When I Think of Tibet

As the weeks go by and tensions and violence escalate in Tibet, it makes me more and more anxious. Tibet is a beautiful, mysterious country. I visited many years ago, and although there were always problems (I remember one incident when my travel party was delayed for several hours because of public executions!!) it was much calmer than it is now.

There isn’t enough air, which makes everyone who is just visiting a little high. To add to the trippy nature of the place, pretty much every site is religious. Even the graffiti is of different incarnations of Buddha – painted all over the sides of mountain rocks. If you felt sick, you were encouraged to meditate on the cool, indigo blue medicine Buddha, the deity whose color reminded me of the Milk of Magnesia bottle, whose image would soothe, coat and relieve as you pondered upon it. Tibet has the most challenging toilets in the world. I have been everywhere and I can attest to that! Hands down, Tibet is the number one worst place to go number 2.

But to counter that, Tibet has the best looking people in the world. They are Asian but with light eyes! Like green and blue! So everyone kind of looks like they are wearing contacts but they are not. I remember sitting in the courtyard of the Drepung monastery, watching all the gorgeously hot monks draped in their deep red robes, flinging their prayer beads at each other as they argued about philosophy while trying to steal looks at us at the same time. I know you aren’t supposed to hit on celibate people so I just sat on my hands the whole time and tried not to make eye contact for more than three seconds. Girl, it was hard!

I also loved the dog monastery, a special temple for wayward monks who have reincarnated into dogs. The grounds are covered in dogs of every size and shape and breed and hue, silently pondering the cycle of birth and rebirth. Squirming litters of puppies wriggle underneath their dog mothers and their distinguished elders nap in the patches of sun breaking through the clouds. There is no barking, no howling, no fighting, and miracles of miracles – no poo! – nothing but the quiet mediation of dogs and monks. You are allowed to feed the dogs small pieces of dough, and they actually wait in line! When I think of Tibet, I remember the politeness of the dogs, pulling back their dog lips and ever so gently taking the food from my hand with their open teeth, not wanting to bite my hand accidentally and then looking warmly into my eyes with a silent thanks. The thought of rioting and looting and blood in the streets there is too painful to comprehend.

This entry is cross-posted at The Huffington Post

8 thoughts on “When I Think of Tibet

  1. I wish I could, too. The only country I’ve been to outside of the US is Canada. 😛
    The way you described it, it sounded so beautiful!
    I’ve heard people are not supporting the Beijing Olympics because of Tibet. I’m not really sure what difference that would make, perhaps I’m just ignorant and I can’t see the whole picture, though. Please keep us updated and let us know if there’s anything we can do. 🙂

  2. i’m boycotting the olympics in beijing… mostly because of how China is so fucked up… still espousing hard line communist bullshit, censoring everything and trying to control their peoples’ thoughts and ideas on one hand… and engaging in the very same kinds of predatory capitalism that more responsible socialist ideas and movements were created to combat in the first place.

    as distressed as i am about tibet and conflict and suffering between buddhists, i really just see that as a symptom of the greater problem.

    at least that’s how i perceive things. the whole world is so chaotic right now and needs a lot of help and i don’t think China is ready for the Olympics and I don’t think the Olympics in place of such backwardsness and distress would do the world any good right now.

  3. In the 1980’s, my Korean father in law, who lived in China during WWII and speaks two Chinese dialects, began taking groups of Americans on tours of China. When he finally visited Tibet and saw the Han Chinese oppression there, he never went back to China again.


  4. China needs to get out of there now! They’ve been ruining that county for for about fifty years. I hope the Dalia Lama can find a way to make peace with them. I wouldn’t want all that he has worked for to be meaningless.

  5. To free Tibet, what a great dream to come true. I’m very hopeful for the day when that will happen. Such true beauty there. The Chinese goverment needs a slap in the face. Think about it, there is great power in Tibet and that puts fear in China to make so much hate toward Tibet and her people.
    A great movie to watch about what hell the people of Tibet go through is called, THE WHITE LION, I think. It jump starts your ass, you really what to do somthing for the people and their wonderful motherland.
    Let’s do what we can to see Tibet becoming FREE.


  6. yeah, a jedi, or a hypocrite. He gets busted for attending sermons by a racist, delusional, insane hater for 20+ years, exposing his kids to this sick bastard, gets busted on it, and then has the BALLS to lecture the rest of us on how we all need to get over race. Fuck him. He almost had me fooled for a few months there. Obama is just another race hustler like Jackson or Sharpton or Jeremiah Wright.

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