Klöster und Feste

Lamayuru (Yuru Kabgyat) - Hemis Tsechu - Shashukul Gustor - Phyang Tsedup - Karsha Gustor - Korzok Gustor - Trak Tok Tsechu - Sani Nasryal - Diskit Gustor - Thikse Gustor - Chemre Angchok - Padum Gustor - Spituk Gustor - Likir ( Dosmoche) - Stok Guru Tsechu (Orakel) - Matho Nagrang (Oracles)

Montag, 28. Dezember 2015

The Solitary Hero

Yamantaka – the Conqueror of Death (Yama) is a ferocious emanation of Manjushri, the essence of the wisdom of all Buddhas. Under this form Manjushri conquered the demon king of Death, Yama, who was depopulating Tibet in his insatiable thirst for victims. The Yamantaka symbolizes the victory of Wisdom over Death, death being associated with ignorance by Buddhists. The teachings of Yamantaka include both philosophy and meditation. Meditation on Yamantaka can have powerful and immediate effects to help the practitioner gain wisdom, vanquish obstacles, attain a long life, and even overcome one's own death.

There are many forms of Yamantaka. The present painting is of Yamantaka Ekavira meaning 'solitary hero', the only form which does not embrace a consort. The deity is also called Vajrabhairava Ekavira. The complexion of his body is blue. He has nine faces, three on each side of the main head and one above it, each with three eyes. The main head is that of a fierce buffalo with horns. The topmost head is of Manjushri wearing a crown of jewels. The eight other heads are wearing skull crowns, and their hair rises upward, signifying the deity's enlightenment. He has thirty-four arms. The two main arms hold a cranium and vajra marked chopper. His remaining hands hold tantric symbols. He has sixteen legs, eight on each side. Lying face down under his bent right legs are one human male and six animals that are, in turn, stepping on four devas. Under his outstretched left legs, eight birds are also stepping on four devas. Yamantaka wears an elephant skin cloak, garland of freshly cut human heads, and bone ornaments. The figure is unclothed except for his adornment. There is a flame aureole behind him.

The Four Harmonious friends (mthun-po spun-bzhi, Skt. catvari anukulabhratr)

THE GROUP OF SYMBOLS CONSISTS of the following animals:

1). The Partridge or Grouse (gong-ma-sreg, Skt. kapinjala)
2). The Hare (ri-bong, Skt. sasa)
3). The Monkey (spre'u, Skt. kapi)
4). The Elephant (glang-po-che, Skt. hastin)

The fable of the Four Harmonious Brother is told in the canonical text, the Foundation of Discipline ('Dul-ba gzhi, Skt. Vinayavastu). Buddha Sakyamuni is supposed to have told it to his disciples in order to impress on them the importance of mutual respect and the practice of the Buddhist virtues. The following short account comes from Panglung Rinpoche's German version of the narratives found in the Mulasarvastivada-vinaya:
Once there lived in the forest a partridge, a hare, a monkey, and an elephant, who were friends. With the aid of a tree, they established their respective ages, and accordingly, the younger animals respected the elder ones. They obeyed the law and lived a virtuous life. Soon, all the animals adopted their ways, and eventually the king of the country did likewise. On this account, peace and happiness prevailed in the land, and this was praised by Indra. Buddha was the partridge, Sariputra the monkey, Maudgalyayana the elephant, and Ananda was the hare.

It is clearly a deeply rooted wish in various cultures to propagate the message of unity, harmony, and collaboration as valuable factors for survival, and fables are often employed for this purpose. In the West, there is the somewhat similar tale of the Bremen Town Musicians, told by the Brothers Grimm. The tale of the Four Harmonious Brothers was no less beloved in ancient India, and remains so to this day in Tibet and Mongolia.

In pictures, the animals are always shown as a pyramid with the partridge at the top, under him, the hare carried by the monkey, who is sitting on the elephant. Whether this pyramid represents the different generations, the social classes, or simply the cooperation of different types of individuals, in any case they are meant to show the viewer the benefits of cooperation for the general good.


Dienstag, 8. Dezember 2015


About the Book:

A four-thousand-year-old sandstone bust depicts a bearded priest covering his left shoulder with a shawl of mantle. Even today Indian men wear shawls similarly. In fact, the woolen tradition in India spans more than four millennia, right from the days of the ancient Indus civilization.
Pashmina is an adventure of considerable scope and daring, taking you through a grand tour of the finest fabric known to the world. Its subject matter is nothing less than Indian textile history brought up to date with the patterns and colours of present-day attire.
At first, the book presents an overview: the royal patronage that nourished the industry, the techniques that went into the making of a pashmina shawl, the slow and subtle evolution of brilliant motifs. It then goes on to present a more detailed picture: individual patterns, their differences in style, and their continuity with or departure from tradition.
A brilliantly illustrated book, Pashmina brings out vividly, in colour and in detail, the particular inspiration that guides each thread within a pashmina fabric.

About the Author:

ANAMIKA PATHAK is a Deputy Curator (Decorative Arts and Textiles) in the National Museum, New Delhi, where she has worked for over two decades, gaining expertise in museology, decorative arts and textiles, and archaeology. A student of Ancient Indian History and Buddhist Studies, she participates actively in seminars, lectures and talks and has put up several exhibitions abroad.
Keenly interested in research, her work has been published in several national and international research journals on textiles, arts and museology. More than two dozen research papers have been published in Marg, Arts of Asia, National Museum Bulletin, National Museum Institute Bulletin and Puratana.
She has also contributed towards catalogues for Alamakar, Singapore: 1994; Jewels from India, Milan: 1996; Arts of Sikh Kingdom, London: 1999 and Islamic Arts of India, Malaysia: 2002. She has also done a research project with the Nehru Trust and the Victoria and Albert Museum titled, 'Painting on Ivory'.


The Historical Wrap: Woollens Since the Ages
Materials and Methods: Making the Shawl
Designs on the Loom: The Kanikar Style
Wrapped in Shawl
Embroidering Magic: Amlikar Artistry
Appendix: Woollen Costumes & Jamawar


Donnerstag, 26. November 2015

Don't miss these wonderful nuns and INSPIRING teachers in Tibethaus / Frankfurt (Germany) in 2016

... with Geshema Kelsang Wangmo, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (official) and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

 “We must insist on education for all. Women must be much more involved in our societies and take part in the building of a more peaceful, less violent world in which people help one another.” Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama — with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (official), Venerable Thubten Chodron and Kelsang Wangmo.

Dienstag, 17. November 2015

2016 Monkey year teaching schedule on next year, August 5th to 12th. Shachukul Monastery

We are very glad to announcement 2016 Monkey year teaching schedule

on next year, August 5th to 12th. Shachukul Monastery teaching committee is going to organize Monkey year teaching by His Holiness Drikung Skyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche and other high Lama (Rinpoche) at the Shachukul monastery for the second time. A number of devoted people and high lamas of Drikung Kagyu lineage from worldwide is expected to attend the teaching and teaching committee has committed to make it an international event this time.

The Drikung Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism has a spiritual tradition where each monk year in Tibetan lunar calendar is make by grand teaching attended by hundred of people and The Great Drikung Phowa (Transferance of Consciousness) teaching by H.H Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche is well known through out Tibet,ladakh,Himalaya and beyond. The next year, according to Tibetan lunar calendar, is dedicated to the monkey. In August 2016, an intense teaching programme has been planned to mark the Monkey year.
The Monkey year teachings are dedicated to the sacred place of Tsari, an important meditation center for the Drikung Kagyu order. It is also believed that Guru Padmasambhava, a revered Buddhist God, appeared here seated on the blossom of a lotus flower. His appearance happened in the seventh month of the monkey year of the Tibetan Lunar calendar. The teaching is also held in memory of the birth anniversary of Lord Jigetn Sumgaon, the founder of the Drikung Kagyu tradition.

From Aug 5 to Aug 12, 2016, the Shachukul Monastery Teaching Committe will organize the teachings in order to commomerate the Monkey year. Conducted by H.H Drikung Skyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, the teachings will be held at the Shachukul Monastery Ladakh India in Ladakh, India. It is only the second time that the teaching is held here. A large number of devotees and high Lamas of the Drikung Kagyu lineage are expected to attend the teachings.

Below is the detailed teaching schedule:

August 5: Inauguration ceremony; Ritual consecration of the newly made silk borcade Thangka

August 6: Birthday celebration of H.H Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche; Teaching and Empowerment of Buddha Shakyamuni

August 7: ‘Go Green Go Organic’ Project Committee’s programme and cultural show

August 8 – 10: The Drikung Great Bodhichitta (The state of full awakening) teaching and transmission

August 11: The Great Drikung Phowa (Transferance of Consciousness) teaching

August 12: Empowerment of Guru Padma Lingpa; Long life offering to H.H Drinkung Chetsang Rinpoche....

Samstag, 24. Oktober 2015

Neues Filmprojekt von Dzongtsar Khyentse Rinpoche: “Hema-Hema: Sing me a Song While I wait“

 Eine Geschichte darüber, was Menschen tun, wenn sie unbekannt sind: Deine Masken sind deine Identität; deine Masken sind das, was dich schützt; deine Kraft resultiert daher, dass du nicht erkannt wirst. Willst du wirklich erkannt werden? Ein unkonventioneller Film, der in den bhutanesischen Urwäldern spielt und davon handelt, was entfesselt wird, wenn die eigene Identität verborgen bleibt.

Mehr Informationen unter: https://www.facebook.com/tashitendrel/posts/10206556798731580

Mittwoch, 21. Oktober 2015

Doku-Film-Festival “Buddha goes Boppard” am 01.11.15

Stadthalle Boppard 01. November 2015 
“Buddha goes Boppard” Buddhistisches Film Festival
14 – 21.00 Uhr
Folgende Filme werden gezeigt:
  • Saving Mes Aynak
  • Der Rot Hut Lama von Tibet – Shamar Rinpoche
  • Magic Mustang
  • Sowa Rigpa – Die buddh. Wissenschaft vom Heilen

„Buddha goes Boppard“
Termin: Sonntag, 1. November 2015
Ort: Stadthalle Boppard am Rhein
Beginn: 14.00 bis 21.30 Uhr
Infos & Tickets: Erw.: 15 Euro (Spendenbeitrag) für alle Filme!!!
erm. 10 Euro (ab 14 Jahre, Rentner u.a.)
Kinder bis 13 Jahre freier Eintritt
Vorverkauf: Tickets (zzgl. Vorverkaufsgebühr)
erhältlich bei Tourist-Information Boppard,
Marktplatz (Altes Rathaus), 56154 Boppard,
Tel. 06742/3888, Mail: tourist@boppard.de oder:
14:00 Uhr
1. „Saving Mes Aynak“
USA/AFG 2014
Regie / Directed by Brent E. Huffman
Länge / Running time : 60 min
Sprache / Language: OmeU, Englisch
Weltpremiere auf der IDF Amsterdam (IDFA) 2014, Deutschlandpremier in Berlin (27.9.2015)
Einführung: Dorothee Börner, Indologin
Dokumentation über die archäologischen Ausgrabungen eines alten buddhistischen Klosterkomplexes in Mes Aynak, im Südosten Afghanistans. Mes Aynak heißt übersetzt „kleine Kupferquelle“, der Ort liegt rund 30 Kilometer südwestlich von Kabul, ein früherer Knotenpunkt der alten Seidenstraße zwischen Iran und China, Indien und Afghanistan.
Der Ort beherbergt nicht nur eine 2000 Jahre alte buddhistische Stadt auf den Fundamenten einer mehr als 5000 Jahre alten Klosteranlage aus der Bronzezeit, sondern auch Kupfer im Wert von 100 Milliarden Dollar. Die Schürfrechte hat die afghanische Regierung an eine chinesische Firma verkauf, die nur darauf wartet, mit den Abbau zu beginnen. Mehrere Dörfer werden durch den Kupferabbau zerstört und auch die Ruinen von Mes Aynak werden dem Erdboden gleichgemacht. Die Ausgrabungen werden zudem von den Taliban bedroht, die hier ihre Kämpfe ausfechten und die Archäologen mit Argwohn betrachten.
Die sehenswerte Dokumentation stammt vom US-Amerikaner Brent E. Huffmann, dessen Filme und Videos mehrfach ausgezeichnet wurden, u.a. erhielt er einen Primetime Emmy, einen Best Documentary Fresno und drei Cine Golden Eagle Awards führte bei dieser amerikanisch-afghanischen Koproduktion die Regie.
16:00 Uhr
2. „Der Rot Hut Lama von Tibet – Reise ohne Ende“
Nepal 2014
Regie / Directed by Chulthim Gurung
Länge / Running time : 43 min.
Sprache / Language: Nepali, Tibetisch, OmU (englisch und deutsch)
Einführung durch Andreas Stoller, Bodhi Path Buddh. Zentrum Unna.
Ein inspirierendes Porträt von Shamar Rinpoche, Oberhaupt und ranghöchster Linienhalter der Karma Kagyü-Schule des tibetischen Buddhismus (1981 bis 2014). Ein außergewöhnlicher Mensch: echt, unprätentiös, einfach und gleichzeitig majestätisch, immer freudvoll, spontan und zu gleicher Zeit auf tiefgreifende Art weise. Vor allem war er selbstlos, die Verkörperung echter Güte. Man könnte ihn als ein Wunder der Natur betrachten, doch tatsächlich war er ein Wunder des erwachten Geistes, ein tatsächlicher Buddha – oder, um es gemäß der buddhistischen Tradition zu formulieren, eine Ausstrahlung des Buddha des Grenzenlosen Lichtes, Amithaba.
Der 14. Shamarpa, Shamar Rinpoche, wird in der buddhistischen Tradition als Bodhisattva bezeichnet. Ein solcher Bodhisattva ist ein „erwachtes“ Wesen, das die Last des Alltags trägt, um anderen auf ihrem Weg direkt von Nutzen zu sein.

18:30 Uhr
3. „Magic Mustang“
Slovakei 2010
Regie / Directed by Amchi Anna Elisabeth Bach / Swoyambhu-Kathmandu
Länge / Running time : 32 min
Sprache / Language: Slovakisch, OmU (englisch und deutsch)
Einführung: Kameramann Marek Mackovic oder Amchi Anna Elisabeth Bach
Dokumentation über das alte Königreich Lo im oberen Mustang im Nepal Himalaya. Der Film begleitet Pilger aus Europa in dieses alte buddhistische Land. Eine Region, die bis 1992 für Touristen gänzlich verschlossen war: die Schönheit der Landschaft und die Zufriedenheit der Bewohner dieses Landstrichs lassen den schnellen Lebensstil des Westens in einem anderen Licht erscheinen.
19:30 Uhr
4. „Sowa Rigpa – Die buddhistische Wissenschaft vom Heilen“
Indien 2008
Regie / Directed by Sacred Land Team
Länge / Running time : 35 min.
Sprache / Language: OmdU
Einführung durch Amchi Anna Elisabeth Bach
Die Bäume und ihre Bedeutung für Buddhisten stehen im Mittelpunkt dieser spannenden Wissenschafts-Doku, die im Khumbu Tal unterhalb des Mount Everest gedreht wurde. Sie erzählt von der jahrtausendealten Heiltradition, Sowa Rigpa, die im Buddhismus wurzelt. Heilpflanzen und Bäume haben für Buddhisten Einfluss auf unsere Ernten, das Wetter, das Wohlbefinden der in ihrem Umfeld lebenden Menschen. Solange die Menschen in Harmonie mit ihrer Umwelt, den lokalen Energien und den buddhistischen Schützer leben, wird Frieden vorherrschen – so die buddhistische Überzeugung. Der Film macht deutlich, wie sich die überlieferten Vorstellungen der Buddhisten mit
den aktuellen Erkenntnissen der Naturforscher und Umweltwissenschaftler decken. Das alte buddhistische Wissen vom Leben mit den Heilpflanzen und Bäumen könnte wegweisend sein für den nachhaltigen Umgang mit der Natur.


Donnerstag, 13. August 2015

Der Karmapa in Europa

S.H. der XVII. Karmapa in Europa 2015 | Bonn 27. – 30. August

Das Kamalashila Institut® für buddhistische Studien und Meditation und die Karma Kagyü Gemeinschaft Deutschland e. V. freuen sich, alle Freunde, Schülerinnen und Schüler und Interessierte zu den Veranstaltungen anlässlich der zweiten Reise Seiner Heiligkeit des XVII. Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje nach Europa willkommen zu heißen.

Liebe, Mitgefühl, Mitfreude und Gleichmut. Grenzenlos.


Obwohl es so scheint, dass wir von Anderen getrennt sind, sind wir tatsächlich eng miteinander verbunden. Die moderne Welt bringt diese Tatsache noch mehr zutage – 
unsere Welt wird kleiner und wir kommen all denen, 
mit denen wir diesen Planeten teilen, 
noch viel näher. 

Umso mehr teilen wir auch die Erfahrungen vom Glück und Leid der Anderen. 
Seine Heiligkeit der XVII. Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje | Stanford Lecture 2015

Karmapas Europareise im August 2015 steht im Zeichen gelebter Spiritualität im Alltag: In einer Welt, die immer näher zusammenrückt, müssen wir neue Wege finden um das Zusammenleben aller Menschen und die Verantwortung für unseren Lebensraum zu gestalten. Dies ist eine universelle Aufgabe, die auf der Entwicklung einer klaren Vision und eines offenen, guten Herzens basiert.

Liebe, Mitgefühl, Mitfreude und Gleichmut. Grenzenlos. Diese sogenannten „Vier Grenzenlosen“, wie sie in den meisten buddhistischen Schulrichtungen genannt werden, beschreiben die vier wesentlichen positiven Geisteshaltungen, die man durch buddhistische Geistesschulung anstrebt.

Sie bilden die vier Säulen der buddhistischen Lehre und die gemeinsame Grundlage aller buddhistischen Traditionen. Alle Lebewesen dieser Welt stehen aus buddhistischer Sicht ausnahmslos in wechselseitiger Abhängigkeit zueinander.

So ist es nur folgerichtig, dass der Wunsch nach Glück und Freiheit von Leiden sich auf alle Menschen und alle Wesen richtet, die in dieser Welt leben – unabhängig davon, wie nah oder fern sie uns persönlich zu sein scheinen.


Deutschland | Bonn
Donnerstag 27. bis Sonntag 30. August 2015

Maritim Hotel Bonn

Chenrezig: Die Welt mit Mitgefühl betrachten

Vortrag, Teil 1 | Donnerstag 27. August, 16.00 Uhr
Vortrag, Teil 2 | Donnerstag 27. August, 18.00 Uhr
Ermächtigung | Freitag 28. August, 10.00 Uhr
Chenrezig ist die Verkörperung des Mitgefühls und der Liebe aller Buddhas. Wörtlich übersetzt bedeutet sein Name „Der mit seinen gütigen Augen schaut“. Mit seinem strahlenden weißen Körper repräsentiert Chenrezig die Klarheit der ursprünglichen Weisheit, den Funken der Erleuchtung. Die Praxis von Chenrezig besteht darin, die Kluft zwischen Praktizierenden und Praxis zu schließen, so dass es keinen Unterschied mehr gibt zwischen der meditierenden Person und der kultivierten Liebe und Mitgefühl. Am Ende verschwindet diese Distanz vollkommen und der Praktizierende wird zur essentiellen Natur von Liebe und Mitgefühl selbst.

Akshobhya: Geduld für eine friedliche Welt

Vortrag Teil 1 | Samstag 29. August, 10.00 Uhr
Vortrag Teil 2 | Samstag 29. August, 16.00 Uhr
Ermächtigung | Sonntag 30. August, 10.00 Uhr
Unerschütterlich und unbeirrbar zu sein – sich also nicht von heftigen Gefühlswallungen überwältigen zu lassen – ist für Jeden von uns schwierig. Doch die Meditation des Akshobhya kann dabei helfen, den Mut zu entwickeln, unseren Ärger von Grund auf zu überwinden und uns mit einer „Rüstung der Geduld“ zu umfangen. Ziel und Essenz der Praxis von Akshobhya ist es, auf Aggressionen und Gewalt nicht mit Gegengewalt zu reagieren, sondern Geduld zu entwickeln und, von Liebe und Mitgefühl geleitet, die Situation für uns und Andere zu verbessern. In einer technisierten und globalisierten Welt, in der alle negativen Emotionen und Handlungen unkontrollierbare Auswirkungen haben können, ist dies wichtiger denn je zuvor.
Karmapa, der selbst eine intensive persönliche Beziehung zu Akshobhya – „Dem Unerschütterlichen“ – hat, betont den immensen Nutzen und die Notwendigkeit dieser Meditationspraxis für unserer heutige Zeit.

Liebe, Mitgefühl, Mitfreude und Gleichmut. Grenzenlos.

Vortrag | Sonntag 30. August, 16.00 Uhr
Aus tiefstem Herzen zu wünschen, dass alle Wesen glücklich sein mögen; jederzeit bereit sein, nach Kräften das Leid der Wesen zu mindern; ehrliche und wahrhaftige Freude über Glück und Verdienste Anderer zu empfinden; dabei entspannt zu verweilen mit einem ausgewogenen Gemüt, das keine Unterscheidung zwischen Freund und Feind kennt – das alles mag klingen wie die Schilderung einer paradiesischen Utopie. Doch die Vier Unermesslichen sind mehr als nur frommes Wunschdenken; sie sind die grundlegende Bedingung für das Entwickeln von Bodhicitta: dem unerschütterlichen Entschluss, Buddhaschaft zu erlangen und den Weg dorthin konsequent zu beschreiten, um schließlich in der Lage zu sein, allen Wesen zu dauerhaftem Glück zu verhelfen.

So entfernt dieses Ziel auch manchmal klingen mag – die Buddhas zeigen uns, dass es möglich ist. Große Buddhistische Lehrer wie der Dalai Lama und der Karmapa verkörpern den gelebten Weg der Vier Unermesslichen. Sie zeigen auf, in welche Richtung die Reise gehen kann und welche Schritte zu tun sind, um sich dem Ziel Stück für Stück anzunähern.

Weitere Infos & Karten:  http://www.karmapa-europe.eu/


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar

Mittwoch, 29. Juli 2015

"Die Welt des Schattentheaters" im Lindenmuseum Stuttgart, 3.Oktober 2015 bis 10. April 2016

Das Linden-Museum Stuttgart präsentiert vom 3. Oktober 2015 bis zum 10. April 2016 die Ausstellung "Die Welt des Schattentheaters". Im Mittelpunkt stehen die Traditionen des Schattentheaters und die Faszination, die diese Kunst von China über Südasien und den Orient bis hin nach Europa ausübt.

Kriegerin, China, Provinz Sichuan, um 1900, Slg. Eger, 
Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 108170

Das geheimnisvolle Zusammenspiel von Licht und Schatten hat Menschen seit jeher in seinen Bann gezogen. Als kulturelle Ausdrucksformen dieser Faszination haben sich vor allem in asiatischen Ländern wie China, Indonesien und Indien reiche Traditionen des Schattentheaters entwickelt. Die Ausstellung zeigt anhand hochkarätiger Sammlungen die engen Verbindungen der Schattentheater-Traditionen Asiens und des Orients bis hin nach Europa.

Neben den Gemeinsamkeiten in Aufführungsprinzipien, Aspekten des Erzählens oder der Typologie der Figuren, rücken regionale Besonderheiten des Schattentheaters in den Fokus: In Indien, auf Java und in Thailand ist das Schattentheater im Rahmen von Tempelfesten auch zeremonielle Handlung, erzählt große Epen wie das Ramayana und ist bis heute Teil der kulturellen Identität. In China nimmt es Elemente der chinesischen Oper wie Musik, Kostüme und Masken auf und wird zu einem Gesamterlebnis in künstlerischer Vollendung, während es im Orient vor allem als Spiegel der Gesellschaft war und das Publikum mit viel Witz und Humor im gemeinsamen Lachen vereinte.

Schattenspielfigur (Prabu Kresna), Indonesien, Java, Ende 19. Jh., Slg. Buchner, 
Copyright Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 24907-6

Die Ausstellung zeigt bislang nicht präsentierte Stücke und wieder entdeckte Schätze der Sammlung des Linden-Museums. Zu nennen sind die Altbestände an südostasiatischen Figuren, die chinesischen Figuren der Sammlung Eger und die einzigartigen ägyptischen Figuren der Sammlung Kahle - die ältesten bekannten Schattenspielfiguren der islamischen Welt. Jüngere Sammlungen wie die indischen Figuren der Sammlung Seltmann und die türkischen Figuren des bekannten Meisters Ragip Tugtekin (1891 – 1982) ergänzen diese alten Bestände ebenbürtig.

Sichtbar wird die künstlerische Meisterschaft und ästhetische Qualität der beeindruckenden Schattenspielfiguren, die Künstler wie Franz Marc inspirierte, und auch noch heute fasziniert. Die Begeisterung für das Schattentheater in Europa, die im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts einen letzten Höhepunkt erreichte und die Weiterentwicklung zum zeitgenössischen Schattentheater, dargestellt mit Leihgaben des Internationalen Schattentheater Zentrums Schwäbisch Gmünd, sind ebenfalls Themen der Ausstellung.

Schattenspielfigur (Raden Arjuna), Indonesien, Java, Ende 19. Jh., Slg. Buchner, 
Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 24908-3

Stimmungsvolle Inszenierungen erwecken Erzähltraditionen zum Leben und verbinden sie mit Musik, Gesang, Bild und Film. Mitmach-Elemente zur „Faszination Schatten“ bieten Jung und Alt ein Ausstellungserlebnis für alle Sinne. Die Ausstellung wird von einem facettenreichen Begleit-programm umrahmt.

Die Ausstellung steht unter Schirmherrschaft der Deutschen UNESCO-Kommission. Kooperations-partner der Ausstellung sind das Internationale Schattentheater Zentrum und das 10. Internationale Schattentheater Festival Schwäbisch Gmünd, das vom 9. bis 15. Oktober 2015 stattfindet.

Pausenzeichen (Gunungan), Java, Madura, Ende 19. Jh., Anfang 20. Jh., Slg. Thomann, 
Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart, Foto: A. Dreyer, Inv.-Nr. 100604-3

Linden-Museum Stuttgart Hegelplatz 1, 70174 Stuttgart, Tel. 0711.2022-3 ǀ Fax 0711.2022-590 ǀ mail@lindenmuseum.de

Di – Sa 10 – 17 Uhr ǀ Mi 10 – 20 Uhr ǀ So und Feiertage 10 – 18 Uhr 
Schließtage: 24.12./25.12./31.12./25.3.

€ 10,–/8,– inkl. Dauerausstellungen
Familienticket: € 20,– (bis 2 Erwachsene + Kinder bis einschl.18)
Kinder bis einschl. 12 Jahre frei
Audioguide: € 3,– Preis für BahnCard-Inhaber: € 8,-
Führungsanmeldung für Gruppen 
Dienstag bis Donnerstag 9.30 – 12 Uhr und 14 – 16 Uhr (Ferien: nur Donnerstag) Tel. 0711.2022-579 ǀ Fax 0711.2022-590 ǀ fuehrung@lindenmuseum.de Anmeldefrist bis 3 Wochen vor Führung 

192 Seiten, zahlr. Abb., € 22,90 (erhältlich ab Oktober) 
Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Deutschen Bahn

Bruhannale, Südindien, 20. Jh., Slg. Seltmann, Copyright: Linden-Museum Stuttgart: Foto A. Dreyer

Save the date:
Pressekonferenz mit Ausstellungsrundgang: Donnerstag, 1. Oktober, 11 Uhr
(Einladung folgt im September)

Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar

Freitag, 24. Juli 2015

The Power of Masks Exhibition March 13, 2015 – February 8, 2016

Becoming Another illuminates the common threads and distinct differences in mask traditions from Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, Siberia, Japan, and the North-West Coast tribes of North America. Featuring masks used in shamanistic practices, communal rituals, and theatrical performances, this exhibition speaks to the human impulse to transform one’s identity.

 New York, NY, October 28, 2014 — Across culture and time, masks have served to imbue power, transform identity, and connect people with each other and with their sense of the divine and the spiritual. In spring 2015, the Rubin Museum of Art will delve into the significance of masks to peoples across the globe, showcasing their diverse uses and meanings, in the exhibition Becoming Another: The Power of Masks. On view March 13, 2015 – February 8, 2016, the exhibition will highlight stunning masks and costumes from across the globe, including Siberia, the Himalayas, Mongolia, Japan, and the Northwest Coast of America, examining the striking similarities and distinct differences in practices across these distinct cultures.

Featuring nearly 100 masks ranging from the 15th – 20th centuries, the exhibition is organized around three predominant cultural practices: shamanism, communal ritual, and theatrical performance. The shaman medium uses a mask to communicate with or take on the identity of a supernatural entity. In communal ritual, masks are used as part of a broader social function to achieve a benefit for the group. Masks are also an important aspect of storytelling, whether an oral tradition or a theatrical performance. For many cultures, these uses are fluid and intermingled and the exhibition will explore the juxtapositions created by these diverse functions as well as the implications on both individual and communal identity.

“The Rubin Museum of Art holds a rich collection of visually-arresting masks and costumes from the Himalayas, India and neighboring regions, many of which are rarely exhibited. We are very much looking forward to sharing this lesser-known aspect of our collection with our diverse audiences,” said Patrick Sears, the Rubin Museum’s Executive Director. “The broad scope of the exhibition, drawn both from our collection and other important collections around the world, highlights the
universality and timelessness of masks and we look forward to seeing them engage
our visitors’ imaginations.”

Curated by Jan Van Alphen, the Rubin Museum’s Director of Exhibitions, Collections,
and Research, the exhibition guides visitors through a geographic and functionfocused
narrative. Several small groupings of masks explore cross-cultural
similarities and differences in both form and type. The exhibition also features three
exquisite full costumes paired with masks, including a shaman’s costume, an oracle
costume, and a Cham dance costume.

Highlights from the exhibition include:

 A bear/land otter mask of Tlingit origin from the 19th century. The mask is
exemplary of those used by shamans of the Northwest Coast of America in
connecting with animal spirits. During a performance, a shaman would seek
the help of or take the identity of the spirit—sometimes changing identities
several times throughout by changing masks.

 Shaman’s costume and attire from Mongolia from the early 20th century.
This costume set features helping spirits rendered in metal and fabric and
includes feathered headgear, drum, and boots. It is representative of basic
shaman attire across Mongolia and Siberia.

 Transformation mask by the artist Tsungani from the Northwest Coast,
1979. Transformation masks are the most typical and impressive masks of
the Native peoples of the Northwest Coast. These masks consist of several
layers of collapsible masks that can be unfolded throughout a performance to
represent different personalities.

 Mask of wrathful Gonpo protector from Tibet, date unknown. During
communal rituals, including those performed in Tibetan Buddhist
monasteries, wrathful deities such as the Gonpo are staged in whirling dance
performances as protectors of the community.

 Padmasambhava as Nyima Ozer from Bhutan, 18th–19th century.
Famous historical figures in Himalayan Buddhism appear in different forms in
storytelling and theatric performances. Nyima Ozer is one of eight
manifestations of Padmasambhava, the Indian teacher who brought
Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century.

 Mask possibly of Usofuki, a character in Japanese Kyogen plays, 18th–
19th century. In Japan several theatrical forms of drama developed from
medieval rituals and storytelling. Among them is Kyogen—traditional comic
theater. Mask sculpting for these performances requires high craftsmanship
in wood with minute details distinguishing the differences in facial expression
and meanings.

Exhibition Organization and Credits

Becoming Another: The Power of Masks is curated by Jan Van Alphen, the Rubin Museum of Art’s Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Research.

The exhibition is made possible by loans from the following institutions and lenders:
The Brooklyn Museum, The Newark Museum, American Museum of Natural History, The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology – Harvard University, Museum aan de Stroom-Antwerp MAS, the Bruce Miller Collection, and several private American and European collections.

About the Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art is an arts oasis and cultural hub in New York City’s vibrant Chelsea neighborhood that inspires visitors to make powerful connections between contemporary life and the art and ideas of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions. With a diverse array of thought-provoking exhibitions and programs—including films, concerts, and on-stage conversations—the Rubin provides immersive experiences that encourage personal discoveries and spark new ways of seeing the world. Emphasizing cross-cultural connections, the Rubin is a space to contemplate the big questions that extend across history and span human cultures.

For further information and images, please contact:

Robin Carol
Public Relations and Marketing Manager
Rubin Museum of Art
212-620-5000 x213

Image credit: Mask of Begtse; Mongolia; early 20th century; papier-mâché, coral, metal, fabric; Rubin Museum of Art; C2006.41.1; (HAR 65692).

Source: http://rubinmuseum.org/events/exhibitions/becoming-another

Mittwoch, 8. Juli 2015

Schedule for Kalachakra initiation 2016

The Kalachakra initiation 2016 is scheduled to be held in Bodh Gaya in India from the 14th to 25th of January 2016. The programme would be presided by his Holiness the Dalai Lama himself and will witness enthusiastic participants from all around the world.

The initiation is held in order to empower the pupils of Buddhism to practice the famous Buddhist treatise known as the Kalachakra Tantra and in that process attain the status of Buddhahood. Held over a period of 12 days, the initiation ceremony is expect to draw crowds in the thousands.

Days 1, 2 and 3 (Jan 14 – Jan 16) involve initial preparations for the Kalachakra ritual. During each of these days, monks would perform prayers which are expected to run for even 3 to 5 hours. Apart from prayers teaching sessions for the disciples and an Earth ritual dance would also be held.

Days 4, 5 and 6 (Jan 17 – Jan 19), preliminary teaching sessions would be held in the mornings followed by prayer sessions in the afternoons.
Day 7 (Jan 20), monks clad in beautiful traditional Buddhist attire will perform the Kalachakra ritual offering dance. During the dance, they chant mantras and a few Tibetan songs as well.

Day 8 (Jan 21), a four-hour long self-generation session is held in the morning after which the pupils undergo the preliminary preparation steps necessary for the initiation.

Days 9, 10 and 11 (Jan 22 – Jan 24), are the most important days of the entire ceremony – the actual Kalachakra initiation. Intense self-generation prayers that run for more than four hours are held on every morning and the initiation process is held every afternoon. Monastic prayer, dance and sacred rituals combine together to form a mellifluous interlude in the build-up to one of the biggest ceremonies of Buddhist religion.

Day 12 (Jan 25), a prayer ceremony would be held wishing long life for his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the participants. His Holiness will then be presented with prayers, offerings and dances by the devotees.


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar

Long-life empowerment ceremony in Kalachakra initiation 2016

Kalachakra initiation is a very important ceremony in Buddhist tradition. It is an intense process of prayers, rituals and rites through which pupils are empowered to attain Buddhahood. The initiation is given by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and the entire ceremony lasts for 12 days.

Usually the final day of the Kalachakra initiation is dedicated to a long-life empowerment ceremony. Prayers are given so that his Holiness and all the participants may all have a very long, happy and fulfilling life.

According to Buddhist traditions, it is believed that if a spiritual leader dies it is because inhabitants of another realm want him to come and share his wisdom and knowledge with them. In order to postpone this moment and lengthen his stay on this world, special prayers and offerings are made on the final day.

The image of Goddess Tara
Goddess Tara

The three deities associated with long life are Amitayus, White Tara and Ushnishavijaya. Among these deities,  Tara is associated with purity and the special quality of removing obstacles in people’s lives and thereby enhancing the quality and longevity of their life. It is on this deity that the Kalachakra empowerment rituals are usually performed.

Once the empowerment ceremony is completed, long-life offerings are made to the Dalai Lama. The offering involves chanting of a lineage prayer and a show of respect by the Monks and the Oracles. It is quite common to see a few devotees get possessed during this event and such devotees to get an opportunity to pay their respects to his Holiness. Members of various communities too take this opportunity to give offerings to his Holiness.

The ceremony witnesses participants from all around the world. The last Kalachakra initiation was held in Ladakh in northern India and was attended by over 150000 people. The next Kalachakra initiation is scheduled to be held from 14 to 25 January, 2016 in Bodh Gaya , India. You too can participate in the Kalachakra initiation and the long-life empowerment ceremony.


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar

Donnerstag, 18. Juni 2015

Invitation for the Fourth International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh, 23-30, August, 2015

Greetings from the Himalayas!

The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC) was founded in the year 1986. Since then it is devoted to the service of humanity based on universal compassion and love as expounded by Lord Buddha.
The International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh (IFBHL) has been one of our major activities since its inception in 2012. The primary objective of the Festival is to create awareness, showcase and preserve the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the Himalayas. Eminent scholars, politicians, social and religious heads from different countries lend distinction to the event by their august presence and enthusiastic participation every year. The Festival brings together seekers of truth and lovers of peace from all over the world.
The Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre will be hosting the 4th International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh from 22nd to 30th August, 2015. The festival focuses on showcasing, conserving and preserving the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh.

This year, the main theme of the festival will be ‘responsible and sustainable tourism’. Over the last few decades, tourism has become an important component of the Ladakhi economy. It has also been an important driver of social and cultural change. The 4th edition of the festival will facilitate discussions to explore how tourism can be harmonized with Ladakhi heritage preservation.

As with the previous editions of the International Festival of Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh, the 4th edition will include International cultural performances, the International Buddhist Film Festival, Seminars, Meditation Sessions and Cultural Tours to different regions of Ladakh, witnessing the Holy mask-dance by the monks of the Hemis Monastery, special session on Buddhist Heritage of Ladakh by UNESCO experts etc. The 4th edition of the festival will include special Yoga Sessions by the world renowned Yoga master – Swami Baba Ramdev of Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar to encourage physical and mental well-being.

The events of the festival will be held in different parts of Leh town and areas around it including the Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre campus, Hemis Monastery and Pethub (Spituk) Monastery.

Several dignitaries have already confirmed their participation in the festival. This includes several Rinpoches and leaders of other religions, Yoga masters, scholars, diplomats and government officials. In addition, a cultural troupe from Thailand has also confirmed their participation in the festival.

The festival is open to everyone interested in learning and contributing to the preservation of Ladakh’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage.

As a well-wisher and supporter of MIMC, you are warmly invited to participate and enjoy the fabulous programs of the unique festival.
For more information and registration details, please contact us via email at ifbhl.mimc@gmail.com
or via telephone +91-1982-264372

Yours sincerely in the service of humanity,
Bhikkhu Sanghasena.
Chairman, IFBHL 2015
Founder President, MIMC, Leh


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar

Mittwoch, 3. Juni 2015

“Wasted Lives: A Critical Analysis of China’s Campaign to End Tibetan Pastoralist Lifeways,” launched globally on 30 May 2015 in Delhi.


New voices out of Tibet and China, converging on a new understanding of why nomadic pastoralism is what suits the Tibetan Plateau best, feature in a new report, “Wasted Lives: A Critical Analysis of China’s Campaign to End Tibetan Pastoralist Lifeways,” launched globally on 30 May 2015 in Delhi. 
Stories about Tibet usually feature predictable language. Seldom are Tibetan voices heard. This report is fresh, and full of new ideas, new facts, new voices and an original synthesis of a wide range of sources. Far from being only a story of loss, Chinese and Tibetan scientists now agree on a new paradigm, restoring pastoral mobility as the key to success, conservation and productivity across a vast rangeland in the sky, the Tibetan Plateau.
In this report, Tibetan nomadic pastoralists speak up, about China’s policy of removing them to concrete block settlements on urban fringes, where thousands of years of accumulated knowledge of rangeland and livestock breeding becomes useless, redundant and wasted.
The pastoralists of the Tibetan Plateau, though we so seldom hear their voices, have much to say in defence of their skills, lands and livelihoods, having learned to make habitable a huge plateau now being depopulated.
This co-publication, by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Development (TCHRD), and the League for Pastoral Peoples (LPP) is a call for China to reconsider the current policy of “close pasture to grow more grass” (tuimu huancao in Chinese) which is removing productive pastoralists from the production landscapes of Tibet.
The Tibetan Plateau, 79% the size of the whole of India, is the source of the great rivers of Asia. Those rivers flow from their glacial sources across the pastures and alpine meadows, their purity and environmental services sustained by millions of pastoralists. Now the pastoralists are blamed for degradation which is actually due to mistaken policies of constricting herds and herders to small plots, that are compulsorily fenced, and policies of encouraging mobile pastoralists to settle permanently. Tibet is now losing its food security, and its pastoralists are now welfare dependants leading meaningless lives, with no entry into modern income sources.
This report presents detailed evidence that China fails to understand its grasslands, and has made successive policy mistakes over decades, culminating in the current crisis.
Neighbouring countries, including India, are at risk. Where there are no longer local populations to defend their land, miners move in, legal and illegal, to strip Tibet of its many minerals, usually unaccountably and with no concern for environmental impacts. When mineral wastes get into the rivers, they flow towards India and Bangladesh down the Brahmaputra and its many Tibetan tributaries. These rivers naturally carry a tolerable baseload of metals, any increase is dangerous.
Tibet and India are not only immediate neighbours; both are milk cultures, civilisations based on a shared intimacy and respect for the cow (in Tibetan dri, the female yak) and dairy civilisations share a respect for nature not always found elsewhere.
This is a pro-pastoralist book. India is used to debating whether public policy succeeds in being pro-farmer. Beyond the farmland is the dryland, upland pastoral land, which is surprisingly productive, and sustainable, in the right, skilled hands. The pastoralists of the Tibetan Plateau, and India, have bred animals specifically suited to local conditions, creating a bank of genetic resources, local specialty products and a global trade in luxury fine wools. Yet China persists in treating its pastoralists as ignorant, backward and primitive, to be blamed for rangeland degradation that originates in top-down policies created in distant cities. China needs policies that are pro-pastoralist, instead of blaming the victims of policies that have driven herders into poverty and now widespread exclusion and displacement from their ancestral lands and livelihoods.
This report was compiled by Gabriel Lafitte, who drew together all available information, and testimony of Tibetan pastoralists, in a thoroughly referenced, comprehensive account of how this tragedy originated, and what alternatives are available. Gabriel Lafitte is editor of a blog on the nomads of Tibet, www.rukor.org  and author of Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource nationalism on the Roof of the World (Zed Books, 2013).
Keynote speaker at the launch is Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, of the League for Pastoral Peoples, who is deeply familiar with the pastoralists of India and elsewhere, and their indigenous knowledge as keepers of genetic diversity the world may well need in a time of accelerating climate change.
Mr Tempa Tsering, representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi will chair the discussion during the launch.
This report was commissioned by TCHRD, the only human rights monitoring agency set up and run by Tibetans, and TCHRD Executive Director Tsering Tsomo will be available to media at the launch.
Tsering Tsomo (Ms)
Executive Director
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Top Floor, Narthang Building
Gangchen Kyishong
Dharamsala - 176215
Himachal Pradesh, India

Cell: (91) 981-687-5856
Tel: (91)1892 - 223363, 229225
Fax: (91)1892 - 225874
Twitter: @arogaga
Skype: tsetsomohor
Website: www.tchrd.org


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar


Is there anything new that can be said about the disappearing nomads of Tibet? For years they have been removed from the plateau pastures that purify the great rivers of Asia, to be rehoused in concrete barracks, without their animals or livelihood. This is usually reported as coercion by a state determined to end nomadism. That has become a standard narrative. The alternative narrative, generated by China’s official media, is that the nomads are all voluntary ‘ecological migrants’ giving up their lands for the greater good of the planet, to allow degrading lands to become a wilderness of pristine grassland, to better protect those rivers watering almost all of Asia.

Correspondents, seldom allowed access to report from Tibetan pasture lands the size of Western Europe, can only choose which of these two narratives to run with. The result, for over a decade, has been a debate going round in circles: coercion or voluntary?

Wasted Lives: China’s campaign to end Tibetan nomadic lifeways cuts through these stereotypes and extremes, with a wealth of new evidence. This in-depth report, by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy and League for Pastoral Peoples takes the reader onto the pasture, to hear Tibetan voices. That is what has been strikingly missing till date.

Once we start to listen to what Tibetans can tell us, a new picture emerges, more complex and disturbing. The nomads tell of being pushed and pulled by a long history of official Chinese policies that aimed to intensify meat production while also conserving land and water. The unintended result of all the laws, regulations and instructions was to confine nomads to allocated parcels of land. Their customary mobility was restricted to areas compulsorily fenced, leaving nomads little flexibility, in an extreme climate, to maintain production on land that was thus pushed too hard, because choice was gone.

Not only did China’s sedentarisation policy perversely cause degradation, despite having quite different intentions, it also drove many nomads into poverty.

Land deteriorated, yak size shrank, land tenure was given and then taken away, with no social security to support nomads when natural disasters –blizzards and gales- strike.

Poor people have few choices. When the cadres come to the village, and announce that a fixed percentage of the population must move to barracks on the edge of a distant town, it is the poor, the chronically ill and those hoping a distant school gives their children a chance, who are the first to move. Whether this is voluntary or coercive is not the point: China uses push and pull, incentives and disincentives, to implement its policy of grazing bans and closing the best pasture lands in Tibet, which are on the headwaters of the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers.


What emerges in this retelling is not only the grief of skilled pastoralists who now lead wasted lives, redundant to the requirements of China’s commoditised meat machine, but also their hopeful embrace of a new paradigm sweeping the pastoral lands of the world.
A scientific revolution has quietly gathered momentum. Wherever there are pastoralists, there is now a fresh understanding that, far from being to blame for desertification, there are skilful stewards of drylands whose willingness to maintain mobility enables them to live productively and in environmentally sustainable ways from uncertain, unpredictable climates. In China, the biggest grassland country in the world, there are now Chinese scientists speaking up at every opportunity for the new paradigm, explaining how the old paradigm, of sedentarising nomads, has caused only perverse, unintended outcomes, chiefly the land degradation that is blamed on ignorant, uncaring, selfish nomads.

So a new story emerges, and a convergence between Chinese science challenging orthodoxy, and the voices of the nomads, not only protesting at wasting their lives as urban fringe dwellers with no entry into the modern economy, but looking ahead to the new pro-pastoralist paradigm renewing their stewardship. The scientists and the nomads agree that Tibetan nomads successfully conserved for huge wildlife herds of antelope and gazelles, for the hardy grasses of the alpine meadows for the past 9000 years, while also being highly productive. It is possible to be both sustainable and productive, it is not necessary to choose one to the exclusion of the other, as is happening now when pasturelands are declared nature reserves and national parks, excluding on paper all human use, in practice allowing illegal miners into the emptied, depopulated landscapes.

Not only does this report cut through the voluntary vs coercive debate, it introduces us to the voices of a new generation of Tibetan researchers, on the pasture, able to analyse past policy failures and look ahead to the latest initiative, by charismatic lamas deeply trusted by the nomads, urging nomads to refrain from selling animals into the slaughterhouse meat commodity chain. This return to public life of the lamas, despite restrictions, gives direction to nomads, who vow, in public ceremonies, to forego the quick gains of commercial slaughter for the traditional nomadic virtues of keeping as many beloved animals on the hoof as possible.

There is much that is new in this report; plenty to chew on for those who would like to see the vast rangelands of the Tibetan Plateau for themselves but cannot get access. Here is a way beyond the stereotypes of noble ecological migrant vs passive victim of coercion. There is much to tell the world.

At the launch TCHRD Executive Director Tsering Tsomo and the report’s author Gabriel Lafitte along with Dr. Ilse Köhler-Rollefson of League for Pastoral Peoples will be available for media Q&A.

Dr. Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, Projects Coordinator of League for Pastoral Peoples, is a native of Germany but has been partly based in Rajasthan (India) since she met the Raika camel pastoralists during a research fellowship on camel socioeconomics and management systems in 1990/1991. Her academic background is in veterinary medicine and anthropology and her research has been supported by the German Research Foundation, National Geographic Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the American Institute of Indian Studies. She has more than 100 scientific publications in journals spanning various disciplines and published a number of monographs. She is also the author of the blog about pastotalists, called Animal Cultures.

Mr Gabriel Lafitte, Australian researcher and environmentalist, is editor of a blog on the nomads of Tibet, www.rukor.org  and author of Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource nationalism on the Roof of the World (Zed Books, 2013).

Date: 30 May 2015
Venue: Restro Bar, Foreign Correspondents Club, New Delhi
Time: 11 am – 1 pm
Tsering Tsomo (Ms)
Executive Director
Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
Top Floor, Narthang Building
Gangchen Kyishong
Dharamsala - 176215
Himachal Pradesh, India

Cell: (91) 981-687-5856
Tel: (91)1892 - 223363, 229225
Fax: (91)1892 - 225874
Twitter: @arogaga
Skype: tsetsomohor
Website: www.tchrd.org


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar

Donnerstag, 28. Mai 2015

Aryan Race; A unique culture in Lower Ladakh

Aryan Race; A unique culture in Lower Ladakh
By Tashi Namgyal (Achinapa) | AP Business Writer 4:53 AM CST, Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Dard people claimed to be of Aryan race occupied lower Ladakh in about 200 B.C. The inhabitants of the existing villages around khalatse are of the dard race. Over the course of many years, they mixed with the cultures of the Tibetan race. But the people of these villages still believe and worship the deities of that time.

Historians called the people of Dha, Hanu, Garkon, Dartsik and batalik the Dard because they have been migrated from a place called Dardistan which is believed to be located near Gilgit  (now in Pakistan). The word “Dard” is derived from Sanskrit which means people who live on the hill side. Some historians assert that when Alexandar’s army that came to India in 327 B.C.  returned to Greece left behind some troops in the Gilgit area and so Greece is the region where the Dard originated. 
Ladakhis called them Brokpa or Drokpa which means people moving from place to place with their cattle in search of pasture. Before their permanent settlement in the above-mentioned villages, they were constantly travelling through Baltistan, Purig, Zanskar, Nubra and even in the upper region of Ladakh.  The migration routes are clearly mentioned in their folk songs and they still sing those songs during their New Year and harvest festivals. 
THE Brokpa people have many shreds of evidence of being similarities with the European people. They have fair complexion, long nose, blue eyes, tall body, sturdy, brave, hairy skin, beautiful and handsome. Some of their cultural habits are also similar to those of Europeans. They brew wine from locally grown grapes. They rarely use fertilizer or pesticides in their fields as they rear many sheep and goats to produce manure. So, most of their agricultural products are organic.  They grow tomato as cash crop and supply to the army and other parts of Ladakh. Apricots grown in the region are more delicious than the rest of other parts of Ladakh. They follow the calendar based on solar revolution to celebrate New Year and to begin agriculture activities. Their dialect which is called Minaro emerged from a mixture of various languages. So we can find many words similar to Indo-European words. 
For instance Bubu for Baby, Wa for Water, Katar for Knife, Nu for New, Kungo for Comb, ek, du,tra, chor for one, two, three four etc. It is also believed that till 18th century they were worshipers of the local deities. Sacrificial offerings for the deities were common in the past. A monk from Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh viz Tene Lama motivated them to  follow  Buddhism  and  he built  monastery and stupas  in Dha village. 
 The ruins of the monastery can be noticed at Dha thang. Later a saint monk from Achinathang in late 19th century viz meme Konchok Wangpo, Fomsapa motivated them to follow the Drigung Kagyu lineage of Mahayana Buddhism and still today the Drokpa villages Dha, Hanu, Garkon and Dartsik are under the Lamayuru monastery and each of the villages have their own small monastery. Many Drokpa youth have become monk in monasteries and studying Buddhist philosophies and other modern education in Dehradun and Lamayuru. When the whole Ladakh region was divided into two separate administrative districts in 1979, half of the Aryan valley below Garkon falls in the Kargil and rest of the villages are with Leh district. They rarely intermarry with other ethnic race of Ladakh and that is why they are known to be the pure Aryan race of the world today. Till recent period, they did not keep cows for milk. Only goats and sheep were reared for milk production and meat. But nowadays they begin to keep cows for milk and butter. But elderly people still don’t eat beef and butter produced from cow milk. They even don’t use cow dung as firewood. They believed that if they use productions from cows, their deities will not be in their favour.

 The grand harvest festival – Bononah and New Year celebration are the important festivals they celebrate in the month of October and January respectively. But the Bononah festival observes only in every 3rd year because the three villages Dha, Garkon and Ganoks (now in Pakistan) celebrate the festival turn by turn every year. In 2013, the festival was in Dha  and in 2014 it was celebrated in Garkon. In 2015, there will be no harvest festival in Dha or Garkon because it is the turn of Ganoks. We don’t have any information whether people in Ganoks celebrate the festival or not now. The festival is observed for 5 consecutive days. On the 1st day, the festival begins with the sacrificial offering of a goat to their deities at Lhato in the early morning. Both the Garkon and Dha villages have separate Lha brdagpa household. A man from Lhabrdag household has to become Lha (diety) wearing white cloth and white turban. People take him to the dancing place called Lchangra from Lhato with offering the music Lharnga and incidence of juniper (shukpa) and then the festival begins formally. The fixed numbers of folk songs are sung during the 5 days. The leaders of the singers are called Brongopa. They have to complete 21 songs during the 5 days. The songs are related to Lhablchor, Rarzi Lhu, Lingspa Lhu and Lhabskyal Lhu. Lhabskyal is sung at the last and the dancers have to take off their caps and they put a scarf on their heads observing mourn of separation of men and their deities. At last while dancing, they had to go a distant place outside the dancing place to see off their deities and conclude the festival.

New Year
The New Year is observed only after winter solstice that’s on 23rd December. An auspicious day is fixed by the village headman to begin the New Year celebration. It lasts for about 10 days. On the 1st day, every household items/utensils have to be cleaned with the mixture of boiled water and juniper. They take the utensils to the stream and wash all them all. They also clean their houses on the 1st day. Fresh butter is also sent to their sisters who had married into other households.
Next two days the people and children gathered at a particular place with a bundle of sticks to throw fire that is called Odphangs. 
Interestingly it is also common in Baltistan even today and they called it Me-phangs. It is believed that the evil spirits of the departing year is burnt and thrown away into the fire and wishing for a favourable year.
On the 4th and 5th day, Tsesphyag is observed. They bow down before their Sabdag- the household deity and the younger people greet their elders and relatives.  Paba with butter is eaten on those days.
On 6th day, every person of age multiple of 12 that is 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 and so on have to gather to a place with a new dress to sing and dance. They have to take tea and butter with them to the dancing place.
On 7th, 8th and 9th-day people gathered at the dancing place to sing New Year folk song. On the 10th day, elderly men perform ibex dances. 
And finally on the 11th day the childer perform ibex dance. This year losar in Dha started from 1st of January and in Garkon it is from 5th January.

Yata is a grand feast stewarded by a rich man. When a household become rich enough to feed all the people in the village, he organizes a feast for them. A lot of wine, meat, paba and butter etc. are served to them. There is a story behind it. A man called Skit Paljor of Mangza pa household from Garkon become very rich, he had about 1000 sheep and goats.  A group of people got jealous of that and they planned to steal some of his goats to kill and eat. Skit Paljor came to know about their misdeed. He told them not to steal his goats and informed them about the grand feast. He invited them all along with other people. So the people composed a special song in his praise. The translation of the song is as under:-
Brother Skit Paljor what things you don’t have? You have many big goats and sheep to eat. You have the bulk of butter covered in the bags made of sheepskin. Offer to God! May the God may make you more prosperous!
 So Skit Paljor organized the feast giving them to eat one sheep and two goats, one big and one small. Even today the Yata is occasionally given by some prosperous family.

Bhangri is the festival which is celebrated by a family with the villagers when they blessed with a new baby. All the relatives and friends from far off villages are also invited on the occasion. Apart from these they celebrate marriage ceremonies also.
Marriage Engagement
Marriage engagement is yet another interesting practice of Brokpa people. Parents begin to think even just from the birth of a son about his marriage. So when they see a girl child suited to their son, the father of the son with the maternal uncle and man from their clan (Phaspun) go to the house of the girl with necessary nine items. The items are one needle, one design cake (Kabtse), five chapattis, one Bre (measuring pot) of barley and one rupee. If the parents of the girl agree with the parents of the boy’s family, an informal agreement is decided among them. Both the families now should abide by the agreement strongly. Defaulters may be prosecuted according their local customary laws. When the children attained the matured age for marriage, then they formally marry   with a spectacular ceremony. But nowadays love marriage is common than their past practice.

Though we have not much literary evidence about the Brokpa people settled down at the bank of Indus river in Dha, Garkon, Dartsik, Batalik, Hanu, Silmo and some other villages now in PoK like Ganoks etc.. But they have preserved their culture and dialect till date. The people of Batalik, Silmo and Chullichan are the followers of Islam. Sheikh Ali from Brolmo near Kargil in the late 19th century came there to preach Islam.  But the people still speak their original dialect. But they have abandoned their original dress.
Traditionally women in Brokyul wear only white in colour dress and men wear black or maroon dress.  A unique flower, Munthoto is used for decoration of their caps.  The seed of the flower does not dry for years even after plucking from its plants. Hundreds of needles in a row are also used as ornaments to decorate their caps.

Amazingly when I was  serving as teacher at Dha  in the year 1997-98, the children used to call their father and mother bo and  aye respectively in their language but  when  I was posted there again in the year 2013, I came to know that the children now don’t know these two words in their dialect.  Now they called the father ‘Aba’ and the mother as ‘Mummy’. This is only an example to show how their dialect gets vulnerable to abolish gradually. So people of the area should think and act to preserve their valuable distinct identity for the future generations.
The writer is presently the Headmaster at Govt. Middle school Dha and doing a research on history and culture of Brokpa people.
The writer can be contacted at tashi.achina@yahoo.com 


Thomas Wilden
Mask Dances of Ladakh & Zanskar