Home -@- Travel-Videos -@- Publishing -@- Exhibitions -@- TMStudio -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tibet - Tibetans, Tibetan culture 4/5

In this part I am trying to summarise my experience with the Tibet and its culture. The view point is mainly taken on Lhasa and its inhabitants. This is because I feel; there is really big difference between people living in Lhasa and the Nomads in the very remote areas. Not only in the lifestyle, but also in education and Chinese influence. Yet, it also includes the view on the whole culture as many pilgrims cruise the country and brings their experience with them.

There is no way to keep old Tibet preserved as it was. The change is inevitable and also needed. Though NOT in the way as Chinese see and apply it!

Tibet itself is still very little developed in some areas, especially where the Nomads still practise the traditional way of life. Of course, there are other parts, where the development took off very fast - like Lhasa, where the development is so fast it might sometimes be too difficult to integrate the change to the mentality.

Lhasa is one big melting pot, where new and old is mixing together inseparably parallel. Like a spirals crossing its ways - sometimes on its own, sometimes together. Lhasa is also an easy place to hang out, full of culture and life. Mix between Han Chinese, Tibetans and pilgrims from all over the country. Pilgrims are easy to spot as they are usually traditionally dressed. And of course, there are some westerners there. In November were not so many of them, because it is out of season and even Lhasa is getting cold. I was told there is not much snow usually. But the surrounding mountains get quite a lot of it. Face of Lhasa is changing very fast. Vast Chinese influence with modern development, buildings, technology, new shops and simplified working life style is what you can see on every step. All the developments and especially the modern technology are changing the native Tibetans faster then ever. Many migrants from all over the country are seeking here new opportunities and better lifestyle here. Competing in unequal fight with Han Chinese, whose migration is supported by the Chinese government.

Watching some Tibetans - let’s say around 30 years old is the group. The age, when they became mature and started to contribute to a normal life. Usually having started a family and incorporate Buddhism together with tradition into the everyday life. It’s them walking on the street partly dressed in the modern closes, with a backpack and shopping in one hand and with the praying beads in the other. They have started to understand their role in the society and found the place for a cultural heritage in their life. Younger Tibetans are fighting for their identity like any other youngsters. Though for them is much harder to do so.

Lhasa streets - No1

On one hand, there is a pressure of tradition, religion and national feeling - being occupied and restricted in their homeland. They hear many stories from their parents and have somebody from the family badly treated by the regime or escaped in the exile. Also, there are many restrictions applied if you are ethnic Tibetan. Like, you can get a passport to travel - Chinese, of course - but as you are ethnic Tibetan a different rules do apply. Han Chinese can easily travel to Nepal, even drive there. Ethnic Tibetan with the same passport can not cross the border. And if so, then it is very complicated.

The other side forming their personality is pressure from the modern world. All the new things - mobiles, comfort, disco, drinking, more open lifestyle - easier life. Education which suppresses the religion and all the cultural believes. The education which tries to breed atheists. Many of the younger ones don’t believe in “God” - Buddha, yet still, they can not help themselves wondering, what is behind. Man have fallen into creating new way of believe - believe in being good and doing good things (for a good Karma), and doing so, feeling good for the inner self. They still go to the temple to pray. But not praying to the same Gods as their parents. They pray to find their inner peace in the place of tradition, the place where believes even for non believers could be expressed and wished for, thanked for, …
And when they grow older and become more mature, they hold upon the tradition more and also understand it more. Not being same as their parents, but keeping Tibet with its culture in their hearts.

Traditional way of living, with the prayer on the lips and spinning prayer wheel in the hand - especially preserved by an older generation. More traditional families keeps their children fully involved and so passing on tradition continues.

Offerings for dead person, Lhasa streets

Then you have all the pilgrims coming from every corner of the country, bringing in ancient way of pilgrimage, prayers and clothing. They keep all the others to remember, what it means to be the Tibetan. Some of them never seen a foreigner before and in the way, they are so natural in their behaviour.
Generally speaking, Tibetans are rather reserved and it takes a time to break into their closer circles, to be accepted as a part of their friends’ circles. Yet, they are very curious, with high self esteem and confidence - that is why there is so much stress on ego lowering in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
I found it hard to make friends with them sometimes, because they are so reserved. But sometimes, when you break the ice and they accept you, they are very sharing and carrying. The nicest people I met were around the Mt. Kailash, while I was doing my kora/pilgrimage. Two old ladies who gave me sweets before the kora; the family I stayed the first night on the kora. They are the most memorable people of them all. It might be, because the holy kora brings people more together. They have something in common. Something, which seems to be so important for the both sides.

Lhasa streets - No2

No comments:

Copyright TMStudio 2012 - Travel Magic - adventure world - Tibet - bike - Kailash - Lhasa - China - India - Taj Mahal - Vashist - Himalayas - Pakistan - Lahore - Hunza valley - Kashmir - Dal lake - buddhism - Dalai Lama - Ladakh - yogi - holy
Varanasi - sadhu - Puskar - China - panda - Lesham - Buddha - Chengdu - Kunming - New Zealand - ski - surfing - Australia - Sydney - hotel - hostel - Ladakh - Indonesia - Aceh - diving - Prague - Vietnam - Cambodia - Ankor Watt - Thailand