By Laozangmin (Old Tibetan) See the original article in Chinese
Group photo of retired cadres and Aku Tenba (from the left: Drolma gyab, Dorje, Tseden, Youla, Dorje Tsering, Louba, Geri, Dorjetar, Guoba)
It is difficult to drive through Guomai pass’ wall of fog (“Guomai la” is “Laji Mountain” in Chinese, the watershed of the Yellow River and the Tsongkha River (Chin. Huang Shui), the mountain dividing “Haidong” from “Qingnan”), on the other side of the mountain you can see a project underway—“Xijiu Highway’s Laji Mountain Tunnel”. By 2011 at the latest, this five-kilometer tunnel will overcome this 3,820 meter high natural barrier, saving a lot of trouble and all kinds of potential driving hazards. In all, this time it took me almost three hours before I arrived at the Trika (Chin. Guide) County seat.
First thing in the morning the next day, I went to Minyak Stupa, and chatted with Aku Tenba. At the doorway to Minyak Temple I saw two women prostrating to the tightly closed doors: silhouettes falling together, mouths murmuring prayers that converged with the sound of morning prayers chanted by monks inside the temple to create a kind of beautiful song of praise to the morning. Behind them, next to a pool of incense, that scraggly cluster of lilacs (Tib. Agara)—a luxuriant foliage of lilacs, a single bud left on a branch, pleasantly surprised me beyond words—
Tibetan sixth month: hometown lilacs
Flames waving like lilacs—offering lamps in front of Minyak Stupa
A small room on the south side of Minyak Stupa suddenly appears in front of my eyes. I’ve never noticed this corner before. Aku Tenba says retired cadres come on their own to work, they’ve already cleared away the weeds from inside a long-abandoned building, tidied it up, and are preparing to use it as a resting station for pilgrims. It is also everyone rebuilding this Tsanpo Stupa for the sake of salvation, amassing goodwill, the “public space” of a concerted agenda.
Pilgrims below Minyak Stupa
In front of the stupa I also have a new discovery—a big iron box for offering lamps and incense. Aku Tenba said that everyone pitched in to purchase it. In the winding corridor below the stupa I also realized there was a list of donor names and a description of where contributions went; temple operations made public, under the full supervision of everyone, even though it’s not an innovation, it still gives people a new feeling and inspiration. Aku Tenpa said those retired cadres are extremely hard working, they come everyday to do circumambulations, then bump heads at the monastery’s temple management committee, everyday everyone has a new topic, “sometimes they’ll argue about one thing until they’re red in the face”, Aku Tenpa said.
translation of document 1
Donors of the offering box, incense alter and prayer flags’
From Minyak Monastery Lunar calendar 25 April 2009
translation of document 2
Announcement of the situation of expenditure of donations and investments by the faithful general public for Trika’s Minyak Stupa
1. The making of an entire mani wheel: 640 expended
2. Newly made iron box for butter lamps: 2557 donated
3. Work on a new incense altar: 432 expended
4. A building with four sections: 1425 expended
5. Purchased 300 small and large butter lamp offering cups: 1050 donated
6. Purchased 9 boxes of offering butter: 720 expended
7. Hoisting prayer flags in the seven directions of the monastery: 50 expended
8. Releasing baby fish: 100 expended
9. Purchased utensils for renovated building: 242 expended Utensils included one cooking pot, two small and large water ladles, two washing basins, one water utensil, two small and large tea thermoses, two iron plates, ten chairs, and eight locks.
We express our heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to this round of faithful general public donors.
This has been accomplished at this time.
caption: Donors’ register
I met those retired cadres at the temple management committee, they were all still full of youthful spirit, most had worked for several decades at the grassroots level, they came from all over: Guinan, Tongde, Hualong, and also local Trika people, they have now chosen to settle down in the Trika County seat. Talking with these old fellows I felt like they were also just like young people who had their own issues they paid attention to and individual interests, for example old Tseden who worked in Golok half his life had considerable understanding of research on Tibetan history and local views. From the bodies of these older generations I saw an old but firm power of belief and a beacon of hope of kindred spirits—here I’d like to manipulate a line of Mr. Lu Xun’s: I’m not afraid to speculate about the best intentions for the Tibetan people (the original saying was “I’m not afraid to speculate about the most evil intentions for the Chinese people”!)
Old Tseden: A pipe and misty appearance, talking about history he is clear and logical.
Going through a curtain of rain and looking back at that high mountain locked deeply in thick fog, I truly long for Guomai la Tunnel to be built and put into use sooner!
[11 August 2009 | By: Huare Xiuduo]
To those Trika scholars who have a heart, come back more to your old home (typo in original?), introduce your hometown, the true situation can be seen, true hearts can help. I read this with pleasure!
[11 August 2009 | By: 1]
The comments on your blog are all by your own hand! This kind of self-consoling tactic shows that you’re not an ordinary son of a dog! Remember, internet search engines are something terrible!!!!! A simple method can reveal a comment’s ID in an instant, sure enough it’s a shit eater!!
Below is Laozangmin’s reply:
“A simple method can reveal a comment’s ID in an instant”—this is quite new, please teach us this “simple method”, presumably this commenter is familiar with this way, I sincerely ask you to teach us — on another note, I express my deep pity for your pain and worrisome troubles that come from ignorance!
[10 August 2009 | By: Palm of Melting Snow (Zhangxin Huaxue)]
Those bragging and speaking empty words have left, but those like Laozangmin remember one thing, honestly, there are fewer and fewer people doing real work. Helping one.
[6 August 2009 | DF.W]
The power of faith will certainly allow the only Tsanpo Stupa in this world, this stupa that is a symbol of respect for ethnic culture will certainly tower over this land, bless this land with favorable conditions and good luck. Thanks to Laozangmin, thanks to these old folks who earn people’s respect!
[5 August 2009 | He]
You’re still conducting propaganda for the stupa, your energy is admirable. Minyak Stupa is your everlasting topic.
[4 August 2009 | NNN]
Minyak Stupa is your everlasting topic……
[4 August 2009 | A bowl of barley wine]
Actually you’re the person who has put in the most effort to rebuild this Tsanpo Stupa for the sake of salvation, as a fellow villager I thank you for your many years of hard work, I salute you.