An Introduction to the Website “Tibetan Lamp”

An Introduction to the Website “Tibetan Lamp”

This piece of unknown authorship is an introduction to the website titled “Tibetan Lamp” (མཆོད་མེ). An anonymous translator submitted it on June 7, 2007.

Tibetan Lamp is a website published in Tibetan and devoted to Tibetan literature. It was created by several Tibetan writers in Amdo in 2006. They have no editorial writers and do not write original content. Thus, it functions mainly as a literature magazine on web. They claim to collect literary pieces from all areas of Tibetan society and to publish them on the website without censorship. The website is divided into several sections, including traditional literature, classical poetry, free verse style poetry and literary criticism.

There is also a small section of news reports related to Tibetan literature. Though they rarely report news about politics and currents events, there are occasional pieces relating contemporary inspirational stories, such as the story of a Tibetan high school student who received praise from the mayor of New York in 2006.

Since the early 1980s, some Tibetan youths led by Dondrup Gyal (don grub rgyal), who was inspired by China’s May Fourth Movement in 1916, have attacked traditional literature as religious, feudal and focused too much on the style of writing, rather than content and relevance to the lives of the people. Like their predecessors, the Chinese intellectuals, these Tibetan writers have strong nationalistic sentiments and leanings in their writings. Because they are products of the public school education system, their views and style of writing are heavily influenced by Chinese writing from the 1920s and 1960s. Most of the writers on the website were hugely influenced by Dondrup Gyal, and thus are critical of traditional literature. This is reflected in the their style of writing, which is primarily free verse.

There is also a section devoted to a literary group who call themselves “The Third Generation.”
This group of writers claims that they are the third generation of modern Tibetan writers, and they will represent a new and fresh literature in the Tibetan world. The first generation was Dondrup Gyal and his peers. The second included Jangbu Dang (ljang bu dang) and Dondrup Tsering (don grub tshe ring). These “third generation” writers claim that the first and second generations represent the past and that their work is not relevant to current situations. However, the “third generation’s” subjects and style of writing are also similar to Dondrup Gyal and Jangbu Dang. The group not only includes university students and teachers, but also some monks who were educated in monasteries.

The website lists many authors’ biographies, works and blogs. Most of the featured writers are from the Amdo region. However, one notable exception is Miss Tibet 3003, Tsering Kyi, who lives in India. Her web blog, which includes several poems and love songs, is posted on the website.

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