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New Research Shows Humans Lived on Tibetan Plateau 7000 Years Earlier Than Previously Thought

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 05:34
According to a new study published in the journal Science, through analysis of human handprints and footprints left in stone at Tibetan plateau, it was discovered that the earliest settlement on the Tibetan plateau could have been 13,000 years ago contrary to previous studies that established it at about 5,200 years.

Tibetan Singers Release Music Albums in Bodh Gaya

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 11:02
Eight Tibetan singers, who hail from different parts of the world with various background, age, and singing career in exile have released their music albums at the Kalachakra initiation in Bodh Gaya. With the massive crowd at the religious gathering in mind, some artist are releasing their first album, while others are veteran singers and performers releasing their third or fourth albums. Switzerland based Nelung Tsering Topdhen released his third Tibetan circle dance album called, 'Gangchen Bhope Tenpa,' while Toronto based Passang Lhamo released her third album, 'Love' and New Delhi based Wangdak Dorjee came out with his second album, 'Oneness'. Other artists included New Delhi based singer Shajang Sonam Tsering who is releasing his second music album called, 'Missing Home', Nepal based Tenzin Jigme releasing his third music album, 'Kyabney' and Switzerland based Jamyang Choeden who is also scheduled to release his latest and fourth music album, 'Soft Tibetan Melody.' Kathmandu, Nepal based Sonam Topdhen and Samdup Dorjee are releasing their first albums, 'Norbu Shug Yoe' and 'Gongsa Chok' respectively.

Dalai Lama Begins Preliminary Teachings of 34th Kalachakra Initiations

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 06:15
Tibet's spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama began his preliminary teachings on "Bodhisattva's Way of Life" by Acharya Shantideva and "The Second Volume of the Stages of Meditation" by Kamalashila in Bodh Gaya on January 5, 2016. More on the report below:    

Bodhgaya's Most Sought After Information Center For Buddhist Devotees

Wed, 01/04/2017 - 06:00
The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) Information and Announcement Center is the most sought after center for the devotees who have come to receive the 34th Kalachakra initiations from the Dalai Lama at Bodhgaya. The help center has been running from December 21, 2016 and will continue till the initiations ends. Full report below:  

China Tightens Tibetan Borders as Dalai Lama Launches India Teaching Event

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 13:31
China imposed new border restrictions in Tibetan border regions Sunday, citing risks from terrorism, but the new measures also come as Tibetan's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, begins a popular Buddhist teaching event in India. The Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper reported Monday that the new measure is aimed at combating the risk of ‘terrorism’ and ‘separatism’ in the region. Critics say authorities frequently invoke such fears when imposing new security restrictions on Tibetans, and Tibetan exile news media say there are signs the measures are aimed more at preventing Tibetans from traveling than improving security. The new regulation was first announced in December by Tibet Daily, an official Tibetan language news outlet, which said it would take effect on January 1, 2017; however, the Tibetan language articles did not use the word terrorism as reason to make the restriction. On December 15, Tibet Daily quoted Bagdro, the deputy head of Tibet border police force, as saying the “renewed” regulation focuses on restricting movements in border areas and stabilizing the region through economic and social development. According to Tibet Post, a Dharamsala-based newspaper, the Chinese officials have confiscated passports of many Tibetans in Tibet in recent weeks. The Dalai Lama is beginning teachings known as the Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya, India on Tuesday. It is the spiritual leader's most popular Buddhist teaching and is held at a holy site that’s believed to be where Buddha attained his enlightenment. China has been showing particularly sensitivity to Tibetans from Tibet attending Kalachakra teachings in India by the Dalai Lama. According to Tibetan exile media reports, hundreds of Tibetans recently traveled to India, but the Chinese officials summoned them back to Tibet before the teaching began. In 2012, thousands of Tibetans were believed to have been detained upon returning from the Kalachakra teaching. Chinese officials did not reveal the number of detainees, but according to International Campaign for Tibet, about 8,000 people from Tibet had attended the teaching in that year. Tightening controls in Tibetan border areas has long been backed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.  In 2012, at the 18th Party Conference, Xi said, “To govern the nation, one must govern the borders; to govern the borders, we must first stabilize Tibet.” This statement has since been seen as the foundation of Xi’s Tibet policy.

Sikyong Inaugurates Exhibition of Tibet Museum at Bodhgaya

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 05:50
Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, Head of the Tibetan Administration in Exile inaugurated the photo exhibition of Tibet Museum at Bodhgaya on January 2, 2017. The photo exhibition was showcased for the devotees of the 34th Kalachakra initiation under three main sub-themes: (i) why are Tibetans turning to self-immolation? (ii) A Long Look Homeward; and (iii) Biography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As a main organizer of the Kalachakra initiation, the Department of Health under the Central Tibetan Administration has also organized a free medical camp at four different places of Bodhgaya for the devotees.

Dalai Lama Begins Rituals of 34th Kalachakra Initiation in Bodhgaya

Mon, 01/02/2017 - 06:21
Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama began the 34th Kalachakra initiation with rituals of earth consecration followed by the teachings of disciple where disciples are ripened to receive the actual initiations of Kalachakra Tantra in Bodh Gaya on January 2, 2017. Full report below:  

The Origin of Kalachakra Tantra

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 06:49
"There are many versions of how the Kalachakra Tantra came to India. According to Ra and Dro traditions, the tantra is practiced in the 7th century but secretly and later it became popular during the time of Padita Cilupa of Nalanda in the 9th century," says Venerable Tenzin Gawa, a research scholar on Kalachakra from Namgyal monastery. The root text of Kalachakara tantra and its commentary compiled by the Shambhala King Suchandra was extinct but the commentary compiled by Kalki Manjushri and its commentary "Vimalaprabha" by Kalki Pundarika are extent. The Kalachakra Tantra was first translated into Tibetan in 1027 and the Rabjung system of Tibetan calendar was also introduced in the same year. Full explanation below:    

Forced Eviction From Buddhist Institute In Tibet Leave Nuns In Shock

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 09:56
A 6 second long video of Tibetan nuns in shock and on the verge of losing consciousness has come out of Tibet on December 24 which indicates that the mass evictions of students from a Buddhist institute are not only continuing, but that the scope of the evictions is much larger than previously thought. The systematic demolitions of hundreds of personal living quarters at Larung Gar, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Institute in the world, accompanied by the forced eviction of thousands of Tibetan and Chinese students started this summer and appear to continue unabated. Photos and videos have emerged on social media over the last few months of bulldozers leveling small houses belonging to private individuals and of groups of evicted nuns boarding buses who appear emotionally traumatized and distraught. The number of students forced to end their studies and return back to their places of origin have included both Tibetans and Chinese and are believed to number in the thousands. Little information has been available regarding the extent of the demolitions and evictions but it was believed that authorities had targeted students from outside the region first and foremost. By late summer it was known that students were being sent back to China and groups of monks and nuns were being transported back to their home areas in Lhasa, Nagchu, Chamdo etc, all areas outside of Sichuan, the Chinese province within which Serta, the Tibetan area where the institute is located is situated today. However, a source has informed VOA that the nuns in the December 24 video are from Golok, a region close to Larung Gar, which indicates that the evictions are also affecting students who are from much closer regions than previously assumed, indicating that the scope of the evictions is larger than previously known. Due to tight controls on the internet and communications in Tibetan areas, and lack of access to Tibet for foreign reporters, little was known of what happened to the thousands of evicted students once they were sent away from Larung Gar. However a rare and shocking video that appeared on Chinese social media in November which was quickly deleted by censors showed a group of young Tibetan girls with cropped hair wearing camoflage uniforms, nervously singing a Chinese communist propaganda song from the 1960s. The 30 or so girls were in a room decorated with propaganda posters and Chinese flags, and posts on Weibo, the Chinese social media, identified the group as being young nuns who had been forced to leave Larung Gar and sent back to Nagchu, an area in the 'Tibet Autonomous Region.' The video of Buddhist nuns looking terrified, forced to wear military clothing and sing political songs has shocked Tibetans around the world, reminding many of the nightmares of the 1950s and the destruction and humiliation of how the Chinese cultural revolution was brought to Tibet in following decades. Sources say that it is the prospect of meeting a similar fate that explains the fear and shock on the faces of the newly evicted nuns from Golok in the December 24 video.  

Dalai Lama Concludes 3-Day Russian Buddhists Teachings in Delhi

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 06:46
The Dalai Lama concluded his 3-day teachings on "Shantdeva's A Guide to Bodhisattva's Way of Life" to 1305 Russian Buddhists in New Delhi on December 27, 2016. On the last day of the teachings, the Dalai Lama conferred the transmission of "Generating the mind of enlightenment", and the transmissions of the Dharanis (mantra recitation) of Buddha Sakyamuni, Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Arya Tara. Around 30 devotees originally belonging to mainland China also received the teachings.

Dalai Lama Meets Tibetans From Tibet at Russian Buddhist Teachings in Delhi

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 09:09
The Dalai Lama gave a special address to the Tibetans from Tibet at the 3-day teachings for Russian Buddhists in New Delhi that began on December 25, 2016. Around 300 Tibetans from Tibet have gathered to receive teachings and audience with Tibet's spiritual leader, where many of them are compelled to return to Tibet without receiving the Kalachakra initiations that will begin shortly after new year 2017. The Nobel Laureate comforted them by invoking the power of strong faith and devotion of the disciple and visualization power of the guru. "If the Tibetans in Tibet and also the Chinese Buddhists having strong faith and devotion to me wish to receive the Kalachakra Initiation, they can make fervent prayers for it during the main initiation days i.e. January 10, 11 and 12, 2017 and I will visualize you all in the initiation mandala and you will definitely receive the empowerment," says the Dalai Lama while addressing the Tibetans from Tibet at Leela Hotel in New Delhi, the venue of the Russian Buddhist Teachings.    

China Bans Travel To Attend The Dalai Lama's 'Unlawful Religious Gathering

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 07:59
According to written and image posts on Chinese social media, there has been a large scale drive by Chinese authorities acting under orders from the communist party's United Front Work Department to prevent Tibetans from travelling to India to attend the Kalachakra teachings by the Dalai Lama in January. Officials are said to have systematically visited individuals who hold passports and given them a deadline of December 16 for turning in their passports or face the risk of their passports being made invalid. People were also informed that those who are discovered to have gone to India and attended the Dalai Lama's 'unlawful religious gathering,' will not only have have their passports invalidated but that their national identification cards would also be confiscated, be put on a 'black list', and 'punished severely according to Chinese law.' Officials also threatened those who attend the Dalai Lama's teachings with having their children disqualified from attending school, suffer pay cuts if they are state employees, and be permanently banned from travel outside their area. All comments on social media such as Weibo related to the travel ban and official threats have been deleted in the last few days, including comments from Tibetans saying that, 'the Chinese issue and take back their passport to Tibetans like a child playing games.'

Tibetan Momo Kitchen Gains Prominence Post New York Mayor’s Visit

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 07:02
After few Tibetans recommended Amdo Kitchen’s momo to New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio’s Secretary, the mayor personally visited the kitchen to try Tibetan style momo. After three consecutive years of five star review from, the New York City based Amdo Kitchen primary sells Tibetan momos (dumplings) and balep (bread) and have attracted customers from different places. During the fourth annual Momo Crawl competition in New York in 2015, a large group of food testers awarded Amdo Kitchen’s momo the annual Golden Momo award. Thupten Amchok, owner of Amdo Kitchen tells VOA that the idea behind starting the food truck was to introduce the best Tibetan momos to the western audience, along with Tibetan culture and tradition. Tenzin Woeden is a frequent visitor of Amdo Kitchen and says that since the visitors can visually see the momo making process, she feels confident about its freshness and cleanliness. Thupten Tsetan, also a freqent customer echos similar views.

Dalai Lama Concludes Buddhism and Science Symposium in Mundgod

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 11:01
Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama has concluded his three day Tibet Emory Emory Symposium at Drepung Loseling in Mundgod, Karnataka, South India on December 20, 2016. Monks who studied modern science simultaneously with their traditional Buddhist philosophical education were among the panels of symposium presided over by the Nobel Laureate. Sonam Choephel, who gave the presentation said he felt fortunate for being able to present in front of the the Dalai Lama, but also little nervous. In the spacious Loseling assembly hall, approximately 3000 monks, 260 monks, local Tibetan lay school children, and people from abroad were gathered to attend the first international Emory Tibet Symposium.  

TYC Discusses Social Services at 34th Kalachakra

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 08:15
The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) based in Dharamsala, North India with its centrex members are expecting over 200 volunteers at the 34th Kalachakra in Bodh Gaya. Tenzing Jigme, President of TYC speaks to VOA on the fields of services available and how to reach the TYC volunteers in Gaya. 

History Behind Eight Buddhist Pilgrim Sites in India

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 06:33
VOA's reporter Tenzin Sangmo speaks with Dharamsala resident Thupten Yarphel on the history behind the eight Buddhist sites in India. Full report below:  

Tibetan Women's Association Donates Rs 6,43,950 to Tibetan Market Fire Victims in Delhi

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 12:12
Mrs. Dolma Yangchen, the President of Tibetan Women's Association (TWA) met the fire victims of Lal Qila Tibetan Sweater Seller Market in old Delhi and donated Rs 6,43,950 on behalf of the association on December 18, 2016. The market was destroyed by a massive fire that broke out early in the morning of November 8, 2016. Mr. Sonam Topgyal, member of Lal Qila Tibetan Sweater Sellers' Association gave a brief account of the present situation particularly the rebuilding of the market and the donations received. "So far, we have received donations amounting to more than Rs 30 million. As it is not enough to re-establish all the 138 shops, we have built only 40 shops to sell our goods. The profit of the sale will be distributed equally to all," says Sonam.

3 Tibetans Arrested on Suspicion of Circulating Self-immolation Video

Thu, 12/15/2016 - 13:14
Tibetans in exile say Chinese police in Malho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu arrested three Tibetans suspected of having internationally distributed footage of a self-immolation protest that took place in Machu on December 8. The Dharamsala-based Central Executive Committee of Dhomay (CECD), an organization that represents Tibet's province of Dhomey, or Amdo region, told VOA that the three were detained December 9. "There is no doubt about the three Tibetans being arrested, but at the moment we don't have their names," said Trison, a CECD spokesperson who, like many Tibetans, goes by one name only. Footage of Tashi Rabten's fatal self-immolation December 8 circulated on Tibetan social media barely an hour after the protest took place. According to Trison, who is from Machu County, Tashi's family members, including his father and 15-year-old son, were detained overnight and released the next day. Chinese officials cremated Tashi's body but later returned his ashes to the family, according to latest reports received by CECD on Tuesday. The arrest occurred as China began to intensify efforts to restrict online information sharing. Last month, China's legislature approved a cybersecurity law that rights groups have criticized as a tool for tightening political control. Tibetans suspected of having links to self-immolators protesting Chinese domination of Tibet are often subject to arbitrary arrests and detention. By conservative estimates, the latest self-immolation, Tibet's 145th since 2009, has reportedly prompted calls for the return of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has been living in exile since 1959. Tashi's cousin, Tsering Kyi, self-immolated in 2012 in the same place where Tashi was doused in gasoline and set on fire. This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Tibetan service.

Four Day Program on Legacy of Tibet in Delhi

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 06:39
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Delhi Tibet House and the Centenary of Tibetan Medical and Astro-Science Center, a 4-day program was jointly organized under the theme "Legacy of Tibet" in New Delhi from December 9 that was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama at Thayagraj Stadium in the presence of around 10,000 people. During the 4-day long celebration, the organizers arranged seminars, panel discussions, special lectures and also stalls, sand mandala, and exhibitions for public view. Scholars and scientists in the field of neuroscience, quantum physics, psychology, philosophy and medicine from Delhi University, Baroda University and Bangalore University, and the Tibetan medicine doctors participated in the seminar and panel discussions held at the Tibet House, New Delhi. "I am happy. The programs went well. The first day was blessed by His Holiness and followed by many other programs," says Dr. Tsewang Tamdin, visiting doctor to Tibet's spiritual leader, Dalai Lama on the concluding day of the programs.

Karmapa Inaugurates Grassland Photo Exhibition

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 05:45
The 17th Karmapa Ugen Thinley Dorjee inaugurated a photo exhibition titled,  'Grassland' on December 14, 2016. Grassland is a collection of photos taken by Kunchok Gyaltsen, a resident of Australia, who returned to his homeland of Zorge in the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo after 21 years. In an interview with VOA, Kunchok discussed his life's work in photography. Karmapa also shared his feelings on the exhibition and urged the exile Tibetans, particularly the ones living in western countries to make an effort to visit Tibet to have a deeper and closer connection to their homeland.