Tibet Culture Week in Thailand
2003-12-12 20:53:27      CRIENGLISH.com
2003 China Tibet Culture Week opened in Bangkok on December 5. With an exciting variety of activities, it is designed to present an overall picture of Tibetan culture to the people of Thailand. This is the first time for China to hold such a comprehensive cultural event featuring Tibetan culture in an Asian country.

Born in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Chen Qingying moved to northwest China's Qinghai Province with his family at the age of 17 and entered the Physics Department of Qinghai Nationalities College. Qinghai is home to many Tibetan people, and Chen Qingying began to study the Tibetan language. After teaching physics for more than ten years in Qinghai, he entered the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing, majoring in Tibetan. Why did he change from a physics professor to a Tibetologist.

"I studied some Tibetan in college, and also did some jobs in the Tibetan areas, which aroused my great interest in the history and culture of Tibet."

Although the research institute is based in Beijing, Chen Qingying often goes to Tibet and other areas where Tibetans live to carry out his research. Sometimes he spends several months with the local Tibetans, talking with them and getting useful information. Many years of such direct contact has given him a deep impression of the unique culture created in the distinctive living environment of the Tibetan people.

"It is not so easy for Tibetan people to survive and thrive under such harsh natural conditions on the plateau. This might be difficult for people from the outside to understand. The Tibetan people have also developed a unique culture, which has made great contributions to humankind's social and cultural development. I believe such an influence will continue long into the future."
Unlike Prof. Chen Qingying, Tubdan is a Tibetan scholar whose study mainly focuses on religion in Tibet. Talking about the history and development of Tibetan Buddhism, Tubdan amazes one with the depth and scope of his knowledge. Few people would guess that such a learned scholar grew up in a serf family.

"I was born into a serf family in Lhasa. Due to the poor situation of my family, in my childhood I was forced to enter Sela Monastery and become a little lama. It was not until 1959, when the democratic reforms were carried out in Tibet, that I got the opportunity to study in northwest China's Shaanxi Province."

Tubdan was among the first group of Tibetan serfs' children who were sent to other parts of China for study. It was the first time for Tubdan to contact the world outside Tibet: this greatly broadened his horizons.

Since 1984, Tubdan has been involved with religious affairs in Tibet, which requires him to have a thorough understanding of the past and the present situation of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as the religious policy of the central government. His childhood experience of being a lama in a monastery provided him with basic knowledge about religion in Tibet. But that was far from enough. After years of study and research, Tubdan has become a world renowned authority on Tibetan Buddhism. He and his colleagues are constantly contacted by academics, theologists and others.


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