Saturday, April 26, 2008
we have been in dharamsals (mcleod gange) the past several days, and our time here has been fun. (jenni has done a good job of detailing our activities on her blog, so i won't say much about that.)
the indian government granted this mountainside community as a place of exile to his holiness the dalai lama when the he fled chinese-occupied tibet in 1959. many tibetens and tibeten monks reside here, and so this community has been in constant flux in the past month or so with the recent uprisings in tibet over human rights, the olympics, and the subsequent reprisals by the chinese government.
jenni and i went to a museum here that documented the atrocities perpetrated by the chinese government; (over 1 million killed, 4000 monestaries destroyed, continual cultural genocide.) friday was the 19th birthday of the panchen lama. he was identified by the dalai lama, and has been in chinese custody since he was 6 years old. the chinese identified another as the panchen lama, and whisked the other boy away, disallowing him the tuteledge required to assume his duties when he comes of age. the tibeten community has had daily candlelight processions here (see jenni's blog) and a hunger strike as well. the march began at the center of town, circled the streets twice and ended at the buddhist temple. there we listened as the monks led those assembled in chants and prayer.
i will miss this place, not only for its culture, but for its beauty. also, we met some great monks here, and we've been teaching them english while they've been cooking great tibeten noodles for us and providing us great company.
we leave tonight on a night bus for delhi.