Tibetan Losar 2010 & Tribute to "Ama Jetsun Pema", Soul of Tibet
A couple of years ago, I wrote one of my most favorite articles ever. I was inspired to write it because of a song - the most beautiful song I have ever heard. The name of the song is "Ama Jetsun Pema" by Pemsi. I didn't know the words to the song, but I could feel the soul-stirring beauty of it. Later, when I learned that Pemsi, who sings the song, was a resident of the Tibetan Childrens' Villages, and when I learned the words to the song, I understood why the song had affected me so deeply.
You can read the first article: "Soul of Tibet - Ama Jetsun Pema" at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=231882967&blogID=379133817
Jetsun Pema is the younger sister of the exiled Dalai Lama of Tibet, and took charge of the Tibetan Childrens' Village in 1964, after the death of her sister, who oversaw it in its beginning years. It was originally an emergency orphanage intended to feed, clothe, and house the thousands of homeless, malnourished, and desperate Tibetan orphans streaming across the border into India to Dharmsala after the Chinese People's Liberation Army invaded Tibet in 1950, and the Dalai Lama was forced into exile in Dharmsala, India, in 1959.
The orphanage started out with 51 children, but under Jetsun Pema's direction, and with the constant arrivals of more refugee children over the years, especially in the early 1990s, the project soon burgeoned into many branches of additional residential villages in India for Tibetan children. The orphanage then became the "Tibetan Childrens' Villages", which not only provided shelter and sustenance for the children, but also supplied their education, based on the Montessori method, which was very innovative in its time.
Ms. Pema dedicated herself completely to the welfare and education of the children of Tibet, and to building a community of love and respect, which honors and preserves Tibetan customs and traditions. The villages provided many other services not only for the children, but geared towards helping and educating their families, as well.
She retired in 2006, after having received many International Peace and Education Awards for her 42 years of dedicated and loving service to the children of Tibet. You can see her many awards at the TVC web site listed below under "Links". The children she dedicated her life to all think of and remember her lovingly as "Amala", or "mother", hence the name "Ama Jetsun Pema".
There are presently over 16,000 Tibetan children living in the villages, and nearly 34,000 have gone through the facilities altogether over the years. Many lives have been saved and the very soul of Tibetan heritage and values have been preserved, and not lost forever in the genocidal destruction wreaked on the country by the Chinese government.
Here is Ama Jetsun Pema, truly the "Soul of Tibet":
Please listen to the beautiful song, "Ama Jetsun Pema":
(You will not regret it, I promise!)
"Ama Jetsun Pema" by Pemsi
English Translation of the Lyrics to "Ama Jetsun Pema:
"Even the orphans who are in exile in an alien land,
still have Ama Jetsun Pema [care for them] who is as compassionate as the Buddhas.
She cherishes us and warms [our hearts] just like our mothers,
She is the mother of the world, to whom our debt of gratitude is as heavy as a mountain.
The children of the Land of Snows have been taken care of by you throughout their entire life,
You have endured all sorts of hardship for the sake of the children of the Land of Snows.
How can we forget you, whose kindness to us is as deep as the deepest sea.
All the children of the Land of Snow pay tribute to you, Ama Jetsun Pema."
"It is our Karmic fortune, people of the Land of Snows, that you arrived in the Land of Snows,
You use all your energy to benefit the children of the Land of Snows, regardless of days and nights.
She is the mother of the world, to whom our debt of gratitude is as heavy as a mountain.
The children of the Land of Snows have been taken care by you throughout their entire life.
In order to realize your wishes and your expectations,
We, the children of the Land of Snows, will remember forever.
We pray for your longevity, the mother of the Land of Snows, Ama Jetsun Pema..."
(I agree. I, too, pray for your longevity, Ama Jetsun Pema. We may not worship the same way, but our religion is the same, and that is a love for your fellow humans. May God bless you for all you have done!)
Even after more than two years of not having listened to this song, it still fills me with emotion and a deep sense of the courageous and indomitable spirit of the Tibetan people, who have endured such grief and hardship over so many years of brutal tragedy and exile. They steadfastly refuse to give up their desire to reclaim their country, and have tenaciously safeguarded their native heritage and customs.
Honestly, I had not kept up with what was going on with the Tibetans and their struggle over the past few years. It is so far away, both geographically and ideologically, and there are so many other pressing issues going on elsewhere on a daily basis...
Imagine my consternation, when I discovered today that this song has been declared by the People's Republic of China, to be a "banned reactionary" song, and that it is forbidden to sell it, download it, or to listen to it whatsoever. This, and many other beautiful songs which so much as mention the Dalai Lama or the previous Tibetan religion and ways of life are prohibited. Recently, Chinese soldiers raided the markets where music is sold and arrested at least 59 vendors for selling "prohibited music", songs like "Ama Jetsun Pema" and others.
Then, I also learned that today, February 14, 2010, is Tibetan Losar, or Tibetan New Year, and ushers in the "Year of the Iron Tiger", a year of hope, change, and new beginnings. (It is also my favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, and my own wedding anniversary!)
I became quite upset when I learned what has been going on with the Tibetans since I last touched "cyber base" with them. The Tibetan cause has suffered serious setbacks.
Losar falls on a different date each year, since its date is calculated by the Chinese calendar. In 2008, Losar fell on a day in March - a fatal day which Tibetans declared to be the "Day of Uprising", when Tibetans all over the world protested over their country being stolen from them, and for the genocides and many civil and human rights abuses perpetrated on their nation by the Chinese.
Unfortunately, these uprisings were met with ferocious brutality and the Tibetans were not successful. Many thousands of Tibetans lost their lives in the protests. So, last year, Tibet decided not to celebrate Losar, and even though the Chinese government tried to bribe them with many enticements (such as free tickets to celebrations, meals, etc.) the Tibetans refused to celebrate Losar. They preferred to light their "butter lamps" or candles, in honor and remembrance of all those Tibetans who lost their lives in 2008 during the protests.
Here are some videos that will give you a better idea of what Losar has been like for the past couple of years:
Here is Losar of 2008 - Protests & Brutality:
Turmoil in Tibet - Losar 2008
And here is Tibetan New Year 2009:
Losar 2010: Because I am Tibetan
Tibetans did not celebrate Losar last year. But this year they will, and here is their statement regarding Losar 2010:
From Students For a Free Tibet:
Dear friends and supporters of Tibet,
Tibetans will mark Losar – the Tibetan New Year – on February 14th, 2010. In the Tibetan lunar calendar, this day marks the beginning of the Iron Tiger Year 2137, a time for change, hope, and renewal. On this day, we celebrate our history, our culture, our religion, and our future – because our history is great, our culture beautiful, our religion profound, and – in spite of our present suffering – our future is bright.
Since 2008, following the Tibetan uprising in all three historical provinces of Tibet, we witnessed an escalation in the imprisonment, torture and death of our fellow countrymen and women under Chinese rule. Because of this, last year, Tibetans united around the world and did not celebrate Losar.
This year, many Tibetans are planning to observe Losar for one reason only: because we are Tibetan. We will speak Tibetan language, wear Tibetan dress, and observe Tibetan customs, thus strengthening our identity and our spirit. Through this observance we will find new courage and opportunities to advance our struggle. In observing Losar with family and friends, Tibetans will reach for happiness, which, as much as suffering, is an integral part of a freedom movement.
Through all these years of occupation one thing is clear: the oppressor envies the spirit of the Tibetan people, which cannot be crushed by violence. This year Tibetans worldwide will nourish this spirit with the observance of Losar.
While observing this important cultural tradition, we ask Tibetans and supporters to light butter lamps and candles on their altars and in their windows on February 14th to honor the courage of the Tibetan people in Tibet who continue to resist the Chinese government’s illegal occupation of their homeland.
Tibet will be free.
These maps show what is happening with Tibet:
Let Us Light a Candle For Tibet!
Candles for Tibet Links Page
"Soul of Tibet - Ama Jetsun Pema"
Tibet - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tibetan Childrens' Villages, Dharmsala, India
Reactionary' Ringtones Spark Arrests In Tibet
Losar 2010 - Because I am Tibetan
TIBETAN REFUGEES: A Struggle Beyond Generations - Video (Intro)