TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 – REMEMBERING THE CONSONANCE AND THE DISSONANCE IN HUMAN NATURE
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, the 17th Anniversary of 911 attacks on the United States, I reflect upon the consonance and dissonance in human nature. The serenity and nobility of the site in Pennsylvania depict the dimension of consonance and the crash of Flight 93 depicts the dimension of dissonance when the world and man are viewed as the works of God.
I define the United States using its national motto which proclaims, “In God We Trust.” For we trust in God, it is rational to claim that man is constituted as a Spiritual Being in God’s own image. I have a great problem in accounting for man’s evil thoughts and actions that cause pain and suffering. The wickedness of man got exposed on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. For God’s creation is perfect, there can never be two opposing or self-contradicting dimensions of human nature. Man’s spiritual nature reveals the consonance, the resonance of God’s nature in His work. How does the dissonance intrude into the world? How can the man be estranged, separated, or alienated from his own true or original nature?
In my analysis, the prophecy of Isaiah has come true. Man is cursed to suffer. There can be no healing without conversion by the Spirit.
The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.
Artwork courtesy of bioLinia and Paul Murdoch Architects.
The wind chimes inside the Tower of Voices. The chimes will be constructed of polished aluminium tubes ranging 8-16 inches in diameter and approximately five to ten feet in length. The size of each chime is dependent on the musical note and associated frequency that it is intended to produce.
Artwork courtesy of bioLinia and Paul Murdoch Architects.
The Tower of Voices serves as both a visual and audible reminder of the heroism of the forty passengers and crew of United Flight 93. On September 09, 2018 Flight 93 National Memorial will host a dedication event to complete the final phase of construction and complete the permanent memorial.
The tower is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. It is intended to be a landmark feature near the memorial entrance, visible from US Route 30/Lincoln Highway. The Tower of Voices will provide a living memorial in sound to remember the forty through their ongoing voices.
The tower project will be constructed from 2017 to 2018 with a dedication of the project on September 9, 2018. Funding for the design and construction of the project is provided through private donations to the National Park Foundation and the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.
Uniqueness of Design
There are no other chime structures like this in the world. The shape and orientation of the tower are designed to optimize airflow through the tower walls to reach the interior chime chamber. The chime system is designed using music theory to identify a mathematically developed range of frequencies needed to produce a distinct musical note associated with each chime. The applied music theory allows the sound produced by individual chimes to be musically compatible with the sound produced by the other chimes in the tower. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.
The tower is approximately ninety-three feet tall from the base to the top with some height variations. The Tower cross-section is a “C” shape with a fifteen foot outside diameter and eleven foot inside diameter. The “C” shape allows sound to reflect outwardly from the open side in a fan-shaped pattern. The chimes will be suspended a minimum of twenty feet above the main plaza and will be suspended from the interior walls of the tower up to the top.
The tower walls will be constructed of precast concrete segments linked by connectors. The chimes will be constructed of polished aluminium tubes ranging eight to sixteen inches in diameter and approximately five to ten feet in length. The size of each chime is dependent on the musical note and associated frequency that it is intended to produce. Chimes of this size and magnitude do not currently exist in the world. The chimes are wind activated and will have internal strikers attached to sails projecting from the bottom of each chime.
The tower is located on an oval concrete plaza that is built on top of an earth mound to create an area more prominent on the landscape. The plaza includes two curved concrete benches facing the opening of the tower.
The tower is surrounded by concentric rings of white pines and deciduous plantings. The concentric plantings may be interpreted as resonating “sound waves” from the Tower, alluding to the auditory qualities of the chimes housed within. A direct paved path leads to the tower from the parking lot. A longer, meandering crushed stone path winds through the trees and allows visitors an alternative approach to the tower. All other landscaped areas of the project will be planted with a native wildflower seed mix similar to other landscaped areas of the park.
SEPTEMBER 08, 2018 – INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA
On Saturday, September 08, 2018, International Literacy Day, I pay my tribute to the Seventeen Great Masters of Nalanda Buddhist Monastery. I invite my readers to know about these great teachers and their contributions to the Literacy Traditions of Humanity.
International Literacy Day is a holiday which is celebrated annually on September 8th. The purpose of this day is to raise the world’s awareness of literacy issues that are faced by people all over the world and to endorse campaigns that help increase literacy for all people. It was originally established by UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization – in 1965.
To combat worldwide issues of illiteracy, UNESCO proclaimed September 8th as International Literacy Day in 1965. The purpose of this observational day was not only to combat illiteracy but also to promote literacy as a tool that could empower individuals as well as whole communities. It is from these humble beginnings that International Literacy Day has bloomed into a tool that could help millions of people around the globe.
As of 2016, about 775 million adults lack even the most basic, minimum literacy skills all over the world. This means that about 1 in 5 adults in the world – or about 20 % of all people – are not literate. Of that 20%, about 66% of those are women. About 75 million of the world’s children are not in school or have dropped out before they have finished. However, thanks to the efforts of UNESCO & World Literacy Day, more and more people are becoming literate and about 4 billion people are currently literate, as of now.
International Literacy Day Customs & Traditions
Every year, UNESCO issues a theme for the celebration of International Literacy Day. For instance, in 2011, the theme was “Literacy & Peace,” in 2013, the theme was “Literacy for the 21st Century” and in 2015, the theme was “Literacy and Sustainable Societies.”
UNESCO and its partners use these themes to highlight the programs which it and its partners use to tackle various parts of the literacy issues in the world. As a result of some of these programs, attention is often raised in the media about literacy issues. Especially on the Internet where the hashtag #literacyday has been trending for the last few years.
International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day is an annual worldwide observance that falls on February 21st. This day not only celebrates language diversity all over the world but also remembers the killing of four students on February 21, 1952. These students were killed because they campaigned to officially use their mother language in Bangladesh.
History of International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day was originally a social movement that started to defend a person’s right to speak and write in one’s mother language. February 21st was picked as the date because that is when students who were attending the University of Dhaka, Jagannath University and Dhaka Medical College were murdered by police while they were demonstrating for the right to speak in their mother tongue – Bengali. This started a social movement that began to snowball over the next few decades.
Eventually, this social movement was picked up by a Bengali named Rafiqul Islam that was living in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. He decided to send a letter to the United Nation to ask for a day to be established that would preserve and protect the languages of the world. In his letter, he stated that February 21st should be the day on which it is celebrated in honor of the killings in Dhaka. This would eventually lead to the proposal of resolution A/RES/61/266.
Finally, in 1999, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution A/RES/61/266. This resolution set February 21st as International Mother Language Day and called on all member states to promote this observational holiday as a way to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by people all over the world.
International Mother Language Day Customs & Traditions
Officially, UNESCO and many of its partners promote a number of linguistic and cultural diversity events on International Mother Language Day. Many universities all over the world will host a mother language day and some governments will issue a proclamation on this day. In Bangladesh, people lay flowers at the martyr’s monument known as Shaheed Minar. Also, there are various awards and prizes for the literacy competitions that promote multiculturalism and multilingualism are held on this day.
DALAI LAMA LAUDS NALANDA PRIESTS FOR LOGICAL BUDDHIST TEACHINGS
Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.(Photo: IANS)
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Monday praised the seventeen pandits (priests) of Nalanda for their logical way of teaching Buddhism and said he himself is one of their biggest admirers.
“The only complete and detailed explanation of the ancient Nalanda teaching has persevered in the Tibetan language which is the reason that the Chinese people who are interested in learning Buddhism, are learning the Tibetan language,” he said.
He said the ancestors of Tibetan people had well preserved this knowledge for thousands of years, which enabled Tibetans to expertise in promoting the knowledge in the Tibetan language.
“It is the duty of Tibetan people to continue the practical teachings of those ancestors while at the same time take pride in possessing such vast and profound knowledge passed by them,” he said.
He said he respects all kinds of religious beliefs which only teach love and compassion as the ultimate source of human happiness.
He cited an example of how humans are born out of love and how they survive on love. He emphasised that the masters of Nalanda encourage its followers to approach their teaching with logic and reason rather than following it blindly. Thus, people should experiment and research on the teachings of those masters in light of reason, he added.
He urged the Tibetan people to preserve the rich Tibetan language as it has the potential to serve all the sentient beings on earth. He assured the people that he would live for hundred years to serve humanity and especially to lead the cause of Tibet under his guidance.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA
I am pleased to share an article titled ‘The Seventeen Pandits of Nalanda Monastery’ by Professor James Blumenthal Ph.D. who gives a brief account of Nalanda University and its great influence upon Tibetan Buddhism. I pay my respectful tribute to Professor Blumenthal who passed away on October 09, 2015. May LORD GOD bless his soul.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA
THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA – CENTER OF BUDDHIST LEARNING IN ANCIENT INDIA:
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. ACHARYA NAGARJUNA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. ACHARYA NAGARJUNA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. ARYADEVA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. ASANGA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. VASUBANDHU.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. DIGNAGA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA – DHARMAKIRTI.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. GUNA PRABHA AND HIS DISCIPLE SHAKYA PRABHA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. BUDDHAPALITA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT TEACHERS OF NALANDA. BHAVAVIVEKA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. ACHARYA BHAVAVIVEKA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. CHANDRAKIRTI.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. SHANTARAKSHITA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. SHANTARAKSHITA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. KAMALASHILA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. KAMALASHILA. BHAVANAKRAMA – THREE STAGES OF MEDITATION.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. HARIBHADRA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. VIMUKTISENA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. SHANTIDEVA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT MASTERS OF NALANDA. ATISHA.
TIBET AWARENESS – THE GREAT TEACHERS OF NALANDA. ATISHA.
THE SEVENTEEN PANDITS OF NALANDA MONASTERY
BY JAMES BLUMENTHAL, INFO-BUDDHISM.COM
Posted on October 8th, 2015
Oregon, USA — Nalanda Monastic University was the greatest center of Buddhist learning in India’s glorious past. With upwards of 30,000 monks and nuns including 2,000 teachers living, studying and practicing there during its heyday, Nalanda was unmatched.
Established during the Gupta Dynasty in the late 5th to early 6th century C.E. under the patronage of the Gupta king Shakraditra, the institution survived for six hundred years, through the Pala Dynasty, until ultimately being destroyed in 1203 by Turkish Muslim invaders. In 1204 the last throne-holder (abbot) of Nalanda, Shakyashribhadra, fled to Tibet. In the intervening centuries, however, many of India’s greatest Buddhist masters trained and taught at Nalanda.
Nalanda’s renown as a center for higher learning spread far. It attracted students from as far away as Greece, Persia, China and Tibet. Although Buddhism was naturally the central focus of study, other subjects including astronomy, medicine (Ayurveda), grammar, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of language, classical Hindu philosophy, non-Indian philosophy and so forth were all regularly studied. Chinese pilgrims who visited Nalanda in the 7th century C.E. give detailed accounts of the physical premises and activities in their travelogues. For example, they describe three nine-story buildings comprising the library that housed millions of titles in hundreds of thousands of volumes on a vast variety of topics!
Much like the large Gelug monasteries of Sera, Drepung and Ganden, living quarters were divided according to regions of the world from which the monks and nuns came. There are clear records of a well-populated Tibet Vihara at Nalanda during the later period. In fact, history reveals that at one point there was a Tibetan gatekeeper at Nalanda. The gatekeepers were traditionally the top scholars/debaters at the institution. Their job was to stand “guard” at the gate and defeat in debate any non-Buddhist who proposed to challenge the scholarship and ideas of the institution. If they could not defeat the gatekeeper in debate, they would not be allowed further into the monastery.
The Seventeen Pandits of Nalanda Monastery refers to a grouping of seventeen of the most important and influential Mahayana Buddhist masters from India’s past. His Holiness the Dalai Lama frequently refers to himself as a follower of the lineage of the seventeen Nalanda masters today. He even wrote an exquisite poem in praise of the seventeen.
So who were they? Historically speaking, this particular grouping of Indian masters seems to have become prominent quite recently and to be based on attributions of lam-rim (stages of the path) lineages in Tibet. A likely predecessor to this grouping is an Indian reference to the Six Ornaments of the Southern Continent (i.e., India) and the Two Excellent Ones. These eight form the core of the seventeen.
The Six Ornaments first include Nagarjuna (c. 2nd century C.E.), the revealer of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and the systematizer and founder of the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) school of Buddhist philosophy. The most famous treatise of his six texts of reasoning is The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, probably the single most analyzed, commented upon and discussed philosophical treatise in Buddhism’s history.
The second of the six ornaments is Aryadeva (c. 3rd century C.E.) who is sometimes referred to as Nagarjuna’s heart disciple and sometimes simply as his first authoritative commentator. Like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva is universally revered as an authoritative voice for all subsequent Middle Way commentators and is most well-known for his treatise The Four Hundred Stanzas.
Aryadeva was born as the son of a Sinhalese king and is considered the co – founder of Mahayana philosophy
In addition to the two Middle Way school masters, included among the six ornaments are the two earliest masters from the Mind-Only school (Yogachara/Chittamatra): Asanga (300–390 C.E.), the founder, and his disciple and half-brother, Vasubandhu (c. 4th century C.E.) one of the system’s earliest and most authoritative commentators. In addition to his own treatises, Asanga is also famous, according to tradition, for retrieving the five Maitreya Buddha texts¹ directly from Maitreya in his pure land, Tushita. With regards to Vasubandhu, before becoming a leading exponent of the Mind-Only school, he wrote a famous treatise from the perspective of the Great Exposition school (Vaibhashika) entitled The Treasure of Knowledge (Abhidharmakosha) which is utilized extensively in Tibetan scholastic studies. Traditionally, seven years is dedicated to the study of this text in the Gelug geshe curriculum.
Two additional Mind-Only school proponents round out the six ornaments: Dignaga (6th century C.E.) and Dharmakirti (600–660 C.E.). The two are most famous as the groundbreakers in Buddhist logic and epistemology. Specifically, they wrote philosophical treatises on the contents and means of accruing valid knowledge. They argued that from the Buddhist perspective there were two sources of valid knowledge: logical inference and direct perception. Much of their writings were detailed elaborations on these topics.
The Two Excellent Ones refers to the two great Vinaya masters: Gunaprabha (c. 9th century C.E.) andShakyaprabha. Gunaprabha was a disciple of Vasubandhu’s and is most famous for his treatise, the Vinaya Sutra. Shakyaprabha was a disciple of Shantarakshita (also among the seventeen) and the other major teacher of vinaya among the seventeen. He is particularly associated Mulasarvastivada-vinaya line which has been followed in Tibet since the time of the early Dharma King, Ralpachen (born c. 806 C.E.). His teacher Shantarakshita began this ordination lineage in Tibet when he ordained the first seven Tibetan monks and founded Samye Monastery.
Beyond the Six Ornaments and Two Excellent Ones, are nine additional Indian Buddhist masters, each of whom profoundly impacted the shapes of Indian and/or Tibetan Buddhism for centuries.
Buddhapalita (470–550 C.E.) was one of the great commentators on Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka thought. He is the earliest Indian Madhyamaka specifically identified as a proponent of the sub-school of Madhyamaka known in Tibet as the Middle Way Consequence school (Prasangika-Madhyamaka). He received this designation in Tibet due to his use of a form of reasoning that drew out the absurd logical consequences of the philosophical rivals of Madhyamakas when he commented on Nagarjuna’s root text on wisdom.
Buddhapalita was subsequently criticized by another Madhyamaka master, Bhavaviveka (500–578 C.E.). He argued that a proper Madhyamaka commentator ought to do more than show the absurdities of other’s views; they also have a responsibility to establish the view of emptiness and to do so with autonomous inferences (svatantranumana). He subsequently became known in Tibet as the “founder” and primary proponent of a sub-school of Madhyamaka known as the Middle Way Autonomy school (Svatantrika-Madhyamaka).
Chandrakirti (600–650 C.E.) is revered by many in Tibet as the founder of the Middle Way Consequence school, often regarded as the highest Buddhist philosophical explanation of reality. He famously came to the defense of Buddhapalita’s use of consequentialist reasoning contra Bhavaviveka’s criticism. In a line of thinking further developed by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419 CE) they argued that a Madhyamaka philosopher ought not to utilize autonomous inferences because the very use of that sort of reasoning entailed the acceptance of an inherent nature in the subject of the argument. Since the existence of an inherent nature in anything was precisely what Nagarjuna was refuting, the use of autonomous inference seemed like a fatal flaw for a Madhyamaka. Though historical evidence suggests that Chandrakirti’s views likely did not have extensive support in India until the late period there, by the 13th century in Tibet, his views on a proper understanding of Madhyamaka began to dominate the philosophical landscape and continue to today.
Shantarakshita (725–788 C.E.) was a towering figure in late Indian Buddhist philosophy and immensely influential in Tibet. Philosophically, he is famous for integrating the three major lines of Mahayana philosophy into an integrated coherent system. These were the Madhyamaka, the Yogachara and the logico-epistemological thought of Dharmakirti. Beyond India, he spent the last seventeen years of his life in Tibet, ordaining its first monks and serving as abbot of it first monastery. Moreover, probably nobody has exerted a greater influence on Tibetan Buddhism in terms of the way in which Tibetans approach philosophy. Shantarakshita virtually taught Tibetans how to do philosophy during the early dissemination of the Dharma there.
Two of Shantarakshita’s disciples (in addition to Shakyabhadra mentioned above) are also included in the list of seventeen. Kamalashila (c. 8th century C.E.) likewise was an immensely important figure in India and Tibet. Like his teacher, Kamalashila wrote extensively on Madhyamaka and pramana (logic and epistemology) as well as on meditation theory and practice.
His three Stages of Meditation (Bhavanakrama) texts are among the most cited in traditional Tibet expositions on the topics. Moreover, also like his teacher, he spent extensive time in Tibet during the early dissemination. He famously and successfully defended the Indian gradual approach to enlightenment at the Great Debate at Samye (also called the Council of Lhasa) against the instantaneous approach advocated by Hvashang Mohoyen, the Chinese master. Tibetan histories often recount that since that time Tibetan have followed the Indian method.
Haribhadra (700–770 C.E.), the last of Shantarakshita’s disciples included in the group of seventeen, wrote the most famous and commonly utilized of the 21 Indian commentaries on The Ornament of Clear Realizations by Maitreya and the Mahayana path system in general. The other major commentator on The Ornament of Clear Realizations to be included among the seventeen is Vimuktisena (c. 6th century C.E.) whose text Illuminating the Twenty Thousand: A Commentary on the Ornament is likewise extensively cited by subsequent Tibetan authors.
Shantideva (c. 8th century C.E.) composed what is perhaps the most important and influential classic on how to practice in the Mahayana tradition: A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacharyavatara) while a monk at Nalanda. His text on the development of bodhichitta and the practice of the six perfections is revered and studied extensively by all Tibetan traditions. His Holiness the Dalai Lama often refers to his favorite passage in Buddhist literature as coming from the dedication section of this text: “As long as space endures, as long as sentient being remain, may I too remain, to dispel the miseries of the world.”
The final master included among the seventeen was the Bengali scholar-adept Atisha (980–1054 C.E.), who was a critical figure in the later dissemination of Buddhism in Tibet. Like many of the others on this list, Atisha’s impact on the shape of Tibetan Buddhism was immense. His classic, The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipathpradipa) is widely regarded as the root text on the graduated stages of the path presentation found in Tibetan classics like Je Tsongkhapa’s The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment (also commonly referred to by the abbreviated Tibetan name, Lamrim Chenmo), Gampopa’s Jeweled Ornament of Liberation and Patrul Rinpoche’s The Words of My Perfect Teacher among others. In addition to the stages of the path teachings, Atisha also introduced the lojong, or mind training, tradition of Mahayana practice in Tibet. Lojong teachings are quintessential Mahayana teachings in that their aim is to eliminate both the self-cherishing attitude and self-grasping by teaching means to cultivate the altruistic compassion of bodhichitta and the direct realization of emptiness. Like the stages of the path teachings, the mind training tradition is one that is embraced by all Tibetan lineages.
Together the seventeen great masters of Nalanda monastery represent the real high points of Indian Mahayana. The inspiration and teachings of these great masters continue to bless practitioners of the Mahayana to the present day.
¹ The five Maitreya texts are: The Ornament of Clear Realization (Abhisamayalamkara), The Ornament of Mahayana Sutras (Mahayanasutralamkara), Distinguishing the Middle from the Extremes (Madhyantavibhaga), Distinguishing Phenomena and the Nature of Phenomena (Dharma-dharmata-vibhaga), and The Sublime Continuum (Uttaratantra).
JAMES BLUMENTHAL, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Buddhist philosophy at Oregon State University and professor of Buddhist Studies at Maitripa College. He is the author of The Ornament of The Middle Way: A Study of the Madhyamika Thought of Shantarakshita along with more than 40 articles in scholarly journals and popular periodicals on various aspects of Buddhist thought and practice. He recently finished work with Geshe Lhundup Sopa on Steps on the Path: Vol. IV, a commentary on the ‘ Shamatha’ chapter of Lamrim Chanmo of Tsongkhapa which is due for publication in the fall.
The Dalai Lama speaks on the first day of his four-day teaching at the request of a group from South Asia at the main temple in McLeodganj on Tuesday. Photo: Kamaljeet
Tribune News Service
Dharamshala, September 4
Amid concerns regarding his health, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said he would live around 100 years.
“With your prayers and wishes, I assure you I would live around 100 years,” said the Dalai Lama, addressing representatives of three regions of Tibet at Tsuglagkhang, the main temple in Dharamshala, yesterday. “I would serve the humanity,” he said.
Recently, news reports had raised concerns regarding the health of the Dalai Lama and suggesting that he was suffering from prostate cancer. However, later both the Dalai Lama and his personal physician declined the reports.
Tibetans representing Tibet’s three traditional provinces and Tibetans from Kalimpong, Gangtok, Darjeeling and Ravangla offered long life prayers to the Dalai Lama yesterday.
Thanking the participants and organizers for the ceremony, the Dalai Lama praised the 17 pandits of Nalanda for their logical way of teaching the Buddhism.
“The detailed explanation of the ancient Nalanda teachings has only been preserved in the Tibetan language which is why people from China are interested in learning the Buddhism,” said the Dalai Lama.
Speaking of the ancient Nalanda Buddhist teaching, he said the ancestors of Tibetans had well-preserved this knowledge which enabled Tibetans to get expertise in promoting the knowledge in their language. The Dalai Lama said it was the duty of the Tibetans to continue the practical teachings of the ancestors while, at the same time, taking pride in possessing such a vast knowledge.
“I respect all kinds of religious beliefs which only teach love and compassion as the ultimate source of human happiness,” he said.
Meanwhile, drawing the attention of the gathering, the Dalai Lama emphasized that the masters of Nalanda encouraged its followers to approach their teaching with logic and reason rather than following it blindly.
September 05 – Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Birthday – Reflections on my Mylapore, Madras, Chennai Family Connections
September 05, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India. On Wednesday, September 05, 2018, I want to share my reflections on my Mylapore, Madras, Chennai Family Connections. This relationship connects several important events of my life’s journey. For I believe in the doctrine of predestination, I can trace my life’s journey as a series of predetermined events.
In my analysis, time and the place are of equal importance in the formulation of predetermined events. I shall discuss the role of time and place in the context of three issues; 1. Birth Place, 2. Relationships, for example, Radhakrishnan worked in Presidency College, Madras where my father studied and worked, and 3. Final Destination.
Mylapore, Madras, Chennai, my birthplace predetermined my connection to Radhakrishnan as well as my connection to my wife who is also born on the fifth day of September.
Radhakrishnan studied in Madras Christian College and later worked in Presidency College, Madras. My wife talks about Madras Christian College for her father, and four of her brothers studied there. In February 1973, just after I got married, I visited Madras Christian College along with my wife to meet her younger brother who was studying there for his Master of Science degree.
My father studied in Presidency College, Madras and later worked there during my early childhood years spent in Mylapore. Apart from Radhakrishnan, his son, Sarvepalli Gopal also worked in Presidency College
In October 1962, my connection to Radhakrishnan was shaped by Communist China’s attack on India across the Himalayan Frontier. On one hand the Spirit of Nationalism inspired me to serve in the Indian Army, and on the other hand, it profoundly influenced my thinking about choosing a life partner. At the same time, the 1962 India-China War prepared a very special place to render my military service while I am still a college student. In September 1969, I was granted the Short Service Regular Commission to serve in the Indian Army Medical Corps. My educational career prepared me for this role as well as giving me the opportunity to find a partner who accepted my passion to serve in the Olive-Green military uniform. I got married in January 1973 while I was serving at Doom Dooma, Tinsukia District, Assam in SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE – ESTABLISHMENT NO. 22, a special military organization founded in 1962.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: “AHIMSA PARAMO DHARMAH; DHARMA HIMSA TATHIVA CHA.” Both India and Tibet recognize Non-Violence or Ahimsa as the highest principle. The military organization, Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22 represents the second part of the statement; Violence or Himsa is equally the highest principle when it is necessary to defend the righteous.
The military organization is known as Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22 came into its existence during the presidency of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of the Republic of India, 13 May 1962 to 13 May 1967. While Special Frontier Force is a product of Cold War Era secret diplomacy, I would like to share my personal story, the events from early childhood, that shaped the rest of my life and has formulated my bonding with this Organization and my desire to accomplish its military mission.
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (05 September 1888 to 17 April 1975), the second President of the Republic of India is known to me from my early childhood. His daughter (Rukmini) was married to my maternal grandfather’s younger brother who had also lived in Mylapore.
My maternal grandfather, Dr Kasturi. Narayana Murthy, M.D., who worked as Professor of Medicine in Madras Medical College lived at 2/37 Kutchery Road, Mylapore. I was born at my grandfather’s residence. While I lived in Mylapore and later during my summer vacations spent in Madras City, I used to visit Radhakrishnan’s daughter’s residence daily. At that time, Radhakrishnan served as the first Vice President of India (1952-1962). I clearly remember the celebration of 2500th Birth Anniversary of Gautama Buddha on May 24, 1956. In India’s Capital City of New Delhi, the celebration was attended by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama Rinpoche. The Institution of the Dalai Lama is the central focus of Tibetan Cultural Identity and Tibetan national character.
Since 1962, India instituted Radhakrishnan’s birthday (05 September) as Teacher’s Day. Since that time, every year that I spent as a student, I had a special reason to remember my family connection with his daughter and my father who belonged to the teaching profession. Radhakrishnan correctly predicted the need for military action to fight injustice. In 1962, during his Presidency, India bravely resisted the Chinese aggression and thousands of Indian Army soldiers gave their precious lives to defend India. It inspired me to serve in Indian Armed Forces to continue the task of opposing and resisting the threat posed by Communist China.
INDIA – TIBET RELATIONS FROM 1950 to 1962:
The Celebration of 2500th Anniversary of the birth of Gautama Buddha (Buddha Jayanti) in New Delhi on May 24, 1956 displays the historical connection between India, and Tibet. Prime Minister Nehru, President Rajendra Prasad, the 14th Dalai Lama, and the 10th Panchen Lama, Rinpoche are seen in this photo image.
Because of Gautama Buddha, India, and Tibet are natural allies. But, the complex, political, and military relationship developed as a reaction to the People’s Republic of China’s invasion of Tibet in 1950.
The President of India, Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad with the visiting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and Panchen Lama Rinpoche.
The military occupation of Tibet by Communist China makes a great impact upon the historical, cultural, religious relationship between India, and Tibet. It commenced an entirely new era in which both India and Tibet are driven by the same kind of security concerns. Prime Minister Chou En-Lai represents the face of that danger that forced Prime Minister Nehru to know and appreciate the nature of Tibetan Nation as represented by the 14th Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama Rinpoche.
India achieved its full independence from the British rule on August 15, 1947. India became the Republic of India on January 26, 1950. Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad became the first President of the Republic of India. The first general elections were held in 1952, and Radhakrishnan, who was at that time-serving as India’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union, was elected as the first Vice President. He served a second term as the Vice President from 1957 to 1962.
India witnessed a major military threat to its Himalayan frontier when the People’s Republic of China sent its army during October 1950 to occupy Tibet while Tibetans had no ability to resist such a massive, military invasion of their territory. Tibet tried to resolve the issue using diplomacy. Tibet requested India to bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations to adopt a resolution against the Communist invasion. At that time Tibet was still following the policy of political isolationism, and neutralism and was not recognized by the United Nations as a member nation. The United States was fighting the Korean War to contain the spread of Communism in Asia. However, Tibet did not obtain direct, US military intervention. India did not have the necessary military force of its own to intervene inside Tibet. At the same time, India also actively pursued its own policy of political neutralism that is known as the Nonaligned Movement to reduce the political tensions caused by the Cold War. India thought that the crisis in Tibet could be resolved by directly negotiating with China without involving the United Nations. During 1951, Communist China imposed a 17-Point Agreement on Tibet while Tibetans had no capacity to defend their rights; the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on 23rd May 1951 to take measures for the “Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.” China started quoting this agreement to justify its illegal and unjust military occupation of Tibet.
It must be clearly understood that the Great Fifth Dalai Lama founded the “Ganden Phodrang” Government of Tibet in 1642. The successive Dalai Lamas have headed the Tibetan State for nearly four centuries. Towards the end of the Qing Dynasty or Ch’ing Dynasty, the Great 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet’s full Independence from Manchu China. From 1911 to 1950 – 49-Years, Tibet was an independent Nation before the founding of this political entity called The People’s Republic of China.
The photo image of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Peking meeting with Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.
Tibet tried its very best to appease the Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-Tung until 1954-1955. China took full political, and military advantage of Tibet’s isolationism and took every possible measure to deny the freedom that Tibetans had enjoyed for several centuries despite sporadic foreign invasions by the Mongols, and later by the Manchus. In the past, the foreign rulers of Tibet did not intervene in Tibet’s internal affairs. Tibetans retained their traditional style of governance through the Institution of the Dalai Lama or the “Ganden Phodrang” Government which ruled Tibet for four centuries.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with India’s President and Vice President.
Both India and Tibet strongly desired to resolve the conflict with communist China using diplomacy. The existence of autonomous Tibetan nation serves the best interests of Indian national security.
A banquet held in Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi in 1956 to honor the visiting Head of State, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet who is seen seated between Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Ms Indira Gandhi.
Both India and Tibet desired friendly and peaceful relations with China. Prime Minister Chou En-Lai is seen here with the 14th Dalai Lama, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and his daughter Ms Indira Gandhi. These efforts towards peaceful co-existence with Communist China had utterly failed during 1957-58.
India and Tibet tried to cultivate a friendly relationship with China and its failure was caused by China’s policy of Expansionism.
India desired to promote international peace and tried to avoid armed conflicts. The burden imposed by China’s military occupation of Tibet was viewed with concern, but India tried the use of diplomacy and avoid war. A ceremony to honor Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, and the 14th Dalai Lama during their visit to New Delhi in 1956.
This photo image of Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and the 14th Dalai Lama demonstrates the desire of India to promote peaceful co-existence. Establishment No. 22 represents the failure of India’s peace initiative. The military occupation of Tibet is not a friendly posture and China could not be trusted as a friend.
While Tibet tried its very best to please the Communist leaders of China, India had also pursued a similar policy to befriend China to address the problem of the military threat posed by the military occupation of Tibet. The “Panchsheel” Agreement of 1954 between India and People’s Republic of China had recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, and India had agreed to withdraw its very small, military presence in Tibet. India believed that China would grant full autonomy to Tibet and preserve the political, and cultural institutions of Tibet. It must be noted that Tibet had not recognized or endorsed the agreement made by India and China.
Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai visited New Delhi, India in June 1954 after his initiative called the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (PANCHSHEEL). The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad (first right), Vice President Radhakrishnan third right, and India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is at the far left.
Indian Vice President Dr Radhakrishnan made an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the problem of the military occupation of Tibet. He had visited Peking during September 1957 and met with various Communist Party leaders including Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, and President Liu Shao-Chi(Liu Shaoqi), and Party General Secretary Teng Hsiao-Ping(Deng Xiaoping).
Indian Vice President Radhakrishnan visited Peking during September/October 1957 and could not get any concessions from the Communist leaders. China had determined to pursue a policy of Expansionism and had tripled the size of its country using its superior military power.
THE ORIGIN OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE – ESTABLISHMENT NO. 22:
The need for the use of military force became inevitable after China made it abundantly clear that it would not negotiate its military occupation of Tibet and would not allow the traditional form of Tibetan Government as represented by the Institution of the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Resistance Movement began with a very modest attempt to train some Tibetan nationals to fight the Chinese People’s Liberation Army that occupied Tibet.
The history of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: 1957 was a turning point. India recognized that its foreign policy of political neutralism was of no use and started depending upon the United States to address the military threat posed by China’s occupation of Tibet. But, the effort was too modest and both India and the United States had grossly underestimated the strength of the People’s Liberation Army. Camp Hale at Colorado represents one aspect of CIA operation called ST CIRCUS.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22 can be traced back to 1957-58 when the CIA launched Operation ST CIRCUS. This Commemoration on September 10, 2010, was the first time that US had officially acknowledge the CIA operation with the Tibetans and it includes the Mustang (Nepal) Operation.
During 1957 it became very clear that Communist China would not relax its military grip over Tibet, and the hopes for limited Tibetan autonomy evaporated. Both India, and Tibet had agreed to seek American military intervention, and it must be believed that India had only wanted a covert, military operation to build and establish a Tibetan Resistance Movement to challenge and overthrow the Chinese military regime in Tibet. The climax of this Tibetan Resistance was during March 1959, and China using its vastly superior military power had easily crushed this Tibetan Uprising. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama had no choice; he and his close followers fled Tibet to seek political asylum in India.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: The arrival of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in India to seek political asylum represents the failure of CIA’s covert operation inside Tibet. CIA had grossly underestimated the intelligence capabilities of Communist China.
The history of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: The Journey of a political refugee. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in India on 31 March 1959 and was presented a Guard of Honor by the Assam Rifles in the Tawang Sector of the North East Frontier Agency which is renamed as Arunachal Pradesh.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: Indian President Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad received His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with due dignity reflecting India’s belief that the Dalai Lama is the traditional Head of Tibet, an autonomous nation.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: The military tyranny imposed by Communist China’s occupation forced Tibet to break-free from its traditional policy of political isolationism and it is not a big surprise to find India as its natural ally. Vice President Radhakrishnan is seen with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
THE 1962 INDIA – CHINA WAR:
I must admit that the Chinese brutal attacks across the Himalayan frontier during October 1962 came as a shocking surprise to me and to most people all over India. To some extent, India, Tibet, and the United States had lacked the intelligence capabilities to know the intentions and the capabilities of their enemy. The costs of this 1962 War would be known if China takes courage and openly admits the numbers of its soldiers wounded or killed in action. China paid a heavy price and utterly failed to obtain legitimacy for its military occupation of Tibet.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: The 1962 War between India and China paved the way towards a better understanding of India’s security concerns and the need for military alliance/pact with a friendly power like the United States to meet the challenge posed by Communist China. I appreciate Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for his idealistic views and aspiration to be known as a peacemaker. He finally recognized the need for a strong, well-equipped Army.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: Prior to the 1962 India-China War, the Tibetan Resistance Movement had no permanent base in India. The War had forced India to strengthen the Tibetan Resistance Movement and provide it with a permanent base within Indian territory. Indian Armed Forces played a major role in training the members of Special Frontier Force with financial, and technical assistance provided by the United States.
The 1962 War of Aggression launched by Communist China had a decisive influence on my personal life. I was a college student, and I was in the first year of my 3-year Bachelor of Science degree course. I felt a strong urge to join India’s Armed Forces to specifically address the military threat posed by China. The 1962 War was a conflict imposed by China to teach India a lesson. Later, official documents released by China describe that Chairman Mao Tse-Tung took punitive action to teach a lesson to India when it launched a massive war of retribution attacking Indian Army positions across the entire Himalayan frontier in October 1962. Chairman Mao Tse-Tung was angered by the support extended by India to Tibet to counter the military occupation. Chairman Mao had resented India’s role in helping the covert operation of the Central Intelligence Agency and had called it an “Imperialist” conspiracy or plot against China. China had utterly failed to achieve its objectives and the War ended when China declared a unilateral ceasefire on November 21, 1962, and withdrew from the captured Himalayan territory. It should be noted that India did not request China to declare this ceasefire. India did not promise that it will withhold the support that it extends to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The Secret White House Recordings of the US President John F Kennedy reveal that Kennedy had threatened to nuke China in 1962 and I must say that the threat achieved its purpose and had forced China to stop its military aggression and withdraw unilaterally without demanding any concessions from India, or Tibet.
THE BIRTH OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE-ESTABLISHMENT No. 22:
President John F. Kennedy had immediately responded to the Chinese attack on India. Apart from delivery of arms and ammunition, and other military supplies, American aircraft carried out photo missions over the Indo-Tibetan border. In a meeting held on November 19, 1962 at the White House, President Kennedy, Dean David Rusk(Secretary of State), Averell Harriman(Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs), Robert McNamara(Secretary of Defense), General Paul Adams(Chief of the US Strike Command), John Kenneth Galbraith(US Ambassador to India), John A McCone(Director of Central Intelligence Agency), Desmond Fitzgerald(the Far Eastern CIA Chief), James Critchfield(the Near East CIA Chief), John Kenneth Knaus(CIA’s Tibet Task Force), and David Blee(CIA Station Chief in New Delhi) decided upon a military aid package in support of the newly created military organization in India which was initially named as Establishment No. 22 and later the name Special Frontier Force was added to describe the location of its headquarters in New Delhi.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: In the Cold War Era of Silence and Secrecy, India was fortunate to find the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Averell Harriman who played a crucial role in developing the military response to the 1962 War.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: John Kenneth Galbraith, the US Ambassador to India played a very helpful role to bring India, and the United States to come together on mutual security concerns and to build a personal relationship between the leaders. This photo image is from 1961 taken during Prime Minister Nehru’s visit to Washington D.C.
The History of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: The People’s Republic of China could not alter the course of India’s foreign policy. The 1962 War launched by China ended very abruptly when China declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew from the captured territory on November 21, 1962. President Kennedy played a decisive role by threatening to “NUKE” China.
The 1962 India-China War, a military conflict that was initiated by China had accomplished the exact opposite of what China had planned to accomplish.
1. India became more firmly aligned with the United States discarding its original policy of political neutralism.
2. The level of cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency and India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW-The Intelligence Bureau of India) became greatly enhanced.
3. India started increasing its own defence-preparedness and strengthened its military capabilities to fight a future war with China.
4. India was not deterred by the Chinese attack and decided to substantially increase its involvement with the Tibetan Resistance Movement. India made the commitment to provide a permanent base to the Tibetan Resistance Movement apart from hosting the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
5. India, Tibet, and the United States joined together in a military alliance/pact leading to the creation of the military organization called the Establishment No. 22 which has come to be known as the Special Frontier Force with its official Headquarters in New Delhi.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: President Radhakrishnan visiting Indian Army units during the 1962 India-China War. India withstood the attack by Communist China and it soon recovered from its wounds and regained its full confidence to engage China on the battlefield.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: President Radhakrishnan with Officers of Indian Army during the 1962 India-China War. India understood the need for better preparedness to fight future wars and had decided to maintain its support to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the Head of Tibetan nation who was granted political asylum in India.
The History of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: President Radhakrishnan is seen speaking to news reporters during the 1962 War. India was not deterred by Chinese aggression and had boldly continued the support it extended to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
PRESIDENT RADHAKRISHNAN’S HISTORIC VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES ON JUNE 03/04, 1963:
After the conclusion of the 1962 War with China, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal health demanded a serious attention and President Radhakrishnan performed the historical journey to the United States on June 03/04 to meet the US President John F. Kennedy to express India’s solidarity with the United States in promoting Peace and Democracy, and the visit displays the trust, and confidence placed by India in the future of their mutual military assistance, and cooperation. I am happy to share several photo images of that visit.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: June 03/04, 1963. The historic visit by President Radhakrishnan to affirm India’s friendly relationship with the United States in their policy towards China.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: June 03/04, 1963. President Radhakrishnan’s visit affirms the appreciation for American support during the 1962 India-China War.
The history of Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22: June 03, 1963, Indian President Radhakrishnan by his visit acknowledges the India-Tibet-US military alliance/pact to oppose the military threat posed by China.
The history of Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22 is linked to the presidency of John F. Kennedy and Radhakrishnan.
I met Radhakrishnan at his Mylapore residence after his retirement in May 1967. At that time, both of us were not aware that the very first posting of my career in Indian Armed Forces would take me to Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22 that was created during his presidency.
In India, Radhakrishnan is recognized as a teacher, philosopher, and a statesman. He is never described as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. I was granted Commission to serve in the Indian Army at the pleasure of the President of India, and my posting order to serve as a Medical Officer in Establishment No. 22, Special Frontier Force was issued under the authority of the Ministry of Defence which functions under the powers sanctioned by the President of India.
The history of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: This photo image shows Vice President Radhakrishnan at his New Delhi residence during 1960. The events from 1957 to 1962 had shaped Indian foreign policy and it paved the way for alignment with the United States to oppose the military threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. I met President Radhakrishnan at his Mylapore, Madras (Chennai) residence after completion of his term of presidency in 1967. He prefers to read while relaxing in his bed. This is the image, I still carry in my memory.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: This is a photo image taken at Sarasawa airfield that proudly displays the National Flag of Tibet. Special Frontier Force is a living military organization that is facing its future with hope and encouragement from the United States, India, and Tibet.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 03, 2018 – LABOR DAY MUSINGS – THE CLINTON CURSE DEFINES THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE
In the United States, Labor activists, and Labor Unions made great progress to defend the rights of Working Class. Unfortunately, President Bill Clinton undermined this progress by approving legislation that took away the dignity of unskilled, hourly wage earners who legally work in the US paying taxes. President Clinton on August 22, 1996, signed into Law, Public Law 104-193, ‘The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act’ (PRWORA) which places restrictions on the payments of monthly retirement income benefits to workers in the US under Title II of the Social Security Act. Refer to Section 401(b) (2) of PRWORA.
For many unskilled, hourly wage earners performing labor in the US, American Workplace is defined as Work until Death for they have no Retirement option. In other words, those who have no Retirement option, American Workplace is defined by the Book of Genesis, Chapter 3, verses 17 to 19.
I ask my readers to reflect upon the consequences of President Clinton’s actions on this Labor Day. Apart from alien workers, the ground gets cursed with consequences to all its denizens. The Clinton Curse compels Americans to live and work paying off their foreign debt. This nation lives on money borrowed from other nations.
An illustration of the first Labor Day parade, via Wiki Commons
Though Labor Day has been embraced as a national holiday–albeit one many Americans don’t know the history of–it originated right here in New York City. The holiday is a result of the city’s labor unions fighting for worker’s rights throughout the 1800’s. The event was first observed, unofficially, on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882, with thousands marching from City Hall up to Union Square. At the time, the New York Times considered the event to be unremarkable. But 135 years later, we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday of every September as a tribute to all American workers. It’s also a good opportunity to recognize the hard-won accomplishments of New York unions to secure a better workplace for us today.
According to Untapped Cities, the holiday has its roots in a common 19th-century tradition in which laborers held picnics and parades to draw awareness to worker’s rights. Organized unions emerged from there, and New York City became a hotbed for labor activists by the Industrial Revolution of the 1880s.
View of South Street during the Industrial Revolution, via the Metropolitan Museum of New York
Back then, laborers were fighting against low wages, unfair hours, child labor and unsafe working environments. (Most workers at the time worked six days a week, 10 or 12 hours a day, and Sunday was the only day off. There were no paid vacations, no sick days and very few breaks during a day.) Two labor groups, the Knights of Labor and the Tailor’s Union, established a city-wide trade consortium–known as the Central Labor Union of New York, Brooklyn, and Jersey City, or the CLU–in January of 1882 to promote similar goals. They called for things like fair wages, an eight-hour workday and an end to child labor. The group also proposed that for one day a year, the country celebrates American workers with parades and celebrations. The CLU went ahead and organized the first parade for the September 5th of that year.
According to Brownstoner, two different men within the labor movement were credited for the parade. Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed a holiday and parade in 1882. He was the secretary of the CLU. But that same year, Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, also proposed a parade. The debate between the original founder of Labor Day was never settled, though Matthew Maguire usually gets the credit.
The parade began outside City Hall, with the CLU advertising it as a display of the “strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.” It was important to the event that the men gave up a day’s pay to partake in the festivities. And they did arrive in droves, with banners and signs with slogans like “NO MONEY MONOPOLY” and “LABOR BUILT THIS REPUBLIC AND LABOR SHALL RULE IT.”
No drinking was allowed at the parade, which featured everyone from the Jewelers Union of Newark to the typographical union, which was known as ‘The Big Six.’ Along the route, which passed Canal Street on its way to Union Square, hundreds of seamstresses hung out the windows cheering the procession, blowing kisses and waving their handkerchiefs. It’s said as many as 20,000 men marched that day.
The party after the marchers hit Union Square was celebratory, according to the New York history book Gotham. Here’s a passage from the book:
Finally, after passing by a reviewing stand filled with labor dignitaries, the participants adjourned, via the elevated, to an uptown picnic at Elm Park. There they danced to jigs by Irish fiddlers and pipers and were serenaded by the Bavarian Mountain Singers while the flags of Ireland, Germany, France, and the USA flapped in the autumn air.
Labor Day parade float in New York City, early 20th century, via New York Department of Labor
Labor parades began in other cities around the county, and for a while, the day was known as “the workingman’s holiday.” By 1886, several cities had an annual parade, with legislation in the works to make the day a state holiday. Though New York was the first state to introduce a bill to make the holiday official, Oregon was the first to actually pass it as law in 1887. New York quickly followed suit that same year, as did New Jersey, Massachusetts and Colorado.
Labor unions, of course, went on to secure rights like the eight-hour workday, collective bargaining, health insurance, retirement funds and better wages. These days, the holiday is better known as a marker to the end of summer than a celebration of the working class. But it’s a nice reminder such hard-fought battles, which brought accomplishments that now define the American workplace, took root in New York.
Living Tibetan Spirits present a guide to Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet. Potala Palace serves the same purpose as The White House of the US President. Potala is the Seat of Tibetan Government called The Dalai Lama Institution of Tibet.
Potala Palace is one of the most well-known spiritual sanctums in the world.
At 12,139 feet above sea level, Potala is the highest palace in the world. The 1,300-year-old structure was originally built as a gesture of love, commissioned by Tibetan king Songtsen Gambo for his marriage to Princess Wencheng of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Eventually, monks came to rule Tibet and the palace was expanded and converted into the winter residence for the Dalai Lama. But when the Dalai Lama was exiled to India in 1959, the Chinese government took over and made the grounds into a museum.
Still, the Potala Palace remains an iconic part of the region and a mecca for Buddhists around the world. The name Potala is a nod to a sacred mountain in India, where the Buddha of compassion is said to dwell. Year-round, thousands of religious pilgrims circle the perimeter of the palace with prayer wheels and beads to ask for a blessing. Many have traveled thousands of miles by foot just to pay their respects.
With more than a thousand rooms, 10,000 painted scrolls, 698 murals, and thousands of exquisite statues made from precious alloys and jewels, the structure has become one of the most famous spiritual sanctums in the world. Inside are the tombs of eight Dalai Lamas, hundreds of sacred Buddhist scrolls, and numerous shrines. Butter lamps light the hallways and watchful monks are stationed in nearly every public room to ensure that decorum is maintained.
The building is divided into two sections—the Red Palace and the White Palace. The former serves as the religious section and the latter as the administrative area. They are literally colored red and white; a fresh coat of paint made up of milk, honey, and sugar is applied every autumn.
The Potala Palace was named a World Heritage site in 1994 by UNESCO, and the neighboring Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka and were added on as extensions in 2000 and 2001, respectively. The Jokhang Temple is considered the most sacred temple in Tibet and the Norbulingka was the former summer residence of the Dalai Lama. All three structures are outstanding embodiments of Tibetan culture and despite waves of natural and human-induced damage, they are international icons that have remained spiritually relevant and intact over the centuries.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly into the Lhasa Gonggar Airport or take a train into the city. Visitors must obtain a Tibet Tourism Bureau permit through a local tour agency in advance (allow up to 14 days) to enter Tibet by plane or train.
HOW TO VISIT
All visitors must visit the Potala Palace with a tour group. Groups are allocated an hour inside the premises and photos are not allowed. While the palace and its adjacent temples are very much tourist attractions, many of the guests are Tibetan pilgrims who have come to the sacred sites to pray.
WHEN TO VISIT
As one of the highest cities in the world, Lhasa can get quite frosty during the winter. Summer is the best time to visit. June to August is peak tourist season.
Han Chinese are like the teeth of ‘The Dracula’. Innocent Tibetans are like the lips of The Dracula’s Bride. Instead of kissing the lips, Han Chinese thirst for the blood of the Tibetans. Indeed, it is a true story about Blood Relationship.
China spends big in Tibet to avert a crisis when the Dalai Lama dies
China spends big in Tibet to avert a crisis when the Dalai Lama dies
China is increasingly trying to enhance its image by casting itself as the largest nation of Buddhist believers.
by Eric Baculinao and Jason Cumming / Aug.30.2018 / 3:53 AM ET / Updated Aug.30.2018 / 4:09 AM ET
Pilgrims near the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa. Johannes Eisele file / AFP/Getty Images
LHASA, China — China is pouring billions of dollars into Tibet as Beijing seeks to cement its control before the succession struggle that is likely to follow the death of the Dalai Lama.
During a rare Chinese government-organized visit to the region, local officials described a development program that they contend will bring prosperity to the 3.3 million Tibetans who inhabit a vast area roughly double the size of Texas.
The massive infrastructure projects include new airports and highways that cut through the world’s highest mountains, with planned investment totalling $97 billion.
The investment plan aims to protect Tibetan Buddhism’s holy sites while building a sustainable “green economy” that safeguards the fragile environment that is an average elevation of 13,000 feet above sea level.
The roof of the world
Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950 in what Beijing officially terms a peaceful liberation. China has long aimed to reduce the influence of the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India.
Source: Natural Earth
Graphic: Jiachuan Wu / NBC News
According to official figures, China has also already spent over $450 million renovating Tibet’s major monasteries and other religious sites since the 1980s. An additional $290 million has been budgeted for the next five years.
The huge investment by China comes as the officially atheist country increasingly tries to enhance its image by casting itself as the largest nation of Buddhist believers. China claims some 300 million Buddhists of various schools, of which Tibetan Buddhism is one.
The effort comes as China faces charges from rights groups and exiles of repressing the Tibetan people. China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since 1951, a year after its troops marched in.
The Dalai Lama in 2015.Ben Stansall / AFP – Getty Images file
Last month, Vice President Mike Pence said Tibet’s people “have been brutally repressed by the Chinese government.” And in June, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said conditions were “fast deteriorating” in Tibet.
Beijing routinely denies charges of repression, saying that its rule ended serfdom and brought prosperity to what was a backward region and that it fully respects the rights of the Tibetan people.
It insists Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century. Many Tibetans, though, say the region has been effectively independent for most of its history.
While Beijing regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist who seeks to split off nearly a quarter of the land mass of the People’s Republic of China, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Tibetan spiritual leader says he only seeks greater rights for Tibetans, including religious freedom and autonomy.
For supporters of the Dalai Lama, China’s Tibet strategy is “aimed at increasing its control and limiting the personal freedom of the Tibetan people,” said Matteo Mecacci, a former lawmaker in Italy and president of the International Campaign for Tibet.
He called the infrastructure improvements and monastery renovations “superficial.”
Mecacci said Tibetans are “not even allowed to receive teachings from the Dalai Lama.”
A portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Sera Monastery in Tibet. Eric Baculinao / NBC News
He added, “When it comes to the real practice of Buddhism, China continues to increase restrictions.”
With the Dalai Lama now 83, many Tibetans fear that China will use the succession issue to split Tibetan Buddhism, with a new Dalai Lama named by exiles and another by the government after his death.
(Barry Kerzin, an American monk and the Dalai Lama’s personal physician, told NBC News that he is “perfectly fit.”)
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet and went into exile in India in 1959, has repeatedly tussled with China’s ruling Communist Party over who has final authority on the issue of reincarnation.
“The Tibetans and the Han
Chinese are like lips and teeth,
we are linked by blood.”
“The Tibetans and the Han Chinese are like lips and teeth, we are linked by blood.”
Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a senior lama is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death.
China says it must approve the next Dalai Lama, and the Dalai Lama has said his biggest concern is that China will try to name his successor.
The Panchen Lama who was installed by the Chinese government attends an event in 2016.Cui hao / Imaginechina/Getty file
In 1995, after the Dalai Lama named a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama, the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism, China put the boy under house arrest and installed another instead.
Many Tibetans are torn between accepting and spurning the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama.
Palaces and shrines
Explaining the seeming contradictions in China’s policy, Tibet’s foreign affairs deputy chief, Ma Qiang, said that while the Community Party “doesn’t believe in religion,” China’s government was “duty-bound to protect Tibetan Buddhism and restore and preserve its holy sites because that is also what the Tibetan people want so they can exercise their freedom of worship.”
The most iconic landmark to receive Chinese funding is the imposing Potala Palace, the thousand-room residence that overlooks Lhasa. It houses the tombs of all but one of the Dalai Lamas who have died since 1682.
Lhasa’s Potala Palace. iStock / Getty
According to the museum’s deputy director, Gonga Zhaxi, the 13-story palace has undergone two major renovations on which Beijing spent $37 million. Another $4.4 million has been budgeted for the repair of its ornate golden roofs.
To protect its priceless Buddha statues, frescoes and scriptures, a limit has been set of 5,000 pilgrims and tourists per day, and cats have been deployed against the colony of rats, he said.
Other sites that have benefited from Chinese cash include:
The seventh-century Jokhang Temple is Tibet’s holiest shrine as it houses a life-sized statue of Buddha (Jowo Shakyamuni) at the age of 12. The labyrinth of chapels thick with the smoke of incense and prayer candles is visited daily by around 12,000 pilgrims and tourists. Buddha’s statue was the gift of the Chinese Tang dynasty Princess Wencheng when she married Tibetan King Songtsan Gambo around 1,300 years ago. The union is now immortalized in a spectacular open-air opera with a cast of 800. A private production company has invested more than $80 million to promote this narrative of Tibet-China unity. Lhagba, a prominent monk and the site’s management director, said Beijing has spent $14.7 million on major repairs there in the past 10 years.
Beijing has also helped with major renovations at Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery, two of Tibet’s most influential Buddhist academies, with grants of $30 million and $8 million. Thanks to government help, the monks can focus on their studies and need not bother with the monastery’s repairs, according to Awang Ciren, the monastery’s academic head. To increase its enrollment of 480 monks, Beijing is building a new dormitory that can accommodate 170 monks, he added.
In addition, 46,000 monks and nuns are now covered by health insurance and social security, officials said.
And with Beijing’s “preferential” policy and massive budget subsidies, Tibet’s economy has been growing faster than the rest of China.
Some $170 million was spent on environmental projects last year, part of a 23-year plan unveiled in 2009 that’s worth $2 billion.
“In Tibet, we don’t allow the burning of coal, and since 2011, we have stopped approving any new mining projects,” said Luo Jie, Tibet’s environmental protection chief, adding that more than one-third of Tibet’s territory consisted of nature reserves. “We also don’t tolerate river pollution.”
Developing a “green economy” is the future of Tibet, according to economic planning official Jiang Taichang.
Tourism is also an industry that is drawing more focus. Last year, more than 25 million tourists and pilgrims visited Tibet, generating more than $5.5 billion or one-third of Tibet’s income, and their number is expected to rise to 70 million in four years. (The majority of tourists are Chinese, as security has been ratcheted up significantly in the decade since anti-government protests spread through Tibetan areas in 2008 and Tibet remains mostly off-limits to foreigners.)
Monks at Tibet’s Sera Monastery debate Buddhist teachings. Eric Baculinao / NBC News
Lhasa’s special economic zone, built with a $30 million investment from Beijing, is already fully leased out, with 200 enterprises producing a range of products from beer to medicines. A new technology zone and financial district are being planned.
Norbu Thondup, the Beijing-appointed executive vice chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet’s administrative name, condemned the “sabotage” activities aimed at the “harmony and happiness in today’s Tibet” by groups supporting the Dalai Lama.
He reiterated China’s policy that the “gate is open” if the Dalai Lama abandons the idea of “splitting” Tibet from China.
“The decision is for the Dalai to make,” Thondup said of him returning to his homeland. “The Tibetans and the Han Chinese are like lips and teeth, we are linked by blood.”
But Mecacci, of the International Campaign for Tibet, said it was important for China to engage with the Dalai Lama.
“Only a serious dialogue while the Dalai Lama is alive can provide a lasting political solution in Tibet,” he said. “Finding an agreement with the Tibetans would help China because it’s the right thing to do and because it will help China both domestically and internationally.”
Eric Baculinao reported from Lhasa and Jason Cumming from London.