Cataract removal operation at settlement hospital, Karnataka


Mothers leaving the health centre, Bir, India


On the temple steps in Pokhara, Nepal


School for children newly arrived from Tibet, Bir, North India


Monks at ceremony in Tibetan monastery, Karnataka

THE MAGIC THREAD


Winding wool for carpet weaving, Karnataka

Winding wool for carpets at refugee handicraft centre, Pokhara, Nepal


Sorting wool for carpets weaving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weaving carpets at refugee handicrafts centre, Kathmandu, Nepal

 


Finishing carpets, refugee handicraft centre, Pokhara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working from home, Pokhara

Photography with the courtesy of Neil Cooper

Please visit www.neilcooper.co.uk for related photography 

 

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | April 30, 2008

The Mongolian Project (I)

Sonam Gyatsao, the Third Dalai Lama, received his designation from the Mongolian Altan Khan. The Mongol Emperors honoured the Dalai Lamas as spiritual mentors. This is just one example illustrating the unyielding relations that bound Mongolia and the Tibetan nation. Between 1921 and 1938, the Mongolian Communist regime, backed by the Soviets, destroyed but six out of eight hundred Buddhist monasteries. A peaceful revolution from the 1990’s Mongolia enabled open religious behaviour to be possible once more. By that time, Mongolia was already isolated from the international Buddhist community. Buddhism in Mongolia (BIM) is a programme that Tibet Foundation set-up in 1993 to encourage the return to Buddhism of the Mongolian people. It responds to the requests and needs raised by the Mongolian monks.             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Otgonbaatr, second from left

The scheme works on a religious, educational and cultural level. Although Buddhism in Mongolia has been constantly redesigned, it preserved one constant, namely the exchange programme for the education of Buddhist monks and nuns. Otgonbaatar Badam is a Mongolian Buddhist monk that joined the Buddhism in Mongolia programme. He’s presently in London, completing English Language training.  His monastery is under construction and he the language course will help him contribute to its edifice.     

 

“I became acquainted with Tibet Foundation in 2004, when I met their staff in Mongolia and helped them with translations. There is only one Buddhist monastery in my country. When they asked me for my plans, I expressed my wish for a second monastery. This is how our collaboration started.”

Otgonbaatar is now 31 and he has been a monk from the age of 13. “My father and mother died when I was child. I suffered a lot, and I thought that, by becoming monk I would reduce suffering and live a happier life. Buddha’s teaching has various methods to reduce suffering.” He studied Mongolian Buddhist Traditional Rituals, Sakya Traditions and Buddhist Philosophy. Back home, he translates religious books from Tibetan to Mongolian and he’s one of the key elements in transforming his wish for a second monastery into reality: he meets the trustees, prepares presentations, meets sponsors, gets the permission necessary for the building of the monastic place, draws the temple construction plans and works the land. “For my purpose, knowing English is essential. The monastery is an international organization with five trustees, three of which are Tibetan and Indian and two – Mongolian. But the fundraising is mainly conducted in English. I have to report the progress and expenditure monthly.”

Despite the fact that Mongolian Buddhism is originated the Tibetan Buddhism, they are not indistinguishable. “All the Mongolians accept the Dalai Lama as the head of Buddhism. The main difference between the two lies in the fact that the Mongolian religious culture is a nomadic one, in the sense that monks move from temple to temple, whereas the Tibetans monks remain located at the same monastery for a longer period. The statues and temples have different shapes as well. It is easier for a Mongol to be a monk. Globalisation changed its nature. Tibetan monks are studying in India in monasteries. Mongol monks don’t study in temples, they go home. They don’t follow monastic institution rules, which are usually very strict. I can enjoy watching TV. Tibetan Buddhism is very important for the Tibetan culture. I’m supporting it because, if Tibetan Buddhism dies, Tibetan culture will lose its importance.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He arrived in London in December last year and has been studying at David Game College in Notting Hill Gate. “I’ve been in the UK before but couldn’t speak the language. Now that the situation improved, we can have this conversation. People are friendly and I’m happy to be here. The weather is boring, though and my body is lazy. My friends suggested that I drink coffee. That’s something I was not used to back in Mongolia.”

For more Information on the Buddhism in Mongolia Project, please refer to

bim@tibet-foundation.org and www.tibet-foundation.org

Interview and photography: Crina Boros for Tibet Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | April 23, 2008

Candlelight For Tibetans

 

After the steering group meeting this Saturday (19th April), the Dharma Network invited Tibetans in London and their supporters to light a candle in the Tibetan Peace Garden in the surroundings of Imperial War Museum in Southwark. The gesture was meant to express support for His Holiness and the Tibetan people following the recent events inside Tibet.

The Tibetans and their supporters gathered to pray and light a candle around the mandala exposed in the middle of the Tibetan Peace Garden


The ceremony was conducted by a group of Buddhist monks.


Karma Hardy, Tibet Foundation staff, was the one who opened the lightning of the candles                                

 The attendees who forgot to bring a candle were encouraged to help themselves


The ritual also included circling the mandala clockwise, according to the Buddhist ceremonials


Incense sticks sorrounding the garden were used to purify the prayer location


Tibet supporter


The monks kept praying throughout the entire ceremony


Keeping a prayer safe from rain


The ceremony concluded with an expressed hope for peace

Photography by Crina Boros for Tibet Foundation

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | April 9, 2008

All Things Human

The Making Of A Sand Mandala

Kyilkhor, also known as sand mandala, symbolizes the transitory nature of things. As part of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, all things material are seen as temporal.

    

 

 

 

 

The sand mandala stands as an example of this belief. Buddhists believe that once its creation has finished, its destruction begins. The sand mandala used to be created from granules of crushed colored stones. Today, the raw material changed into white stones transformed into sand and dyed with opaque inks.

 

 

 

 

 

 For building a sand mandala, the monks will first draw the geometrical measurements associated with it, laying down the sand afterwards.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The destruction of a mandala is also honored with a ceremony. “Even the deity syllables are removed in a specific order, along with the rest of the geometry until at last the mandala has been dismantled. The sand is collected in a jar which is then wrapped in silk and transported to a river (or any place with moving water), where it is released back into nature. For this reason, the materials in a sand mandala are always biodegradable, and, in keeping with the symbolism are never used twice.”

Source: Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_mandala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phuntsog Wangyal and three Lamas presenting the making of a sand mandala for the Queen’s Jubilee to Prince Charles.

Carved Letters

Printing blocks have been used by Tibetans since ancient times for transforming a piece of cloth into a prayer flag or for storing the knowledge in books. The legacy is not set in stone, but carved in wood.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | April 2, 2008

Gangjong Doeghar

It is a performance group set up in 1994 and sponsored by Tibet Foundation. The group is based in Kalimpong, India, and contributed to the Foundation’s efforts to preserve and carry on the Tibetan culture through performing arts. Most of the Gangjong Doeghar artists are usually graduates of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Cultural Institute (ITBCI) and the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA). The letter is the only residential academic institute of its kind offering professional training in exile.

The company provides trainings in Tibetan dance, music and songs. Gangjong Doeghar also undertakes national and international tours to raise awareness of Tibetan artistic culture. It has successfully toured India, UK and Europe.

 

Watch Gangjong Doeghar artists on tour

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Photography with the courtesy of Ralph Hodgson

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | March 26, 2008

Landmarks

We transform places and they alter us in return. Part of our identity is mirrored in the surroundings we inhabit or attempt to tame. Nevertheless, we are shaped particularly by these background. This is how an affair with nature is born.

Photographer John Aldridge captured Kandze region – Tibet. The images were taken from November 2000 to January 2001

LANDSCAPES

Bridges from Kandze, Tibet

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River flooding the nearby area

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Over Dzachu river

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Bridge built around 1950

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Crossing in the vicinity of a Buddhist monastery

CULTURE MARKS

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Prayer flag in a high pass in Dzogchen

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High altitude road in Kandze
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Prayer flags on a mountain top

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Yacs are important for the survival of most nomadic Tibetans

CITYSCAPES

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Yaan, Sershul area

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Sershul, Tibet

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Pole decorated with a prayer flag

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Pass to a monastery

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Building stupa, religious carvings
BUDDHISM

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Mantra carved on a rocky facade: OM MA NI PAD ME HUM. It is the most popular mantra – the Mantra of Avaloketeshvara, the patron deity of Tibet. Tibetans believe that recitation of the six syllables mantra will help them achieve the six perfections: from generosity to wisdom.

Photography with the courtesy of John Aldridge

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | March 19, 2008

U.K. Tibetan Women’s Association

U.K. Tibetan Women’s Association was established in London on the 22nd of February 1986. It is one of the 36 branches in the world and the first one in Europe. It aims to preserve and promote awareness and continuity of Tibetan culture. On the 12th of March, TWA organised Women’s Uprising Day. Prayers were chanted and blessings were given. The evening closed with the participants intonating Tibet and UK’s anthems national anthems. The images below show a range of portraits taken at the event.

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Participants received handout prayers that were chanted throughout the evening

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Before the evening was open, a Tibetan cause devotee took one moment of individual meditation

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Tibet’s singing nuns

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The prayers and blessings were also translated in English

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Supporting Buddhism

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Tibetan young woman praying

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Lama Thupten Nyima led the prayer session. He is based in India, but has shared his teachings across the UK

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One of the Tibetan Drapchi singing nuns intonating Tibet’s national anthem

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Riga Wangyal, organiser of the U.K. Tibetan Women’s Association

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British supporter of the Tibetan culture wearing a Tibetan traditional dress

Photography by Crina Boros

UK Tibetan Women’s Association recommends
Http://www.tibetanolympics.com
http://www.london.gov.uk/torchrelay/index.jsp
http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=35511&SESSION=891

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Posted by: Tibet Foundation | March 12, 2008

Tracing Tibetans (I)

“During his time in India, meetings with Tibetan refugees led to a chain of events that completely changed his working life. In 1983 Neil was commissioned to spend one year visiting 23 Tibetan settlements, documenting refugee life in India & Nepal after 25 years in exile. From this he produced an exhibition “Remember Tibet” which was shown in the UK and Europe. In Switzerland the exhibition was opened & blessed by H.H. the Dalai Lama.

Through exhibitions funds were raised to completely re-roof a Himalayan settlement, refurbish and staff a home for elderly Tibetans and to start the building of a boarding school for the children of poor road workers in a remote area near Darjeeling. His commitment to promoting awareness of the social problems of refugees and the political situation in Tibet continues to this day.
The ‘Neil Cooper Picture Library’ contains a comprehensive collection of images of everyday Tibetan life from over 30 refugee settlements in India & Nepal.”
http://www.neilcooper.co.uk/biography/Biography.htm

 

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Tibetan refugee monks, Boudnath, Kathmandu, Nepal

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Monks studying outside monastery, Karnataka, South India

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Monks studying at monastery school, Karnataka

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Young monks, Karnataka

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Old lady at prayer in North Pokhara, Nepal

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Young monks recently arrived from Tibet being innoculated Karnataka

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Monks creating sand mandala in Bodh Gaya, India

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Tibetan prayer stones from Bir, North India

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Elderly at prayer in old people’s home in Karnataka

Photography with the courtesy of Neil Cooper

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | February 27, 2008

BURIAL NEAR THE CLOUDS

Traditional Tibetan Buddhists have a particular way of respecting their deceased relative’s earthly remains: they either feed it to the vultures or they take it through cremation. This is called sky burial. Thus, the soul is set free for further rebirths. On the top of Sershul area in Tibet, photographer John Aldridge captured an interment.

 

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The burial took place on a cliff. As part of a ritual, Tibetans threw paper mantras in the wind.

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Wood is difficult to get hand on in the region, but people make this effort to commemorate the passing of their lama.

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Buddhist monks praying; during the ceremony, they offer grain and tea to the local deities.

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Prayer wheels are part of the ritual.

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Incense is burnt and Buddhist chant as part of the burial ritual.

Photography with the courtesy of John Aldridge

Posted by: Tibet Foundation | February 27, 2008

AID TO TIBET

AID TO TIBET program has been employed successfully since 1993 by Tibet Foundation. Its purpose is to monitor and implement healthcare, education and development schemes in East Tibet, within the most remote Tibetan settlements. The pictures below stand from the visit organised in 2000 by the NGO members in Sershul and Kandze regions, Tibet.

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Entrance to an old persons’ home in Kandze, Tibet

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Curious nomads gathered around the windows for a preview

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Karma Hardy, member of Tibet Foundation, giving comfort to a local

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One of the Tibetans living in the shared home

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Hospital in Sershul

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The senior doctor of one of Sershul hospitals performing his daily routine

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Medicine student checking the health of a patient, Sershul

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A stop at the nearest pharmacy

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Medicine students, outside a medical point

Photography with the courtesy of John Aldridge

 

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