Monday, December 28, 2009

The Needle of Samsara

The lyrics of my song, "The Needle of Samsara," has been translated from Tibetan to English by my sister Dickyi, who writes at Yuthok Lane. This song is a dedication to the nomads of Tibet, who're arguably the most vulnerable population on earth today. Even as they struggle against Beijing's campaign to wipe out the nomadic way of life, they're also the first ones to be impacted directly by climate change. Read more at Tibetan Plateau.

All beings on earth cling to suffering
The road beyond suffering is covered in dusk
My beloved father left home to look for a living
Many years later he is still unreturned
My family has been scattered to the four winds and eight corners
Oh the burden of fate will not be erased

The sky is blue, the blue of turquoise
The turquoise falls to earth and breaks into a thousand pieces
The lake Yamdrok Yumtso has frosted to ice
An iron-sheeted wind enters my tent
I wish to make fire but the firewood is all gone
Oh how I shiver in the cold

When the snows melt, the river-source ends
When rainwater ends, the fields turn dry
When the dry earth cracks, the pastures become a wasteland
The birds and beasts lose their pair
And the yak, sheep and animals starve
Oh how I mourn the loss

I mean to have peace of mind but
When the body breaks apart, endless tears fall
If this human world is the needle of samsara
The peak where I live is the point of that needle
If my nomad’s story were to end here
Oh the burden of fate will not be erased

The Real Ngabo Is Revealed

Bhuchung D. Sonam, a Tibetan poet and publisher, has written this article on Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, the man who betrayed Tibet in one critical moment of historic importance. Beijing called him a "patriot," and so did Dharamsala. Here is the real story:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Traitor? Patriot? Traitor? Patriot? Who the hell was Ngabo?

Is anyone else out there confused or offended by the glorious obituaries coming from Dharamsala about the death of Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, the man who signed the 17-Point Agreement with China? You're not alone.

Dharamsala mourned for him, calling him "honest and patriotic." If Ngabo was a patriot, then who is a traitor? If Ngabo was always honest, does that make the 17-Point Agreement a legitimate treaty?

Political relativism taken to this extreme is destructive to our history and our future. It is too much of a luxury to overlook someone's enormous political blunders simply because he had later committed acts of modest patriotism.

While it is important to recognize and appreciate what Ngabo may have done to preserve Tibetan culture under Chinese rule, it is equally important to shun him for signing the agreement that gave China a semblance of legality in annexing Tibet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

ཨ་ཙི་ ལས་མ་དག

མ་ སེམས་ཅན་ ཐམས་ཅད་ སྡུག་ལ་ འབྱར་ བསྡད་ བཞག
སྡུག་ འདི་ནས་ ཐར་པའི་ ལམ་འདི་ སྒྲིབ་ བསྡད་ བཞག
ཕ་ དྲིན་ཅན་ ཕྱི་ལ་ ལྟོ་གོས་ འཚོལ་དུ་ སོང་།
ལོ་ མང་པོའི་ རྗེས་ལ་ ད་དུང་ ལོག་རྒྱུ་ མི་འདུག
ངའི་ ནང་མི་ ཚང་མ་ ཕྱོགས་བཞི་ མཚམས་བརྒྱད་ ལ་ ཐོར།
ཨ་ཙི་ ལས་མ་དག

གནམ་ སྔོན་པོ་ སྔོ་བསངས་ གཡུ་ཡི་ མདོག་ འདྲ་བ།
གཡུ་ ས་ལ་ ཟགས་དུས་ དུམ་བུ་ སྟོང་ལ་ གས།
མཚོ་ ཡ་འབྲོག་ གཡུ་མཚོ་ འཁྱག་རོམ་ ཐེབས་ ཚར་ བཞག
ངའི་ གུར་འདི་ ནང་ལ་ ལྕགས་ཀྱི་ ལྷགས་པ་ རྒྱག་གི
མེ་ གཏོང་དགོས་ བསམ་ཡང་ མེ་ཤིང་ རྗོགས་ ཚར་ འཞག
ཨ་ཆུ་ གྲང་བ་ལ།

ཐོ་ ཁ་བ་ མེད་དུས་ གཙང་པོའི་ རྒྱུན་འདི་ ཆད།
ཆུ་ ཆར་པ་ མེད་དུས་ ཞིང་ཁ་ ཐམས་ཅད་ སྐམས།
ས་ སེར་ཁ་ གས་དུས་ སྤང་རྩ་ ཐམས་ཅད་ སྟོངས།
བྱ་བྱེའུ་ རི་དགས་ གར་སོང་ ཆ་མེད་ གྱུར།
གཡག་ ར་ལུག་ སེམས་ཅན་ ལྟོགས་ཤི་ ཐེབས་ འགྲོ་གི
ཨ་ཁ་ འཕང་བ་ལ།

སེམས་ ལྷོད་ལྷོད་ བྱེད་དགོས་ བསམ་ད་ བསམ་གྱིན་ འདུག
ལུས་ ཁ་བཤགས་ འགྲོ་དུས་ མིག་ཆུ་ དབང་མེད་ ཤོར།
ལྷོ་ འཇམ་བུ་ གླིང་འདི་ འཁོར་བའི་ ཁབ་ ཡིན་ན།
ང་ སྡོད་སའི་ རི་འདི་ ཁབ་ཀྱི་ རྩེ་མོ་ ཡིན།
ང་ འབྲོག་པའི་ ལོ་རྒྱུས་ འདི་ནས་ མཚམས་ཆད་ འགྲོ་ན།
ཨ་ཙི་ ལས་མ་དག

Friday, November 20, 2009


ད་གཞི་ནས་ བོད་ཡིག་ བྲིས་ ཤེས་མཁན་ ཁ་པར་ ཞིག་ སླེབས་ བཞག

ཁ་པར་ འདི་ གང་མགྱོགས་ ཁྲོམས་ ལ་ སླེབས་པའི་ རེ་བ་ ཡོད། ཁ་པར་ འདིས་ ང་ཚོའི་ ལས་འགུལ་ གྱི་ ནུས་པ་ ཆེ་རུ་ གཏོང་ཆེད་ ཧ་ཅང་ ཕན་ཐོག་ ཆེན་པོ་ ཡོང་ངེས་ རེད།

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lobsang's Last Wish

This RFA news article provides a window into some of the details behind the closed-door trial of Lobsang Gyaltsen, who was recently executed by the Chinese government for his involvement in the 2008 Tibetan uprising:

On the morning of his execution, Lobsang expressed his last wish to his mother:

“I have nothing to say, except please take good care of my child and send him to school…”

Thursday, July 23, 2009

དྲི་བའི་ ལན་ རླུང་ཚུབ་ དཀྱིལ་ལ་ ཡོད་

གཞས་པ་ བློ་བསྟན་གནམ་གླིང་ གིས་ བཏང་བའི་ གླུ་གཞས་ གསན་དང་།

མི་ཞིག་ ལ་ མིའི་མིང་ ཐོབ་ཆེད་
གོམ་པ་ ག་ཚོད་ རྒྱག་དགོས་
བྱ་ཞིག་ ལ་ ངལ་གསོ་ ཐོབ་ཆེད་
རི་བོ་ ག་ཚོད་ འཕུར་དགོས་
དྲི་བ་ འདི་དག་ གི་ ལན་ནི་
རླུང་ཚུབ་ དཀྱིལ་ལ་ འཁྱམས་ཡོད་

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


རང་དབང་ ཉེ་རུ་ ཉེ་རུ་
རྩམ་པ་ ཞིམ་དུ་ ཞིམ་དུ་
སྒེར་ལངས་ རླུང་ཚུབ་ འཇམ་དུས་
གོམ་པ་ མགྱོགས་སུ་ མགྱོགས་སུ་

Saturday, July 18, 2009


ཞི་བའི་ལམ་ བེད་སྤྱོད་ ཤེས་ན་ དྲག་པོ་ ལས་ ནུས་པ་ ཆེ་བ་ ཡོད་
ཞི་བའི་ ཐབས་ལམ་ འདྲ་མིན་ སྣ་ཚོགས་ ཡོད་ཀྱང་ འདིར་ ཐབ་ཇུས་༡༩༨ ཙམ་བཀོད་ཡོད་

Friday, July 10, 2009

What should the Uyghurs do about China?

Don’t ask “What should China do about the Uyghurs?” The ultimate question is: “What should the Uyghurs do about China?”

The root cause of the unrest goes beyond the economy, stupid. The economic gap and the discrimination and the cultural assimilation are merely symptoms of the fundamental evil that is China’s illegal occupation of the Uyghurs’ homeland.

Freedom struggles - or secessionist movements, depending on how you see it - are not popular these days since the decolonization wave is considered a thing of the past. But one should remember that colonizers don’t always come in the color white. The Chinese government is the most ruthless colonizing, terrorist state in today’s world.

Half a century ago, the population of Xinjiang (or East Turkestan) was 6% Chinese; today it’s at least 40% Chinese. Population transfer of Chinese settlers into Xinjiang is only one of the many policies aimed at systematically reducing the Uyghurs into a disenfranchised, impoverished minority in their own homeland. Given the violent crackdown against any sign of dissent, the choices that any Uyghur has to make are limited: silence, prison, or exile.

But to answer the question I asked at the outset, “What should the Uyghurs do?” The Uyghurs should unite in nonviolent activism with other peoples like the Tibetans, who’re also oppressed by the Chinese government. The power of strategic nonviolent action is yet to be explored fully by both Uyghurs and Tibetans in our fight for freedom.

China in its current incarnation is not going to last. To believe that this Chinese empire would last is to forget the lesson of history: no empire has ever lasted no matter how strong. The Mongol empire stopped at the gates of Vienna. The British raj, whose democratic institutions and political foundations were far stronger than that of the Chinese government, finally saw the sun set on its empire. It is absolute madness to think that the Chinese empire will last forever.

However, simply because the Chinese empire will crumble doesn’t mean the Uyghurs and Tibetans will gain our freedom automatically. While we work to speed up the end of the Chinese empire, we will also have to work even harder to secure the freedom of our people and control of our own homelands through strategic nonviolent action.

The Chinese raj can handle riots. But it cannot handle the power of Uyghurs and Tibetans (and the Chinese democracy activists) united in civil disobedience and civil resistance.

Eventually, oppression too is impermanent.

Posted by Gen Sherap on NYTimes Room for Debate

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tactics of Nonviolent Action - Translated to Tibetan

Nonviolence is in vogue these days, but many of us do not understand the enormous range of nonviolent action tactics that are at our disposal. Gene Sharp, the founding father of this field of Strategic Nonviolent Action, identified 198 different tactics of nonviolent action many years ago. But they've only recently been translated into Tibetan.

Click here to download a short document in Tibetan that outlines the "198 Tactics of Nonviolent Action" in plain and simple Tibetan:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Snow Walk through the Himalayas

While the rest of us head to bed on this hemisphere, there is a group of Tibetans in India waking up to walk up the Himalayas. They're making their third attempt to return to Tibet, their homeland, to express solidarity with their fellow Tibetans who are living under virtual martial law. Read more here.

You can access more information on this in Tibetan at:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

China is the Ultimate Hypocrite

I've always wondered how the Chinese government reconciles bashing Japan as their former colonist and smashing Tibet as their current colony at the same time. Today's New York Times editorial (China can't have it both ways) puts it really well, noting how the Chinese government in one day sent two statements - the first one denounced Japan's Taro Aso for visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, the second one opposed the Dalai Lama's visit to America.

The editorial concludes:

"We understand China’s frustration. But it only makes Beijing’s repression of Tibet and its attacks on the Dalai Lama all the more hypocritical.

As it carves out an ever greater role in the world, Beijing will have to learn that it cannot have it both ways. China cannot be the aggrieved victim in the morning and the bully in the afternoon."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Still 1984 in Tibet

Tomorrow is Earth Day - April 22. I wonder what Kunga Tsangyang (pen name: Gangnyi) is thinking about, wherever he is being held. He is an environmentalist, photographer and blogger who taught people the importance of saving the Tibetan plateau. He was arrested on March 17, and not heard from since.

The Chinese government is cracking down on Tibetan cultural figures including musicians, writers, artists. They're going after anyone who is an advocate for freedom of speech and thought. Is tomorrow really April 22, 2009? Or is it April 22, 1984? Well, in Tibet, it's the dark, Orwellian world of 1984.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Prisoner of the Himalayas

Lyrics from my album "Logchopa" (ལོག་སྤྱོད་པ་)

I remember the land I've never seen.
I remember a sound I've never heard.
And the heart that never cries
Sheds its first virgin tears.

The days are getting longer
Of course, summer is here.
But the nights also get longer
Is it still winter here?
Oh, a sorrow that knows no season
Has settled upon my heart.

The Himalayas claim to be
Guardians of the Tibetan people.
Are you truly our guardians?
Or merely our prison guards.