• Sangye Gyatso and China's Long Memory Paid Member

    A week ago, Professor Robert Barnett wrote for the New York Review of Books, explaining some history to those curious why China is so sensitive to news of the 14th Dalai Lama's planned retirement—news that recently upset many Tibetans. He traces the cause back to the Fifth Dalai Lama, the first to hold temporal power, bestowed, as is well known, by the Mongol Khan (who, I think, was a follower of the Sakya school, not the Gelugs.) In the Fifth Dalai Lama's declining years, the new and ambitious Qing Dynasty claimed sovereignty over Tibet (and many other areas thousands of miles from their capital of Shenyang and later Beijing.) More »
  • Pico Iyer on Tibet's Quiet Revolution Paid Member

    Pico Iyer writes on the Dalai Lama and Tibet's "quiet revolution" in a blogpost for the New York Review of Books: More »
  • Tibetan Monk burns himself to death protesting Chinese crackdown Paid Member

    A 21-year old Tibetan Buddhist monk named Phunstog set himself on fire today in western China, apparently in protest of China's policy toward Tibetans . Via Reuters: The self-immolation appeared to be a small repeat of protests that gripped Tibetan areas of China in March 2008, when Buddhist monks and other Tibetan people loyal to the exiled Dalai Lama, their traditional religious leader, confronted police and troops. The 21-year-old, named Phuntsog, was a monk in Aba, a mainly ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that erupted in defiance against Chinese control three years ago. The monk "immolated himself today in protest against the crackdown," said Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet, a London-based organization. More »
  • Indian government softens hardline position on 17th Karmapa Paid Member

    The Indian government in New Delhi has softened its hardline position on the status of Ogyen Trinley Dorje, one of two claimants to the title of 17th Karmapa. (The other is Trinley Thaye Dorje.) His travel restrictions, among other issues, have eased. Asia Times Online has an extensive article on this issue, which begins: More »
  • Shaolin Temple will promote Buddhism more aggressively this year Paid Member

    I've blogged about the high-flying Shaolin monks at least once before, but what can I say? I love the photographs of these kung-fu Buddhists. And they're always up to something fun like performing at the Sydney Opera House. The Shaolin Temple has decided to tap into the appeal these monks carry in order to promote Chinese Buddhism around the world. According to provincial spokesman Li Hongwei, they would like to raise the number of Shaolin temples, Taiji schools and Confucius schools overseas in order to enhance the international influence of Chinese culture.From China's Global Times: More »
  • A Giant Thangka in China Paid Member

    Tibetan Buddhists and tourists view a giant thangka displayed on a hill near the Langmu Temple in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu province, China February 15, 2011, in celebration of the Monlam (The Great Prayer Festival).Love the contrast between the earth tones and the thangka's luster.  From the Reuters Editor's Choice Slideshow. More »