Ayu Khandro was a highly regarded neljorma, yogini, in eastern Tibet, who was born in 1839 and died in 1953 at the age of hundred-and-fifteen. Unlike Sera Khandro, Ayu Khandro did not leave… Continue reading
How do Tibetans construct their own space and place, and what does cham have anything to do with this? While there are many socio-cultural ways in which Tibetans construct their own place, I focus my discussion on how Tibetans construct their own spaces through the masculine ritual practice of cham, and how Tibetans respond when those spaces and places are encroached upon.
Sarah H. Jacoby’s Love And Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro (2014) is a close reading by Jacoby on the life and times of Sera Khandro, a renowned female… Continue reading
she realizes the demoness Srin, who represents the Tibetan landscape itself, is causing all the difficulties. To subdue her, they build a total of thirteen Buddhist temples, some of which still stand today in places like Bhutan (39), to pin her down on her back. Four in the inner realm of Tibet to pin her shoulder and hip. Four at the border areas, pinning her knees and elbows. Four at the boarders beyond to pin her hands and feet. And finally, one at the Jo-khang, symbolizing her heart and considered the center of Tibet (38). Thus Srin is subdued and Buddhism can reign over Tibet. Besides Buddhist domination of Srin, what is this myth really about? And why is the demoness gendered as female?
After two weeks in Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal, I became bored. I was itching to get out. Several friends on Facebook suggested I check out Sherpa country or Mustang, and then I remembered my… Continue reading
The last few decades has seen a rise in Tibetan women’s voices that has led to an increase in women’s leadership positions in the male dominated Tibetan state apparatus in exile—Central Tibetan Administrations (CTA) and leading Tibetan NGOs in Dharamsala, India. This is in part due to the exile/diasporic Tibetan state apparatus’s longstanding cultivation/fostering in both its male and female de facto citizens of a desire to rise to the level of “leadership” in order to politicize Tibet and to serve an already disenfranchised community of Tibetans in exile following Chinese invasion in 1959. But what happens when Tibetan women loyal to their community desire subjectivities not endorsed by the exile government?
Although MacDonald’s tone is one of good intention and conviction to tell the hardships and stigmas that newcomers from Tibet face in McLeod-Dharmsala, my main problem with her book was that she decides to choose sides: she favors newcomers over exile Tibetans, and even further makes exile Tibetans, whom she calls “settlers,” the villains. Choosing a side requires categorizing the two groups as single entities at odds with each other. This doesn’t allow room for complexities within and between the group, and also ignores complexities that create tensions between the groups in the first place.
In the past few years, an unprecedented number of Tibetans have chosen to drink kerosene and light themselves on fire. What are self-immolations about? They are often framed as protest by the popular media, but is that all they are? Self-immolations are deeply complex, and involve layer upon layers of meaning that need to be considered. In the following, one of the ways I interpret them is by considering the self-immolations as producing historical narratives of Tibet that counter China’s hegemonic narrative on, and current political control of Tibet.