Kyabchen Dedol is one of the best young Tibetan writers in Tibet and he is also the leading figure of the “Third Generation”, a generation defined both by their age and their distinctive thoughts and views. The piece was published on the popular website Chodmey (Lamp), of which Dedol is former editor. There was a serious online debate among young Tibetan writers about their attitude towards Tibetan scholars, and Dedol argues that there are many other Tibetan scholars besides the widely admired Gendun Chophel and Dhondup Gyal.
Many scholars in Tibet
Nowadays when people remember scholars from the past and discuss their biographies, some Tibetan youths always bring up the names of Gendun Chophel and Dondrub Gyal, like parroting the six syllables of Om-Mani-Padme-Hum. This is not only a sign of an accepted view in our educational system, but also a sign of irrational thought without any purpose. In my view, Tibetans have many other trusty, worthy and respected scholars besides these two, so why is there no remembrance and attention to other scholars besides them?
These youths have built Gecho and Dungyal into two statuses of masters, endowed with all good qualities and no flaws. Frankly speaking, when someone has become a respected and trusted figure, believing in him without any examination has become a tradition, and this tradition exists in every corner of the society of our people. There is no difference between the faith an ordinary person has in an incarnate lama and the faith these youths have in these two scholars (Gechoe and Dungyal). According to the psychological perspective, people without trust in themselves can depend on others in order to overcome their fear.
If we consider human beings as a source of culture with the knowledge and skills to analyze people’s history and livelihood, Gechoe and Dondrub Gyal are not excluded from this category. Therefore, our present way of working, only respecting them as two perfect beings and excluding others in the research field, is very laughable. For example, many youths talk about new ideas by mentioning “modernity”, and thye think that what they are talking about is something disconnected with or something far away from the Tibetan tradition and culture. Many Western philosophers, modern artists, poets, and actors recognize Tibetan traditions and culture as a human culture, but our new generations’ view of placing Tibetan traditions and culture as a mythical culture is a very strange fact.
I am not accusing these youths, but I am laying a complaint against the elders who have infected the youth with a very black and white idea of the old and new culture.
There were many scholars in Tibet; Zon Kapa, Sa-pan, Long Chenpa, Shong-ston, Je Mipam, Jamyang Shepa, Desul Sangyam, Situ Panchen, Marpa, Jamyang Kyentse, Dudjom Rinpoche and many others.
Translated by Reb Sa