Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:31 am

Tsarong Dundul Namgyal, b.1920 - d.2011
by Tenzin Dickyi
The Treasury of Lives
October, 2016

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Tsarong Dundul Namgyal (bdud 'dul rnam rgyal tsha rong), also known as George, was born in Lhasa in 1920. His father was Dasang Damdul Tsarong (tsha rong zla bzang dgra 'dul, 1888-1959) who took over the Tsarong estates in the early twentieth century and married several members of the household. An ardent modernizer, he served as Commander General of the Tibetan army. His mother was Dasang Damdul's second wife, Pema Dolkar (pad+ma sgrol dkar), who was the daughter of the disgraced Kalon Wangchuk Gyelpo Tsarong (bka' blon dbang phyug rgyal po, 1866-1912).

He had a sister by the same parents, named Kunzang Lhakyi (kun bzang lha skyid), born in 1923, and seven siblings born to different mothers. The Tsarong (tsha rong) was an aristocratic family that claims to originate from the famed medical master Yutok Yonten Gonpo (g.yu thog yon tan mgon po, 790-833). They took the name of Tsarong when the newly ennobled family of the Tenth Dalai Lama Tsultrim Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 10 tshul khrims rgya mtsho, 1816-1837) adopted the family name of Yuthok.

Dundul Namgyal was one of the first Tibetans to receive a modern education. His family sent him to St. Joseph’s College, a Jesuit boys' school in Darjeeling, India, from the years 1935-1940.

Returning to Tibet to serve in the Tibetan government, he worked at the Drapchi Mint (gra phyi) along with Reginald Fox (1881-1943) a junior British officer working in the Indian Mission in Lhasa who later joined the service of the Tibetan government. They successfully powered the printing machines using a ten horse-power diesel engine that Dundul had himself brought over from India. Then Dundul joined the project to build the first-ever hydroelectric power station in Lhasa. Besides Reginald Fox and Dundul himself, the project included his father Tsarong Dasang Damdul and Peter Aufschnaiter (1899-1973), the Austrian survey engineer who had escaped to Tibet from a British prison camp in India with Heinrich Harrer (1912-2006). In 1944 he began instructions in Wireless Telegraphy at the British Mission.


Dundul was later promoted to the rank of Rimshi (rim bzhi), fourth rank, and appointed as an assistant to the Drapchi office. There were seven ranks in the Tibetan government with the Dalai Lama holding the first rank; the fourth rank was considered a high rank. During his tenure as a fourth rank official, Dundul also held the position of Yaso General (ya so mda' dpon), a commander of a cavalry of 500 men.

Dundul Namgyal married Yangchen Dolkar (dbyangs can sgrol dkar) from the aristocratic Ragashar family (ra ga shar, also known as Dokhar) and had five children. Their second youngest son Tseten Gyurme was recognized as the Seventh Drigung Chetsang, Tendzin Trinle Lhundrub ('bri gung che tshang 07 bstan 'dzin 'phrin las lhun grub, b. 1946), one of the two heads of the Drigung Kagyu tradition.

Following the invasion of Tibet by the People's Liberation Army in 1949-1959, Dundul and his wife and children left Lhasa and resettled in Kalimpong, India. His father remained in Tibet. Following the March 10, 1959, popular revolt of Lhasa, his father and other leaders of the National Assembly were jailed in the Chinese army headquarters. His father died in jail three months later.

In India, Dundul Namgyal served in the newly established Central Tibetan Administration. He was recruited at first to work at the Tibetan Bureau in New Delhi, and then transferred to work under the Dalai Lama's older brother Gyalo Thondup (rgya lo don grub, b. 1928), making investments with the Tibetan government's gold and silver reserves. He also served as English translator to Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa (dbang phyug bde ldan zhwa sgab pa, 1908-1989), the former finance minister of Tibet.

Gyalo Thondup, the key link with the CIA, had stayed away from the resistance since 1969. Not until late 1978, with the Chinese government apparently loosening its constraints on Tibet, did he rejoin the cause and lead a negotiating team to Beijing; results from this trip ultimately proved scant. Gyalo currently shuttles between residences in New Delhi and Hong Kong.....

Once the CIA decided to bypass the Sikkimese in late 1956, the royals grew somewhat annoyed. The crown prince, in particular, sniped at Gyalo Thondup and gradually came to oppose the idea of armed resistance against the Chinese. "He felt angry and used," said one of his closest confidants, "and thought the U.S. had only been toying with the Tibetans." ...

Even after the arrival of Knaus, Grimsley still retained responsibility for contact with the Tibetan refugee community in India; he also maintained close ties with Gyalo Thondup and channeled the CIA's stipend to the Dalai Lama's entourage at Dharamsala.

-- The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison


Dundul Namgyal wrote a biography of his father In the Service of His Country: The Biography of Dasang Damdul Tsarong, Commander General of Tibet, published in 2000. He was one of Tibet's first and most important photographers and his photographs of early twentieth century Tibet are still an invaluable resource. He published a book of his photographs of Tibet, What Tibet Was: As Seen by a Native Photographer, in 1990.

Dundul Namgyal and his wife moved for some years to the United States where their daughter Namgyal Lhamo (rnam rgyal lha mo) and her husband Lobsang Samten (blo bzang bsam gtan), another brother of the Dalai Lama, had immigrated. He spent some time in Maryland working as companion to an elderly physician.

He spent the last years of his life in Kalimpong and Dehradun in northern India. He died in a Dehradun hospital on June 18th, 2011.

_______________________________________

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Dundul Namgyal Tsarong in 1950

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Dundul Namgyal Tsarong, Yangchen Dolkar Tsarong (his wife) and Tsewang Jigme Tsarong (his son) in 1986 at Kalimpong

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Trabshi Lekhung, Lhasa, Tibet, 1933

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Trabshi Lekhung, Lhasa, Tibet, 1933
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 8:39 am

Tsarong Wangchuk Gyelpo, b.1866 - d.1912
by Tenzin Dickyi
The Treasury of Lives
October, 2016

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Tsarong Wangchuk Gyelpo (tsha rong dbang phyug rgyal po) was the son of Tsarong Tsipon Kelzang Damdul (tsha rong rtsis dpon bskal bzang dgra 'dul). The Tsarong (tsha rong) family was an influential aristocratic family that had many generations of its sons serving in various ranks of the Ganden Podrang government. The family claims to originate from Yutok Yonten Gonpo (g.yu thog yon tan mgon po), the famous physician who is said to have lived in the 12th century. They stopped using the name Yutok/Yuthok and became Tsarong in 1827 after the family of the Tenth Dalai Lama, Tsultrim Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 10 tshul khrims rgya mtsho) took the name Yuthok.

There is little information about Wangchuk Gyelpo prior to 1903, when, as the General of U Province (dbus mda' dpon), he was sent to negotiate trade with the British at the Chumbi border, known in Tibetan as Dromo (gro mo), along with Khendrung Lepar Lobzang Trinle (mkhan drung las par blo bzang 'phrin las). The talks in Dromo failed. Nevertheless, in 1903 he was appointed Minister in the Kashag (bka' shag), the council of ministers, which was the highest office beneath the Dalai Lama and the Prime Minister.

In January 1904, the British launched an invasion of Tibet led by Colonel Francis Younghusband (1863-1942). The Tibetans collapsed in the face of the superior British army, and the Thirteenth Dalai Lama Tubten Gyatso (ta la'i bla ma 13 thub bstan rgya mtsho, 1856-1875), was forced to flee to Mongolia. Wangchuk Gyelpo participated in the negotiation of the settlement treaty which gave Great Britain the right to trade markets at Gyantse (rgyal rtse), Gartok (sgar thog) and Yatung (gro mo rdzong), and determined that the Tibetan government should pay a humiliating indemnity to the British government, an amount equal to seventy-five lakh rupees (Rs. 7,500,000), as reparations for the breach of treaty obligations and the expenses of the Younghusband invasion.

In 1908 Wangchuk Gyelpo was the authorized Tibetan representative at the trade talks held between Great Britain, China and Tibet signed in Calcutta on 20 April 1908 and ratified in Peking on 14 October 1908, titled the "Agreement Between Great Britain, China and Tibet Amending Trade Regulations of 1893." However, Tibet was not an equal partner in the talks: the agreement stated that Wangchuk Gyelpo was taking part in the negotiations under the directions of the Chinese Special Commissioner Chang Yin Tang. The agreement specified the boundaries of the Gyantse (rgyal rtse) trade mart, declared that Tibetan officers will administer the trade marts under the supervision of the Chinese officers, and detailed how disputes between British subjects and Tibetan and Chinese nationalities shall be handled.

In 1909 the Thirteenth Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa after five years of exile. But in February 1910 he fled again, this time to exile in India, when the Manchu general Zhao Erfeng (趙爾豊, 1845-1911) arrived in Lhasa with his army. During the two years that the Manchu forces occupied Lhasa Wangchuk Gyelpo, as Minister of the Kashag, worked with them. In 1912, shortly before the Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa, the Tibetan leaders executed Wangchuk Gyelpo and his elder son Samdrub Tsering (bsam grub tshe ring, c. 1887-1912) for collaborating with the Manchus
. Some Tibetan authors have attempted to absolve him of blame, stating that he was unjustly accused out of personal jealousies.

The Tsarong family estates were given to Dasang Damdul (zla bzang dgra 'dul, 1888 – 1959), the famous modernizing general, who married into Tsarong House by taking Wangchuk Gyelpo’s daughter Pema Dolkar (pad+ma sgrol dkar) and Samdrub Tsering's widow Rinzin Chodron (rin 'dzin chos sgron) as his wives.

Wangchuk Gyelpo had twelve children with his wife Yangchen Dolma (dbyang can sgrol ma) from the Yuthok family, ten of whom survived infancy, including Taring Rinchen Dolma (phreng ring rin chen sgrol ma, 1910-2000).

Tenzin Dickyi is an Editor at the Treasury of Lives. She is also English Editor of Tibet Web Digest, a project of Columbia University's Modern Tibetan Studies program.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:23 am

In the Service of His Country: The Biography of Dasang Damdul Tsarong, Commander General of Tibet, by D.N. Tsarong
by Snow Lion / Shambhala
Summer, 2000

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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164 pp., 50 b&w photos, Oct., #SEHICO $14.95

This is the fascinating life story of the Tibetan aristocrat, politician, and general Dasang Damdrul Tsarong, who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Tibetan Army and Cabinet Minister. Tsarong was known as an advocate for modernization of Tibet's national government. This biography, by Tsarong's son, D.N. Tsarong, is a first-hand account of the most important events of the twentieth century, leading up to the period of Chinese occupation. It provides insight into the history and causes of the tragic loss of Tibet's power of self-government as seen through the life of one of the country's foremost leaders.

The following are excerpts from In the Service of His Country.

A seventeen-year-old boy turned his horse up the mountain, sensing an attack by a group of Golok men armed with spears. These men from Amdo Province annually traveled from their homeland to visit the holy city of Lhasa and make offerings to the sacred image of Jowo Rinpoche, an image of the Lord Buddha in the Central Temple, or Tsuglak Khang. Having shot a few rounds with his Mauser pistol in the air to discourage the assumed attackers, he resumed his journey towards Lhasa. He was on leave from the Dalai Lama's court and was now returning to resume his duties at the Norbu Lingka Palace. This was my father, Dasang Damdul Tsarong, who was to serve Tibet faithfully throughout his life. He was born in a house named Khakhor Shi in Phenpo Province. It stood in a small village situated to the north of Lhasa.

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Peter Aufshnaiter, D.D. Tsarong, Tsepon Shakabpa and Heinrich Harrer inspecting a newly proposed hydroelectric site.

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Pema Dolkar, the wife of D.D. Tsarong; Yangchun Dolkar, the wife of the author; the author, and D.D. Tsarong.

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D.D. Tsarong.

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D.D. Tsarong using his skill at photography.

In the family of Khakhor Shi were my grandparents, their three sons, and their daughter. The eldest was a son named Thondup Norbu, the second was Nangang (my father), the third was a son named Phuntsok Wangdu, and the youngest was a daughter, Yangchen Dolkar. Nangang was the first name of my father because he was born on New Year's eve. The last day of each month is called nangang in Tibetan. Since the conception of my father, good luck had fallen on his parents and the house prospered; therefore, he was considered to be the source of this luck.

My grandfather died of a sudden illness when my father was five years old. Since my grandmother was left to care for the land and the young children, she experienced much difficulty and hardship. She then married my grandfather's cousin, Lhundup La. Lhundup La was a hot-tempered man who used to beat both mother and children. Soon the elder sister of lhundup, Somo Nyila, came from Lhasa to live with the family in Phenpo, and after having stayed there for some time, she saw the difficulties in the home. Out of pity for the children, who were harshly treated by their stepfather, she took the three sons to Lhasa to live with her. She lived in the apartment of a mansion named Karma Sharchen, which is in the center of the city. Somo Nyila was a kind and religious woman. She shared her wealth with her relatives and friends, and often distributed food, clothing, and money to the poor of the city. It was the custom for the proud Phenpo Tibetans to visit the major temples in their home town during the religious festivals as well as on the eighth, fifteenth, and the last day of the month. Somo Nyila never forgot her offerings and her visits to the temples in Lhasa City. She brought up the children with kindness, love, and understanding. The children were sent in 1895 to a private school in the city, Phalai Labtra. When Thondup Norbu, the eldest, came of age, she gave him in marriage to one of her friend's daughters, and he left her home. In 1900, a monk official of the Tibetan Government, Khangnyi Jinpa La, who was also a close and faithful friend and family adviser of Somo Nyila, took my father as his pupil. Khangnyi Jinpa La was in charge of Norbu Lingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, and was also one of the older personal attendants of His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. A couple of years passed while my father was trained in household work, as well as Tibetan literature and scriptures, and he earned the trust of his master and tutor.

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Located on the western edge of Lhasa at the bank of River Kyichu and just a kilometer from the famous Potala Palace, Norbulingka Palace offers the best landscapes in the region. Spread over an area of 360,000 square meters, [approx. 4 million square feet] Norbulingka features the summer palaces of the Dalai Lamas with 374 rooms, and the largest, most beautiful, and well-preserved gardens in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Palaces of Norbulingka: Norbulingka has five distinct sections: Kelsang Palace, Tsokyil Palace, Golden Linka, Takten Migyur Palace, and Lake Heart Palace. Each palace has three main sections: the palace area, the forest area, and the area in front of the palace. (Note: the Tibetan word for “Palace” is “Potrang”.)

Kelsang Palace: This palace was built by the 7th Dalai Lama in typical Tibetan style and consists of worship rooms, reading rooms, and bedrooms. The main hall features the throne of the 7th Dalai Lama amidst statues of Guanyin Bodhisattva and Longevity Buddha.

Tsokyil Palace: It lies to the northwest of Kelsang Palace in the midst of the lake and is the most attractive pavilion built by the 8th Dalai Lama.

Golden Linka and Chensel Palace: To the northwest of Kelsang Phodrong lies also the Chensel Palace and on the west side of Norbulingka is the Golden Phodron. Both these were built in 1922 by a benefactor for the 13th Dalai Lama.

Lake Heart Palace: The most beautiful area in southwest Norbulingka, the Lake Heart Palace was built by the 8th Dalai Lama to hold parties with dignitaries.

Takten Migyur Palace: Completed by 1956, Takten Migyur Palace was built by the 14th Dalai Lama and is also referred to as the New Summer Palace. More magnificent and larger than the other palaces, the New Palace features exquisite murals of Sakyamuni and his eight contemplative disciples, and also those related to the development of Tibet.


-- Norbulingka Summer Palace, by Tibetpedia.com


It was on one of these days while my father was in the service of Khangnyi Jinpa La that His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama came to the house and noticed him. The Dalai Lama was a most observant man, who took care to make routine checks in and around his palace, stables, and compounds. On one such occasion, when he surprised his personal attendants in their quarters, he saw my father and was struck by an unusual air of intelligence in the young boy. After finding out about the background of the boy from Jinpa La, he recruited him as one of his servants. Father was twelve years old when he left Jinpa La's service to join the Dalai Lama's personal staff. He served well in the palace and soon came to have the confidence of the Dalai Lama and the confidence and respect of the other members of the staff as well.

Father adored his grandchildren; no matter how busy he was, he always found time to be with them, especially in the evenings when he told them bedtime stories, which they loved. As he did with his children, he insisted that his grandchildren all have an equal opportunity to go to the British schools in Darjeeling, and many of them did. Between 1942 and 1949, my wife and I had our five children, two daughters and three sons, and four of them went on to finish their secondary schooling in Darjeeling.

My second youngest son, who was born in 1946, was recognized as the incarnation of Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, one of the two heads of the Drikung Kagyu lineage. As mentioned, even after the passing of his friend, the previous Drikung Rinpoche, Tsarong kept a close relationship with that monastery. It so happened that as administrators and attendants of the previous Rinpoche came to Tsarong House to discuss different matters, my son, at the age of only two years, exhibited an unusual attraction to these monks. He constantly wanted to be close to them and when they left, he wished to go away with them. The monks of Drikung were highly observant of this and noted his actions carefully. They began occasionally dropping by Tsarong House under false pretenses, without calling on the parents but simply asking the servants to bring the young child out to play. Eventually he was put to several tests to which all candidates are subjected for recognition as reincarnate lamas are are subjected, namely identifying among many objects the specific ones which belonged to the previous incarnation. After reviewing all the candidates and consulting the master astrologers, as well as the Takdhak Regent, who had final word, it was decided that my son was indeed the true incarnation of Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche.

As the predecessor was his close personal friend, Tsarong felt very pleased having the incarnation born into his own family, and of course my wife and I were quite surprised as well.
My wife Yangchen does not remember any special incidences during the pregnancy, but there were some auspicious circumstances regarding his birth. Close to the time our child was due, preparations were being made for Drukpa Tseshi, an annual holiday celebrating the day Lord Buddha first taught, or turned the Wheel of Dharma. On this occasion all Buddhists go on short pilgrimages to sacred places in Lhasa. It is felt to be a highly auspicious day and, therefore, the Takdhak Regent decided to offer a full set of new ornaments to the image of Jowo Rinpoche at the Tsuglak Khang. Jowo Rinpoche is a sacred symbol of the Lord Buddha, but is also believed by many to be more than just a symbol. It is regarded by most Buddhists of Tibet and neighboring countries to be one of the most sacred images in existence. The Regent must somehow have been aware that Tsarong was in possession of a beautiful eighteen-carat diamond that he had purchased in India on one of his many trips. He sent his close friend Tsepon Shakabpa to our home to request that father sell it to him. Shakabpa explained that they were in need of a very precious stone to be the centerpiece of the ornamental headdress they were offering to Jowo Rinpoche on Drukpa Tseshi. Father agreed and sold it at cost.

Days later, my wife went into labor and after twenty-four hours, the baby still had not come. We were fortunate to have the assistance of Dr. Guthrie from the British Mission in Lhasa. Everyone became concerned as the labor was so prolonged. Strangely enough, many hours later, on the auspicious day of Drukpa Tseshi, during the precise time at which the ornaments were being offered to Jowo Rinpoche, our son was finally delivered. He was born not breathing, and most of the relatives gave up hope that he would live, but through the perseverance of Dr. Guthrie who, confident in his skills, slapped and tossed the baby about, his breathing finally started.

About three years later, our son was formally recognized as Drikung Rinpoche, but because of his young age, he remained at home with the family until 1950. At that time, the Regent and representatives of the Drikung Monastery came to Tsarong House to fetch Rinpoche. He was brought back to Drikung Monastery in a ceremonial procession and officially took the seat as successor of the Drikung Kagyu lineage.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:17 am

Princess Coocoola of Sikkim, Beauty who championed her northern Indian homeland and charmed the writer Heinrich Harrer in Tibet
by telegraph.co.uk
6:18PM GMT 11 Dec 2008

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"Princess Coocoola of Sikkim, who has died aged 84, was the beautiful widow of a Tibetan governor and a champion of the distinct culture of the northern Indian state of Sikkim.

Embodying a combination of oriental charm and western sophistication, she relayed messages to the outside world as the Chinese invasion of Tibet began in 1950, then devoted 10 years to running a rehabilitation centre for Tibetan refugees in Sikkim. Twenty-five years later, when Sikkim became an Indian state, she played an active role in trying to retain its separate political status and unique character, giving a press conference in Hong Kong to protest at its loss of independence.

Acting as the hostess for her brother, the Chogyal (King) of Sikkim, at State functions until he married his American wife, she travelled widely to lobby politicians in New Delhi. She mixed with John Kenneth Galbraith, Senator Edward Kennedy and presidential aides in Washington and presented an 18-in high Buddha to a Tibetan children's village at Sedlescome, Sussex.

When the Indian president Pandit Nehru offered her a pension, the princess turned it down, and asked instead for trading rights. Working from a single room in Calcutta, she and her younger sister Kula started a business importing turquoise from Iran. Later she joined the boards of a company which produced jewels for watches and of the State Bank of Sikkim.


Princess Pema Tsedeun Yapshi Pheunkhang Lacham Kusho (known as Coocoola) was the daughter of Sir Tashi Namgyal, KCSI, KCIE, the 11th Chogyal, and the granddaughter of a Tibetan general. She was born at Darjeeling on September 6, 1924, when the Himalayan kingdom, which had been established in the 1640s, was a protectorate of the British Empire.

Young Coocoola was educated by the nuns of St Joseph's convent at Kalimpong, a hill station near Darjeeling. The Tibetan Pheunkhang family then wrote to the palace, saying that they wanted a Sikkimese princess to marry their 23-year-old eldest son. Her father did not force her to accept, and she asked a secretary to reply that she wanted to go to university first. On being pressed, she accepted Sey Kusho Gompo Tsering Yapshi Pheunkhang, the governor of the Tibetan city of Gyantse and a son of one of the four ministers of Tibet. But she broke precedent by declining to marry both the bridegroom and his brother, as was the custom. "I replied that I would only marry the eldest," she recalled in later life.

In 1941 the princess duly set off on the three-week journey to Lhasa with two maids, one bearer and two horses. She rode while going through the countryside, but retreated to her palanquin when passing through towns. When she arrived she found the two sons sitting next to her at the wedding ceremony, but repeated to her intended that she would marry only him. She and her husband settled down to enjoy the leisured life of the Tibetan gentry, with parties, picnics and festivals. The few visitors who arrived in Tibet – known as "the roof of the world" – were mesmerised by her.


In his book Seven Years in Tibet Heinrich Harrer hailed her as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, and more interesting than her husband: "She possessed the indescribable charm of Asian women and the stamp of age-old oriental culture. At the same time she was clever, well-educated, and thoroughly modern... In conversation she was the equal of the most intelligent woman you would be likely to meet in a European salon. She was interested in politics, culture and all that was happening in the world. She often talked about equal rights for women… but Tibet has a long way to go before reaching that point."

Another visitor compared her to an exotic butterfly, saying her qualities showed in the quizzical way she looked up through her long lashes, and in the slow manner in which she exhaled her cigarette smoke or murmured a few words in her low, clear, musical voice. She entertained far more regally than her homely brother, the Chogyal, offering sparkling conversation as the best French wines were poured from heavy decanters. Her place at table was set with golden coasters and cutlery to remind even the most honoured guests of their inferior rank. Nevertheless, she liked to say: "Money didn't make me – I made money."

When travelling the dangerous trade route between Tibet and Gangtok, the largest town in Sikkim, with her small children bundled up in windowed boxes on horses or mules, she insisted on riding a horse with a rifle slung across her shoulder and a revolver in her pocket to repel bandits.

Princess Coocoola and her husband were founding members of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, to which they donated manuscripts and a large silver-plated stupa to hold the relics of two Ashokan monks, which were a gift from the Indian government. She allowed the institute to scan her photographic collection.

In her last years she lived in a modest cottage on the outskirts of Gangtok, keeping up with events in Sikkim and world politics and continuing to enjoy discussions with scholars who came knocking at her door. When one completed a book on Sikkimese village religion she insisted they celebrate with a bottle of champagne.

Princess Coocoola was widowed in 1973, and is survived by three of her children. When she died on December 2 four tremors were felt in Sikkim, which, according to local belief, signals the passing of a great soul.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:05 am

Part 1 of 2

Coocoola [Kukula] of Sikkim: Lacham Kusho, That's Going with the Gods
by Simon Schreyer
Journalism on Culture and Adventure
simonside.net
[Google translated from German]

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Coocoola of Sikkim was a daring daughter of Tibet. She embodied integrity, grace and compassion. Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet) saw in her the ideal balance between the old East and the Western Modern. Coocoola's life story begins like a medieval fairytale and ends like a world political thriller. Life picture of a fascinating woman who lost her home twice but never resigned.

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Cloudy clouds nestle in dark green mountainside. Thick mists of late monsoon drift through tea plantations and rice fields in slow motion. We are located in the fashionable, British hill station Darjeeling, in the north of India. The third highest mountain in the world towers above everything: the five-peaked Kangchenjunga (8586 m), "the five treasure chambers of snow". His powerful presence can only be guessed on the horizon at this time of the year.

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Here is born on September 6, 1924, in the Tibetan Year of the Wood Mouse, Princess Coocoola. Posterity knows its full name as: Semla (Princess) Pema Tsedeun Namgyal Yabshi Phönkhang, her spiritual nickname is Lacham Kusho ("Noble Consort of the Gods"). But even in her childhood, an English governess finds a lasting nickname when playing hide-and-seek - Coo-Coo-La.

Coocoola's father is the Chögyal (king) of Sikkim, Tashi Namgyal (1893-1963), a filigree sovereign and a subtle landscape painter with a penchant for melancholy, who ever before, even before the cocktail hour, one or two behind the gilded Binde tilts to shoulder the burden of representation. With the numerous spirits of the royal palace of Gangtok he maintains good contact, at night and also in broad daylight. Like them he floats silently through the palaces.

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Tashi Namgyal

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In all the photos that exist of him, the Chögyal of Sikkim works, one can not say it in other words: raptured. He also wears round darkened glasses on almost all photos. His hypnotic paintings, decorated with mystical vignettes of purple glaciers, blue-green lakes and yellow sunlit skies, are in the style of Nicholas Roerich (with whom he is known) or Rockwell Kent (whom he admires). What they lack is three-dimensionality, which may be due to an eye condition - the painting monarch is almost blind in the right eye.

He comes from the Tibetan vassal family of the Namgyal (literally: "the victorious"), whose ancestor Guru Tashi, a Tanguten prince, in the 13th Century from Kham in eastern Tibet on the Himalayas south migrated. The Namgyal are priest kings, Himalayan aristocracy. Since the 17th century, they have not only dominated Sikkim, but also Bhutan and Ladakh on the order of Lhasa.

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The Sikkim Royal Family, 1926: Tashi Namgyal with his sons Choley (l.) And Palden Thondup (r.). Beside him his wife, Kunzang Dechen Tshomo, with Kula (Pema Chöki) on her lap and Coocoola at her feet.

Coocoola's mother, Kunzang Dechen Tshomo, is a much more robust person and resolute personality. It is on the one hand also a Namgyal, on the other hand from the ancient, Central Tibetan family of Ragashar (literally: "radiant", "beautiful") originating from Dokhar, which refers directly to one of the six primitive families of Tibet, the Ghazie clan.

Dundul Namgyal married Yangchen Dolkar (dbyangs can sgrol dkar) from the aristocratic Ragashar family (ra ga shar, also known as Dokhar) and had five children. Their second youngest son Tseten Gyurme was recognized as the Seventh Drigung Chetsang, Tendzin Trinle Lhundrub ('bri gung che tshang 07 bstan 'dzin 'phrin las lhun grub, b. 1946), one of the two heads of the Drigung Kagyu tradition.

-- Tsarong Dundul Namgyal, b.1920 - d.2011, by Tenzin Dickyi


Legend has it that these six families originated from the love affair between two semi-divine beings: a monkey powerful in language and teleportation, and a Dakini (or "Khandroma") dancing through the spheres, a veritable demon girl. (* see bonus )

Based on this legend, the Ragashar family has been living in Lhasa for a family home just across the Choglakhang, Tibet's holiest temple. The daughters of the house are in high esteem among the aristocrats and are sought-after pieces of jewelery to decorate their own family tree. They are also considered as genealogical strengthening of the same, because the Ragashar women are predominantly of balanced temperament, full of sense of class and stately.

High Cabinet Ministers of the Dalai Lama and rich merchants in Lhasa and Shigaze regularly stop for the hand of a ragashar. So does Tashi Namgyal, the XI. Chögyal of Sikkim followed by the Ragashar-daughter Kunzang Dechen Tshomo to Gangtok and three sons (Kunzang Paljor aka Choley, Palden Thondup and Jigdal Tsering aka George) and three daughters (Pema Tsedeun aka Coocoola, Pema Chöki aka Kula and Sonam Palden aka Jeanla). Because she has another daughter through an extramarital relationship with a monk, she lives separated from her husband near Gangtok.

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Market scene in Sikkim's capital Gangtok, circa 1950.

Coocoola is a curious, fat and friendly child. Like her siblings, she is traditionally educated at St. Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong, one of the best British schools in India. She starts dating at the age of 13 (in Sikkim alcohol is not as taboo as in India), starts smoking, reads European literature (Stendhal, Dante and Kipling), secretly watches movies with Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo.

She spends her teenage years thriving like a wild orchid, in Kalimpong's international atmosphere full of Indian traders, mysterious European travelers and spies of all the great powers of that charged era.
Like tectonic plates, the fields of world politics are converging, the quake can no longer be far away. The royal children of Sikkim feel that too.

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Sikkim's King Tashi Namgyal paints Coocoola, his eldest daughter, in the garden of the palace. Photo: Palden Thondup

Russia, China and the United Kingdom are more or less openly vying for the mineral and mineral rich Tibet, the water tower of Asia. More than three billion people in Southeast Asia live off the waters of the eight rivers that spring from the Tibetan Plateau. Immortalized in an ancient iconographic culture, marked by the Bön's primitive animistic religion and tamed by the compassionate message of the Buddha, Tibet is an independent theocracy at that time. Almost independent.


There are no police in our sense of the word. Evil-doers are publicly sentenced. The punishments are pretty drastic but they seem to suit the mentality of the population. I was told of a man who had stolen a golden butter-lamp from one of the temples in Kyirong. He was convicted of the offence, and what we would think an inhuman sentence was carried out. His hands were publicly cut off and he was then sewn up in a wet yak-skin. After this had been allowed to dry, he was thrown over a precipice.....

He told us something about the life of the robbers. They lived in groups in three or four tents which serve as headquarters for their campaigns. These are conducted as follows: heavily armed with rifles and swords they force their way into a nomad’s tent and insist on hospitable entertainment on the most lavish scale available. The nomad in terror brings out everything he has. The Khampas fill their bellies and their pockets and taking a few cattle with them, for good measure, disappear into the wide-open spaces. They repeat the performance at another tent every day till the whole region has been skinned. Then they move their headquarters and begin again somewhere else. The nomads, who have no arms, resign themselves to their fate, and the Government is powerless to protect them in these remote regions. However, if once in a way a district officer gets the better of these footpads in a skirmish, he is not the loser by it for he has a right to all the booty. Savage punishment is meted out to the evildoers, who normally have their arms hacked off. But this does not cure the Khampas of their lawlessness. Stories were told of the cruelty with which they sometimes put their victims to death. They go so far as to slaughter pilgrims and wandering monks and nuns.

-- Seven Years in Tibet, by Heinrich Harrer


For the League of Nations has, despite the XIII. Dalai Lamas's request for recognition of state independence in 1913, gave no clear answer. Too large are the secret and less secret interests of the major powers in accessing Tibet, which has its own language and writing, a government with a council of ministers, stamps, passports, envoys, its own national flag and above all its own currency (Srang) - everything Insignia of sovereignty, which can no longer be seen in China since the boxer rebellion of 1911 and the decline of the empire.

In 1903, under the power-blinded super-imperialist Lord Curzon and the religiously abducted General Younghusband, the British undertook an equally insidious and cruel "expedition" to Tibet in order to anticipate a supposed Russian campaign. The English writer and China correspondent of the Times, Peter Fleming (brother of James Bond inventor Ian), will later speak in his preface to the English first edition of Heinrich Harrer's Seven Years in Tibet of a campaign that "of both daring and was characterized by compassion".

In fact, British troops show little compassion as they cross the border into Tibet and face a small army. In a massacre, the British mow down more than a thousand poorly armed Tibetans with Maxim machine guns (mostly by back shots when most of the Tibetan soldiers are already fleeing) and succeed in establishing a trade mission in Lhasa.
All contacts to the XIII. The Dalai Lama had failed until then, due to the Tibetans' unwillingness to answer the British. A single envelope from the Potala Palace had reached London, its contents: a brittle breeze of yak-dung.

When Younghusband camped with his troops in 1904 before Lhasa, the XIII. Dalai Lama has already fled to Mongolia. Negotiations on a British protectorate and the construction of a road link between Tibet and India are therefore not concluded. Understandably, London has since diplomatically held back on the issue of independent Tibet. However, only superficially: through a treaty with the Manchu dynasty in 1906 on the inviolability of Tibet and a second agreement with Russia the following year, which grants the Chinese sovereign rights over Tibet, the British care for even more hopeless confusion about the independence of Tibet.

Much of the political situation in Sikkim, whose border is a few kilometers north of Darjeeling and Kalimpong is unclear for many decades. This can be illustrated by the fact that the two places once belonged to Sikkim and were "leased" by British India, albeit with no time limit and no return - except that it is the tiny country (Sikkim is about the size of the Austrian Salzburg) is spared military annexation.


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The mountain dwarf state between Nepal and Bhutan has been under the protectorate of British India in this ambiguous way since the mid-19th century. In 1868, the British refuse an invasion of Tibetans who want to regain their sovereignty over Sikkim. In 1918 Sikkim received full self-government and in 1922 became a member of the Chamber of Princes, the unification of all Indian principalities. Tashi Namgyal is thus established as a recognized ruler of his tiny country, he leads free elections, begins to reform the country and to establish closer trade relations with India.

This is the world where Princess Coocoola grows up with her siblings. Against her two older brothers, who are full of practical jokes, she has to prevail early. The family is not without quirks and rich in individual, strong personalities. But without exception, all members of the Namgyal clan of Sikkim are of benevolence, occasionally sarcastic humor and passionate sophistication. It would take the bizarre Ingenuity of a Wes Anderson as a director, if one wanted to implement the everyday life in the Royal Palace of Gangtok adequately artful and funny for the cinema.

Palden Thondup is interested in technology, is a passionate Leica photographer whose images are published in the National Geographic Magazine, and amateur radio broadcasters with international license, plus he has a great deal of Buddhist-philosophical knowledge. He wants to occupy scientific subjects in Cambridge and then become a monk in one of the three major abbeys of Lhasa.

However, just like his father, Tashi (whose older brother Sidkeong contracted jaundice in 1914 and fell victim to a regurgitation with intravenously administered brandy), he is denied this call to a contemplative life. As the eldest son of Tashi Namgyal, the trained pilot Choley Paljor crashes 1941 in an aerial battle over Peshawar, Thondup stands as successor to the throne of Sikkim.

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Three Graces: The Royal Daughters Sikkims, from left to right: Pema Chöki (Kula), Pema Tsedeun (Coocoola), Sonam Palden (Jeanla). Photo: Pinterest

The youngest brother Jigdal Tsering, called George-La, suffers from panic attacks. He is of a touching character but of the spiritualized worldly devotion of the Father, or - who knows - blessed with the supernatural devotion to a more eternal, timeless world; a world beyond politics, intrigues and vanities.

When he is to be married, it is his eldest sister Coocoola, who introduces him to a number of dignified young ladies at a garden party in Kalimpong. She eventually manages to pair him with a delightful Tibetan named Suang-La. Even the youngest sister Jeanla is of a deeply withdrawn character, speaks little and hardly goes out of the house. She is still, albeit late in life, the mother of a boy who is recognized as a high reincarnation.

Pema Chöki (or "Kula", as she is called in Gangtok), Coocoola's middle sister, 15 months younger, is extroverted, well-read, and very pretty. Like Jeanla, she pursued her father, with a thin face, a few lovely spots of birthmark around the corners of her mouth and a quick comprehension. She becomes one of the best students in West Bengal and for a few years a teacher at Gangtok Elementary School.

Fosco Maraini, the Florentine photographer, poet and scholar, gets to know young Kula as a member of a Giuseppe Tucci expedition as he makes a stop in Gangtok before heading into the glowing plateaus of Tibet.

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Kula, Coocoola's younger sister, skiing at Nathu-La, 1948. Photo: Fosco Maraini

In his classic Secret Tibet (1952), whose iconic cover adorns Kula in a traditional Tibetan fur hat, Maraini Sikkim describes in beautiful colors - steaming, breathing, digesting jungles; hundreds of species of butterflies; steep, wooded hillsides and an almost firework-like botanical variety; the tiny fairytale town between two hilltops and the associated fairytale palace - even if this is more reminiscent of a larger bungalow.

At dinner in the palace of Gangtok, he observes the old, venerable king, who in delicate maneuvers fights with a pea that does not want to be impaled on a fork. He befriends the digestive at the fire with Kula and she returns as blatantly as guileless his flirting attempts, but without compromising even for a second.

Rather, she is a caring hostess and urbane emissary of her Tibetan culture, who brings him fresh fruit and a gramophone with music by Mozart, Brahms and Scarlatti on his return to Gangtok. The two talk about European literature, Milarepa, the peculiarities of the Tibetan Gods sky and their fiancée, whom she will soon follow to Lhasa.

Coocoola is married at 16, so very early, as is the custom among the Tibetans. Actually Coocoola wants to study, but then a letter from Tibet arrives for her in the palace of Gangtok. The heraldic seal shows five yak tails - highest Lhasa nobility. Sey Kusho Gompo Tsering Phönkhang, called Phöntsok, governor of Gyantse and eldest son of an influential Yabshi family who has already spawned two Dalai lamas, wants a Sikkimese princess to be his wife. Chögyal Tashi does not pressure his daughter. He allows Coocoola to start her studies, but the Phönkhangs insist on a speedy wedding.

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Coocoola at her wedding, 1941, with her aunt Chöni Dorji, later Queen of Bhutan.

Coocoola now makes her own condition, which is almost never expressed in polyandrian Tibet: she will only marry the eldest son, Gompo Phöntsok, and not his younger brother. Vielmännerei does not meet their views.

When the parents-in-law also set aside her younger brother at the wedding, she repeats her unheard-of request. Coocoola is thus the first woman in Tibet's history who, at her own request, marries only one man and not his brothers. Whether the younger Phönkhang brother tasted this unintentional abuse or not is not known.

For the move from Sikkim to Tibet, Coocoola is provided with a tiny entourage with two court ladies, a porter and two horses. She will often ride this nearly three-week ride across the Nathu-La ("Passing Ears") and through the Chumbi Valley to Gyantse and Lhasa, passing the majestic snow cone of the Chomolhari (7330m, "Lady of the Gods").

Also with her three children (Jigme, Chimie and Sodenla), which she gives birth in the forties and fifties. In the caravan, she almost always stays in the saddle - only when passing villages and settlements she retreats into a Palanquin - and is always armed with a muzzle loader and a Luger pistol, which she knows how to deal with. The area, especially between Phari and Gyantse, is notorious for both brash and daring bandits.

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Sense of adventure: Coocoola with a Horse Man, on the way between Gangtok and Chumbi.

The life of the Tibetan aristocracy in Lhasa takes place between picnics, festivals and days long wedding celebrations on the riverbank. Since she belongs to the uppermost social class of old Tibet, Coocoola lacks nothing. She comes through the dealers of Barkhor fashionable fabrics and patterns from India and Europe, reads Vogue, Claudine and Harper's Bazaar and makes top-stylish dresses for themselves and their girlfriends. Thanks to the presence of film cameras, the first documented catwalk shows in Tibet are created.

In 1942 and 1943, a two-man camera team from the Office of Strategic Services, a division of the US Army (and precursor to the CIA), visited Sikkim and Tibet. In the resulting film Inside Tibet, the viewer encounters in the first scene of the seventeen-year-old Kula, who inspects highly interested gifts of Americans in front of the palace of Gangtok, next to her the British ambassador Sir Basil Gould.



In the scenes created in Lhasa (at 15:32 and 27:58 minutes), Coocoola is seen with her first baby on the flat roof of the Phönkhang house, and later (at 26:07) with relatives (slightly tipsy) and her husband in front of him Estate Tsarongs. The package of a gift from the American filmmaker to the then seven-year-old XIV. Dalai Lama is missing a bow and so Coocoola provides her headband made of red velvet. The gift, personally selected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, is a watertight wristwatch that the adolescent Dalai Lama later sank in the goldfish pond of Norbulingka Park to test its waterability - and never again.

In the house of Tsarongs, with its exhilaratingly colorful garden and a willow and poplar grove on the Kyi Chu ("happy river"), Coocoola goes in and out. Tsarong Dzasa, her uncle, is a self-made man and Tibetan folk hero, who was formerly Commander-in-Chief of the Tibetan Army and high minister in favor of the XIII Dalai Lama stood. Since his political withdrawal he has been a merchant, bridge builder, importer of steel, head of coinage and, with regard to the feudal system, an outspoken proponent of modernization.

Tsarong is enterprising and open-minded. He wants to learn about the world outside of Tibet and has a keen interest in all things Western: He has cameras, theodolites, telescopes and magazines from New York and Europe in his house. And he also grants the two Austrians Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter lodgings in the guesthouses of his extensive property when they set foot in Lhasa in the spring of 1946 after fleeing Tibet for two years.

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Forbidden City: Lhasa, 1948, with the Potala Palace under a light blue autumn sky. Photo: Heinrich Harrer

At first glance Heinrich Harrer is in love with Coocoola and will describe her as one of the most beautiful women in the world in his memoirs. In Seven Years in Tibet (1952) she also mentions: "She was of that indescribable charm of the Asian, which is characterized by the ancient culture of the Orient. At the same time she was quite modern, smart and educated, educated in the best schools in India. (...) You could talk to her like the most witty lady in a European salon, she was interested in culture and politics and everything that was going on in the world. She often talked about women's equal rights, but until then there was still a long way to go ...

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Coocoola and her first two children Chimie and Jigme in the late forties. Photo: Heinrich Harrer

... Coocoola distinguished herself from the other Tibetan women not only by her charming face, but above all by her slender figure, which she did not cover in several layers of thick fabrics, but like the Europeans, tightly wrapped in colorful silk. We could see each other on invitations, but hardly speak, and there were always staff at the English lessons she gave me. She had been brought up to the west and to me like a bridge to Europe.

If I remember this affection today, I especially remember the Tibetan words for my feelings. To fall in love is to say 'Shem wa' and means to lose soul, to refer to a woman as his lady of the heart is called 'Nying dug', translated 'The heart meet'. Both were probably the case. "

Other writers and travelers from the United Kingdom, the United States and India also sing about their encounter with Coocoola. For example, Indian Envoy Nari Rustomji (author of Enchanted Frontiers ) or quarrelsome cult leader and scholar Sangharakshita who writes about Sikkim's eldest princess in Facing Mount Kangchenjunga: "It was like a magical tropical butterfly fluttering across my path. Coocoola has four characteristics rarely found in a single woman: beauty, charm, intelligence and joie de vivre. And she possesses all these qualities in a much higher degree than is occasionally found in different women ...

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Coocoola in the late fifties. Photo: The Telegraph

More than that, these qualities find their way into all their little, seemingly insignificant gestures - be it a puzzled look under her long eyelashes, the serene way she blows cigarette smoke from her nostrils, or a few whispered words in her full, clear and musical voice. Not only that, she enhances the effect of her personality with sumptuous costumes, which she wears in the unshakeable self-understanding and knowledge of her royal blood. The effect is subtle, devastating."

In the autumn of 1950, the darkest premonitions of the thirteenth century come to pass in Tibet. Dalai Lama and the terrible prophecies of the oracles: The military-upgraded China invades Tibet. In the following decades, architecturally, but also mentally, hardly any stone should stay on top of another. The violent occupation, secretly tolerated by all global powers, puts an end to the old Tibet. The thousand-year-old, colorful culture of Tibet, marked by a peaceful inner vision of the spirit, is banned ...

No wonder that the people of that country are extremely afraid of disobeying the orders of the Government ... crucifying, ripping open the body, pressing and cutting out the eyes, are by no means the worst of these punishments.

-- The Myth of Shangri-La: Tibet, Travel Writing and the Western Creation of Sacred Landscape, by Peter Bishop


... and the feudal lordship of the monasteries brutally and with force of arms replaced by a grotesque distortion of socialism.

Of course, Tibet would have had to go the way to modernity and democracy on its own (a British road between Bengal and Lhasa would certainly have made a start), but the invasion by the so-called "People's Liberation Army" Mao Zedong is in no way a legitimate one answer to this omission.

On the contrary, it does not seem even today that even the Chinese military and power stars had even an idea of ​​what they would bring about horror, famine and blind destructive rage over an autochthonous, profoundly religious folk community. But of course Mao and his "terrible four" were not concerned with the happiness of his or any people, but with power, land and mineral resources.

Coocoola returns to Sikkim following the Chinese invasion of Lhasa, along with her husband Phöntsok, who will never overcome the loss of his homeland. It organizes spying and search teams to rescue scattered friends and relatives from the hands of Chinese military personnel in Tibet - including the Tyrolean agricultural scientist and Tibetologist Peter Aufschnaiter, who, however, is not found, because he, waiting for political development, on the West Tibets to Nepal settles.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 2

It quickly becomes clear that Tibet can not expect international support. A UN General Assembly in New York opposes intervention. The US, in its global crusade against communism, is content to equip and train underground Tibetan freedom fighters. A dedicated group around Thubten Jigme Norbu, the eldest brother of the XIVth Dalai Lama, is offered concrete support from the CIA to shape the Tibetan resistance.

Coocoola begins to act as a messenger of secret messages between Delhi, Calcutta and Lhasa. Their CIA contact is Larry Dalley, whose mission is to gather news from the Chumbi Valley and Sikkim. A salary promised by Dalley rejects them indignantly. In addition, Coocoola is working on a way to smuggle Lee Enfield ammunition placed in pineapple and peach jars into the still fortified monasteries of Tibet.


The job of negotiating with the Indians went to the prince's son and heir apparent, Palden Thondup. Commonly known as the maharaja kumar, or crown prince, he was a relative newcomer to politics. Recognized at birth as the reincarnation of his late uncle, he appeared destined for a monastic life. But after the untimely death of his elder brother during World War II, he suddenly moved up the succession ladder and was thrust into government service.

Charming and well educated -- he had spent time at a British college -- the crown prince quickly assumed all governing responsibilities from his father. In 1947, he ventured to New Delhi to initiate talks with the Indian government. Through force of personality, he was able to win a three-year stay on any decision about Sikkim's integration into the republic. In early 1950, he again ventured to New Delhi. If anything, his audience had grown more fickle in the interim. The previous year, the Indian government had granted generous autonomy to the neighboring kingdom of Bhutan, and it was reluctant to make concessions to yet another Himalayan territory.

Undeterred, the crown prince, then only twenty-seven years old, persisted with a convincing legal pitch that the special privileges extended by the British set Sikkim apart from the other princely states. The result was a December treaty whereby the protectorate of Sikkim was free to manage domestic matters but allowed India to regulate its foreign affairs, defense, and trade.

The Sikkimese royals saw leeway in this pact. Though prohibited from making independent foreign policy, they believed that it was still within their right to retain a degree of international personality. This held obvious appeal for the United States, which appreciated Sikkim's unique perspective on Himalayan events, on account of its royals being related by blood and marriage to the elite in neighboring Bhutan and Tibet. But it also meant walking a fine diplomatic tightrope, as American contact with the Sikkimese ran the risk of agitating India. In the spring of 1951, the U.S. consulate in Calcutta gingerly tested the waters. The Chinese had already invaded Kham, and Larry Dalley, a young CIA officer who had arrived in the city the previous fall under cover of vice consul, was eager to collect good intelligence on events across the border. He knew that two members of Sikkim's royal family frequented Calcutta and would be good sources of information.

The first, Pema Tseudeun, was the older sister of the crown prince. Popularly known by the name Kukula, she was the stunning, urbane archetype of a Himalayan princess. Her contact with American officials actually dated back to 1942, when she had been in Lhasa as the teenage wife of a Tibetan nobleman. OSS officers Tolstoy and Dolan had just arrived in the Tibetan capital that December and were preparing to present a gift from President Franklin Roosevelt to the young Dalai Lama. The gift was in a plain box, and the two Americans were scrambling to find suitable wrapping. "I came forward," she recalls, "and donated the bright red ribbon in my hair." [7]

For the next eight years, Kukula had it good. Married into the powerful Phunkang family (her father-in-law was a cabinet official), she now had considerable holdings in Lhasa. After the Chinese invasion of Kham, however, all was in jeopardy. Leaving many of her possessions back in Tibet, she fled to the safety of Sikkim. There she became a close adviser to the crown prince, accompanying her brother to New Delhi that December to finalize their state's treaty with India.

The second royal in Calcutta, Pema Choki, was Kukula's younger sister. Better known as Princess Kula, she was every bit as beautiful and sophisticated as her sibling. Kula was also married to a Tibetan of high status; her father-in-Iaw, Yutok Dzaza, had been a ranking official at the trade mission in Kalimpong. Both Kukula and Kula were regulars on the Indian diplomatic circuit. "They came to many of the consulate's social functions," remembers Nicholas Thacher, "and were known for their ability to perform all of the latest dance numbers." [8]

Not all of that contact, CIA officer Dalley determined, was social. After arranging for a meeting with Princess Kukula at his apartment, he asked her if she thought the Tibetans might need anything during their current crisis. Kukula suggested that they could use ammunition and said that she would bring a sample of what they needed to their next meeting. True to her word, the princess appeared at Dalley's apartment bearing a round for a British Lee-Enfield rifle. She also mentioned that waves of Tibetan traders came to India almost quarterly to get treatment for venereal disease (a scourge in Tibet) and to pick up food shipments for import. Particularly popular at the time were tins of New Zealand fruits packed in heavy syrup.

Based on this information, Dalley devised a plan to substitute bullets for the fruit. He went as far as pouching Kukula's bullet and a sample tin label to CIA headquarters -- all to no avail. "They laughed at the scheme," he recalls. [9]

Later that spring, the U.S. consulate in Calcutta again turned to the Sikkimese royals for help. At the time, the Dalai Lama was holed up in the border town of Yatung, and CIA officer Robert Linn was brainstorming ways of facilitating indirect contact with the monarch. Two of those he asked to assist in passing notes were Kukula and Kula. Although the Tibetan leader ultimately elected not to go into exile, it was not for want of trying on the part of the princesses. [10]

One year later, Sikkim's royals once more proved their willingness to help. In June 1952, Kukula approached the consulate with an oral message from the Dalai Lama. She had just returned from a visit to her in-laws in Lhasa, and although she had not personally seen the Dalai Lama, she had been given information from Kula's father-in-Iaw, Yutok Dzaza, who had been in Lhasa at the same time, circulating among senior government circles. [11] Kukula quoted the Dalai Lama as saying that when the time was propitious for liberation, he hoped the United States would give material aid and moral support. Kukula also passed observations about food shortages in Lhasa and about the desperate conditions of the vast majority of Chinese troops in that city. [12]

To maintain the flow of such useful information, the consulate continued its discreet courtship of the Sikkimese sisters. Part of the task fell to Gary Soulen, the ranking Foreign Service officer in Calcutta. In September 1952, Soulen obtained Indian approval to visit Sikkim for a nature trek. Venturing as far as the Natu pass on the Tibetan frontier, Princess Kukula accompanied him on the trip and imparted more anecdotes about the situation in Lhasa. [13]

CIA officials, too, were looking to make inroads. Kenneth Millian, who replaced Larry Dalley in October 1952 under cover as vice consul, counted the Sikkimese as one of his primary targets. By that time, however, the Indians were doing everything in their power to obstruct contact. On one of the rare occasions when he got permission to visit the Sikkimese capital of Gangtok, for example, New Delhi leaked a false report to the press that the American vice president -- not vice consul -- was scheduled to make an appearance. As a result, entire villages turned out expecting to see Richard Nixon. "Discreet contact," lamented Millian, "became all but impossible." [14]

Occasional trysts with the Sikkimese were conducted by another CIA officer in Calcutta, John Turner. Born of American parents in India, Turner spent his formative years attending school in Darjeeling. He then went to college in the United States, followed by a stint in the army and induction into the agency in 1948. For his first overseas CIA assignment, he was chosen in May 1952 to succeed Robert Linn as the senior CIA officer in Calcutta. Given his cultural background and fluency in Hindi, Turner was well suited for the job. "I felt very much at home," he later commented.

The Sikkimese, Turner found, needed no prompting to maintain contact "They offered us tidbits of intelligence to try and influence U.S. policy," he concluded. "They were never on the payroll; they were not that sort of people." Some of the best tidbits came from the crown prince himself. "He was not the kind of person comfortable in dark alleys," quipped Turner. "He would make open, official visits to the consulate, and was the guest of honor with the consul general." [15]

As an aside to these visits, the prince would pass Turner relevant information about Tibet. One such meeting took place in the spring of 1954 immediately after the crown prince's return from a trip to Lhasa. While in the Tibetan capital, the prince had spoken with the Dalai lama, whom he found unhappy but resigned to his fate. Even more revealing, the Chinese had feted their Sikkimese guest by showing off their new Damshung airfield north of Lhasa and had motored him along a fresh stretch of road leading into Kham. Turner found the debriefing so informative that he recorded the entire session and sent a voluminous report back to Washington. [16]

-- The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, by Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison


For some time, this secret activity, a work of the night, becomes an outlet for despair over the destruction of their Tibetan homeland. During the day, she takes care of the thousands of refugees from Tibet as chairwoman of the Relief and Rehabilitation Committee of Sikkim. The camp is being financed by the first Indian Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, an old friend of the royal family of Sikkim. For more than ten years, Coocoola has been visiting the camp near Gangtok on a regular basis to organize the bare essentials - food, medicines, blankets and tents - and to talk and listen to each and every one of their displaced, often sick compatriots.

Image
Tibetan children in a camp for refugees; Gangtok, circa 1960. Photo: LIFE

But the political independence of Coocoola's first home, Sikkim, it is anything but good since the withdrawal of the British from India: After the Indian independence of 1947, the old kingdom Sikkim is again self-employed, but already in 1950 Chögyal Tashi of Forced India to sign a treaty again, otherwise Sikkim would be forcibly annexed. For defense and foreign policy should be responsible from now on India. The currency will continue to trade the Indian rupee. De jure Sikkim remains a sovereign state, de facto but an Indian protectorate and a buffer to the mighty China, which after the incorporation of Tibet now also after the former Tibetan crown country Sikkim switched - as an exotic-exquisite dessert.

In the 1950s, Coocoola spends most of her time in Gangtok and Calcutta (now Kolkata), the city of millions in West Bengal, whose huge, blue-green bay spills the two Himalayan rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra. Also in Calcutta, she learns gemstone design and founds a company for importing Iranian turquoise with Kula. The turquoise stone is one of the most important gemstones of the Tibetan women. Thus, it combines business sense with cultural struggle for survival: The Tibetan culture has been in great danger since the Chinese invaded.

Nehru presents Coocoola with a state pension, which she gratefully rejects. Instead, it asks for trading rights and gemstone import licenses, which it resells to watchmakers. Through the success of her business, she not only earns a lot of money, but also the respect of the State Bank of Sikkim, whose board she will join in later years. For wealth, she has a distance at arm's length: "Money did not make me - I made money. (Money did not make me - I made money) ".

In Calcutta, she soon has a particularly cool air-conditioned apartment with large brown armchairs, valuable chests of drawers, Thankas (wall hangings with motifs from the gods' heaven of Tibet) and family silver. Her aristocratic status is emphasized by golden crockery and cutlery, which is exclusively reserved for her at table. Their nobility is given by the gods. She embodies her with every fiber and does not even make anyone doubt it for a moment. Whenever Coocoola receives guests, as is often the case, they serve the finest wines in massive decanters and delicacies. Cool Jazz, Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Winifred Atwell, and Chuck Berry revolve around their precious wood Philco turntable.

She is popular among Indian businessmen, European travelers and American diplomats as a generous host of fun parties. At these parties Sikkim and his threatened independence is often an issue. It is now important to anchor the country and the culture of Sikkim in the international consciousness, and thus to preserve the monarchical position of the Namgyal family. Coocoola feels this vocation even more than her already indispensable older brother Thondup, the crown prince.

Image
Coocoola's brother, Palden Thondup, Crown Prince of Sikkim (l.) And Tenzin Gyatso, the XIV. Dalai Lama after his escape from Tibet, Gangtok, April 1959. Photo: LIFE / Keystone

Concretely, in Gangtok, with the help of friendly and kindred clerics of the monasteries Pemayangtse and Rumtek, a place where the documentation and exploration of the Tibetan culture in Sikkim and its approximately 70 Buddhist monasteries is in good hands and should be made accessible to the public: The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. The foundation stone for the building was laid in February 1957 by the Dalai Lama, and the inauguration speech in October 1958 was held by India's Prime Minister Nehru.

Image
The Namgyal Institute houses the writings of Mahayana Buddhism, an extensive (now partially digitized) photo archive and religious objects.

Coocoola manages to find some rare Tibetan manuscripts and copies as a contribution to the library, including the legend of King Gesar of Ling and the unabridged biography of Drukpa Künley (a holy fool, poet, and tantric yogi who helped around 1500) to spread Buddhism in Bhutan, blithely attributing to beer and women), in all its explicit frivolity, as noted in a jubilee publication of the institute: "After purchasing this book, the number of visitors to the library rose sharply."

But even on diplomatic paths Coocoola tries to preserve Sikkim's independence. She acts and urges corridors of power in the US Consulate of Calcutta and in Delhi. It would not be far-fetched to say that Princess Coocoola is something like the foreign minister and minister of culture of her small Himalayan country. In Delhi, she restores the Sikkim House and gives it a new lease of life.

In his analysis Beijing versus Delhi (1963), George Patterson remembers Coocoola as "an extremely attractive lady who likes to run politics in the style of 18th-century French marquises. Her considerable charm and her high-level friends are constantly coming up with new and unexpected strategies to further sharpen the already confused current situation in Sikkim. "

Nehru mentions in a military correspondence the strategically important position of the Chumbi valley beyond Nathu-La for an expansionist China, describing it as a dagger heading southwest, into the heart of India, and urgently needs to be defused. Nehru, who always has a protective hand over Sikkim's independence, dies in 1964. Although his daughter Indira Gandhi (India's Prime Minister from 1966) was also a frequent guest in Gangtok in her youth, the protective hand of the mother country encompasses the little kingdom of year to year firmer.

The Indian garrisons in the geopolitical hotspot Sikkim multiply in the course of the sixties, also because China's intervention in the East Pakistan conflict is to be expected, which ultimately does not happen. But in 1962, shots are fired on Nathu-La, and China begins a furious destruction of Tibet's indigenous culture, leading to new wave-of-escapes from Tibet to Sikkim and India. This is the grim era of the Cultural Revolution, which Fosco Maraini later describes as "the years of fire and shit."

At the same time, the Kingdom of Sikkim loses stability from within. First, by the mass influx of strong, willing workers from India and from neighboring Nepal, which has long been keeping an eye on Sikkim to settle it as part of a postulated Gorkhaland. The population of the Nepalese in Sikkim, with about 200,000 inhabitants, is growing in comparison to the other tribes of the Tibetan Denjongpka (Buthia) and Lepcha and reaches about 75% in 1966. Nepali is already the most widely spoken language in Sikkim. The individuality and identity of the country is therefore not only questionable from an outside perspective.

Image
Sikkim's mountain world with Buddhist flagpoles (Lungta Dharchok). Photo: Desmond Doig

There is also a growing socialist and anti-monarchist movement that, starting from Kalimpong, infiltrates Sikkim. The thread-pullers behind are the Kazi (Minister) and his wife, the Kazini of Chakung. He, a patriotic provincial politician of the National Congress Party; she, a fox-fur-covered troubadour and a journalist of Scottish descent, said to have drunk in Burma with George Orwell Gin.

With a sharp pen and pronounced hatred for the house of Namgyal, the Kazini already sees herself as the first lady of an independent Sikkim, without the theocratic ramblings of a 16th-century Tibetan "slave-driver family".
In her column for the Himalayan Observer, she sneers at Thondup (and is said to have much more reason to scoff at him soon) and addresses Coocoola exclusively as Mrs. Phönkhang. A natural hostility is born.

The rumors spread by the Kazini and their intrigues about the Indian intelligence service are slowly eroding the support of the Buddhist royal house by the people of Sikkim, which increasingly consists of Hindus. Thondup has known since his youth that he has received bad fate cards, which does not stop him from trying to turn the tables with perseverance, willpower, gallows humor and moments of real confidence.

In December 1963, the painting monarch, Tashi Namgyal dies. Until last, the dying king remains calm and asks everyone in the room, including the doctors, for their well-being. It is Coocoola who remains with the Father until his last breath, making sure that all rituals are kept to ensure a well-protected onward journey of his soul.

In the same year, Thondup marries the young American oriental student and high-society debutante Hope Cooke, whom he met at the cheap Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling. She noticed him for her auburn hair, her extra-long eyelids and her Austrian dirndl dress. Thondup is sure to have found in her a worthy prince consort. It was not until 1965 that he ascended the throne of Sikkim - the astrologers advised him against it from an earlier date. From his first marriage to the Tibetan Samyo Kusho Sangideki, who died in 1957, Thondup brings two sons and a daughter into the compound. In 1965 Hope becomes the mother of a boy, followed three years later by a daughter. It is a marriage that encounters mixed reactions in the family environment.

While Hope starts a big friendship with Kula, she has a much harder time at Coocoola. Coocoola knows that the last thing Sikkim's need for the stumbling monarchy now is a dreamy, chronically whispering New York City twentieth. Of course she would never say that. And although her Hope as a person is not unpleasant, sometimes she cannot help but show her cruel side.

Right at the beginning of her entry into Gangtok, Hope Cooke passes a mishap. Since she is not as used to alcohol as her celebrating prince, she gives it all away in the lobby of the palace. When Hope apologizes profoundly the next day, Coocoola takes her by both hands and says in a silky voice, "Oh, do not worry, Hope-La. Behave yourself as if you were at home with you. "

Hope does not know if she should take the words seriously or evaluate them as passive aggression: "I had no idea what to answer. 'No, I never surrender in my own house, only in the houses of other people'? I was petrified and could not pull my hands away. "From then on Hope can only step closer to her sister-in-law, taking Valium.

Image
Wedding in the Himalayas: Hope Cooke in white, from left to right: Kula, Coocoola, Thondup and sitting, Chögyal Tashi Namgyal. On the ground, sons Thondup, Wangchuk and Tenzing. Photo: National Geographic

In her cleverly and intelligibly written autobiography Time Change (1980), Hope Cooke writes about Coocoola: "She is often sweet to me, but I do not know if she is only to love her brother. I suspect she sees me as an eccentric beatnik, possibly even an adventurer. I am in awe of her for several reasons; First, she is so gorgeous and sophisticated that I often feel like a tramp next to her. Although she never says harm, she is sometimes full of anger - hard and sparkling like a diamond. (...) But she's definitely a fantastic woman. "

In March 1963, Thondup and Hope marry in an internationally sensational ceremony that is causing a furore in magazines (LIFE, National Geographic, Le Monde, etc.) around the world under the media-driven motto "American Himalayan Queen." At the wedding, Coocoola, dressed in beehive and gold lamé, is causing a sensation, and may have made her prostrations too dramatic before the new Queen Sikkims.

But it does not take long for the two so different women to join forces to jointly spread Sikkim's cultural identity into the world. Sikkim's participation in international craft fairs and exhibitions for traditional garments from around the world, as well as an interview Coocoola gives to BBC Radio during a London 1967 visit, raise the profile of their homeland in the race for political reassurance.

Image
Princess Coocoola, 1967, in London.

With a US-American woman in the Gangtok Palace, the tiny country is gaining an exposure on the international stage, but the expansive politics of Indira Gandhi and the totalitarian communist rule of the Chinese in Tibet increase the pressure in the domestic pressure cooker Sikkim. The writing Kazini in Kalimpong has a fresh target for their poisonous tirades against the monarchical status of Sikkim with the "imported queen of Manhattan".

But even for personally Coocoola breaks with the end of the sixties a hard time. In 1969, her sister Kula succumbs to a tumor at just 43 years old. In 1973, Coocoola's husband dies and she becomes ill with a creeping circulatory disorder in her left arm, probably caused by smoking since early youth. After a quacking surgery, her left hand has to be amputated, which has far-reaching effects on the self-image of this beautiful, elegant woman.

Image
Twist of Fate: Coocoola and John Kenneth Galbraith at a party around 1963. Galbraith was an advisor to President Kennedy and a diplomat of the highest order. Photo: Letizia Battaglia / National Geographic

In the early 1970s, political pressure in Sikkim has grown to such an extent that the Indian Intelligence work (bribery organized riots, roadblocks, and strikes) is just another step toward the Indian military. Coocoola, in Hong Kong just to get shopping for her second daughter's wedding, calls for a spontaneous press conference blaming Indira Gandhi and especially a BIS official, Tejpal Singh, for the riot in Gangtok.

For a long time, the diplomatically networked Coocoola has created enemies in the Indian news service. Kayatyani Shanker Bajpaj, the penultimate Dewan (an Indian political officer) of Sikkim calls her "The Dragon Lady." Finally, Coocoola's bungalow, which had been her and her family's refuge since fleeing Tibet, is being confiscated by the Indian authorities. Her trusted lieutenant and messenger, Thupten Geley, is intercepted in Gangtok, interrogated and thrown into a West Bengal jail without trial.

At the beginning of April 1975, Coocoola systematically searched her flat in Calcutta; all doors and drawers are equipped with mysterious, star-shaped wax seals. On her next visit to Delhi, she is interrogated by the IIB for two hours and placed under house arrest at Sikkim House for a week - while the Indian army overwhelms the sparse bodyguard of the Gangtok Palace. All eleven telephone connections to Sikkim House are - little wonder - cut off. Meanwhile, her brother Thondup is being arrested and besieged by Hope and the children in the palace.

On 16 April 1975, the Chögyal is disempowered by a referendum and Sikkim incorporated as the 22nd state in the Indian Union. Hope and her two children manage to leave Sikkim, apparently to make one of their many visits to New York - only this time she will not come back. Through Thondup's numerous affairs, the relationship of the two is in the end anyway. Alone, Thondup remains behind - a disempowered monarch and functioning alcoholic.


Image
The royal palace of Gangtok.

He spends full-bearded and fat, spending several more months in the palace, where he spends his time mowing lawns and playing football before settling for Calcutta. As if the tragedy were not enough, his eldest son Tenzing dies in 1978 at the age of only 26 in a car accident. Thus, a chöla (firstborn son) of Namgyal is extinguished again. In 1982, Palden Thondup Namgyal, the twelfth and final king of Sikkim, dies in a New York hospital - a good man with a difficult fate.

Image
The most accurate and entertaining review of Sikkim's last years as a kingdom: Andrew Duff ::: Sikkim - Requiem For A Himalayan Kingdom ; Birlinn Ltd., Edinburgh, 2015.

It seems the fulfillment of a prophecy or a curse, as Coocoola says in an interview about her family: "In Tibet, the vernacular calls such a curse 'Sih' . Its effectiveness is generated by black magic. After that, he must be cleverly hidden.

You can put the Sih on someone's shoe or on an object in his house. Once this is done, you must nourish the curse, hatch through complicated rituals and mantras - and when mature, bring them to full development. But such a sih is not just a burden on our family."


Coocoola retires after the annexation of Sikkim in a cottage near Gangtok. It could be speculated on whether she could have maintained Sikkim's independence as a regent - would the monarchical system have allowed a ruler. But it might have been eliminated by military forces if it had taken a more powerful position in this political game of power.

It continues to receive scholars, Himalayan researchers, diplomats and journalists, and remains attentive to events in the world until the age of 84. Swiss Tibetologist Dr. Anna Balikci-Denjongpa has the opportunity to win the friendship of the elderly Coocoola and to work with her at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. When the work on an ethnological book on Sikkim is completed, the princess does not miss the opportunity to open a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

On December 2, 2008, Coocoola dies in Calcutta. On the morning of their dusk, four earthquakes are felt in the mountains of Sikkim, which is interpreted as a sign of the departure of a significant soul. At the cremation on Lukshyama Hill, the resting place of the Namgyal, they accompany members of all Gangtok ethnic and social groups to say goodbye to a consort of the gods and a brave Dharma warrior whose big wheel keeps turning.

Like the wheel of time, which will not settle until all kingdoms have fallen to the heart, all destinies will have been fulfilled, and the universe will dissolve into stardust, like a cosmic mandala. Until then, on clear winter days, the Kangchendzönga continues to tower in all its heavenly splendor over the dark green hills of Sikkim and disappears behind white clouds during monsoon.

Image

BONUS

Origin legend of the Tibetan people

Gods love to change to other forms, not just the classical legends of ancient Greece, the Native American tales, and the cosmic chaos household of Hinduism.

As in the Tibetan founding legend: Behind the two wild creatures of the monkey and the demon hide namely the bashful Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of compassion (in his Sanskrit form also called Avalokiteshvara) and his - even - better half Jetsün Dölma. Dölma is also known as Tara and is worshiped by Buddhists in all its 21 expressions, colors and powers.

Image
Chenrezig, or Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

When not in the guise of a demon wrapped in raging wispy clouds and raving on mountain peaks, Dölma is a rather reserved, practical deity, merciful, full of love for her loved ones and proud of her femininity: As a mocking monk once advises her, the next To be born again as a man, for only in this way can one obtain the last enlightenment, does she swear from then on to reincarnate only as a female being.

When the Buddha of Compassion and the Goddess of Goodness meet on the Tibetan Plateau, both are already high spirits, yet unredeemed. A threefold rainbow is formed between their bodies and they look deeply into each other's eyes. And so that they do not need to be ashamed of each other in their exemplary purity as holy beings, one lets out the monkey and the other the demoness. We know the feeling.

Image
Incarnation of feminine intuition: the green tara (thangka from the 13th century, Tibet).

Since it can still take until Nirvana, they not only agree to play heavenly love games and have six children with each other, but also to beget a whole people. However, although the monkey and the demon take care of their offspring, this one denies both monkey and demon food. Even that is not unknown to today's human parents.

Only when suddenly a field full of highland barley sprouts from the raw earth and the ears change into tsampa flour, the hunger of the children can be satisfied. From now on, the children of the monkey and the demon are true Tibetans.


Sources and literature:

Thomas Laird ::: The Story of Tibet
Melvyn Goldstein ::: A History of Modern Tibet
Tsering Yangdzon ::: The Aristocratic Families in Tibetan History 1900 - 1951
David L. Snell Grove, Hugh Richardson ::: A Cultural History of Tibet
Hugh Richardson ::: High Peaks, Pure Earth
Fosco Maraini ::: Secret Tibet
Heinrich Harrer ::: Seven Years in Tibet
Heinrich Harrer ::: The Old Lhasa - Pictures from Tibet
Heinrich Harrer ::: My Life
Martin Brauen (Hrsg.): :: Peter Aufschnaiter - His Life in Tibet
Jan Boon ::: Where the Wind Prays
Günter O. Dyhrenfurth ::: The book by the Kantsch
René de Nebesky-Wojkowitz ::: Oracles and Demons of Tibet
JR Subba ::: History, Culture & Customs of Sikkim
Anna Balikci-Denjongpa ::: Lamas, Shaman and Ancestors
Brajbir Saran ::: The Sikkim Saga
Nari Rustomji ::: Enchanted Frontiers
Nari Rustomji ::: Sikkim, a Himalayan Tragedy
Marco Pallis ::: Sikkim
Marco Pallis ::: Peaks and Lamas
Sangharakshita ::: Facing Mount Kanchenjunga
HH the XIV Dalai Lama ::: Freedom in Exile
Namgyal Lhamo Taklha ::: Born in Lhasa
Dasang Dandul Tsarong ::: In the Service of His Country
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray ::: Smash & Grave: Annexation of Sikkim
Andrew Duff ::: Sikkim - Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom
Hope Cooke ::: Time Change
VP Menon ::: Sikkim's Story of Integration
George N. Patterson ::: Beijing vs Delhi
Charles A. Bell ::: Manual of Colloquial Tibetan
Patrick French ::: Tibet, Tibet
Jaroslav Poncar, John Keay ::: Tibet - Gateway to Heaven

Magazines and magazines:

The Telegraph
The
Himalayan Observer
National Geographic India (March 1963)
Life

websites:

Phayul
Tibetan Who's Who
Treasury of Lives
The Royal Forum
The Diplomat
Literary Review
Bulletin of Tibetology
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:44 am

Esme Barbara Wilson [Wilkinson] [Cramer Roberts]
by The Peerage: A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe
Accessed: 9/7/19

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YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


With the great help and inspiration of Esme Cramer Roberts, the first edition of Born in Tibet was published in 1966.

-- Epilogue: Planting the Dharma in the West, from "Born in Tibet," "by" Chogyam Trungpa


Esme Barbara Wilson was born on 28 December 1887.1 She was the daughter of Sir Alexander Wilson and Isabella Adelaide Dunn.1 She married, firstly, Captain Osborn Cecil Wilkinson.1 She married, secondly, Francis William H. Cramer Roberts, son of Charles John Cramer Roberts and Frances Templer Dunn.1 She died on 5 March 1967 at age 79.1
Her married name became Wilkinson.1 Her married name became Cramer Roberts.1

******************

Sir Alexander Wilson1
M, #392647, b. 2 May 1843, d. 6 September 1907
Last Edited=16 Jun 2010
Sir Alexander Wilson was born on 2 May 1843.1 He was the son of Reverend David Wilson and Mary Garioch Skinner.1 He married, firstly, Isabella Adelaide Dunn, daughter of Captain Richard Duckworth Dunn and Isabella Pallmer Massy-Dawson, on 23 April 1874 at Surbiton, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, EnglandG.1 He married, secondly, Louisa Benita Poore, daughter of Major Robert Poore and Juliana Benita Lowry-Corry, on 28 November 1896 at St. Luke's, Chelsea, London, EnglandG.2,1 He died on 6 September 1907 at age 64.2 He was buried at Rickling, Essex, EnglandG.1
He was President of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.2 He was chairman of the Mercantile Bank of India.1 He was Captain Commandant of the Calcutta Light Horse.1 He held the office of High Sheriff of Calcutta in 1887.2 He was appointed Knight on 14 February 1887.1 He held the office of Member of the Legislative Council [India].1 He lived at The Views, Rickling, Essex, EnglandG.1

Children of Sir Alexander Wilson and Isabella Adelaide Dunn
Ada Mary Louisa Wilson1 b. 5 Oct 1876, d. 19 Oct 1943
Charles Skinner Wilson+1 b. 24 Sep 1878, d. 26 Feb 1959
Lina Beatrix Wilson1 b. 30 Aug 1881
Helen Benita Wilson1 b. 2 Nov 1886
Esme Barbara Wilson+1 b. 28 Dec 1887, d. 5 Mar 1967

Citations

[S4061] Re: Dunn Family, "re: Geoff Ayres," e-mail message to Geoff Ayres, 2 November 2009. Hereinafter cited as "re: Dunn Family."
[S37] BP2003 volume 3, page 3173. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]

******************

Lt.-Col. Sir Peter Allix Wilkinson1
M, #225556
Last Edited=2 Nov 2009
Lt.-Col. Sir Peter Allix Wilkinson is the son of Captain Osborn Cecil Wilkinson and Esme Barbara Wilson.1,2 He married Mary Theresa Villiers, daughter of Algernon Hyde Villiers and Beatrix Elinor Paul, on 14 March 1945.1
He was appointed Officer, Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)1 He gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Fusiliers.1 He was appointed Companion, Order of St. Michael and St. George (C.M.G.)1 He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.)1 He was Deputy Under-Secretary and Chief Clerk of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1968.1

Foreign & Commonwealth Office: About us

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Read our Single Departmental Plan to find out more about how we are performing against our objectives.

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The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has a worldwide network of embassies and consulates, employing over 14,000 people in nearly 270 diplomatic offices. We work with international organisations to promote UK interests and global security, including the EU, NATO, the United Nations, the UN Security Council and the Commonwealth.

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We use a proportion of our core departmental budget to fund project activity to support the policy priorities detailed in our Single Departmental Plan. This funding includes both Official Development Assistance (ODA), and non-ODA funds, to ensure that we can spent it around the world to promote British interests, including through contributing to the economic development and welfare of developing countries. This small-scale policy programme funding enables us to complement traditional diplomatic activity, respond effectively to changing international situations, and maximise funding from international partners and the private sector. It is used for a wide range of activity designed to protect our people, project our influence and promote our prosperity.

The FCO also plays an important role in delivering programmes and projects funded by 2 major government-wide funds, which support the government’s National Security Strategy, and Aid Strategy:

• the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), established in 2015, supports work to reduce risk arising from conflict or instability in countries where the UK has important interests
• the Prosperity Fund, established in 2016, promotes the economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries

We also support:

• outstanding scholars with leadership potential to take postgraduate courses in the UK on Chevening scholarships
• young Americans of high ability to study in the UK on Marshall scholarships
• victims of forced marriage with the Domestic Programme Fund
• natural resource management in the Overseas Territories with the Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund (Darwin Plus)
• prosperity and growth through the Science and Innovation Network
• some of the government’s work on international development, including through our activities on promoting sustainable global growth, human rights, climate change and conflict prevention. This is supported by Official Development Assistance funding.

-- Foreign & Commonwealth Office, by gov.uk


Children of Lt.-Col. Sir Peter Allix Wilkinson and Mary Theresa Villiers
Virginia Caroline Wilkinson3 b. 3 May 1947
Alexandra Mary Wilkinson3 b. 21 Sep 1953
Citations
[S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 803. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
[S4061] Re: Dunn Family, "re: Geoff Ayres," e-mail message to Geoff Ayres, 2 November 2009. Hereinafter cited as "re: Dunn Family."
[S37] BP2003. [S37]

******************

Captain Osborn Cecil Wilkinson1
M, #224656
Last Edited=2 Nov 2009
Captain Osborn Cecil Wilkinson married Esme Barbara Wilson, daughter of Sir Alexander Wilson and Isabella Adelaide Dunn.2
He gained the rank of Captain in the 15th Foot (East Yorkshire).1

Child of Captain Osborn Cecil Wilkinson and Esme Barbara Wilson
Lt.-Col. Sir Peter Allix Wilkinson+1

Citations

[S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 803. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
[S4061] Re: Dunn Family, "re: Geoff Ayres," e-mail message to Geoff Ayres, 2 November 2009. Hereinafter cited as "re: Dunn Family."
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:04 am

Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche [Venerable Ananda Bodhi/Leslie George Dawson]
Dharma Centre of Winnipeg
Accessed: 9/7/19
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With the great help and inspiration of Esme Cramer Roberts, the first edition of Born in Tibet was published in 1966. Nevertheless, there was as yet no situation in which I could begin to make a full and proper presentation of the teachings of Buddhism. This now began to change. Ananda Bodhi, senior incumbent of the English Sangha Vihara and founder of a Buddhist contemplative centre in Scotland called Johnstone House, proposed turning the direction of the House over to myself and Akong. At once the fresh air and beautiful rolling hills of Dumfriesshire invigorated me and filled me with joyous expectation. After a series of further visits, Johnstone House was finally turned over to us and we moved in, giving it the name of Samye-Ling Meditation Centre.

-- Epilogue: Planting the Dharma in the West, from "Born in Tibet," "by" Chogyam Trungpa


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Karma Tensing Dorje Namgyal Rinpoche was born Leslie George Dawson in Toronto, Canada, on October 11, 1931 to middle-class parents. His mother was a nurse and his father was a policeman and Freemason. He attended Norway Public School and Malvern Collegiate, where he studied music appreciation with Glenn Gould as a classmate and worked summers at the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories. After graduating from high school he spent a few months at Jarvis Baptist Seminary and then went on to major in Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbour.



For a time he became involved as a left-wing political activist, ultimately travelling to Russia where he addressed an international youth conference in Moscow. His experiences there resulted in a fundamental disillusionment with politics, and in 1956 he moved to England, where straightened circumstances shortly resulted in his contracting tuberculosis. In London he became interested in Theosophy and afterward in Theravada Buddhist practice. Eventually he decided to ‘go forth’ into the life of a homeless monastic.

At the Buddhist Vihara in London in April, 1958, he met the Burmese Sayadaw U Thila Wunta and requested ordination. The Venerable Sayadaw suggested that they meet at Bodhgaya in India, where, on October 28, Leslie Dawson was ordained as a novice monk, taking the name Ananda. From there they returned to Burma where he received full ordination as Bhikkhu Ananda Bodhi at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda in Rangoon on December 21, 1958. He began an extended period of intensive meditation practice, during which he studied for periods in Sri Lanka and at Wat Paknam and Wat Mahadat (with Chao Khun Phra Rajasiddhimuni) in Thailand, as well as with Sayadaw U Thila Wunta and Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw in Rangoon. He was ultimately given the title Samatha-Vipassana-Kammatthana-Acariya (master of both tranquility and insight meditation) in recognition of his attainments.

Venerable Ananda Bodhi returned to England in the Fall of 1961, at the invitation of the English Sangha Trust, becoming the Resident Teacher of the Camden Town Vihara. He was a special guest speaker at the Fifth International Congress of Psychotherapists in London, where he met Julian Huxley, Anna Freud and R.D.Laing, among others. For the next three years he taught extensively throughout the UK, founding the Hampstead Buddhist Vihara in London and the Johnstone House Contemplative Community—a retreat centre in southern Scotland. During this period he also joined a Masonic lodge. In 1965, when he decided to move to Toronto with two of his British students, Johnstone House was entrusted to Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Akong Tulku, becoming Kagyu Samye Ling—the first Vajrayana centre to be established in the West.

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Chogyam Trungpa in Scottish kilt


"It struck me forcibly before I left Zanskar that there must be some unknown relationship between the people of that province and the Scottish Highlanders. The sound of their varieties of language, the brooches which fasten their plaids, the varieties of tartan, even the features of the people, strongly reminded me of the Scotch Highlanders."

-- The Myth of Shangri-La: Tibet, Travel Writing and the Western Creation of Sacred Landscape, by Peter Bishop


The following year Ananda Bodhi and his students founded the Dharma Centre of Canada and purchased a 400-acre forest property near Kinmount, Ontario for a retreat centre. In 1967 he founded the Centennial Lodge of the Theosophical Society. After a couple of years spent teaching mostly in Toronto and at the Dharma Centre, ‘The Bhikkhu’ (as he had become known) initiated an extended period of nearly continuous travel, taking students all over the world. It was on one of these trips, in Sikkim in 1968, that he met and was subsequently recognized by His Holiness the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa (head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism) as an incarnation of the Namgyal Tulku—the first Westerner to be so acknowledged. His formal enthronement as Karma Tensing Dorje Namgyal Rinpoche was performed by Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche in the spring of 1972.

Over the next few years Rinpoche received teachings and empowerments from many accomplished lamas—including HH Sakya Trizin, HH Dudjom Rinpoche, HE Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, Venerable Kalu Rinpoche, and Venerable Ling Rinpoche, as well as HH the XVIth Karmapa—and he was instrumental in arranging the latter’s first North American visit in 1974.

He continued to teach and travel widely throughout the world, and for a number of years in the 70s and 80s he took numerous small groups of students on months-long voyages on passenger freighters. Later, he introduced many to the joys of dive charters, polar expeditions and excursions up the Amazon, as well as to gourmet cooking, Teilhard de Chardin and Krishnamurti, Mahler’s music and Rilke’s poetry, the painting of Mondrian…and so much more.

Some addressed what we call “Transformational and Contemplative Ecology,” growing and convening our network of climate, sustainability, spiritual and community leaders to re-conceive our relationship with the natural world and help make environmental advocacy more effective. For example, in 2016 Joanna Macy led a retreat on “Rainer Maria Rilke and the Force of the Storm.” Macy’s “Work that Reconnects” trainings have empowered environmental activists and scientists worldwide, drawing on Buddhist teachings, systems theory and the deep ecological visions of poets like Rilke, whom Macy and Anita Barrows translated, and who foresaw the disruptions of our time over a century ago. You can watch Macy introducing the retreat here.

-- Garrison Institute Biannual Report, by Marc Weiss / Executive Director


In his journeys Rinpoche frequently visited the many centres established by his students in Canada, the United States, Guatemala, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. His love of travel and more than forty years of teaching inevitably took a toll on his physical condition, and some long-standing health problems finally caught up with him on October 22, 2003 when he passed away at a small private cottage on the Bodensee Lake in Switzerland.

Namgyal Rinpoche devoted his entire life to the welfare of beings, and his dedication to their liberation, his unbounded interest in this planet and all its flora and fauna, was as tireless as it was vast. A master of Mahamudra, he was unique in his ability to encompass and bridge traditional Buddhist forms and western practices, transmitting the path of awakening in universal terms according to beings’ interests and proclivities. His fearless and compassionate example continues to inspire and transform his many students, and their students, all over the world. In the words of Tarchin Hearn, “Rinpoché was many things to many beings. He was an upholder of tradition and, simultaneously, an innovator and integrator of new unfolding pathways…It has been wondrous to have lived so many years knowing him, an extraordinary manifestation of Emptiness and vast compassionate activity. May the wholesomeness of the teachings that he has given freely to so many beings continue to grow and flourish for the sake of all those yet to come. Sarva Mangalam”
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Sayadaw U Thila Wunta
by Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa
Accessed: 9/7/19

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Sayadaw U Thila Wunta with student, U Khema Sera

U Thila Wunta, the teacher of Namgyal Rinpoche, came from the Mon State of Burma. He was born 28 June 1912. He began his training at a monastery school in 1919. At the age of 15 he took the vows of a monk. In May 1932 he received full ordination as a Bhikshu in the Theravada Order under the direction of Kyaw Sayadaw.1 He spent his first three month retreat at Htan-bin Monastery near Wekalaung Village.

Between the years 1933 and 1938 he practiced meditation under the supervision of Sayadaw U Narada of Payagyi Monastery, Sayadaw U Ariya of Ahlei Taik Monastery, and Sayadaw U Pyin Nyein Da of Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery. These three Sayadaws were all renowned scholars and meditators.

U Thila Wunta settled for some time near the great Shve Dagon Pagoda, in Rangoon. It is generally believed by Buddhists that certain holy sites or "power spots" are especially conducive for progress in meditation. Experience has shown that meditation is not only easier, but that insight dawns much faster, when practice is carried out at such places. Further, because many beings over the centuries have themselves realized Enlightenment at these special holy sites, it is felt that a residue vibration of their presences remains there. The Shve Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon is one of the world's most special power places.

In 1941 the war forced U Thila Wunta to leave Rangoon for his native Mon State, where he remained until the end of hostilities. In early 1946 he returned to Rangoon, where he took up residence in a grass hut again not far from the great Shve Dagon Pagoda. In May of 1947 he was given another small meditation hut by some devout lay-people living in Kapili Kwathi on the west side of the Shve Dagon. There he spent the rainy reason practicing meditation with eight fellow monks.

At the end of 1947 he set out for Mandalay so as to pursue further meditation practice at Mahatmya-muni Pagoda, which is a famous holy site in Mandalay.

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Sayadaw U Thila Wunta

While struggling with his meditation at Mahatma-muni Pagoda, U Thila Wunta met a disciple of Bodaw Aung Min Gaung. The latter had a reputation as a fully realized Burmese saint.

Bodaw Aung Min Gaung was a great meditator in the Weizzer forest-tradition of Burma. In Burma "weizzers" are known as persons having wisdom, masters of Wisdom (Skt: vidya), or the "Wise Ones". 2

Bodaw Aung Min Gaung was a master who not only knew how to teach meditation but one who had himself acquired full realization. He was a truly liberated being. Inspired by what he heard about Bodaw Aung Min Gaung, U Thila Wunta traveled to Popa to meet the master in person. This meeting brought about a radical change in his understanding. To fully focus on his practice, he went into solitary retreat in the forest, wandering from village to village for food but otherwise living entirely alone.

Upon U Thila Wunta's eventual return to Rangoon, a pious layman named U Pho Nweh donated five acres of land in the hope that U Thila Wunta would restore an ancient, broken stupa (pagoda) on the property. Initially U Thila Wunta thought that this would distract him from his meditation practice, but his guru Bodaw Aung Ming Gaung advised him to go ahead and accept the gift.

U Pho Nweh, his brothers, sisters, and entire extended family, supported the restoration of the old pagoda, both with money and with labour. The work began on 13 January 1949. That was the start of a project that has continued throughout U Thila Wunta's entire life up to the present. Today, surrounding the reconstructed central pagoda, there are now some 174 smaller pagodas. Buildings for monks and lay meditators have also sprung up throughout the grounds. The original five acres has been transformed over the years into a thriving monastic complex, known as Dat Pon Zon Aung Min Gaung Monastery, firmly centered in the Weizzer meditation tradition.

In 1952 U Tilla Wunta went on pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya and other holy sites of Buddhism. In Sri Lanka he visited the great monastery of Anuradhapura. At Mihintali he meditated on the same ground where Mahendra (Mahinda), the princely son of Emperor Asoka, attained enlightenment. He went to Rajgriha, the 'Vulture's Peak, where legend says that Buddha Sakyamuni taught the Prajnaparamita-sutra, the practice of Transcendental Wisdom. From Rajgriha he went to Sarnath, the site where the Buddha spoke his very first teaching on the four Truths and the eightfold Spiritual Path. After that pilgrimage, U Thila Wunta returned to Rangoon and spent the next five years in meditation at the base of a tree on the grounds of Dat Pon Zon Monastery.

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Sayadaw U Thila Wunta

After U Thila Wunta attained awakening, he began a number of extensive trips around the world. Starting in 1955 the venerable Sayadaw visited Thailand, Nepal, and India. In India he went to Lumbini, Sarnath, Jammu, Sravasti, Kusinara, Darjeeling, and again Bodh Gaya, the holiest site of all. At Bodh Gaya he performed an intensive 49 day meditation retreat. He then returned via Thailand to his native land. In the meantime his little monastery had grown to accommodate twenty monks.

The Sayadaw U Thila Wunta has dedicated his life to teaching the profound method of meditation that he learned under the compassionate guidance of Bodaw Aung Min Gaung. He has trained an exemplary group of men in the discipline of a Buddhist monk, and he has encouraged many Buddhist lay men and women to take up the practice of meditation. His fame in Burma, where he is looked upon as a living Arhat, an enlightened Master, is very great indeed. Many miracles are attributed to him. The impersonal goodness, compassion and wisdom that seem to radiate from his presence are tangible. Everyone who has had the blessed fortune to meet U Thila Wunta has felt that they were in the exceptional presence of an extraordinary human saint.

Namgyal Rinpoche's teacher U Thila Wunta was an austere, old man of great presence and power. The depth of his wisdom was written all over his aged face, and the intensity of his love was like a tangible force.

Footnotes

1 The title Sayadaw (Skt: Upadhyaya, Tib: Khenpo) means "preceptor" or "abbot". When one goes for ordination in the Buddhist tradition, of the five or more monks necessary for an ordination service, the two of most importance for the applicant is one's Preceptor, or Upadhyaya, and one's Teacher (Acharn or Acarya).

2 It is thanks to Mr. L. Olmstead, a long time student of U Tilla Wunta, that we have been able to correct some of the earlier statements that we made in the biographical sketch of this great man. Mr. Olmstead kindly pointed out, "You mentioned Sayadaw's teacher, Bodaw Aung Min Guang (aka Bo Minguang) being a practitioner of the forest tradition of Phra Acharn Mun. This is incorrect." The term "weizzer" derives from the Pali word "vijja" meaning wisdom or awareness, according to L. Olmstead. It was the weizzer tradition that Bodaw Aung Min Guang passed on to the venerable Sayadaw U Thilawunta. We are pleased to now correct an error in our original text.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:40 am

The English Sangha Trust: History
by Amaravati.org
Accessed: 9/7/19

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The English Sangha Trust (EST) is the legal charitable body, originally established in 1956, that serves to steward donations given to the Sangha (monastic community). This is the body that in 1977 owned the Hampstead Vihara, which had no sangha in residence, and then invited Ajahn Sumedho to come from Thailand; thus began Ajahn Sumedho’s efforts to establish the Thai Forest tradition outside Thailand.

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Hampstead Vihara in 1978. From L to R: visiting Roshi, Ajahn Sumedho, George Sharp, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Kemadhammo

Once the EST had a resident sangha in Hampstead, decision-making power was vested in the sangha. Then in 1979, after a donation to the sangha of 96 acres of forest in West Sussex, the sangha decided to move to Sussex. The EST then acquired Chithurst House and sold the Hampstead Vihara. Five years later, when the burgeoning resident sangha of monks and nuns at Chithurst (Cittaviveka) needed more space, the sangha and the EST decided to purchase the site that is now Amaravati.

Listen how the Sangha came to England by George Sharp
Amaravati 1
Amaravati 30 Years, by Ajahn Amaro, Ajahn Sumedho, George Sharp Amaravati 2014
Amaravati 2
How the Sangha Came to England – Interview (Part 1 of 3), by George Sharp

[George Sharp] When Ven. Sujita asked me to give a talk about how things began, how I began here, I was really quite interested because I’ve never heard this story, actually. And I sort of visit a memory here and there, you know, when we are talking about things, discussing this or that event, but to actually go from the beginning through – I’ve never done it. And what is more, I’ve made no preparation. And I could get the dates wrong on chronology and things, but I’ll do my best.

1956 was when the English Sangha Trust was formed, principally by Bhikku Kapilavaddho, who was formerly known as – and he had two names, I don’t know why -- one was William Purfurst, and Richard Randall. I know that he had a wife whose name was Ruth Randall, and I never heard of any lady with the name Purfurst, but I do know that he was a reporter, or a journalist and photographer, and that’s basically all I know. I don’t know how he came to be interested in Buddhism, but what I’m sure is that he was a man of considerable imagination and courage, and probably a great romantic at heart, because he tried to do something truly exceptional, which was to actually form a sangha, with basically four Bhikkus, in this country, and to try to get it going.

So the original trust deed that was prepared is the same one – it was never amended – that the Bhikkus, the sangha uses today.

Kapilavaddho, Ven (William Purfurst, 1906-71): Founder of English Sangha Trust. Born Hanwell, Middlesex (UK). Dissatisfied with business life, began studying psychology, philosophy, etc.; went to London (on foot) and became photographer in Fleet St.; found a teacher to instruct him in Yoga and Vedanta; developed a color printing process; took up sculpture. 1939: official war photographer, then fireman during Blitz; met U Thittila whose pupil he became; got married; finally photographer with RAF [Royal Air Force]. After war began serious Buddhist studies with U Thittila at Buddhist Society (then in Great Russell Street) covering Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidahamma. Began lecturing on Buddhism; founded Manchester Buddhist Society 1952; adopted anagarika status (with permission of wife); later became Samanera Dhammananada under U Thittila; worked for Buddhist Society; continued lecturing and founded societies in Oxford and Cambridge; also Buddhist Summer School. Later resigned samanera status and took job in Surrey hotel as barman to raise finance to go to Thailand. 1954: received lower and higher ordinations (single ceremony) in Thailand (name based on “Kapilavatthu,” Buddha’s home town; means “he who spreads the Dhamma”); surprised Thai Sangha with his knowledge, especially of Abhidamma and Pali languages; successfully practiced intensive samatha and vipassana meditation. Returned to UK, to London Buddhist Vihara, Knightsbridge, with intention of establishing English Sangha. 1955: to Thailand with 3 British samaneras (Robert Albison, George Blake, and Peter Morgan). 1956: triple ordination at Wat Paknam under Ven. Chao Khun Bhavanakosol – the core of an English Sangha. Returned to UK; acquired house in London; English Sangha Trust founded; period of great activity. 1957: due to ill health, disrobed; changed name to Richard Randall; married Ruth Lester; remained 10 years in obscurity. 1967: returned to robe at Wat Buddhapadipa under Ven. Chao Khun Sobhana Dhammasudhi; took over Hampstead Buddhist Vihara (then renamed Wat Dhammapadipa). Again disrobed. 1971: married Jacqueline Gray [Scott].

-- The Buddhist Handbook: A Complete Guide to Buddhist Schools, Teaching, Practice, and History, by John Snelling


-- How the Sangha Came to England – Interview (Part 1 of 3), by George Sharp


Amaravati 3
How the Sangha Came to England – Interview (Part 2 of 3), by George Sharp
Amaravati 4
How the Sangha Came to England – Q and A (Part 3 of 3), by George Sharp

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Amaravati in the 1980s. The temple & cloisters is currently where you see the empty square in the middle

Strategic priorities

To this day the EST legally owns and manages both Cittaviveka and Amaravati monasteries and its priorities remain focused on them and their resident sangha:

• to purchase land that may support the existing monastic properties;
• to maintain the supply and good order of the four requisites (shelter, food, clothing and medicinal needs) for the sangha in the two monasteries;
• developing the monasteries in terms of buildings, land and physical structures in accordance with the wishes of the resident monastics. At Amaravati this is now being implemented through a wholly-owned subsidiary called Amaravati Developments Ltd (ADL). Details can be found here.
• to facilitate such publications in any format, as are produced or approved of by the resident monastics.

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Model of proposed redevelopment of Amaravati. Notice the retreat centre, Bhikku Vihara & Sala will have different shaped buildings.

Stewardship

All funds given (donated) to those two monasteries are held and managed by the EST. The legal structure of the EST is that of a Charitable Company limited by twelve shares all held by monastics. There are also up to nine lay trustees. The sangha shareholders include the Abbots of Cittaviveka and Amaravati, and monks and nuns elected by the monastics representing both monasteries. The lay trustees are chosen by the sangha, and since the monastic discipline prohibits the monks and nuns from making direct financial decisions, the lay trustees are vested with the responsibility of making final decisions over allocation of finances, in accordance with the needs and wishes of the monastics.

The EST submits statutory annual accounts and returns to Companies House and the Charity Commission for England and Wales; these can be downloaded from the respective websites. As a Company and Charity the EST is also responsible for implementing the requirements of a range of bodies on subjects from tax, insurance, health and safety, child protection, immigration and fire prevention, to re-cycling.

The following link is a leaflet given out annually with a summary of Amaravati’s current activities and plans, its running costs and information on ways to help, which could include bringing a contribution such as food, making a donation, or even offering your services in some capacity (driving, gardening, etc).

EST Annual Leaflet for Amaravati 2016-2017 – PDF

Sub-groups

The EST has a Finance Sub-Committee to advise on detailed management of its finances.

At Cittaviveka all day-to-day affairs are managed through the Cittaviveka Advisory Group (CAG).

The EST is also the steward for the Amaravati Retreat Centre.

The trustee directors

The lay trustees are all friends of the sangha who have been practising for a number of years and all have specialist skills in management, finance and related subjects. They are appointed for up to three years at a time. The current lay trustees are

• John Stevens – Chair
• Caroline Leinster – Trust Secretary
• Kazuko Kawamura
• Sudanta Abeyakoon
• Nicholas Carroll

You are welcome to contact the EST by using the form below.
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