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Archive for the ‘Tibet at KU’ Category

2012 Update

Dear Readers,

Thank you for your continued interest in our project.

Offering Lamps

The first stage of our project concluded last June when the five Tibetan students from Golok returned home after spending one semester studying at the University of Kansas (KU). They have returned to the Mayul School where they have become English language instructors to the 200 students there.

However, the efforts of KU faculty to work with the Mayul School continue. In 2011 we received a small grant to purchase carpet looms and other materials so that students at the Mayul School can learn the lucrative vocation of rug making and help to preserve native textiles. The Mayul School intends to hire two instructors from Lhasa who will teach the students the stages of carpet making. We are very excited about the potential of carpet making to benefit the local economy through the local production of finished goods using wool sourced from area nomads.

Sheep enjoying the rangeland of Golok

Finally, there are several recent images to share that we have received from the Mayul Gesar Foundation of daily life in Golok and the foundation’s charitable work, which I have placed on a separate posts.

Best Wishes for the New Year.

– Eric C. Rath

Losar 2011 New Year's Party, Golok Students in Kansas

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Farewell Party

It seems hard to believe that the Tibetan students time studying at the University of Kansas has come to an end. They were here for just one semester, but long enough to enhance their understanding of English and American culture and to enrich us all with their presence. They spent their final days in Lawrence enjoying the hospitality of several home stay families for a few nights, and we are grateful to those individuals for opening up their homes to them and sharing their hospitality. These individuals joined others involved in this project on May 31 for a farewell dinner for the Tibetan students at a Lawrence restaurant.

I have not written as much as I could have about their experiences here, perhaps because these are so fresh in my mind but also out of respect for their privacy and one never knows who is reading this blog….

Thankfully, we received word that all five students returned safely and without incident to their homes in Golok. We hope that they can return to the University of Kansas again soon.

Eric C. Rath

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The Center for East Asian Studies is pleased to welcome Tibetan film director Ngawang Choephel for a screening of his film “Tibet in Song” at 7:00 PM at the Spencer Museum Auditorium.  The event is free and open to the public.

Born in Tibet in 1966, Ngawang’s mother carried him into exile in India when he was two years old.  After graduating from the Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts in Dharamsala, India, he received a Fulbright Fellowship to study filmmaking and ethnomusicology at Middlebury College.

In 1995 he traveled to Tibet to make a documentary about Tibetan music. After just a month in the country, he was arrested and later sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for “espionage and counter-revolutionary activities.”  This sentence was later reduced, and Ngawang Choephel was released in 2002 after spending 6 years in a Chinese prison.  He currently lives in New York City.

Click here to see a preview of Tibet in Song. We look forward to you joining us on March 8 for this film and a conversation with Ngawang Choephel afterward.

– Eric C. Rath

Here is a pdf version of the flier: Tibet in Song Flier (PDF)

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Is the snow in Kansas like the snow in Tibet?

On a recent visit to my home, the Tibetan students had the opportunity to try out some musical instruments. One knew how to play the piano (I will try to write about that another time), but others tried out the cello, an instrument that does not have a clear equivalent in Tibetan culture to my knowledge.

Trying out the cello

One of my fondest memories of Golok was dancing under the stars during a camp out. Car radios blasted Tibetan dance music for us. It has been too cold to try something similar in Kansas yet, but playing music is a good indoor activity for the winter.

Trying out a quarter size cello

I am not sure which memories will be the longest lasting for our students, but I hope that music forms a part of their experience studying in America.

– Eric Rath

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They’re here!

The five Tibetan students who will study English at the University of Kansas arrived on January 9 to begin their studies.

Five Tibetan Students in front of Strong Hall, University of Kansas

It is wonderful to have them here.

– Eric Rath

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University of Kansas undergraduate Sam Boje, one of the students in Eric Rath’s History of Tibet course, took up the challenge and created a drawing of the head of a Buddha based upon Professor Yoonmi Nam’s template provided in a previous post.

Head of the Buddha by Sam Boje

Sam Boje also created several drawings inspired by Patrul Rinpoche’s Words of my Perfect Teacher, a required text in the Tibetan history course.  One section of this work describes the suffering of beings in three lower realms of existence: hell, the realm of hungry ghosts, and the realm of animals.  Sam depicted these in the following image.

Three Realms of Existence by Sam Boje

Sam Boje provides a provocative and novel interpretation of Tibet Buddhism in both works, and we are glad to be able to share these with you.

– Eric C. Rath

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For our recent presentation on the Tibetan art classes at the Mayul school, Professor Yoonmi Nam created some handouts so that everyone can learn to draw a Buddha in the Tibetan style.  You will find these with  PDF versions to download below.

Dorje (right) teaching students the fundamentals of drawing (photo by Eric Conrad)

These handouts follow the methods of the Tibetan art teacher, Dorje, at the Mayul School.  Dorje begins each class by sketching a figure, and he often includes the template needed to create the correct proportions for the figure.  Students have to master the proportions on these templates to know how to draw according to Tibetan artistic conventions.  Tibetan paintings begin as drawings to which color is added, hence drawing is the literal foundation for Tibetan painting.

Professor Nam has provided images within a grid and the initial lines drawn onto that grid that form the foundation for two figures: the head of a Buddha and a seated Buddha.

Head of a Buddha (by Yoonmi Nam)

buddha head, detail

Guidelines to draw a Buddha's head (Yoonmi Nam)

Head Guidelines

Seated Buddha (by Yoonmi Nam)

seated buddha

Guidelines to draw a seated Buddha (by Yoonmi Nam)

Seated Buddha Guidelines

Try drawing your own Buddha and let us hear about it.

– Eric Rath

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