using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spring 2008
spring 2008| 54 |buddhadharma operatives dropped into Tibet after the Chinese invasion. He looks as though he would have no trouble handling the demands of teenage and adult refugees, for many of whom school is a strange new universe. Somewhere along the line, TCV makes assess- ments of the refugees and their capabilities. Unschooled teenagers or young adults coming directly from Tibet may do best in vocational train- ing. Others will get a basic education and choose to go back over the mountains to live in Tibet near their families. Those who are sufficiently motivated receive assistance to go on to higher education. Tibetans are hoping to found their own university in southern India (and are looking for donors), but for now they send talented Tibetan children to Indian colleges, often with the help of yet more sponsors. Refugees who are too old or too inflexible for academic challenges are given a tiny plot of land or cash to start a small busi- ness. I look anew at the stalls that line Temple Road, run (usually) by older Tibetan women sell- ing handmade jewelry and shawls made in a local cooperative. I can only begin to imagine how these not-so-nimble elders got here. It occurs to me that the suffering of the Tibetans is both a challenge and a teaching, which holds up a question about compassionate action. I remem- ber the posters I saw, tacked to walls and trees in the courtyard of one of the TCV schools, quoting the Dalai Lama: “Never give up, no matter what,” said one. Although the Dalai Lama is both guide and inspiration, the Tibetans have been obliged to gov- ern themselves within the immense complexity of the Indian bureaucracy. The government in exile has made a decision not to ask for Indian citizen- ship, which would allow Tibetans to drive cars and participate in other ways in Indian social systems. Indian citizenship might suggest to Tibetans still at home that Tibetans in India have given up hope of returning. Instead, Tibetans—wherever they live around the world—pay taxes to the Tibetan Secre- tariat and participate in elections for the govern- ment in exile. In the meantime, the schools, the monaster- ies and nunneries, the study centers (which give Geshe degrees, the Tibetan monastic equivalent of a Ph.D.), the Internet cafes (where Tibetans reach out to each other through cyberspace), and the refugee aid programs all serve as best they can to keep Tibetans together and invested in the future. Tibetans envision their social-welfare survival experiment as enlightened action, which is being subjected to a familiar set of international pres- sures. But Tibetans are also receiving help from the international community. I think of the forty-something Tibetan-born Buddhist nun I met in Dolma Ling, a Tibetan nun- nery on the road outside Dharamsala. Her dream was always to be a nun, she told me. In Lhasa she was denied a place in a nunnery because she was “political”—that is, she joined public protests against the Chinese presence in her homeland. The third time she demonstrated, she was caught, arrested, and put in prison. When she got out, she pasted “Tibet is a Free Country” stickers around the streets and borrowed money to pay a guide to lead her to Nepal. At the border, Nepalese police arrested her group and demanded bribes. When they said they had no money, the police sent them back into Tibet. The guide found another pass and led them across. When she arrived in Dharamsala in 1993, Dolma Ling was under construction, and most teaching took place in tents. Now this set of build- ings is finished and another large nunnery complex is being built a couple of miles away. The Tibetan Nuns Project is run by three women directors act- ing jointly: Rinchen Khando Choegyal; Tibetan nun Lobsang Dechen; and a Canadian, Elizabeth Nap- per, who travels home just long enough to renew her visa and return. Every nun is sponsored; that is, her expenses (about $30 U.S. per month) are paid for by someone else, usually from the West, often an individual and sometimes an NGO. In the lobby of Dolma Ling are two wall-sized appliquéd tapes- tries, each depicting a tree, its leaves inscribed with the names of donors. It is clear from the style of each tapestry that the second one had to be added after the first one filled up. As a former political prisoner, the nun has advantages now, such as special computer train- ing and the option of settling in Australia. She teaches computer skills at Dolma Ling. She also has a chance to debate and study Buddhism, as the monks do. In Tibet, in the old days, nuns weren’t educated, and the poverty of Tibetans in their occupied homeland means that they often still aren’t. “Buddhist debate is the essential way to sharpen the mind,” she explains. She holds my hand softly, smilingly, with a warmth that vibrates in my arm bones. As we leave, we walk out into deafening chaos, the halls filled with clapping hands and shouts. In the time-honored tradition of Tibetan monastic debate, red-robed young women point, clap, and yell; point, clap, and yell. Halls and courtyards are jammed with red-clad figures debating; the whole place is bouncing. The world that flows through Dharamsala is complex and interwoven. The Buddhist teachings on samsara seem tailor-made for McLeod Ganj’s narrow streets, shared by hungry dogs, garbage- eating cows, cars, buses, lorries, motorbikes, dAveMArKWArren The Buddhist teachings on samsara seem tailor-made for McLeod Ganj’s narrow streets, shared by hungry dogs, garbage-eating cows, cars, buses, Nepalis, Tibetans, Indians, Westerners, beggars, merchants, monks, nuns, pilgrims, Hindus, Buddhists, and hippies.