Lhakar Wednesday & the 76th bday of HH Dalai Lama
© 2011 Dlo08
Today is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday, as well as Lhakar (White Wednesday); a new form of resistance started by Tibetans inside to assert and empower Tibetan identity, while resisting China’s ongoing colonization through non-violent methods. Join me every Lhakar Wednesday as I honor the courage of Tibetans inside and express my solidarity with blogposts that will explore who I am as a Tibetan.
The Evolution of the Rangzen bracelet:
A few years back, a friend who had been researching Tibetan history pre-buddhist era shared an interesting information regarding the Chime-bhuta (otherwise known as the Rangzen bracelet) with me when he saw my tattoo. Today on Lhakar, I want to share this information with you all to give a unique insight on the Rangzen bracelet that is tied in with our identity.
During the Bon stage, there were many deities that the Tibetans worshiped. One in particular had the Chime-bhuta, which he used as a “woor-du” (slingshot) to symbolize its power. When Padmasambhava came from India to bring Buddhism to Tibet, it was said he subdued all the deities of the Bon religion and made them sungma (protectors of the Dharma). Due to this, Tibetans started wearing the Chime-bhuta around their arms and ankles to protect those areas. The string is not sacred, therefore it can be tied around the ankles without it being a sacrilegious act.
In the 1980’s, during the uprisings that took place across Tibet, the Chime-bhuta started taking on a political meaning. The political prisoners inside the prisons started weaving the bracelet from their prison clothes to symbolize resistance and solidarity with each-other. Now in exile, it has became a popular symbol for the Rangzen (Independence) movement and are made by former political prisoners from Tibet who are now living in exile. By buying our rangzen bracelets from them, we are showing our continued support for them as well as our respect for the sacrifices they have made for our struggle.
To me, my Rangzen bracelet weaves in our history as a people, strength from our resistance and power in our identity. Today on Lhakar and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday, I honor the legacy of the Rangzen bracelet.
It’s great to hear a background of the well-known Rangzen bracelet, thank you for posting this!
When I was in Lhasa this year I saw countless Tibetans wearing them, especially the youth. When I asked one what it meant, they said that it was for protection. I had a feeling that they were just giving me a “safe” answer.
Thank you for the information on Rangzen thakpa.
Keep up the good work.
When I was 16 and returned from summer break in India, I caught malaria. I was in hospital for over a week. During this time, one of the other patients was a 20 something old guy who had caught some other tropical illness from a recent visit to Tibet. On the day I was discharged from hospital, he brought to me, a rangzen thakpa, which he learnt how to weave from locals in Tibet. The year was 1992. Needless to say, he knew what it symbolized to us.