April 10, 2014 |
Beijing has no shortage of issues to confront. There's the South China Sea, uncontrollable corruption, a slowing economy and factional disputes within the party and military. But Chinese officials also face one of the most difficult challenges in modern statecraft: how to conquer a myth. Despite China's attempts to dislodge its mythic appeal, Tibet as Shangri-La seems firmly set in the world's imagination. The once-independent nation, set high on a broad plateau adjacent to the Himalayas, is a worldwide symbol of mystery, aspiration, spirituality and possibility.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 15, 1992 |
Since emigrating to Orange County four months ago, Jampa Kahdup has been both haunted and heartened by the question most frequently asked about his homeland: "Where is Tibet?" While most seek only the general location of this little-known place, the question is a stark reminder to Kahdup of Tibet's precarious fate under 40 years of Communist Chinese domination that he fears is wiping out what little remains of the mountainous region's national identity.
April 20, 1994 |
The mystery is as deep, and perhaps as impenetrable, as the snows of Tibet. Its genesis was a dirty, sweat-stained piece of paper hidden for almost a decade. In rune-like handwriting and free verse, the riddle told believers where to find their reincarnated leader. The place: where the "divine thunder" peals. The birth date: the year of "the one used for the earth."
April 9, 1989 |
A young Buddhist monk convulsing under a trance and waving a sword and bow in a ritual dance has a say in every important decision of the Tibetan exile leadership. Dressed as an ancient warrior, he is the chief state oracle of the Tibetans, through whom they believe the spirit of the deity Nechung guides their leader, the Dalai Lama. Few important decisions are taken by the exiled Dalai Lama and his high officials without consulting the oracle, 31-year-old monk Thupten Ngodub.
October 8, 1991 |
Two child monks climbed a tower outside the scripture-reading hall of Erdene Zuu Monastery, then blew long blasts on conch-shell horns in a call to prayer. The temple air, heavy with incense and smoke from butter lamps, soon filled with Tibetan Buddhist chants and the sound of cymbals, drums and horns as 50 lamas gathered in worship.
October 2, 1988 |
Ever since Shirley MacLaine made it safe to reincarnate in America, all sorts of people have been making claims about their past lives as Egyptian queens, or Sioux medicine men. Skeptics have been kept busy. But Catharine Burroughs is not so easily dismissed. Last month, at the Kunzang Odsal Palyul Changchub Choling, the Buddhist World Prayer Center west of the Potomac Polo grounds in Poolesville, Md.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 14, 1998 |
In the drizzling rain of a predawn morning, a dozen practitioners inside the Zen Center of Los Angeles light a candle, burn incense, gently strike a bell and begin a silent sitting meditation on traditional Japanese tatami mats. Across town at the colorful Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood, monks in bright orange robes begin their morning chants.
February 8, 2011 |
He's a "living Buddha" with movie-star good looks and an iPod, a 25-year-old who rubs shoulders with Richard Gere and Tom Cruise and is mentioned as a successor to the Dalai Lama. Now allegations that he's a Chinese spy, and a money launderer to boot, have laid bare divisions in the outwardly serene world of Tibetan Buddhism and longtime tensions between China and India. There's a lot at stake. The Karmapa is among Tibetan Buddhism's most revered figures and heads the religion's wealthiest sect, with property estimated at $1.2 billion worldwide.
December 9, 1995 |
In a ceremony attended by senior Communist Party officials and Tibetan monks loyal to Beijing, the Chinese government on Friday formally installed a 6-year-old boy as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, second only to the Dalai Lama in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy.
March 26, 2008 |
As the world's most famous Buddhist, the Dalai Lama is a monk juggling two jobs. One is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, and the other is the political head of his government in exile. He was chosen to serve these dual callings through an arcane process based on signs that he was reincarnated from a long line of Dalai Lamas who were considered embodiments of the Buddha of Compassion, the holder of the White Lotus.