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  • Are Tibetans in Danger of becoming a Minority in their own Homeland?

    Are Tibetans in Danger of Becoming A Minority in their Own Land?

    There is strong evidence that, as a result of Chinese population transfer, Tibetans are becoming a minority in their own land and are thus finding themselves marginalized in economic, political, educational, and social spheres. The Chinese government encourages the Han Chinese to move to Tibet through financial incentives, stipends, hardship posting allowances, extended vacations, and attractive benefit packages. Annual wages fo.. Read More »

  • Tibetan Society and Way of Life

    Tibetan Society and Way of Life:

    The Tibetans are deeply religious and Buddhism permeates most facets of daily life in Tibet. It largely shapes the way the people think. Although foreign to us, the ideas of accumulating merit, undertaking privileges, appeasing spirits, sending sons to be monks, and worshiping the sanctity and power of natural places is all a part of their daily lives.

    Individual households normally have a shrine or several religious texts in the house or in a small buildin.. Read More »

  • History of Tibet

    Condensed History:
    Tibet has variously been known as Shangri-la, the Roof of the World, the Land of Snows…For centuries, the Buddhist kingdom of Tibet has had a unique hold on the imagination of the West. It was believed to be a land of riches and treasures, a lost land steeped in magic and mystery, and to Jesuits, a land that harbored a long-lost community of Christians, the Land of Prester John. But Lhasa was also the “Forbidden City” and until recently, very few Westerners laid eyes on.. Read More »

  • Religion in Tibet

    Religion in Tibet

    The establishment of Buddhism in Tibet was marked by its interaction with the native religion called Bon. Bon, which is a shamanistic faith encompassing gods and spirits, exorcism, and the cult of dead kings, had a definite influence on the direction that Buddhism took in Tibet. This faith believed in the power of the shaman, who has special powers to control or influence good and evil spirits, which enables them to discover the cause of illness, bad luck, etc.

    Many.. Read More »

  • Explaining Pilgrimage and Tibetan Prayer Flags

    The Tibetans are an extremely religious people and one can see evidence of this in the number of prayer flags that are hung across bridges and at the tops of mountain passes, and in the number of pilgrims that make their way to Lhasa.

    To the average Tibetan, pilgrimage is primarily a means of accumulating merit or good luck. It may be undertaken in the hopes of winning a better rebirth, ending a run of bad luck, curing an illness, or simply because of a vow to undertake a pilgrim.. Read More »

  • Lhasa, Tibet's Mystical Holy City - July to August 2006

    Our Last Mountain Pass!
    Because we had biked so hard and rested so little, my legs almost stopped working entirely a few days before we reached the capital. The last mountain pass was especially difficult. A hailstorm pelted us with ice bullets and a fierce wind tried its hardest to push us back down the mountain. Each time that we thought we were in the clear, we turned a bend in the road and headed back into the thick of the storm! The road got steeper and steeper as we neared the summit, and.. Read More »

  • Nighttime Checkpoint Crossings, Landslides, Wild Dog Terror, and Freakshow Valley and Weirdo Dwarfs - June to July 2006

    Nighttime checkpoint crossings, falling rocks, landslides, and packs of wild dogs…
    Foreigners are not legally allowed to travel independently in Tibet without a guide (and then only on certain roads, after paying a hefty fee for a permit, plus a jeep rental fee, plus a fee for the driver and another one for the ethnic Chinese guide). We had met two Belgian cyclists who paid $100 per day to have a driver and a guide follow them in a jeep – for a total of $3000, just for the permission to bik.. Read More »

  • Introduction to Tibet - June 2006

    Introduction to Tibet:
    We had been looking forward to biking in Tibet for several years, and we were excited when we finally crossed the border! Tibet lost its independence to China in a swift takeover in 1950, of course, when the Tibetans were “liberated” by their aggressors, who also drove Tibet’s spiritual and political leader, the Dalai Lama, into an exile that lasts until this day. Tibet is now officially known as the “Tibet Autonomous Region” – one of many provinces in China.

    Tibet h.. Read More »