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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Dalai Lama's brother cremated Thursday

September 12, 2008

By Elvia Malagon | IDS | September 12, 2008
Indiana Daily Student

Thubten J. Norbu's cremation Thursday morning was the first of its 
kind in the state of Indiana after getting approval from Gov. Mitch 
Daniels.

Norbu, a former IU professor and the eldest brother of His Holiness of 
the Dalai Lama, died Sept. 5 of natural causes.

Indiana law requires cremations to be performed by a licensed 
crematory, but Gov. Mitch Daniels gave the family authorization to 
perform this traditional ceremony.

Monks cremated the body in a dome-shaped structure, called a stupa, on 
the premises of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.

The private ceremony took place at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Jigme Norbu, Thubten J. Norbu's son, said he and his family were 
informed by funeral homes that the Buddhist tradition, which includes 
a cremation, was illegal because people cannot be cremated on public 
or private land.

The traditional cremation involves keeping the body on ice for days 
while it is prepared for the cremation. The body is brushed with 
religious liquids and is dressed in clothing a high lama would wear. 
He is then put in a lotus position, a crossed-legged pose that is 
often used for meditation.

The body is then carried into the stupa and closed.

Co-founder of the International Tibet Independence Movement and 
professor at Ball State University Larry Gerstein said the monks 
chanted for four hours prior to the cremation.

The Norbu family sought help from local politicians, who Jigme Norbu 
declined to reveal for their protection. They eventually helped get 
approval for the cremation from Daniels.

The cremation rarely occurs in the United States, and the ceremony was 
the first one in Indiana, Jigme Norbu said.

The family plans to use the ashes of Thubten J. Norbu to create 
statues the family can use as remembrance.
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