Tibetan Culture

dalai-lama-14th-tenzin-gyatso“Since the occupation of Tibet, Communist China has been publishing distorted propaganda about Tibet and its people. Consequently, there are, among the Chinese populace, not many who have a true understanding about Tibet. It is, in fact, very difficult for them to find the truth. There are also ultra-leftist Chinese leaders who have, since last March, been undertaking a huge propaganda effort with the intention of setting the Tibetan and Chinese peoples apart and creating animosity between them. Sadly, as a result, a negative impression of Tibetans has arisen in the minds of some of our Chinese brothers and sisters. Therefore, as I have repeatedly appealed before, I would like once again to urge our Chinese brothers and sisters not to be swayed by such propaganda, but, instead, to try to discover the facts about Tibet impartially, so as to prevent divisions among us. Tibetans should also continue to work for friendship with the Chinese people.” – H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
In Tibetan, Chaksam-pa means Bridge-Builder, and is one of the many names attributed to a famous Tibetan saint known as Thangtong Gyalpo, who lived in the 14th century in Tibet.  He is considererd to be a patron saint of Tibetan medicine, as well as the founding father of Ache Lhamo, Tibetan opera.  Legend has it that Thangtong Gyalpo recruited villagers and gathered support to build suspension bridges all over the wide Himalayan rivers in Tibet to access pilgrimages to the sacred Buddhist sites.

The bridges we build now are those of cultural exchange, sharing the unique, but threatened, traditions of Tibet with audiences and artists around the world.

A song, silenced in its home…  Since their invasion of Tibet, the Chinese have suppressed the rich traditions of Tibetan music, dance, and drama in an effort to assimilate this ancient culture.  But the art survives, barely, in refugee settlements in India, and now, Tibetan culture is being preserved in the San Francisco Bay Area by Chaksam-pa. Ed Ellsworth serves on the board of directors of Chaksam-pa, the Tibetan Dance and Opera Company.




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