High Peaks Pure Earth presents the English translation of a prose piece in three parts titled “From Larung Gar” by Woesel Nyima that was published on WeChat on October 5, 2016. The post has since been either deleted or removed from WeChat.
As announced earlier this year by the local authorities in a notice titled “Correction and rectification obligations for the Larung monastery Buddhist Institute in Serta county”, by September 30, 2017 the population of the encampment must be limited to 5,000 persons.
According to media reports, the demolitions at Larung Gar have started and are ongoing, with monks and nuns being forced to leave. This poetic prose piece below gives a view from the ground and conveys the emotional attachment felt by the residents to Larung Gar.
Thank you to Bhuchung D. Sonam for sourcing the material and for this timely translation.
“From Larung Gar By Woesel Nyima”
Demolition of Houses
Today the sun, covered with dust, casts dark shadows. Yesterday the robbers destroyed the moon scattering tears everywhere. The devils, stretching the hands of sorcery, have taken away the year and months of the nights. The dark dreams were the ruins of demolished houses. The hot pain the numb limbs feel is similar to plucking of hair or an operation. Though beheading is slightly different from suffocation, someone destroying something that one has built feels like a scorching pain. These tiny hermitages, built from the foundation with money that our parents accumulated, and with the blood and tears of our friends, were where we received transmissions and meditated. They can only accommodate our scriptures and bags of tsampa. As digging machines and people demolish the residences of nuns, the shadow of dust blocks the sun. Some boys, with their heads covered, blocked the road and took pictures. Many were left blank and a few people spoke on their phones. Splintered woods and plastic water bottles lay scattered on the side of dust-filled hills. A million pictures and videos bubble red with blood from our hearts. Dark images fill nooks of clouds and peaks of the mountains. Sounds of cries linger in the windows sills, doorframe and corners of the houses. Axes and other instruments rumble like angry growls of tigers. As gangs of people who are a mix of Chinese and Tibetan sing the anthem, dust from falling roofs and snipping of carpets fight with their faces. A hundred emotions cling to the temporary shelter while trying to fix a few broken items. Even if this dark year and months pass over, would we ever forget today’s episode? Though we have avoided so much sorrow and happiness descending from the edges, isn’t this the worst torture that this world can bring? Orders from the top and the laws from the bottom are like moods of devils and carnivores. Dreams we remember are endless like the plains of Achen. Messengers rolling the plains are horses that do not even touch flowers. Each night is filled with dreams of destroyed houses. This burden of speech heavier than the mountains cannot be avoided. The great saints endowed with the power of tolerance refuse to be shaken by those with little flapping hearts. Understanding the nature of things and listening to the advice of their lamas, everyone accepted things are as they are. If you thoroughly study the waves of history, there might have been cases where others have destroyed things that one has built. Take this as an example of the teachings of the great ones. For me, I don’t have any thought other than ones I express in writing.
Tears of Farewell
In the depth and borders of the mind, one witnesses a pile of sorrows but not a fragment of truth. Tears fill the memory to the brim. As bulldozers destroy the monks’ quarters, our spiritual brothers and sisters are being driven away by swirls of turbulence like smiling flowers are beaten by drought. Suffering holds back the sweetness of poetry. Wet sorrows are left in the wombs of our hearts. Heavy pains burden our shoulders. Minds covered with dust collapse our memories. The suffering of this world is incessant. Slogans for freedom like curtains fall to the bottom. The majestic term ‘equality’ elapses like the evening sun. The fire burns away the term ‘Serve the People’ like a fake dog skin. The meaning of ‘service’ is overturned bringing a sea of tears big enough to drown the universe. Tales of sadness fill the mountains and valleys. Tongues touch the upper palate crying – May the protectors hear our prayers from the depth of our hearts. We, the humble people, are not allowed to remain in this place. Our houses cannot take roots on the sides of the hills. While the powerful authorities can sleep on the entire universe with their houses covering the five continents. Students are forcefully taken away from their lamas. The sacred mantra of Buddhism is being cut off from its neck. The sin of demolishing each sacred term is a portent symbol of breaking the law of karma. We have drunk together the endless nectar of Buddha dharma. We have learned, contemplated and meditated shoulder to shoulder, and received teachings, debated and composed without fear. Dharma brothers and sisters; let us not allow them to break down the sacred knots of our bond; let us not allow them to melt down the essence of our heartfelt pledge; let us not allow them to burn away the pillar of our life; let us not allow them to cut off the golden rays of our aspirations; and let us not allow them to stifle the life of our three trainings. Let us keep the sacred instructions of our lamas in our hearts; let us practice the teachings we received to accumulate great merits. Our dharma brothers and sisters, who are forcefully kicked out, please do not be sad. Those of us who are allowed to remain will stay strong. Truth is on our side. Pray that we will unite again one day so that the dharma will blossom. We bid you farewell with tears from the depths of our minds and paint the image of sadness in our hearts. The sad ballets of this year and these months will be written down. May the three jewels protect our dharma brothers and sisters.
Black Months & Year
The movements of a black tongue of the high-up is considered as the ultimate truth by people at the bottom. The rolling of the mouths and eyes of the high-ups becomes the action plan for those who are at the bottom. Thus this chase of to-and-fro and up-and-down ends up destroying progress. It is little wonder that they are engaged in self-destruction like the six poisons. In the cracks of a red painting, the mind is being suppressed with the burden. False accusation is making someone suffer with a thousand sorrows. Like a false dog skin a fake flower is being blown away by the wind. There is a bright rainbow of truth at the depth of the philosophy. On a path above the clouds, knowledge takes to its flight, and when warriors of truth run over a clear river, the bright rays of the sun spread over ten directions. Show kindness and compassion to those who are soaked with hatred, those who are harmful to everyone, and those who show fake smiles and expressions. Everyone knows those who hide hatred deep inside and with their power they harm others from the sides and from the centre. I am just an ordinary human being who wants to badmouth but without any power. I am a source of your irritation and perhaps even a source of your healing. Isn’t my family yours? If so, isn’t it like cutting of your own head? Isn’t your path same as mine? Aren’t we serving the same master? Isn’t destroying us the same as destroying yourself? I write about these in secret. Based on the principle of impermanence, this is but natural. If we look at the rise and fall of events in this world, this is just one good example. Based on the principle of human rights, this is an undeniable torture. Whichever way one looks at it, this is certainly disturbing in the eyes of the ordinary people. In recent times, there have been many shows, one scarier than the other. But if one reads the history of our imperial times, this does not seem too out of place. It is almost natural that any head sticking above others is bound to be cut off. Nevertheless, reflecting again and again on these few terms, it is necessary for one to cling onto them as death to the dead.
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