U.S. Congress re-introduces “Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act” amidst rise in tensions over the Dalai Lama’s travels

In the long shadow of the recent Trump-Xi meeting lingers a bill in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that seeks to guarantee open access to Tibet for American citizens. Introduced just before the meeting early last month, the bill seeks greater access to the region for U.S. officials, journalists, and other citizens. The bill finds that, despite claims of openness by the Chinese government, heavy restrictions and frequent denial of travel documents has been observed, … [Read more...]

Images of Tibet’s Larung Gar demolition, April 2016 – April 2017

This month, photographer Jesse Rockwell posted images of Larung Gar, a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns (10,000 being a more likely number).Last July Larung Gar was in the news, as the Chinese government began their demolition of structures there, threatening up to half of the monastics in the area.Click on the image for a larger image.As the image notes, Larung Gar was the world's larg … [Read more...]

The Dalai Lama criticizes Trump’s “America First” policy

In the video posted by England's Channel 4 News yesterday (below), the Dalai Lama also discusses the need for a compassionate cultural revolution in China and the possibility of the end of his line of rebirths.Speaking of the Trump policy, he said: "I believe, with admiration, America as a leading nation of the free world. So, some new thinking: 'Only America', 'First America', right?  'America First' - I feel a little bit... disagreement. As a leading nation of the free world, America s … [Read more...]

Buddhist Monastic Life in China (Photos)

In 2009 I traveled to China to experience Chinese Buddhist monastic life and learn about the practice, philosophy, and history unique to Chan Buddhism. That trip was organized mostly for graduate students in Buddhism or Chinese culture/religion/history but the program has since grown in size and scope to look a bit like the one that was then run separately at Fo Guang Shan monastery in southern Taiwan.My experience with the 2009 program was so positive that I applied for and participated in … [Read more...]

UPDATE: Tibet Women’s Soccer team finds allies in Congress

As reported recently, the Tibet Women's Soccer team, the "Snow Lionesses," has been denied visas to come to the U.S. They were planning to join in an upcoming tournament. The team, based in India and coached by New Jersey native Cassie Childers was told that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." Congressional help Last week, two congressmen from New Jersey, Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Tom MacArthur, both Republicans, asked Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reconsider the denial … [Read more...]

Tibetan Refugee Soccer Team denied visas to United States

A Tibetan Women's Soccer team based in India has been denied visas to the United States, raising concerns about our country's level of support for Tibetans and others under contested Chinese rule.Cassie Childers, a coach for the team, said that they were told at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi that they "have no good reason to visit the U.S." The team had been invited to play in Dallas and until recently, the travel would have been business as usual for all involved in international sports. … [Read more...]

In the Obituary of a Tibetan Buddhism scholar, some ominous words

The obituary for Elliot Sperling begins as most do, noting the peaks of the man's life: 66 years of vitality, a MacArthur (genius) Fellowship, and a reshaping of our understanding of Sino-Tibetan relations. Of particular note, the obituary's author Tenzin Dorjee, writes: Through his seminal writings on Tibet’s relations with China during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, he became arguably the first historian to extensively use both Chinese and Tibetan sources to bring to light the separation a … [Read more...]

2 More Tibetan Nuns commit suicide as China destroys vast Buddhist religious city

Phayul news service reports that two more Tibetan nuns have taken their lives due to the destruction of the city of Larung Gar in eastern Tibet (Western China). Authorities there claim that the expanse of new structures is a fire hazard and that the rapid growth of the city has not been officially permitted. I wrote this last month: This is Larung Gar a year ago. It is a vast monastic complex in eastern Tibet (in China’s Sichuan Province) housing as many as 40,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nu … [Read more...]