Sunday, August 30, 2009


Over on On An Overgrown Path Pliable has another excellent post on a Tibetan subject, this time about a young tulku, a recognized reincarnation. I made a comment on the post, and it got me thinking about the tortuous times Tibetans and Tibetan culture are facing, which is something I avoid doing a lot of, as it is such an overwhelmingly depressing situation.

I speak only a few words of Tibetan, and have no idea the meaning of the lyrics of this song, but I'm pretty sure the background video is of a tulku walking on the land and among the people with whom he's meant to have been associated over a number of lifetimes. Within another generation this video may seem like those early photographs of American Indians.

Speaking of which, one bit of info I can add to the great wikiweb is a bit of bolstering of the notion that there's maybe some genetic connection between Tibetans and American Indians. There certainly seems to be a strong cultural connection.

Lama Tashi once told me of a very high lama, while in America, being taken on a tour of American Indian artifacts in a museum somewhere in the upper midwest. When leaving he turned to his interpreter and asked something along the lines of, "Why on earth are they showing me all the Bön stuff?!?!"

The Bön were the aboriginal inhabitants of Tibet who were, mostly but not all, converted to Buddhism. So this high Tibetan lama was confusing American Indian artifacts with the Tibetan Bön culture.

I was reminded of that by this video, which to me, seems suggestive of the American Indian culture, with that long outdoor procession and the incense/smudge smoke. 

update - a friend sends this link to a New York Times piece on Arunachal Pradesh, Lama Tashi's home region and where he's now heading up a new college at the request of Tsona Rinpoche, who is the 13th reincarnation of the high lama associated with the area. 

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