Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To Tibet, With Love

My message behind my last post/image is just making its way into my mantra bank, and in practicing what I preach,  I am grazing a topic I have felt very passionate and sensitive about for the last 15 years: Tibet --as a country, a concept, a distinctly important and exalted culture, and as a cause. That being said, I am not about political tirades or agendas as much as I am into sharing beauty--thus some Tibetan related love I have recently experienced.
    Last Friday, while hanging with Jay and JP and rifling through the plethora of fascinating films they own, we finally decided on watching Phorpa since JP found it nice and light to watch while having dinner (which Jason made and was amazing-- fed me for a week--I digress).  The film is set in Bhutan at a Tibetan Monastery, focusing on the youths and their largely complex though far from complicated lives. The premise (which I will not ruin) is essentially a simple story that covers the basic fundamentals of a light though charming tale of kids-- their mischief, foibles, and test of morality. Although the film doesn't seem to have gotten rave reviews, the simplicity of the plot-line leaves room for the magnitude of this film's sub-text. By no means politically driven, the film manages to reveal the nature of the deeply troubling reality of the endangered Tibetan culture and the complicated relationship of the displaced to their native culture, homeland, and those still residing in the country; however, the true gift of this film lies in its ability to show the beauty behind the Tibetan faith and lifestyle, moreover the connected nature of all human beings and their basic nature. Intricate. Touching.

    At times the film pulled at my heart-strings, primarily because the main character IS an older version of my nephew...I could see it in the character, the appearance, the mannerisms---it was as if staring into a crystal ball and having my future nephew revealed to me, albeit as a Tibetan Monk.
Closest I could make was from two squinty pics...but the resemblance is there I swear!

    To be serious, I was moved and filled with a reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity and our sense of God. Yes, a film can do that for me.

    The next thing I want to share is the "Tibetan Portrait Exhibit"  I went to, which is currently being shown at the Tibetan Museum. Few realize that our little ol' Staten Island is home to the largest collection of Tibetan art and artifacts outside of Tibet (which dwindles by the minute). It's one of those alluring treasures about the island--hidden up on Lighthouse Hill--small yet powerful.

    This exhibit is something the museum purchased with the intentions of attracting a varied viewership under the precept of a modern aesthetic, approach, and world topic. Though the museum tries to shy away from politics, the messages (or more likely the stories of the individuals) behind these photos, and the maddeningly deep context speak miles. Suffice to say, I was moved very deeply twice (well, really more than that) this past weekend.

For more powerful statements through photography, check out Phil Borges! 

    One thing I have learned through my quest as a Literature/Writing major is that the story is the key to immortality. The story is what keeps cultures alive, keeps people informed and connected. To this day, one of the greatest experiences of my life is having seen His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak at Central Park when I was 17. Perhaps one day I will share that story and all it inspired, especially since I had wished to see him from the age of 12! 
If you want to learn more about the Tibet situation and or culture, visit:
To see another wonderful art collection in the area, visit the Asian Collection at the Newark Museum.
(I can go on and on and on here...)

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
-Tenzin Gyatso The 14th Dalai Lama


  1. Wow! That little boy really does look like your nephew! That is unbelievably cool. Those photos are absolutely striking. I love them and I will defintely make my way back to the museum to view them in person. A good friend of Julie's is a grant writer for the Newark Museum. I am going to ask her about that show...for another great outing/adventure. Love it all, too!! Thanks for passing on all the goodness.

  2. I always wanted to go to the museum, but where would one park?

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  4. I feel dumb mentioning this, because most likely you must already know the Rubin, but if not hie thee thither at your earliest opportunity...



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