The Tibet Center News and Events

The Perspectives of a Contemporary Abbot

Posted on May 27th, 2010 | Posted in Events, Lectures | Comments Off on The Perspectives of a Contemporary Abbot
The Perspectives of a Contemporary Abbot

Geshe Lharampa Yonten Dhamchoe

Geshe Lharampa Yonten Dhamchoe

Join the UVA Tibet Center for a talk by the 79th abbot of Drepung Gomang monastery in India where Geshe Lharampa Yonten Dhamchoe will share his perspectives on Tibetan Buddhist monastic organization.

In 2009, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appointed Geshe Lharampa Yonten Dhamchoe as the 79th Abbot of Drepung Gomang Monastery, South India. Khen Rinpoche is a highly accomplished scholar with over 30 years teaching experience who specializes in Madhyamika (Middle Way) Philosophy.

Learn more: Drepung Gomang Monastic College

UVa Directions/Map to: Cocke Hall

Minorities Studies and Tibet Research: A Seminar on Minzuxue

Posted on March 31st, 2010 | Posted in Events, Lectures, TSGP Events, Visitors | Comments Off on Minorities Studies and Tibet Research: A Seminar on Minzuxue
Minorities Studies and Tibet Research in the PRC

A Seminar on Minzuxue with Professor Liu Zhiyang

On January 28, Visiting Professor Liu Zhiyang led a seminar on minorities studies and Tibet research in the PRC. Hosted by the Tibet Sustainable Governance Program, the seminar provided UVa students and faculty a opportunity to learn about a research and scholarly field that has undergone a significant transition over the past generation.

A professor at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, Liu Zhiyang himself specializes in Tibetan studies and has conducted extensive field research, both in Lhasa and in the Tibetan-Yi corridor of Pingwu county and elsewhere on the Sino-Tibetan frontier. He has been resident at the University of Virginia through the Tibet Center over the past academic year.

In his seminar, Professor Liu discussed the meaning and direction of minzu xue in China. He also spoke on the direction that China’s Tibetan studies (zang xue) are heading. In particularly, he discussed the complexity of the term minzu. The concept has denoted different meanings at different times. Its translation into English has, correspondingly, led to some confusion. Today, according to Professor Liu, it is a politicized concept.

Liu Zhiyang contrasted the development of minorities studies with the discipline of anthropology (renleixue). Considered politically suspect, anthropology was eliminated as a field of study in China in favor of minorities studies. Today, the two fields have converged, with the one clear distinction that Chinese anthropology also includes within its purview the study of cultural difference among the “Han” nationality, while minorities studies does not.

Professor Liu recently returned to Guangzhou where he will continue teaching anthropology, minorities studies and Tibetan studies.

Tibetan Social Business Symposium

Posted on March 29th, 2010 | Posted in Conferences, Events, TSGP Events | Comments Off on Tibetan Social Business Symposium
LOCATION: Abbott Auditorium, Darden School of Business

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

The collecting of Cordyceps (Cattepillar Fungus) provides one of the few sources for cash income in rural Tibetan areas

The collecting of Cordyceps (Caterpillar Fungus) provides one of the few sources for cash income in rural Tibetan areas

DETAILS: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Open to the public and free of charge.

The University of Virginia Tibet Sustainable Governance Program, in partnership with Machik, hosted the Tibetan Social Business and Sustainable Entrepreneurship Symposium on April 10 to bring together Tibetan entrepreneurs and global experts to discuss creative solutions to promoting business innovation on the Tibetan plateau in ways that benefit communities.

The Social Business Initiative is animated by the idea that markets have the power to transform social reality, and yet too often they leave the vast majority of the poor and disadvantaged behind. The concepts of social business and sustainable entrepreneurship offer new avenues for envisioning the role of markets in expanding the capacity of communities to become more self-reliant. By tying market mechanisms to social objectives, business principles can provide an opportunity to harness the power of markets to better meet collective social needs. But how might profit-maximizing enterprises be designed to also optimize social benefits–whether poverty alleviation, education, gender parity or environmental protection–in the Tibetan region?

The Tibetan Social Business Symposium was co-convened by the University of Virginia’s Tibet Sustainable Governance Program (TSGP) and Machik, a nonprofit organization working to develop new opportunities for education and capacity-building on the Tibetan plateau.

Darden School of Business, Abbott Auditorium

Darden School of Business, Abbott Auditorium

Symposium Schedule, April 10th, 2010

  • 8:00 – 8:30am, Registration
  • 8:30 – 9am, Opening Remarks
  • 9 – 9:30am, Keynote
  • 9:30 – 10:45am, Concepts and Frames: Sustainability, Innovation, Entrepreneurship
  • 10:45 – 11:15am, Break
  • 11:15 – 12:30am, Social Investment, Self-Reliance and Sustainable Communities
  • 12:30 – 2pm, Lunch
  • 2 – 3:15pm, Case Studies: Sustainable Practices and Social Enterprises
  • 3:15 – 3:30pm, Break
  • 3:30 – 4:45pm, New Horizons: Tibet, Social Enterprises and Global Connections
  • 4:45 – 5pm, Closing Remarks

Minorities Studies and Tibet Research in the People’s Republic of China: A Seminar on Minzuxue

Posted on March 23rd, 2010 | Posted in Events, TSGP Events | Comments Off on Minorities Studies and Tibet Research in the People’s Republic of China: A Seminar on Minzuxue

Liu Zhiyang
Zhongshan University

Tashi Rabgey
University of Virginia

On January 28, Visiting Professor Liu Zhiyang led a seminar on minorities studies and Tibet research in the PRC. Hosted by the Tibet Sustainable Governance Program, the seminar provided UVa students and faculty a opportunity to learn about a research and scholarly field that has undergone a significant transition over the past generation.

A professor at Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, Liu Zhiyang himself specializes in Tibetan studies and has conducted extensive field research, both in Lhasa and in the Tibetan-Yi corridor of Pingwu county and elsewhere on the Sino-Tibetan frontier. He has been resident at the University of Virginia through the Tibet Center over the past academic year.

In his seminar, Professor Liu discussed the meaning and direction of minzu xue in China. He also spoke on the direction that China’s Tibetan studies (zang xue) are heading. In particular, he discussed the complexity of the term minzu. The concept has denoted different meanings at different times. Its translation into English has, correspondingly, led to some confusion. Today, according to Professor Liu, it is a politicized concept.

Liu Zhiyang contrasted the development of minorities studies with the discipline of anthropology (renleixue). Considered politically suspect, anthropology was eliminated as a field of study in China in favor of minorities studies. Today, the two fields have converged, with the one clear distinction that Chinese anthropology also includes within its purview the study of cultural difference among the “Han” nationality, while minorities studies does not.

Professor Liu recently returned to Guangzhou where he will continue teaching anthropology, minorities studies and Tibetan studies.

Healthcare Initiative – Dr. Konchok Gyaltsen and Pema McGuinness

Posted on March 22nd, 2010 | Posted in News, People | Comments Off on Healthcare Initiative – Dr. Konchok Gyaltsen and Pema McGuinness

Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen (UCLA PhD) will be joining us at UVa to explore the development of a Tibetan public healthcare initiative. Kunchok Gyaltsen is a unique figure in the world of Tibetan healthcare work. He is both trained in traditional Tibetan medicine as well as in the US academy. He has been a consultant for major NGOs on Tibetan healthcare as well as published academically on the subject: Gyaltsen, K., Gewa, C., Greenlee, H., Ravetz, J., Aikman, M., Rebley, A., (2007). Socioeconomic status and maternal and child health in rural Tibetan villages. California Center for Population Research, UCLA.

Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen will be based primarily in Amdo through the coming year, but will be in residence at the University strategically to move the initiative forward. This semester, he is joining us for a month, from March 29 to April 30. He will be working out of an office on the ground floor of Gibson. Thanks to Ngawang Thokmey for helping push forward this initiative to bring Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen to UVa!

To support this TSGP Healthcare Initiative, Pema McGuinness will be joining us for a month as a research intern. Pema is an outstanding graduate of Duke University, with extensive field experience in healthcare NGO work in Nepal, who has been accepted into an MA in Public Health at both Harvard and Johns Hopkins. She was an exceptionally bright and dedicated intern at Machik last year, and we are pleased she is going to be joining TSGP as a healthcare research intern during Kunchok Gyaltsen’s residency. Pema will be working out of Tashi Rabgey’s office in Gibson.

We hope you will all welcome Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen and Pema to the University. If you have any interest, please know you are welcome to participate in the preliminary brainstorming/discussion sessions we will be holding next week.

Screening and Discussion with Prominent Tibetan Directors

Posted on March 16th, 2010 | Posted in Events | Comments Off on Screening and Discussion with Prominent Tibetan Directors
Screening and Discussion with Prominent Tibetan Directors

Featuring Padma Tseten and Rigdan Gyatso

L016_silent_holy_stones

Prominent Tibetan film directors Padma Tseten and Rigdan Gyatso will be speaking about their experience as filmmakers in Tibet.

Rigdan Gyatso, whose latest work The Girl Lhari will have its New York premiere at Tibet in Harlem on March 19, will discuss his vision to create films and videos for children.

Padma Tseten (Silent Holy Stones, and The Search), who is enjoying increasing international recognition as a director, will show excerpts from his films with his commentary. The Search will be shown in its entirety on Saturday night, March 20th, at Tibet in Harlem. In 2005 Padma Tseten won the Golden Rooster (the equivalent of the Chinese Oscar) for best directorial debut.

Co-convened by the Tibet Center at UVa and Machik

Contemporary Art in Lhasa, a Visual Introduction

Posted on March 15th, 2010 | Posted in Events, Lectures | Comments Off on Contemporary Art in Lhasa, a Visual Introduction
Contemporary Art in Lhasa, a Visual Introduction

by Ian Alsop

the-artistsContemporary Art in Lhasa explores the world of the young Tibetan artists who walk the borderline of artistic expression in a fast-changing world. Lhasa is a place which inhabits the imagination of so many people, but where the reality may come as a bit of a surprise. The talk will offer an introduction to the vital contemporary art scene in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and the artists who inhabit it. The presentation will draw heavily upon recent photographs.

Ian Alsop has been traveling regularly to Lhasa since his first trip in 1986, and since 1993 has represented several of the contemporary artists of Lhasa at his gallery in Santa Fe New Mexico. He also wrote one of the first articles on the subject for Orientations June 2007.

Ian Alsop lived in Kathmandu, Nepal from 1970 to 1988, where he eventually learned the Newari language and became a student of Nepalese cultural history. From 1980 he was involved in a project to produce a classical Newari dictionary, which is presently available on-line at Newari.net. He has written numerous articles on Nepalese and Tibetan art and culture in Orientations, Arts of Asia, and Artibus Asiae, and was a contributor to the MacMillan Dictionary of Art , The Art of Tibet: Towards a Definition of Style and the Marg volume on the Art of Nepal. He is also editor of an online Journal, Asianart.com. He and his wife Lois own and run a gallery of Asian fine art in Santa Fe, Peaceful Wind, and the associated gallery of Himlayan Contemporary art, PWContemporary now both managed by their son Vajra.

Lhasa artists ca. 2005 – photo by and copyright Lois Conner

CH04592-Lhasa-Artists-Lois-Conner

Lecture by Daniel Winkler – The Mushrooming Fungi Market

Posted on February 26th, 2010 | Posted in Events, Lectures | Comments Off on Lecture by Daniel Winkler – The Mushrooming Fungi Market
The Mushrooming Fungi Market – Transforming rural Tibet

By Daniel Winkler, Tibeto-ecologist

Daniel Winkler in Nantong.

Daniel Winkler in Nantong.

The collection of wild edible fungi has a long-standing history in Tibet. Today, a wide variety of mushrooms is collected to supplement rural income. Because of the lucrative economic return, rural Tibetans have increased their gathering activities substantially. The trade of Dbyar rtswa dgun ‘bu (dongchong xiacao), as Tibetans know caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps sinensis), has developed into the main source of income in rural Tibet. It accounts for 40 percent of rural cash income and is spurring a globally unique commodification of fungi in the TAR. In 2008 the value of the best-quality Dbyar rtswa dgun ‘bu in Lha sa (Lasa) traded for around CN ¥80,000 (nearly US $12,000) per pound. The value of the 50 ton annual harvest of Cordyceps in TAR surpassed the value of the industry and mining sector in 2004. Most county agencies have established a permit system and require collectors to obtain licenses. The ever-growing economic importance of these fungi raises concerns regarding sustainability of current harvest levels and regarding the social impact of this annual income.

Daniel Winkler is a freelance “Tibeto-ecologist”. Trained as a geographer and ecologist (LMU in Munich and FU Berlin) Daniel specialized in rural development for High Asia. Daniel works as an environmental consultant and researcher living in Kirkland, Washington – USA. For the last twenty years his research and professional work focused on the environment of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas. Daniel’s special interest is balancing local landuse, nature-based income generation, and resource management to secure conservation and sustainable development for rural communities. Daniel has published in scientific journals on topics ranging from forest ecology and forestry to traditional landuse practices and medicinal plants and in recent years especially mushrooms. Most of his papers and much more (photo essays etc.) can be found on his website www.danielwinkler.com. Daniel is also frequently leading tours to Tibet [www.mushroaming.com].

Sponsored by TSGP and the Tibet Center at the University of Virginia

Book Reading by Canyon Sam

Posted on February 26th, 2010 | Posted in Events | Comments Off on Book Reading by Canyon Sam
Sky Train: Tibetan Women On the Edge of History

By Canyon Sam, writer, nationally acclaimed performance artist and activist

Canyon Sam

Through a lyrical narrative of her journey to Tibet in 2007, activist Canyon Sam contemplates modern history from the perspective of Tibetan women. Traveling on China ‘s new “Sky Train,” she celebrates Tibetan New Year with the Lhasa family whom she’d befriended decades earlier and concludes an oral-history project with women elders.

As she uncovers stories of Tibetan women’s courage, resourcefulness, and spiritual strength in the face of loss and hardship since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, and observes the changes wrought by the controversial new rail line in the futuristic “new Lhasa ,” Sam comes to embrace her own capacity for letting go, for faith, and for acceptance. Her glimpse of Tibet ‘s past through the lens of the women – a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, and a child bride – affords her a unique perspective on the state of Tibetan culture today – in Tibet , in exile, and in the widening Tibetan diaspora.

Sponsored by the Tibet Center at the University of Virginia

Lecture and Book Signing by Arjia Rinpoche – Surviving the Dragon

Posted on February 25th, 2010 | Posted in Events, Lectures | Comments Off on Lecture and Book Signing by Arjia Rinpoche – Surviving the Dragon
Surviving the Dragon

Surviving the Dragon by Arjia Rinpoche

Surviving the Dragon is the story of Arjia Rinpoche’s growing up as the reincarnated abbot in Kumbum, one of Tibet’s major monasteries. His life in Tibet was one of great oscillations between fame and suffering. As a child, he was treated like a living Buddha; as a young man he emptied latrines during the Cultural Revolution. Then after the death of Mao Tse Tung, he rose to prominence within the Chinese Buddhist bureaucracy. He became Vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China and was slated to become its Chairman. At the height of his rise, he decided to flee China to the US, after being pressured to become tutor to the boy whom the Chinese government had controversially named the 11th Panchen Lama instead of the candidate selected by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The conflict was especially difficult for Arjia Rinpoche, since the 10th Panchen Lama had been his own teacher. As a result of his feeling that this would compromise his integrity as a Buddhist teacher in Tibet, he fled into exile rather than yield to the pressure.

Surviving the Dragon opens a window to events from inside Tibetan-Chinese history during the final half of the twentieth century, a conflict that continues today between China and its ethnic minorities.

Arjia Rinpoche will present the book to the public by giving a talk about his life and events in Tibet that took place during the time period of the book. In addition, he will sign copies of his book after the talk.

About the Author

Arjia Rinpoche is one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers and lamas to have left Tibet. At age two, he was recognized by the Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Lama Tsong Khapa’s father, Lumbum Ghe, and the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery. He has trained with lineage teachers, such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Panchen Lama, and Gyayak Rinpoche–from whom he received many sacred teachings and ritual instructions.

During the Cultural Revolution, Arjia Rinpoche was forced to attend Chinese schools and work in a forced labor camp for sixteen years, yet secretly continued to practice and study with his tutors. Following the Cultural Revolution, Rinpoche served as Abbot of Kumbum, one of the greatest of monasteries in Tibet. He oversaw renovations in the monastery and the reestablishment of monastic studies, and also launched a variety of other projects, including:

    Red Cross Organization in Kumbum
    Disaster Relief Project for local villages
    Clinic for villagers run by monks of the Tibetan Medical Institute and
    School for local village children

In 1998, due to the strained political climate in Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche went into exile, stating that he would not compromise his spiritual beliefs and practices. He escaped to the United States and started the Tibetan Center for Compassion and Wisdom (TCCW) in Mill Valley, California. In 2005, he was appointed Director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center (TMBCC) in Bloomington, Indiana by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Presently, he directs both TCCW and TMBCC. Both centers are dedicated to the preservation of Buddhist teachings, art and culture within and outside of Tibet and Mongolia.

Arjia Rinpoche is the only Tibetan high lama of Mongolian descent. Throughout his life, Arjia Rinpoche was tutored by specialized teachers in the area of Buddhist philosophy, sutra and tantra teachings, as well as in Buddhist art and architectural design.