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Tibetan PM stresses on individual effort to preserve culture

August 31, 2010

By Tenzin Pema and Rinzin Gyatso
Phayul
August 30, 2010

Bangalore, Aug. 29 -- Professor Samdhong
Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan
government in exile, on Sunday said Tibetans
should strive to preserve their culture -- not
through protest marches, or via museums, or
through organizing of cultural performance
programs -- but through the daily practice of a
positive attitude, a trait deep rooted in Tibetan culture.

The Tibetan Prime Minister or Kalon Tripa, was
addressing a gathering of around 300 Tibetans
residing in the city. Rinpoche delivered a talk
on the "Preservation of Tibetan culture and
Responsibility of Tibetans in exile," during a
program organized by The Tibetan Rights and
Freedom Restoration Committee in collaboration
with ‘Talk Tibet’ -- a group made up of college
students in the city who regularly hold such activities for the Tibetan public.

The core principle of Tibetan culture or lejang
is the practice of "Others before self," Rinpoche
said, adding that this was the sole reason why a
scholar once remarked that "the world cannot
afford to let the Tibetan culture disappear.” In
his nearly three-hour long session with the
Tibetans in the city, Rinpoche also defined the
ways in which one can identify and classify the
cultures of the west, from those of the east,
including those of India, Tibet and China.

The concern to preserve Tibetan culture became a
phenomenon only after 1959, and since then, there
has been the occurrence of cultural genocide
within Tibet, both intentionally and
unintentionally, Rinpoche said, quoting the
Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

While the threat to the Tibetan culture, or
lejang, is now prominent both in exile and in
Tibet, the former through freedom and the latter
through force, the preservation of one’s culture
should be an individual effort, through constant
self introspection of one’s attitudes and actions, he said.

He acknowledged the lack of political and
cultural knowledge within the Tibetan community
today, especially among the youth, while
identifying that the Tibetan exile’s
responsibility is two-fold -- one that of
preserving one’s culture, and the second, that of
working for the Tibetan issue.

Rinpoche was in the south Indian state of
Karnataka for the First Tibetan National General
Body Meeting that is currently underway at the
biggest Tibetan settlement in India, Bylakuppe.
Rinpoche is also due to attend the ceremony that
will mark the 50th founding anniversary of
Tibetan democracy in Bylakuppe on September 2,
during which the Tibetan parliament-in-exile on
behalf of the Tibetan people is set to honour His
Holiness the Dalai Lama with a "Golden Seal" for
his years-long selfless service to the Tibetan people.
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