Tibetan Studies Internet Newsletter


Sender: owner-tsin@po.cwru.edu

Precedence: bulk

Tibetan Studies Internet Newsletter

Vol. 1, #2

January 12, 1999


Published by The Center for Research on Tibet

Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA

Melvyn C. Goldstein, Director

Compiled and Edited by Melvyn C. Goldstein


**To Subscribe to TSIN:

Send an e-mail to majordomo@po.cwru.edu with the following message (do not

include brackets):  subscribe tsin [your e-mail address]

**To Unsubscribe to TSIN:

Send and e-mail to majordomo@po.cwru.edu with the following message (do not

include brackets):  unsubscribe tsin [your e-mail address]

**To submit materials, including letters to the editor: Send an e-mail to

tibet@po.cwru.edu with your submission

**To Change a Subscription Address: Unsubscribe to TSIN, and then

Resubscribe with the new address

**Past issues can be found archived at the Center for Research on Tibet

website: http://www.cwru.edu/affil/tibet/



I. Editor's Comments

II. Research News: The impact of recent reforms on rural Tibet

III. Development Project News: The Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund

IV. Guest Essay: Wangchen Gelek Surkhang. On Tibetan history

V. New Publications

VI. Call for Papers

VII. Dissertation Abstracts


I. Editor's Comments

	It is my pleasure to send the second issue of TSIN and inform you that I

have been gratified by your response to the inaugural issue. TSIN now has

almost 150 subscribers located all over the world.  However, I hope that

you, the readership, will make a commitment to participate in TSIN by

sending in information about symposia, new publications, new faculty

additions to your programs, new or on-going research programs and so forth,

as well as your ideas for guest essays and book reviews.  For example, I

think it would be interesting if readers would volunteer to write short

articles discussing Tibetan studies at your institution or country  (e.g.,

on Tibet Studies in Japan, or on Tibetology at the U. of Virginia). TSIN

was conceived as a service to the field of Tibetan Studies so in the end it

will need the active support of Tibetologists to sustain itself.


II. Research News

1.  New research project on rural Tibet


The impact of China's socio-economic reform policy in the Tibet Autonomous


Co-Directors: Melvyn C. Goldstein, Cynthia M. Beall, Phuntsog Tsering & Ben


Case Western Reserve University and the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences

	The sudden shift of China and the Soviet bloc from a collective based

socialist mode of production to a market oriented economy represents one of

the great transformations of the Twentieth Century.  The study of the

socio-political, cultural, and economic ramifications of this

transformation has, not surprisingly, become an important area of

intellectual discourse that promises to yield important new understanding

of the nature of socio-economic change. 

	In China, this transformation has become an active and important area of

scholarly investigation.  A substantial body of information has been

produced on this question with regard to basic topics like the family, the

elderly, poverty, migration, industry, trade, political organization and

health, and on how the reforms have played out in different parts of China.

 There are now, for example, substantial data showing a major divergence

between the inner (western) provinces and the eastern coastal zone. 

	This corpus of research, however, has concentrated on differences within

the Han  areas of China, and has for the most part overlooked the relevance

of cultural variation-in particular minority cultural variation.

Consequently, very little is known about the manner in which the reforms

have affected major nationality areas such as the Tibet Autonomous Region

(TAR) where different language, religion and values predominate. The

primary aim of the proposed research project, therefore, is to fill this

lacuna by conducting in-depth field research on the impact of the reform

policy on rural Tibetans in the TAR.  The research was began in 1997 by

researchers from Case Western Reserve University's Department of

Anthropology (Center for Research on Tibet) and the Tibet Academy of Social

Sciences (Lhasa, TAR). 

Fieldwork was conducted in three counties (Lhundrup, Metrogunga and Penam)

and hundreds of households and covered a range of topics. Data from the

project are now being analyzed with preliminary results expected by the end

of 1999.


III. Development Project News-: The Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund

The Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund (TPAF) was established in 1997 as a US

non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting improved

living standards for poor Tibetan families and communities in the Tibetan

Autonomous Region (TAR). The TPAF has its headquarters in Cambridge

Massachusetts, as indicated below, and has a local Office in Lhasa  to

provide administrative and logistical support to project implementation.

The TPAF is currently implementing the following four projects:

(1) Livestock Feed Security in Three Nomadic Townships of Nakchu

Prefecture. The objective of this project is to introduce improved

techniques for the production of surplus feed that can reduce the loss of

nomadic livestock during heavy winter snowfalls and improve the overall

quality of nomadic herds. Project activities include demonstration of

improved techniques for the production of barley straw for hay, and the

development of improved winter pasture in fenced in areas around nomad

villages. The project was prepared in response to the very heavy loss of

livestock last fall when heavy snows made it impossible for many yaks,

sheep and goats to forage in the pasture areas. Over 1 million livestock

were lost in Nakchu Prefecture alone, about a quarter of the total

livestock of the Prefecture. The very high loss of livestock had the

consequence of virtually doubling poverty among Tibetan nomadic families.

(2) Improved Rural Reproductive Health Services in Six Townships of Nakchu

and Lhoka Prefectures. The objective of this project is to demonstrate ways

to reduce the relatively high rates of maternal and infant mortality in

Tibetan villages. Project activities include establishment of midwives in

villages, and training of them to provide improved prenatal, birthing and

postnatal services to village women that presently depend on close

relatives and neighbors to assist at time of delivery. The project will

also experiment with forms of rural health insurance that can help to

ensure that adequate financing is available for strengthened rural

reproductive health services on a sustainable basis

(3) Demonstration of Microfinance in Three Townships of Lhoka Prefecture

(with later extension to three townships of Nakchu Prefecture). The

objective of this project is to demonstrate techniques for the successful

lending of small loans to women of poor Tibetan households for productive,

income generating purposes that can help to improve living standards. These

techniques include establishment of township level revolving fund

mechanisms, organized training and transparent accounting and reporting

procedures, lending to the women of families organized in small peer groups

and village and township level support personnel (munchebas). The project

intends to demonstrate to financial institutions and poverty alleviation

programs that poor Tibetan women, with training and organization, can use

credit effectively in small businesses with very high rates of payback. At

present poor Tibetan households cannot access credit from existing rural

banking institutions for lack of required collateral.

(4) Development of a Tibetan Vocational Education Strategy in the TAR. The

objective of this project is to assist the Education Bureau of the TAR in

the preparation of a Vocational Education Strategy intended to provide

Tibetans with rural and urban sector employable skills likely to be

required in the decades to come. Project activities will include

inventories of needed skills, vocational education curriculum and teacher

training requirements to strengthen vocational education at the primary,

post primary, secondary and tertiary levels to equip Tibetan youth with the

vocational skills needed to compete successfully for skilled job

opportunities in rural and urban areas. Attention will also be given to the

implementation of four pilot experimental vocational education training

activities at the primary, post-primary, secondary and tertiary levels,

respectively, and the strengthening of the Vocational Education Division of

the Education Bureau to implement the Strategy after it has been approved

by the TAR government.

TPAF seeks corporate and individual donations to enable expansion of these

activities. For more information, please contact:

		Arthur N. Holcombe, President

		Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund

		663 Green Street

		Cambridge, MA 02139

		Tel: 617-491-8689

    	Fax: 617-491-8449



IV. Guest Essay: Tibet in the early 20th century

     Wangchen Gelek Surkhang

Editor's Note:

A series of  draft essays (in English) were  recently discovered in Seattle

by Larry Epstein among the papers of the late Professor Turrell V. Wylie.

Written by the late Surkhang Shape while he was a member of the Inner Asia

Project of the University of Washington (in the late 1960's), they were

translated at that time into English  by his brother, Surkhang Rimshi.

Surkhang Shape was a key member of  the Kashag in the late 1940's and

1950's, and was a brilliant student of Tibetan history.=20

This issue of TSIN presents the first of these essays as it was found,

i.e., with no editing for English meaning. It deals with the period

spanning  roughly from 1904-1914 and presents a fascinating and important

new Tibetan perspective on several important issues occurring in that

period. TSIN will publish  the other essays in subsequent issues.

In 1904, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama fled before the advancing troops of the

Younghusband Expedition and after a stay of four years in Mongolia and

China managed to meet the Emperor and the Dowager.  He arrived in Peking in

1908 on the eighth day of the third Tibetan month, at the age of 33.  The

question of why the interview was delayed so long might be answered when

one considers the fact that the Ch'ing Dynasty was nearing its end and was

at this time very weak. Thus the Dalai Lama realized somewhat

disappointedly, that no help against the British invasion would be

forthcoming from the Chinese. I am of the opinion that the real reason the

interview with the emperor was granted at all was because of the imminent

danger that Russian influence over the Tibetans would undermine Chinese

intentions in Tibet. The Dalai Lama was accompanied throughout his sojourn

in Mongolia and China by the Buryat Dorjieff.  The latter, though nominally

mtshan-zhabs of the Dalai Lama was in fact a political figure and acted as

a channel to and from the Tsar. When the Dalai Lama was residing in

Mongolia the Tsar had sent the Russian ambassador to Peking to the Dalai

Lama and the latter granted him an audience: what was discussed is not=


At any rate when the Dalai Lama finally arrived at Peking he was treated in

a manner as befitted his rank, that is as was the Fifth Dalai Lama on his

visit centuries earlier; some 10,000 taels per diem, were spent on

hospitality. When the Dowager inquired of the Dalai Lama about how the days

of his journey fared, he replied that he was unable to remember the

individual days but that he could recall the four years easily. The Dalai

Lama and the Dowager discussed each other's health and the state of their

religion, but apparently not a word  passed between them regarding the

political situation in Tibet, and the reason of the Dalai Lama's visit,

although well known to the Chinese, was not mentioned. Since all political

matters relating to Tibet were handled through the Officer of the Grand

Councilor [Chinese characters] the Tibetan grievances were presented to

that office, but again, there was not much interest taken there either. The

Tibetan emissaries were told that the Chu'n chi ta ch'en (Grand Councilor

of Military Affairs) would deal with the matter in time, and that they were

awaiting the reports of their special amban who was known to the Tibetans

as Chu-thog amban (Chang ta-jen or Chang Ying-tang) who had been dispatched

to Tibet in 1908 (?1906).

The Dalai Lama was anxious to return to Tibet after that; I think that

having seen what was taking place in China, he changed his mind in trying

to enlist their help. He considered it a wise political move thereafter to

try and establish friendly relations with the British Empire instead of

China or Russia. Further evidence of this shift in sentiment may be seen in

the following chain of incidents. Just before the Dalai Lama left in late

1903, he dismissed from their posts and had imprisoned in the Nor bu gling

ka the four bka' shag members (Bshad-grwa, Zhol khang, Byang khyim, and

Hor-khang) for their failure to deal with the British in a proper manner

and their pro-British leanings. On the day when the British expeditionary

forces arrived at Snang dkar rtse Rdzong, they were further deprived of

their posts and exiled to their respective estates. Furthermore when the

four disgraced ministers were being interrogated by the Tshongs-'du, the

Dalai Lama found that several members of the Assembly were sympathetic

towards the ministers and rather lenient in the procedures of

investigation. The Dalai Lama also had seven of these persons arrested. In

1908 the Regent Blo bzang rgyal mtshan, who may be described briefly as a

good man, but politically naive, under the influence of the special Chinese

envoy Chang empowered the Bka' blon Tsha rong to sign the Tibet Trade

Regulations in Calcutta. One article of this agreement permitted the

Chinese to station some 6000 'policemen' in Tibet [MCG: Surkhang is

mistaken regarding such a clause].  This was done without the knowledge of

the Dalai Lama. Upon the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet that same year

he appointed the three former bka'-blon (Hor khang had committed suicide

shortly after he was imprisoned) as srid skyongs phyag rogs, a new post,

purportedly to act as assistants to the regent. When the latter got wind of

the new appointments he convened the Full Assembly and broke all precedents

by attending the meeting. In an even more surprising move he tried to

prostrate himself before the members of the assembly, saying that he had

served his country honestly and well in time of difficulty, but now that

peace had returned to Tibet the Dalai Lama apparently thought that he

needed assistance in his work; he therefore wished the assembly to allow

him to retire.  But he received the answer that the assembly could neither

presume that they had the power to let him do so , nor could  they delay

the appointment of the three ministers.

The Dalai Lama was in a hurry to return to Tibet and take steps to prevent

the Chinese troops from, invading Tibet. He was met in the vicinity of the

Tshwa'i-'dam by his elder brothers and the bka' blon bla ma Blo bzang phrin

las all of whom contracted an epidemic fever on the trip and died. From the

time that he returned his relationships with the amban Lieu-yu steadily

deteriorated. He was met by the latter and other officials on 8/2/09 at Nag

chu kha, but due to the actions of the amban during the Dalai Lama's

absence (see below), the Dalai Lama snubbed him by making him wait until

last for an interview. In retaliation the amban created a traffic jam on

the way back to Lhasa which caused the Dalai Lama and his retinue to arrive

late for a great reception in the Gtsug lag khang. Within a few days of the

Dalai Lama's arrival the Tibetan government stopped providing rations of

rice, wood, oil and fodder to the Chinese garrison in Lhasa, one that had

been given since Pho lha nas's time. Among the amban's hostile actions were

general interference with internal politics. He had on several occasions

exposed 'corruption' among Tibetan officials, notably the giving of bribes

to obtain political posts, and more seriously had interfered with the

duties of the late bka' blon bla ma. The latter was accused of looking too

much like a Moslem. Several years earlier, following a revolt in Ch'inghai,

it was proclaimed that Moslems could no longer hold high posts, and the

amban had not allowed the minister to go to the Kashag meetings.

Furthermore the Dalai Lama was now using a seal presented to him by the

National Assembly in place of the Emperor's seal (see Shakabpa,

frontispiece). The amban considered these things good reason to expedite

the movement of the 6000 troops into Tibet, due to the change of climate

regarding the growing attitude of Tibetan independence.

The Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa in December of 1909, about the same time

that the news of the Chinese troops approaching Kong po was heard. Tibetan

officials in Khams, Dwags po and Kong po fled towards Lhasa. Last to flee

were the mkhan chung Gdam snyan and the mda' dpon Lha sding from Sho pa

mdo. The sde [sic. mda'] dpon made his escape good but the mkhan chung,

along with 16 of his servants and escort were caught and taken to Gyamda by

some Chinese advance troops and then beheaded. When the news of their

murder reached Lhasa it produced a generally felt stronger antagonism

towards the Chinese and frightened both the Dalai Lama and other high

officials including the three new srid blon. Tsha rong zhabs pad and the

dza sag Rgyal mtshan mkhan mchog, one head of the newly-formed Phyi rgyal

las khung, along with several other officials were dispatched to Ru thog

(?) with 200 troops to halt the Chinese advance. On the first day of the

Tibetan New Year the troops were preparing to have their evening meal, when

an. advance scout arrived with news that he a-lid seen a large Chinese

force, both cavalry and foot soldiers.  The Tibetan troops decided that,

because they had no modern arms and were so drastically outnumbered,

resistance would have been folly, and they deserted their position.

Crossing over towards 'Bri gung, they took a northerly route back towards

Lhasa.  News arrived that the Chinese had now crossed through Ru thog, and

on the third day of the New Year they arrived at the outskirts of Lhasa.

The cavalry troops arrived first, firing into the air. Entering Lhasa they

killed two police troops, one government official (mkhan chung Dka' gdong

'Jam dbyangs) and wounded Phun khang The'i ji. The Dalai Lama and the three

srid blon then decided to leave Lhasa once again.  The Tsho smon gling

hutuqtu, who was the Dga' ldan khri pa, was appointed regent. I think that

the decision was a wise one since he was an incarnation of Se ra, which was

the most strongly anti-Chinese of the large monasteries and also the Khri

rinpoche, who could therefore command the authority of all the Yellow

Church. But since he was not highly skilled in political matters the Dalai

Lama also appointed as his assistant the mkhan che Snye'u shag Mkhyen rab

phun tshogs whose conservatism and strong character would not likely be

influenced by the Chinese.

At midnight of that same day the Dalai Lama and his retinue left the Potala

for Nor bu gling ka and thence to Lcags zam Ferry some 40 miles southwest

of Lhasa. Crossing the ferry, he left in charge of some 210 Tibetan

regulars his 23 year-old spyan gsal Zla bzang dgra 'dul who had traveled

with the Dalai Lama in China and was a man of excellent character, while he

proceeded to the monastery of the Rdo rje phag mo, Bsam lding, where he

remained for three days. On the fourth day the amban discovered the Dalai

Lama's absence and sent soldiers in pursuit, numbering about 1000. At Lcags

zam Zla bzang dgra-'dul was able to hold the Chinese for two or three days.

He later told me that he had fallen into a heavy sleep, not having slept

for several days, and was awakened by a sharp slap in the face. The source

of the blow could not be found and he regarded it as an omen to stay on the

alert. In a while he noticed that there were flames coming from a wood-pile

next to a small monastery at Lcags zam. Thinking that the Chinese had

crossed he sent a messenger to the Dalai Lama and advised his men to hide

their weapons and disperse. The Lama left Bsam lding immediately and made

for the British trade agency at Chumbi via Gyantse, where he was received

by MacDonald. He escaped not a moment too soon, because without the

knowledge of Zla bzang dgra-'dul, part of the Chinese pursuit force had

crossed the river at Snye mo and arrived at Bsam lding one day after the

Dalai Llama had departed. The Chinese frontier guards at Chumbi had not

received word of the events at Lhasa and the Dalai Lama was allowed to

proceed unimpeded to India, whither he was followed by his favorite some

days later.

The Dalai Lama proceeded to Kalimpong where he remained for the time being.

The new bka' shag, whose members were Glang mdun, Rgyal mtshan mkhas mchog,

Bde dge gling and Tsha rong, who was the only member of the previous

cabinet (he had been left behind after returning from the defeat at Ru

thog, and had thus been unable to join the Dalai Lama), worked for about a

month. In dealing with the amban only Tsha rong would go; the others were

apprehensive since they had been appointed only recently by the Dalai Lama.

At that time the Kashag received word from the amban that he had heard that

there was one man working in the Kashag that belonged there and three

others that did not; hence the amban could not give his approval for them

to go to the Kashag, and that those men should work for whatever position

they were appointed. But no clear response was given the amban by the

Tibetans and they continued their work, thinking that since they had

legitimately received the appointment from the Dalai Lama, they had the

right. One day there arrived a message from the amban that the ministers

should come to the Chinese residence. At first they thought that the

approval of their appointment by the amban would be forthcoming, but at the

same time orders for the arrest of Mr. Snye'u shag, assistant to the

regent, were issued. He was led to the yamen with his hands tied behind his

back, held there for a while and later sent to Chang tu, all this without

apparent reason.  The Kashag members were held there for one night and

released the next day with the stern warning not to continue their work at

the Kashag.

At that time, about four months after the Dalai Lama had fled, two Chinese

military officials Generals Shih (?) and Chung-yin, had a quarrel, first

instigated by Chung, which reached the attention of the amban. The latter

called both of them into his presence and telling them that for two high

officers to quarrel in public brought shame upon the Chinese, ordered their

execution. Such a severe sentence for such a seemingly small. offense was

to say the least surprising, but Lien-yu" offered only a cryptic statement,

telling them that he was an old man and that when he died they would

discuss the reasons of their execution when they met at the place of

judgment of Gshin rje chos rgyal, the god of death. Shih thereupon was

executed, but Chung-yin was released without further punishment. It was

thereupon understood that there was another matter involved in the

execution. It was generally supposed that Shih had released military

secrets inadvertently through his wife who was the daughter of Thang smad

the mayor (zhol pa) of Lhasa. Also the execution had the practical purpose

of restricting the relationships of the Tibetans and Chinese, who had been

relatively friendly and had mixed freely on a social level up until this

time. After 1911, however, Chinese documents fell into the hands of my

uncle, then the secretary to the Kashag which throws light on the whole

affair. One letter from China stated that Shih was the leader of a

revolutionary movement in Tibet and that he should be executed, preferably

on another pretext. Thus it is apparent that the quarrel with Chung-yin was


>From that period on suppression of the Tibetans increased.  Tibetan

officials at all levels had to be appointed through the amban, and this

tended to increase the level of corruption in some cases, since Lien

appointed persons to many new posts upon the receipt of a sufficient bribe.

For instance the case of the appointment of Byams pa bstan dar as Drung yig

chen mo: Byams pa bstan dar had previously been a candidate for that post

along with a monk of the Phun rabs pa  family, The Dalai Lama had chosen

the latter and Byams pa bstan dar bore a grudge against him. A sufficient

bribe caused the amban to create a parallel post for him.

Towards the end of 1910 Chung left Tibet with the main body of Chinese

forces to suppress an uprising in the principality of Sbo. Upon the

successful of their campaign they retreated slowly and reached Kong po;

Lien retained only the old Yung (?) Regiment of about 500 troops and some

300 artillery troops stationed at Gra bzhi dmag sgar near Sera. Upon

arrival of the news that the emperor had been deposed, those 300 troops

paraded into Lhasa and "escorted" the amban to their encampment. The fact

that he entered his palanquin without shoes though made it plain that he

was being placed in arrest. The majority of the troops stayed behind and

looted the Chinese treasury in order to procure funds to return to China.

Further to the north of Gra bzhi was the Rlog bde power station and mint,

guarded by 100 troops of the amban's old guard. The troops of the artillery

regiment proceeded there bearing the palanquin of the amban, and when the

guards came to meet them, the others threw the palanquin down and showed

them that it was empty; whereupon the old guards joined forces with the

looters. The looting troops had so much silver that they could not carry

it, and they converted it to gold, jewelry, etc., also selling their

weapons, and departed for India.

When news of the changes in China reached the main forces in Kong po one

Chinese officer (Shay? ((Hsieh))) called the troops in his command and

explained that the establishment of the republic in China now required him

to abolish the use of military titles, etc., and henceforth they would be

equal among themselves.  The chief commander however retained his power,

claiming that if the Chinese were to leave Tibet in small groups they would

be killed by the Tibetans; hence they would remain together for the time

being for mutual self-protection. Chung appointed many new men from the

ranks in order to assist him. In Lhasa once again Chung and his newly

formed cadre confronted the now powerless amban. Chung claimed that he had

Tibetan secrets that the Chinese would be attacked and wanted to attack

Sera in a surprise move. Lien-yu on the other hand warned against such a

move as he now considered fighting the Tibetans futile.  Instead he

proposed that the Chinese troops be divided and stationed in vital places:

the Potala, the Gtsug lag khang (central cathedral), Lhasa, Shigatse, and

Gyantse. The operation of the Tibetan government could be left to the

Tibetans themselves, that is by deploying Tibetan collaborators in vital

posts. But Chung and the others considered Lien and his ideas somewhat

outmoded and cowardly and opted for military adventurism instead, whereupon

the Chinese attacked Sera monastery. Lien's reported remarks on the affair

was something like: I have blown up this balloon well but the children have

stuck pins in it. Lien, in a state of despair, fled to 'Bras spungs and

remained there in seclusion.

The Chinese, before they carried out their attack, had hoped to receive

from the Tibetans more than half a million tranga in silver bouillon so

that they might leave the country. The Kashag, headed by Tsha rong, raised

the money by requesting that the aristocratic families donate whatever they

could.  Tsha rong placed his son in charge of the collection, and he soon

raised the money which was given to the Chinese. This was regarded by some

persons as a traitorous act, but I think that was not the case. Tsha rong's

main object was to preserve the power of the Kashag and hence Tibetan

independence through friendly relations with the Chinese, whom he knew were

too strong militarily for the Tibetans. Had Tsha rong been thinking of his

own welfare he could have fled Lhasa and joined the Dalai Lama in India.

Besides it was due mainly to Tsha rong's efforts that an effective Tibetan

underground had been formed.  But unfortunately for him, the Chinese

remained in Lhasa and Tsha rong was suspected of treason. He was opposed

mainly by the rabble, and politically uneducated monks of Sera and Ganden;

in addition he was borne a personal grudge by the minister Bshad grwa, then

in India, who took advantage of Tsha rong's position by instigating rumors.

Bshad-grwa's gru dge probably stemmed from the time that he was in prison,

during which Tsha rong rose to power, A political song was spread:

Nyin mo ser bya yin zer

Bka' shag nang la 'gro gyi

Mtshan mo rma bya yin zer

Ya mon nang la 'gro gyi

'By day he is called a yellow bird and goes into the Kashag;

By night he is called a peacock, and goes into the yamen.'

After the fighting at Sera the Kashag and Regent met in the Potala at the

same time the Assembly was in session. At this time the Assembly was

all-powerful in Tibet: arrangements for fighting, etc., were made through

the Assembly, as they were in possession of the various seals through which

communications were controlled. Furthermore there was a good deal of

internal distrust towards the Kashag and the Regent. At that time the Dalai

Lama made his spyan gsal Zla bzang dgram 'dul the commander-in-chief (spyi

mda') of the Tibetan military forces and sent him to Lhasa. There he joined

forces with Khri smon zhabs pad and Byams pa bstan dar and they plotted the

assassination of Tsha rong, et al. Two weeks before his murder Tsha rong

had become the object of the rumors afoot in Lhasa and had gone to the

Regent, requesting that he be given leave to depart to India, but the

regent told him that whatever was being said about Tsha rong was being

disregarded by those persons in high position who knew the facts, and he

guaranteed his safety. But the regent apparently had no knowledge of the

plot on Tsha rong's life. Tsha rong kept a pistol under the cushion of his

seat at the Kashag and on the morning of his assassination a gsol dpon of

the regent came and told him that the Chinese soldiers who held the Lcags

po ri had been firing at the Potala and that the Regent requested the loan

of Tsha rong's pistol in order to protect himself. Tsha rong thereupon lent

the hand gun. Later in the day there appeared a delegation from the

military headquarters near Rmu ru rnying pa, led by one officer, Bying pa

and some monks from Sera, looking like a routine mission. Upon making their

report to the Kashag, however, the speaker mumbled and Tsha rong leaned

forward, telling the man to speak up: whereupon a monk from the back of the

group jumped forward and seized his topknot. They accused Tsha rong of

treason and tying his hands behind him they dragged him bodily down the

steps of the Potala and shot him.  The other Kalons, Ram pa and Lha thog pa

(Glang mdun had since expired) were imprisoned in Zhol. Tsha rong's son and

the Bka' drung Zhag pa were also arrested and executed by Sera monks, along

with the drung yig chen mo, Phun rab pa. The reason for the murder of the

latter was reportedly his cooperation with the pro-Chinese monks of Bstan

rgyas gling, but in fact, I rather suspect that Byams pa bstan dar, who had

obtained the same post by bribing the Chinese, seized upon the excuse to do

away with his rival.  Other assembly members were killed: the Bla phyag Mon

drong, an intimate friend of Phun rab pa and his brother, the Lha gnyer

Lozang dorje, who it was feared, would avenge his brother's death. The

effects of the execution were to produce a lull in the fighting spirit of

the Tibetans, who were now unsure of the direction of their leaders.  It

was bitterly said of Zla bzang dgra 'dul's arrival:

Sku zhabs spyi mda' phebs byung

Dpyid nyin ring po shar byung.

'The honorable commander in chief had arrived

 the long spring day has dawned.'

When the events of this bloody day were reported to the Dalai Lama he was

aggrieved, but because of the fighting in Lhasa, he was forced to hold his

tongue.  The regent appointed Byams pa bstan dar as the Bka' blon bla ma,

but the Dalai Lama neither gave his approval nor disapproval to the

appointment. He showed his displeasure by appointing as lay bka' blon the

unknown figures of Mkhyen brtse'i phun tshogs, the assistant foreign

secretary as assistant bka' blon, Sman dod, the governor of Gartok as

Kalon, and Shekarlingpa as bka' blon. Furthermore when he returned to

Tibet, the Dalai Lama was seemingly unimpressed by the bravery of the

fighters against the Chinese and he made only a few presentations by way of

reward, but nothing to individual leaders. (Sera gained 'Dam brgya shog

brgyad and Ganden got to appoint a governor of Mtsho nag.)

After the Dalai Lama's return there were several important changes in the

government structure. The Tsho smon gling regent was retired and Bshad grwa

was made the Srid-blon. The cabinet consisted of Byams pa bstan dar, who

was sent to Khams to fight the remaining Chinese there. Bde skyes gling pa

filled the position of the deceased Shekarlingpa. Zla-bzang-dgra 'dul was

ennobled by marrying him to the wife of Tsha rong's son and Tsha rong's

youngest daughter, thus becoming the new Tsha rong.  The office of the

Srid-blon had become the dominant force in the government. Bshad grwa

instituted the custom of Phur pu rgyas tshogs, which was a general meeting

of the Kashag and the Premier. Formerly the Kashag had sent their files of

weekly business to the office of the premier or Regent, but now the weekly

face-to-face confrontation allowed the premier to have a more direct

control over the decisions of the Kashag. Some semblance of a balance of

power was restored with the appointment of Tsha rong as Kalon, but he

concerned himself mainly with the building of a modern army for Tibet and

appeared only occasionally at these meetings. [Editorial clarifications

have been placed in square brackets]


V. New Publications

1. Catriona Bass. "Education in Tibet: Practice and Policy since 1950."

London and New York, TIN and Zed Books, 1998. [Will be reviewed in the next

issue of TSIN]

2. Melvyn C. Goldstein and Matthew T. Kapstein (eds.).  "Buddhism in

Contemporary Tibet: Religious Revival and Cultural Identity." Berkeley, U.

of California Press, 1998-This volume contains:

Foreword---Orville Schell

1. Introduction---Melvyn C. Goldstein

2. The Revival of Monastic Life in Drepung Monastery-Melvyn C. Goldstein

3. Re-membering the Dismembered Body of Tibet: Contemporary Tibetan

Visionary Movements in the People's Republic of China-David Germano

4. A Pilgrimage of Rebirth Reborn: The 1992 Celebration of the Drigung Powa

Chenmo-Matthew T. Kapstein

5. Ritual, Ethnicity, and Generational Identity-Lawrence Epstein and Peng


6. Concluding Reflections-Matthew T. Kapstein

3. Daniel J. Miller. "Fields of Grass: Portraits of the Pastoral Landscape

and Nomads of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas." Kathmandu, ICIMOD, 1998.

4. The "Himalayan Research Bulletin" Issue 1, 1998 has a number of reports

and reviews on ethnic Tibetan populations in Ladakh and Nepal. Among these

are a report by John Bray titled "Recent Research on Ladakh," an article by

Martijn van Beck titled "True patriots: Justifying Autonomy for Ladakh."and

an article by Eberhard Berg titled, "Pilgrimage to Uomi Tsho." The Bulletin

is edited by Barbara Brower out of the Department of Geography at Portland

State University in the USA. The Bulletin's email address is:

hrb@geog.pdx.edu.  The web site address is http://



VI. Call for Papers

The 9th Colloquium of the International Association for Ladakh Studies will

take place from August 25-29, 1999 at Leh, Ladakh, India.=20

IALS colloquia have been held regularly, usually every other year, since

1981, and are intended to bring together people from many disciplines

interested or engaged in Ladakh studies. At this time, the organizers are

inviting proposals for papers and/or panels and wish to gauge interest in


Anyone interested in participating is requested to pre-register at this

time and - if applicable - to submit a short (250 words) abstract for a

paper, preferably by e-mail.

Only those who are pre-registered can be sure to receive future

communications regarding the conference, accommodation, etc. We are

expecting that the conference participation fee will be around USD 50.

Send all communications to:

John Bray, Hon. Sec. IALS

55B Central Hill

London SE19 1BS, U.K.

E-mail: miyoko@jblon.win-uk.net

Participants from South Asia may prefer to contact the Leh Organising

Committee directly:

Abdul Ghani Sheikh, Hon. Membership Sec, Ladakh

Yasmin Guest House

Fort Road

Leh-Ladakh 194101, INDIA

Fax: (++ 91)1982-52631


VII. Dissertation abstract

Kim I. Gutschow, An Economy of Merit: Women and Buddhist Monasticism in

Zangskar, Northwest India. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Department of

Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1998. Pp. 470, tables,

maps, figures, plates.

This dissertation presents an ethnography of a local moral world created by

the intersection of a nunnery, a monastery, and a village within the

Zangskar region of Himalayan Kashmir. These three entities are related

within an economy of merit constituted by institutional practices as well

as the lived flow of individual experiences which emerge out of wider

socio-economic, cultural, and historical processes. The thesis describes

who becomes a nun, with what motivations, from what familial and social

contexts, and by what kinds of ritual processes.

The dissertation privileges a view from a nunnery rather than the one from

the monastery which has dominated Buddhist studies thus far. The

perspective from the standpoint of those women who renounce the world may

illuminate the contested nature of making merit. It appears that nuns make

merit rather differently than monks do. While both male and female

monastics who practice Tibetan Buddhism are expected to devote themselves

to selfless compassion and asceticisms, most nuns compromise their ritual

devotions with obligations to farm, field, and family. The contradictions

between the household and monastic realms have shaped the historical

development of the nun's and monk's orders in profoundly different ways.

Nuns can no more renounce their roles as dutiful daughters than they can

elude the female bodies defined as inferior and impure. A nun's celibacy is

always constrained by local customs and classical doctrine which denies

women the possibility of secual renunciations permitted to monks.

The first two chapters situate the local life world of the nunnery and its

inhabitants within an economy of scarcity and solidarity in the

Indo-Tibetan borderlands. The third and fourth chapters chart a history of

patronage and kingship which left the monasteries well endowed and

nunneries relatively impoverished within Zangskar's economy of merit. The

fifth and sixth chapters sketch the dynamics of subsistence at the nunnery

and delineate who becomes a nun as well as how and why, drawing on theories

of exchange and an experience near ethnography. The seventh chapter

examines the three ritual stages a nun must pass through: tonsure,

ordination, and joining a monastic assembly. The eighth and ninth chapters

delineate the historical denigration of women in Buddhist doctrine and

popular culture which have established the male Sangha as the highest field

of merit.


Copyright 1998 The Center for Research on Tibet

Text is not to be used without written permission.


Home | Staff | Publications | Links | TSIN