This site is dedicated to honour the ‘true snowlions’ of the Land of Snows – the political prisoners languishing in humiliating and inhuman conditions in the dreaded Chinese prisons in their own colonised homeland. In a colony, it’s said the colonial masters are kings. The misrule of the Chinese in Tibet is renowned for their ignorance of all matters Tibetan, state terrorism and their barbarity and belief in ruthless violence.
Yet in spite of all this, the Tibetan political prisoners – my heroes, have maintained their discipline; their courage and humanity; their dignity and creativity and their presence and true awareness of the real situation in their country. They are all beings who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice – of their lives, so that the suffering of all inhabitants of the plateau may end and we may walk the earth with dignity and freedom. With utmost humility I bow down to these fearless sons and daughters of the Tibetan plateau.
I have been amazed in recent years at the enormous creativity demonstrated by the Tibetan youth in their resistance to the onslaught of the Chinese colonial machine. Much of the pieces below have been primarily written for the ears of the ‘snowlion cubs’ of the Roof of the world. I have attempted in my little way, to introduce to our young compatriots glimpses of the vastness, variety and uniqueness of the Tibetan landscape, our wildlife, the symbols of our cultural heritage, our world view, the common bonds of our people, and the hopes and aspiration of all Tibetans – to be free of the Chinese scourge: the shackles of colonial oppression; state terrorism and aggressive sinicisation.
To be free in the land of one’s ancestors is the paternal heritage and birthright of every human being at least in this present century of enlightened awareness. Further, I am sure every Tibetan youth dreams of an open society in a liberal democratic and free Tibet. May you, ‘snowlion cubs’ always endeavour and succeed in turning our dreams into objective reality.
Almost all my poems in the collections ‘We and You’, ‘When the Iron-Bird flies …’and the ‘Lungta series’: Blue Sky, White Clouds, Red Fire, Green Waters and Yellow Earth; were typed initially on an old Olympia typewriter in 2001 and 2002 during which time I felt an irresistible urge to pour out my observations, feelings and perceptions.
2002 was the millennial year celebrating the thousand years of the existence of the Gesar of Ling epic – a unique invention of Tibetan civilisation. This literature is generally accepted by authoritative people to be the longest living epic tradition. There are at least seventy plus volumes of different incidents of this epic currently. I say currently because new incidents are either coming to light or still being recited and written.
Around this time, when I scoured the markets of Dharamsala and Delhi, the epic in Tibetan seemed to be a rare commodity. The only copies that I could buy were a copy of the ‘Last testament of Gesar’ and one of the ‘Adages of the Ling epic’. The latter was a collection of the adages that had been put together by a group of authoritative Tibetan Ling experts.
Adages, in contrast to sayings, proverbs, poems etc. are sayings that have strong cultural connotations. I considered obtaining ‘The Adages’ a highly auspicious coincidence and I gradually waded through them. After a number of drafts I present to you a delectable feast of the Tibetan mindscape that is seldom discussed these days.
Later I was able to acquire from Lhasa a few more books, notable amongst them was several abridged texts from Amdo meant for children. I began working on them last year and so offer you the ‘Birth story of Gesar’ and the ‘Horse Race’.
Jetsun Milarepa was the master who attained enlightenment in a single lifetime. He is also hailed as the greatest poet of Tibet. His life story was the only scripture that my father kept. When I was young my father would tell me his story at bedtime and would recite his poems. Having often noticed westerners handling the copies of the ‘Hundred thousand songs’ and then baulking at the seemingly exorbitant price of fifty five dollars, I have translated a few of the incidents of this text for visitors to sample. In contrast to the ‘Life of Milarepa’ this other text is said to be a more detailed biography of this enlightened being. In actual fact it relates incidents in his life after he leaves his master.
In passing I must mention that my grasp of my own language – Tibetan is terribly limited and so these endeavours of my translations must be seen and read for what they are – just pioneering attempts. I await the day when a skilled author can delight us in these classics of Tibetan literature.
This project would not have succeeded without the skills and perseverance of my man Friday – my son whose efforts have suggested, created and maintained this site. Happy reading to all of you visitors.
Khechok of Shol, Lhasa.