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Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao has accused the Tibetan spiritual leader of masterminding the protests — which culminated in a riot on Friday in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa — from his base in the Northern Indian town of Dharamsala, where he lives in exile.

Prayer Flags, HHDL Residence, Dharamsala

Prayer Flags outside HHDL Residence, Dharamsala, Northern India, 2007

© CCC 2007

“We are in the midst of a fierce struggle involving blood and fire, a life and death struggle with the Dalai Clique,” Tibet’s Communist Party secretary, Zhang Qingli, told a teleconference of the region’s government and Party leaders.

“Leaders of the whole country must deeply understand the arduousness, complexity and long-term nature of the struggle,” he said in remarks carried online by the China Tibet News.

Photo of children looking on toward dead bodies of protesters in Tibet

Image from FreeTibet.Org

Remembering India

Copyright Christina Cooper-Cummings; All Rights Reserved.

Well, today was the day. We saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama!!!!! I never thought it would happen in my entire life-but here I am. Sitting here. I was only three feet away from him at one point. Amazing.

Anyway, the day from the beginning; We rose early, and left Kashmir Cottage a little after 8am. The puja wasn’t set to start for a while, and HHDL wasn’t even set to show up for certain. Ju Lee and Adam had walked up around 6 via the Lingkor. I wasn’t brave enough for that. There was a steady stream of people into Namgyal when we got there. The security was quite heavy, but by now I’m sort of used to that; getting patted down and scanned everywhere. Eventually we got through into the yard and I found a seat vaguely between Ju Lee, Jana, and Adam. 

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There is word going around here that the Dalai Lama is going to attend the long life puja the villagers are doing up at Namgyal tomorrow. I don’t believe it. How impossible would that be? Seeing the Karmapa AND the Dalai Lama? I couldn’t … can’t… it’s amazing. Walked around Dharamsala a little, and it just seems so… comfortable. I don’t know. I just… I like it here. Sure, I’m a little ‘different’, but luckily for me, at least a couple of people ‘get’ that here. I think most of us are changing… and visibly. Several aren’t–which surprises me. How one can come somewhere so… unbelievable and stay stoically the same. Like a rock.

Day Seven–Geden Choeling, New friends, New beginnings

After our visit to Shugseb we wandered back to Kashmir Cottage somewhat subdued. It was good to visit the new site first, as now I know that in the future their lives will get better. Especially considering many of them were beaten, raped, tortured in prison… I share so many things with them. Yet, somehow they manage to be so compassionate and so forgiving… and so beautiful. It radiates from them. I want to be like that–not bitter, or sad, or angry…

This afternoon we went to Geden Choeling Nunnery–the oldest in Dharamsala. It was bigger than I thought it would be and different to either Dolma Ling or Shugseb. I guess partly because it’s a different lineage. Dolma Ling has teachers from all lineages, and Shugseb is Nyingma. Geden Choeling is Gelugkpa. It was open and welcoming, and we were treated to more tea (my fourth or fifth of the day!!) before heading for a tour.

Nestled on the side of a hill, the nunnery seems to sprout between the trees, held together by the proliferation of prayer flags. It really is a beautiful place. As we arrived the nuns were lined up for their evening meal. It’s funny how there’s a different energy about each of the nunneries. By far I felt that Dolma Ling was the most… vibrant. I don’t know if it’s because the white and deep red are so energetic in themselves.

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Day eight part one–Kashmir Cottage, Old Shugseb

We arrived at Kashmir cottage early today and had a little while to settle into our rooms. It is different here, but still peaceful. As the former residence of Dekyi Tsering, the mother of the Dalai Lama, it certainly has a distinctive air. Rinchen Khando Choegyal, Director of the Tibetan Nuns Project, also spends a lot of time here. I’m rooming with Debi again–after her last roommate didn’t work out. I don’t mind–I like her a lot and we seem to get on well. I think a change will be good for all of us. Many emotions surfaced at Dolma Ling, and perhaps a different space will help us to breathe again.

After a wonderful lunch we headed over to the old Shugseb site. It was an amazing walk, with Pündrun-la our guide. A small trail led to the buildings which immediately just broke my heart. A cluster of small delapitated houses huddled together as if afraid they might fall apart at any moment. The walls showed outward signs of the ravages of the monsoon. It… was depressing. Yet, the nuns, once again, were full of life and welcoming. To think those at Dolma Ling also used to live like this…

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