Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ngadrama: "Same As Me" Statue Can Be Recreated, Part 3

The new Padmasambhava at Jokhang, Lhasa
  1. http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/06/new-face-for-guru-rinpoche.html
  2. http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/06/whats-story-samye.html
  3. http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Looks_Like_Me
  4. http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Gyalyum_Kunzang_Dechen_Tsomo_Namgyal
  5. http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/06/offering-clothes-to-guru-rinpoche.html
  6. http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/06/ngadrama-same-as-me-statue-can-be.html
  7. http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/06/ngadrama-same-as-me-statue-can-be_24.html

Now we come to the politics of this little adventure. Like all things Sino-Tibetan, the operational environment includes sizable components of myth, spin, unrealized intentions, spin, photo opportunities, spin, and behind-the-scenes, calculated moves.

Most people who do not spend any appreciable length of time in Tibet, quite simply have no idea of what is really happening. Since late 1982, when the Chinese decided that the destruction of Tibet's religious infrastructure should be reversed, money has been pouring in to renovate and restore key temples. I do not want to speculate about the motives, and I frankly do not care about the motives. Things are happening that need to happen.

From 2002 to 2006, the government spent over 330 million RMB to restore Tibetan religious structures and their interiors. From 2006 to 2010, the government will spend an additional 570 million RMB to repair what it has called the "fourteen key national heritage conservation temples and monasteries" such as Samye Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Jokhang Temple, Ramoche Monastery, Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery.

In this context, I read what is probably the clearest account we are ever going to get regarding the probable fate of the famous Ngadrama statue of Padmasambhava. I urge every reader of Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar to click this link and examine the account for themselves, word for word.

Briefly stated, this is an eyewitness account of the search for, and eventual recovery of, the Jowo Mikyo Dorje Statue. While the story is remarkable on its face, what makes it of even greater interest is the residual intelligence it offers regarding the disposition of Tibet's treasures in the period 1959 to 1973.

If you are at all interested in this subject matter, please carefully read Rinbhur Tulku's 1987 account of events leading to the recovery of the Jowo Mikyo Dorje, linked above.

It is one more piece of the puzzle of what happened to Guru Ngadrama -- and it could, without intending, provide us with a very significant clue.

UPDATED: While I am at it, I might as well plug Pamela Logan's Tibetan Rescue -- a book treating the author's efforts to rescue Tibetan sacred art. Whenever I read an account of someone's interactions with officialdom, I always think it is more about the actor than the officials --- who, after all, are much the same the world over --- but this book does share useful tidbits.

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