Fujisan's Kyareng

Monday, August 29, 2011

Prayer Service in Tokyo for Deceased Tsewang Norbu

Tokyo: Tibetans and Japanese observed a prayer gathering in Tokyo on August 28, in memory of Tsewang Norbu, a Tibetan monk who committed self-immolation on August 15 in Kham region of Tibet. The prayer gathering coincide the 14th day funeral service of the deceased monk. Tibetan community in Japan supported by Tibet Support group members organized the gathering at Joenji, a Buddhist temple in Shinjuku city of Tokyo.

Tsewang Norbu, a young monk of Nyatsa Monastery openly called for freedom in Tibet and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and later immolated himself to draw the Government's attention. The Chinese government sent a huge military contingent and cordoned off the monastery, and severed water and electricity connection to the monastery. The situation in the region is said to be very volatile with Beijing taking rigid stance on the dissenters.

Mr. Tsewang Gyalpo Arya, Joint secretary of Liaison Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Japan & East Asia briefed the gathering on the situation in the region, and said that the Chinese government has always oppressed the Tibetans' voice for freedom and justice. The way the government handled the Kirti monastery incident last March when a young monk Phuntsok did self-immolation under similar circumstances, and this Nyatso monastery siege is a testimony to the brutality of Chinese rule in Tibet. This prayer gathering is also a message to the Chinese government that the world is watching their evil deeds, he said.

He appealed the Japanese government and the people to urge the Chinese leadership to take Tibet issue seriously and to resolve it as any responsible government would.

Rev. Kobayashi, Representative of Japanese monks federations spoke on the critical situation in Tibet with the cases of self immolation harshly dealt by the despotic regime. "The fact that the monk Tsewang Norbu choosed 15th August, the independence day of India, is implicit of what is lies deep within him, I request the people here to cogitate deeply on the Tibetan freedom struggle and voice our support to this just cause of Tibet." He said.

Tibetans and Japanese read the prayers of Praise to Tara, Heart Sutra, and recitation of Mani and Guru's mantra. Japanese monks led the prayer of Hangyashingyo, Japanese version of Heart Sutra, and paid respect at the alter where the photo of the deceased is placed.

With the growing Chinese military built up and increased intrusion in the Sea around Japan's Senkaku Island, when Japan is struggling hard to recover from the earthquake and tsunami disaster, Japanese people are wary of Chinese government's intention and integrity.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jomolungma; the Mount Everest

Jomolungma is Tibetan name for the Mount Everest. The world's highest mountain [8848 meter. 29,029 feet] stands in between the borderland of Nepal and Tibet. Many wonder what the word "Jomolungma" really means, and some suggested reference in the blog.

Dhauladhar peak in Dharamsala, India.

Here is my naive attempt to explain the meaning: the Tibetan word "Jomo" stands for Holy and respected female; it could be a nun, fairies, female deities, even queens. Lungma, literally means female elephant or mother-elephant. [Elephant is considered sacred in Buddhism; see how the Buddha was conceived]. So, Jomolungma, as explained above, could be interpreted as "Holy Mother" or "Sacred Mother".

More specifically, etymology of the word "Jomo lungma" could be traced to the ancient protector deities of Tibet. The Mount Everest is believed to be the abode of the Tibetan Goddess Jomo Tseringma, the principal goddess of Tsering Che-nga sisters. Tsering Che-nga is a nomenclature for the five-sister goddesses, who are among the main protector deities of Tibet.

The Five Long-life-sister goddesses are: Tseringma, Thingsangma, Losangma, Drinsangma, and Drosangma. The Goddess Tseringma or Jomo Tseringma is considered to be the chief of the five sisters; she dwells in the Mount Everest. Therefore, the mountain is known as "Jomo Lungma", the abode of Holy Mother.

The Mount Everest is also known in Tibetan as "Jomo Gangkar", Jomo refers to the Goddess Tseringma, and Gang-kar means, "as white as snow". Therefore, the Snow-white Holy Mother.

The place and authority of the Goddess Tseringma in Tibetan pantheon deities is implicit from the fact that under Tsering Chengas, there are further twelve goddesses around the Himalayas under name of Tenma-chunyi headed by the Goddess Yu-dronma. This confirms the popular belief endemic in the Himalayan regions that the Tsering Che-ngas are among the powerful protector deities revered highly not only in Tibet but in the whole Himalayan regions since the time immemorial.

References: Oracles and Demons of Tibet by Rene De Nebsesky - Wojkowitz, And Dungkar Tsigzoe chenmo by Dungkar Lobzang Trinley.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chinese leaderships should learn from Dalai Lama

China has recently barred foreign tourists from visiting the Amdo region of Tibet where Labrang monastery is situated. This is done to stage a performance wherein Tibetan monks and masses will be forced to receive and respect the Chinese appointed Panchen Lama in the region. This state enacted show would be carefully covered and video taped; and later shown to the world to claim 'freedom of religion' in Tibet, and to mislead the world to legitimize their [false] Panchen Lama. The real Panchen Lama, Gedhun Chokyi Nyima, revered by the Tibetans had been kidnapped by the communist regime in 1995, when he was only six.

Panchen Lama at six, the youngest politico-religious prisoner in China

Chinese communist regime, which does not believe in religion, which destroyed Tibetan monasteries and tortured thousands of monks and nuns, is staging this religious drama to deceive the world to justify their rule in Tibet. For the fear of getting this sham exposed, and to hush up the brutality with which they will suppress the dissents, they have barred the foreign media and tourists from visiting the region, making sure that the world doesn't have any witness to the gruesome ugly act that they are about to perform.

Chinese leaderships have deliberately avoided discussing the Tibet issue all these years. While Deng Xiaoping acknowledged the issue, the subsequent leaders denied the existence of Tibet issue, and reduced it to the issue of Dalai Lama and his return.

Chinese leadership knew that the truth and justice is not with them. It is this fear that has kept them from sincerely discussing the issue, and they think the issue would confront a natural death with Dalai Lama gone. They are wrong, the recent election of Tibetan Prime minister Lobsang Sangay [Kalon Tripa] and his assumption of total political power is a clear message to the Beijing that the new generation has taken the baton of Tibetan struggle, and the issue will continue to live to challenge the despotic communist regime.

News articles on Ven Phuntsok and Ven Tsewang Norbu

In the month of March this year, a young monk Phuntsok did self-immolation to protest the Chinese oppression and injustice. Kirti monastery was sealed, more than 300 monks were arrested, many were tortured and police dogs were unleashed on unarmed public. Now, on 15th August, on the independence day of India, Tsewang Norbu, a monk from Nyisto monastery in Kham Kardze burned himself to protest Chinese rule in Tibet and calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Chinese authority is said to have deployed large army contingent and cordoned off the monastery, cutting electricity and water supply.

Brutally suppressing the people's voice through use of violence and threats is not a commendable act as a fair government, but the China has always adopted violence and threats as principal tools to oppress Tibet. They insulted Tibetans' religious sentiments by deriding His Holiness the Dalai Lama from time to time, and imposing false Panchen Lama's reincarnation on Tibetan society. Does the Chinese leaders really think that by doing these despicable wicked things, they will win the Tibetan people's trust and obedience??

It is our sincere prayer that the Chinese leaderships wake up and acknowledge the realities, and take the Tibet issue seriously. The leadership should have the political will and vision to address the people's voice for freedom, justice and democracy.

Good leaders are those who dispense freedom and democracy; bad leaders are those who deprive the people of freedom and democracy. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has devolved all his political power, and dispensed freedom and democracy in exile community. If the Chinese leaderships want to be in the good pages of the history, they should follow Dalai Lama, and devolve China to the Chinese, and Tibet to the Tibetans.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kukai; The Founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan

Tokyo Ueno National Museum is currently holding an exhibition of Buddhist arts and artifacts, "Kukai's World: The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism". The exhibition is centered on the spiritual journey and accomplishment of Kukai, the grand master, who established Shingon [Mantrayana] school of Buddhism in Japan during Heian period [794-1192] of Japanese history.

According to Bukyo Dendokyokai's publication, there were some 13 [shu] major schools of Buddhism in Japan with 56 [ha] sub-schools prior to the World War II. Shingo shu is one of the major schools of Buddhism in Japan.

Kukai [773-835] visited China of Tang dynasty as a part of Japanese delegation in 804 to study the Mahavairocana Sutra. He stayed at Seiryuji Temple in Chang-an [Xi'an] and studied for two years of under Master Hui-go [Jap: Keika] about the Mantrayana teachings and the rituals.

Kukai is said to have elevated the Japanese Shinto kamis to the rank of Buddhas, and declared the Japanese emperor as manifestation of Buddha Amitabbha, the Buddha of infinite lights. This greatly pleased both the Buddhist and Shinto, and furthered the Shinbutsushugo [co-existence of Shinto and Buddhism] spirit.

[Vajra; Dorjee - symbolising the wisdom(prajna)aspect of the teachings]

There were paintings of mandalas, Buddhist rituals artifacts and manuscripts written by Kukai. It was greatly inspiring to see the lengthy handwritings of Kukai on religious discourses. There was a Vajra [Tib:Dorje], it was explained at the exhibition site that Kukai threw the Vajra in the air from a certain mountain in China with a prayer to find an appropriate site to build a monastery, and this Vajra fell on Japan's mount koya.

After two years of rigorous study in China, Kukai returned and devoted his life in teaching and practicing Shingon Buddhism in Japan. He was considered acclaimed scholar and inventor, and has contributed greatly in flowering the Japanese religion and culture. He entered Nirvana in 835 at Mount Koya in Wakayama prefecture. Emperor Daigo conferred the title of Kobo Daishi [Great Master] posthumously to Kukai.

Interesting point to note is that Kukai visited China when Sadnaleg [... – 815], also known as Tride Tsugden, was the Emperor of Tibet. He visited the Tang China around the time when the Tibetan military power was at its zenith. In 763, during the reign of 40th King of Tibet, Trisong Deutsen, it is said that the Tibetan army stormed Chang-an, the capital of Tang China. The Emperor Kao Hui had to escape the capture; the Tibetan army installed new Emperor and named Ta-she as title of the new reign. Later, the Tibetan army marched westward as far as Oxus River into the Arabian territories.

From the religious point, the great Samye debate [792-94] between Indian and Chinese Buddhism to establish the veracity of the teachings was done in Tibet around that time. These military and religious developments happened prior to the visit of Kukai to the Chinese capital of Chang-an, which had seen many ups and downs with the Tibetan empire in political and religious field. It is said that one of the three stone pillars recording the peace treaty between Tibet and China was installed at Chang-an city, which China has now destroyed to distort the historical facts. And the Chinese scholars tend to dispute this claim of Tibetan military supremacy.

Had Kukai taken some interest and commented on these early relationships between Tang China and Tibetan empire, it could be held as a very authoritative testimony to the history around that time. Scholars on Kukai may be in a better position to enlighten the historian on this matter. This was what prompted me to visit the exhibition at Ueno Tokyo, and I hope to read Kukai in the near future to see whether the grand master has taken any interest in the land in the west, which has preserved the true teachings of Vajarayana Buddhism to this day.