Friday October 19, 2018
Home Uncategorized Cyberspace ab...

Cyberspace abuzz ahead of polls to the Tibetan parliament-in-exile

0
//
67
Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk
Republish
Reprint

Dharamsala: Cyberspace is abuzz with activity ahead of the primaries to shortlist candidates for the Tibetan parliament-in-exile.

Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk
Photo Credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

Even as the voting is two months away, almost 100 second generation Tibetans have already declared their nominations for the 45-seat parliament-in-exile.

Posters of smart-looking young Tibetans, both men and women, are widely shared and commented on social networks and also adorn the walls of McLeodganj, where thousands of Tibetans and their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, have been living for over half a century.

Smartphone apps like Wechat and Whatsapp are hugely used within the community.

“Technology is the new means; now we connect with the candidates directly. We don’t have to wait for newspaper advertisements to make our choice,” Tashi, a local resident and an avid social networker, told IANS.

“It’s a colorful season. So many people are declaring their nominations. Every other day we see a new nomination. Facebook is full of new faces of aspiring politicians,” he added.

Activists, social workers, businessmen, teachers and even civil service staff from the Tibetan administration are in the fray.

The primaries to nominate candidates for the Sikyong, or political leader (previously called the prime minister), and the 16th parliament-in-exile, comprising 45 members, will be held on October 18, while the general elections will be held on March 20 next year.

An election campaign poster of Namgyal Dolker, 32, a woman law graduate who runs an NGO here, reads she has both the university education and experience of working in the community.

Tibetan Settlement Officer Sonam Dorjee, who calls himself the Tibetan mayor, boasts of his close contacts with the Indian community, while Kunchok Yarphel, 40, and Lhakpa Tsering talk about their experience of working in the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest Tibetan NGO.

While the youngsters flood the social networks, the elders who do not use smart phones are quietly doing the rounds of the refugee camps speaking to people individually, making sure of their support.

“This time, I see more youngsters from Tibet contesting elections than those born in exile, and some nominees are explicitly campaigning for ‘rangzen’ or independence as their political stand,” political observer Tenzin Nyendak told IANS.

The minimum age for voting is 18 years, while the minimum age for contesting the elections is 25 years.

Besides the parliamentary elections, the Tibetan prime minister’s or political leader’s elections are simultaneously happening.

The duration of both the parliament and the prime minister’s term is five years.

Tibetan Voters in India, Nepal, Bhutan, the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, Russia, and other countries will take part in the elections.

The Dalai Lama, 80, has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against Communist rule. The Tibetan administration is based here.

Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, over 100,000 of them in India.

(IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Buddhist Monk Losang Samten Uses Colors to Spread Message of Peace

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

0
Samten
Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten uses colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. VOA

According to one estimate, there are a 5 quintillion, 5 hundred quadrillion grains of sand on earth, a number so large it must be approaching infinity. This makes sand an appropriate medium for the construction of spiritual images of the universe.

Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten does just that, using colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. VOA

Decades of mandalas

Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama.

“When I was a teenager, age of 17,” he told VOA, “I had a privilege to enter His Holiness Dalai Lama’s monastery … in India. I have been studying sand mandalas ever since then. So it’s a long time.”

VOA found Samten painstakingly layering grains of colored sand at the gallery of the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The particular mandala he was working on was the mandala of compassion, or unconditional love.

Far from random designs, mandalas have been perfected over centuries.

“These are uniquely designed many, many, many, many, many years passing to an artist to another artist to another artist to another artist,” Samten said. “The color has a meaning, the shape has different meanings. Not my design; it didn’t come out of my own idea.”

When Samten created a sand mandala at the American Museum of History in New York in 1988 at the request of the Dalai Lama, it was the first time the 2,600-years-old ancient ritual art was seen outside of monasteries. Since then, Samten has made sand mandalas in museums, galleries and universities across the U.S. and many parts of the world.

“They are used to enhance the spiritual practice through image and meditation, to overcome suffering. Mandalas represent enlightened qualities and methods which explain this path, making them very important for the spiritual journey,” Samten wrote on his web site.

Nothing is permanent

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama. VOA

“In the winter of 1959, [we] crossed Mount Everest, it took us two months to cross,” he told VOA. “You cannot travel during the day and so scared and not enough food not enough clothes. I was age of 5. I saw, I mean unbelievable dead bodies, people dying without food. I became a monk at age 11 when I was in school, refugee school.”

Samten left monastic life in 1995 and became the spiritual director at the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. He says the patience of the creative process, can lead observers to find calm determination within themselves.

“When I am doing this mandala at universities and schools, many kids came to me, (saying) ‘when I saw you doing the sand mandala, that help me so much to finish my education, patience …’ I have a lot of stories,” he said.

Monk Samten
Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. VOA

Beauty comes and goes

After a sand mandala is completed, it is dismantled ceremoniously.

“Dismantle has many different reasons,” Samten said. “… One thing is, dismantle is a beauty, whatever we see as a beauty on the earth, never be everlasting as a beauty and impermanent, impermanent, comes and goes. It’s like a season.”

Cats And The Goddess: Cats And The Goddess: Mapping Pagan Iconography Of The Divine Feminine

Or like sand, ever changing in the wind.

Samten often invites children to participate in the ceremony.

To gallery visitor Traci Chiodress that was part of the charm of the event.

“I think it’s powerful to see something so beautiful created, and then taken apart, and to be done in a community with a group of people of different ages,” she said. “I just think it’s an important type of practice.” (VOA)