Friday, April 16, 2010

Kham / Qinghai / Tibet / China Earthquake Update

Above, is the view from here, about an hour ago. 
The news from Tibet is all bad, and rather than sit around chewing my nails, 
I decided to go outside and visit with the garudas for a while.

"You see, in order to experience open space one also must experience the solidity of the earth, of form. They are interdependent. Often, we romanticize open space and then we fall into traps. As long as we do not romanticize open space as a wondrous place but rather relate that space to earth, then we will avoid these traps. Space cannot be experienced without the outline of the earth to define it." 
-- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Through friends in the region, we are learning that hospitals as far away as Chengdu are overflowing with casualties. Apparently, some of the worst cases are being airlifted all the way to Chengdu because of the level of trauma care available, and there is a sudden clamor for translators.

Through some of the Kagyu websites, blogs, and mailing lists, we are getting a very sad picture of Jyekundo. People are writing to us, asking us to clarify the Tibetan name, instead of using Yushu, which is the Chinese name. They are telling us this is a Tibetan tragedy, not a Chinese tragedy.

Sorry, but this is a human tragedy, and we need to set politics aside for the time being. It takes an awfully hard heart to ignore the literally thousands of Han relief workers who are flooding into the region to help. Arguing with them, or about them, isn't going to help anything. Tensions were running high to begin with, and the sorrow everyone feels can suddenly turn to anger.

Cell phone service is intermittent, and power is out. There are significant problems with water, and the small airport cannot be used. The road to Xining is slightly damaged, but open, and in one report, a thousand cars were noted, trying to take injured people to Xining for hospitalization. Unfortunately, Xining has no more beds or medical supplies left.

Khenpo Tsering, a reliable Kagyu source in the region, phoned out a report that Jyekundo is "completely destroyed." The pool footage we are seeing certainly bears out this assessment. He also said that around 800 bodies had been counted, but "there are thousands more bodies still buried in the collapsed buildings." He stated that the Sakya Monastery at Jyekundo is badly damaged but still standing, and said he had been told Thrangu Monastery is "95% destroyed."

We are closely following this story and will publish updates as they become available. We will consolidate and link here.

KEYWORDS: earthquake, Qinghai, Kham, Yushu, Jyekundo, Tibetan monastery destroyed by earthquake, China, Tibet

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4 reader comments:

Jampa Thrinley said...

This is a horrendous tragedy that I am devastated by. I'm sending many many prayers to those affected. Please mention the fact that monetary contributions to the relief efforts can be accepted through a huuge variety of organizations, such as,, and
While I agree that this is fundamentally a human tragedy, I am extremely disappointed in the western media coverage of this crisis. No, this is not a time for politics, but to say that these are Chinese people in a Chinese province is a very deep, very painful blow to the Tibetan people. Thousands have died, and they deserve to be recognized by the world at large as Tibetan people, not Chinese. I am deeply grateful for the Han rescue workers, of course. But these are Tibetans, and Kyegundo is Tibet.

Anonymous said...

HH Karmapa advised that the following prayers be said, and my question is does anyone know if these are translated into English and available in any manner?

Zangchod Monlam
Khorwa Dongdrug

His Holiness has directed all the Kagyu Monasteries to hold the following prayers: Zangchod Monlam (Aspirational Prayers of Arya Bhadracharya), Khorwa Dongdrug (Overturning of Samsara’s Depth) and Changchog (Inscription-Ritual for the Deceased) for the victims of the catastrophe and their families.

R said...

Anonymous, the Zangchod Monlam is also known as the King of Prayers; a translation is available here: link. The other two practices require transmission from a Lama.

ben said...

FYI: Thrangu Emergency Fund at