Archive for the ‘Summer 2009 Visit’ Category

The Spring 2010 issue of the culinary culture journal Gastronomica features an article on food in Longen Monastery with original photos by Eric Rath. It describes the monastic kitchen and the vegetarian diet of the monks.

Lay volunteer stirs rice on a massive stove

Serving food in the main prayer hall


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In American, internet use is something that we take for granted, but that’s not the case in China, where a firewall prevents access to certain websites a fact that President Obama highlighted in his recent visit to Shanghai.

Internet use in China can lead to jail time. On November 16, the founder of a Tibetan literature website, who was also a government official, received 15 years imprisonment as described in the following report from Tibet News Digest:

16. Nov 2009
Tibetan cultural website founder sentenced to 15 years
(ICT) The International Campaign for Tibet reports that Kunchok Tsephel, an
official in a Chinese government environmental department and founder of the
influential Tibetan literary website, ‘Butter-Lamp’ (Tib: Chodme), has been
sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of disclosing state secrets. Some of
the charges are believed to relate to content on his website, which aims to
protect Tibetan culture, and passing information about protests in Tibet in
2008. Kunchok Tsephel was detained in the early hours of the morning on 26
February 2009. He received his sentence after a closed-door trial at the
Intermediate People’s Court of Kanlho (Chin: Gannan) TAP, Gansu province.

Our Experiences with China’s “Great Internet Firewall”

When we visited China last summer, we discovered that certain websites were blocked to us particularly ones that allowed social networking including Facebook and WordPress, host of our blog. (We had to rely upon a third party to post to this blog while we were there last summer).

Though the monastery we stayed at last summer had wireless high speed internet access — something we can’t seem to provide in certain counties of Kansas like the one I live in – we were warned not to visit certain websites such as those of the Tibetan government in exile and ones that supported the Dalai Lama. One monk we spoke with said that after he received a photo of the Dalai Lama as an email attachment, a friend of his in the government warned him to be careful, indicating that internet use is not only restricted, it is closely monitored, which encourages self-censorship.

So, we are glad that you found our site and are able to search freely. It’s not something that we should take for granted.

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Sooa Im and Eric Conrad Plan Exhibit (photo by McCormick)

Visitors in the Gallery

“Rath’s lecture: “Building a School for Tibetans at 13,000 Feet”

Ven. Champa Lhunpo Meets Visitors

Photos by Evan McCormick

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Yesterday the Golok team spent the day preparing for the exhibit and talk at KU Monday November 23. Here are a few glimpses of the exhibit in two photos by Eric Conrad.

Tibet Exhibit 1

We decided to cluster the photos of thangka paintings together; the ones of landscapes and people run continuously.

Tibet Exhibit 2

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Here is a preview of a few of the photos on exhibit and available for purchase Monday night 11/23. (These are low resolution versions; the photos for sale are at a much higher quality).


Young Monk


Vajrakilaya (detail)

The photos for sale were taken by members of the University of Kansas Golok Study Group who include Eric C. Rath (Associate Professor, History), Yoonmi Nam (Associate Professor, Visual Art), Eric Conrad (Assistant Professor, Art, Emporia State), Sooa Im (Graduate Student, Art History), and Evan McCormick (Graduate Student, Education).

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Members of the KU Golok Studies team work on t-shirts and photos for the upcoming benefit November 23 with help from students in the Visual Art Deptment, Cassie Spencer, Sam Owen, and Henry Schneiderman.


Preparing T-Shirts


Evan and Sooa Silk Screening Shirts


Two Erics Framing Photos


(Photos by Yoonmi Nam)

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This video features a Tibetan math class taught by instructor Sangay Ja.

Math Class at Mayul School

Math Class at Mayul School

The class has some of the youngest students in it. In fact, part way through the video, the school’s principal escorts the youngest student in the school, who is ten years old, to the back of the classroom. (He wasn’t in trouble; instead the principal wanted to introduce him to us).

Like all the classes at the Mayul School, the teaching style is extremely lively with frequent back and forth questions from the teacher and replies in unison from the students. It is amazing that the students have adapted so well to the school’s academic environment given that this is the first experience in the classroom for many of them. It is evident that they are hungry to learn and are making the most of this educational experience, which is such a rarity in this region.

Eric C. Rath

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