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THE PEOPLE OF TIBET

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P R E F A C E IN an earlier volume ‘I have written about the history, and especially about the modern political position, of Tibet. The present book is an attempt to speak about the life of the people in their own homes. The busy round of official duties does not allow much time for gathering knowledge about the social and domestic 'intimacies which form the well-springs of national life; But in Tibet we were at any rate fortunate in this that when, by one means and another...
P R E F A C E

IN an earlier volume ‘I have written about the history, and especially about the modern political position, of Tibet. The present book is an attempt to speak about the life of the people in their own homes.

The busy round of official duties does not allow much time for gathering knowledge about the social and domestic 'intimacies which form the well-springs of national life; But in Tibet we were at any rate fortunate in this that when, by one means and another, we had gained the friendship of the Tibetans, our official positions were no bar to friendly intercourse, as happens sometimes in other countries. On the contrary, they served as letters of introduction to this most exclusive of peoples. We had no wish to menace their independence, but rather to help them as far as conditions allowed. So we became friends.

I should not dream of attempting a complete study of Tibetan domestic life. A miscellany of facts, and occasional ideas to clothe those facts, are all that I can offer. But such as I have garnered during a residence of nearly twenty years, in conversation with my Tibetan acquaintances, I have obtained by speaking to them in their own language, not through interpreters. The latter both limit an inquirer’s range, and lead, unconsciously, to many errors. I would fain hope that others also may continue to contribute from their store, so that in time the Western world may come to a fuller understanding of this remote but interesting people.

In order to keep this volume within moderate limits I have had to exclude from it many aspects of Tibetan life. These I hope to deal with in a subsequent book or books. The religious life, indeed, in its highways and byways might well need a volume of its own.

Though the white man’s life and customs were penetrating Sikkim, yet Lhasa and Tibet generally were, during the years of my residence, practically untouched. Shut off from the outer world by their immense mountain barriers, Tibet still presented a virgin field of inquiry. We could observe the real, inner life of the people, and that but little changed during the last thousand years. Now that the country is opening little by little, it will in course of time become increasingly difficult to separate the national ideas and customs from foreign importations.

The area of Tibet is large. Intercourse of one part with another is restricted, for the country is difficult and the means of travel are primitive. It follows that manners and customs vary in different districts and provinces. So a custom or interpretation need not be condemned as in- accurate because another sojourner has seen or heard it different elsewhere.

I write words as they are pronounced in Lhasa rather than after the complicated Tibetan spelling. One instance will suffice. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is pronounced Denjang and I write it accordingly. The Tibetan spelling, transliterated in the usual style, is Hams-gang:. I feel sure that most readers will prefer the former.

The photographs are mainly my own. For permission to use others I am indebted to Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Mar- tin, and Mr. Rosemeyer. To Mr. Tshering Phuntsog and Negi Amar Chand, and especially to the late Kazi Dausamdup of Gangtok, I am indebted for translations of Tibetan and Bhutanese histories; to Mr. L. H. Dudley Buxton, Reader in Physical Anthropology, Oxford, for a sketch of the mountain masses of Tibet; to Miss M. K. Grindrod for a careful index. And among my many Tibetan friends who have aided me, the Tsen-dron, Ku-sho Ne—to, -Ku—sho She-sur, and numerous others from the Dalai Lama downwards, I must make especial mention of Ku-sho Pa-lhe—se. Not only did he place his full and intimate store of knowledge at my disposal during our years in Tibet together, but he journeyed also from his home in Lhasa to mine in Berkshire and checked the book throughout, correcting errors.

About the Book:

    The Present book is an attempt to speak about the life of the Tibetan people in their homes. The contents are leaved on the author's first-hand knowledge of Tibetan life during a residence of nearly twenty years from conversation with his Tibetan acquaintances in their own language, not through interpreters. In order to keep this volume within moderate limits he had to exclude from it many aspects of Tibetan life. Shut-off from the outer world by their immense mountain barriers Tibet still presented a virgin field of enquiry. There has been little change in the inner life of the people during the last thousand years. As the area is very large and the intercourse of one part with another is restricted, the manners and customs vary in different districts and provinces. This should be kept in mind comparing accounts of different sojourners.

About the Author:

   SIR CHARLES BELL was born in Calcutta in 1870 and educated in England at Winchester and Oxford. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1891 and was transferred to Kalimpong, Sikkim in 1901, where he began his lifelong relationship with Tibet. He twice acted as Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet and eventually held that post for ten years before retiring in1919. He was recalled to duty, however, and in 1920 headed a successful diplomatic mission to Lhasa.

    He wrote several books about Tibet, her people and her language; few since, and certainly none before, have written so well about Tibet.

Contents

 

I Geographical 1
  Tibetan name for Tibet - Boundaries, lofty altitude, area, population – Tibetan classification of Lands - Physical divisions: Northern Plains; Central Tibet, Himalayan Tract, eastern Tibet - Chinese and British - Indian annexations -Rivers - Names of places - Climate - Winds - Thunder - storms - Tibetan work on geography  
II Historical 9
  Origin of Tibet and the Tibetans - Early religion- The epic of Ke-sar - Song-tsen Gam-po - Introduction of Buddhism and a legal code - Arts and crafts improved - Ti-song De-tsen and Padma Sambhava -Socialistic experiment - Ral-pa-chan - Pillars of Record in Lhasa - Lang-dar-ma, temporary decline of Buddhism - The two branches of the priesthood - Mi-la Re-pa- Kublai Khan and the priest kings of Tibet - Tsong-ka-pa's reforms - Rise of the Dalai Lamas - The fifth Dalai Lama - Europeans come to Tibet - The seventh Dalai Lama; the Chinese gain increased influence in Tibet - Gurkhas invade Tibet but are defeated - British military expedition of Lhasa - Chinese invasion of Tibet- Chinese Revolution; Tibetans regain their independence  
III Shepherds and Herdsmen 19
  The Drok-pas and their flocks and herds - Tents - Dress - A typical home - Changing the grazing-grounds - Meadow grass and stunted grass – Prayers fastened to yaks - Aconite - Drok-pas and Hor-pas in Lhasa – Lambs   -Storing Weeds - Peasant-graziers - Prayers for the herds - Religion on the grazing-grounds - Daily life of the herdsmen  
IV The Peasants 29
  Arable land - Decreasing population - Man-separation - The chief crops -Scarcity of vegetables - Fruit - Crops in Bhutan and Sikkim - Yok-po – Fallow lands - Rotation of crops - Mixed crops - Sowing and harvest seasons -Agricultural implements - Ploughing and sowing - Manure - Irrigation - Prayersfor rain - Uncle Tom-pa - The people of Pem-po - Weeding - Harvest – Rain extended through changing the calendar - Harvest waits on Dalai Lama's order -At Re-ting waits on return of monks to monastery - Tibetan industry – Harves train - Threshing - Winnowing - Water-mills - How farm work is shared between men and women - Farming in Sikkim  
V The Peasants (Cont.) 43
  Hailstorms, whom they attack and how prevented - Floods, restrained by images of Tang-drong Gyal-po and copies of ancient inscriptions - Frost - Locusts, reincarnated yi-das - Rates and the force of custom - Prayers for the crops -Grazing-grounds - Houses and furniture - Rooms, staircase, roof - A village scene - Domestic animals, wide utility of the yak  
VI The Peasants (Cont.) 55
  Fair treatment of tenantry prescribed in Tibetan books - Ne-tuk orderly on conditions in Bhutan - Mortgages, sub-letting, sales - Agricultural department -Slaves - Servants - Condition of the farmers in Tro-mo, Kam-pu, and Chu-kya -Cheerfulness - Singing at work - Theatrical groups - Life in a peasant's household  
VII The Nobility 64
  Power of the nobles - A class apart - Three kinds of origin: (i) good service,(ii) brother of a Dalai Lama, (iii) early Tibetan kings - Aristocratic features- Dress - Houses, Drong-tse, Lha-lu - Chapels in house - Private priest. - Ling-kas- Most nobles prefer town life  
VIII The Nobility (Cont.) 83
  Rent and revenue on the Pa-Iha estates - Rent and revenue on the Lha-lu estates- Large offerings for good rebirths - Democratic ideas of younger generation -Western education for the aristocracy - Some small estates in addition to the main estates - Laws of inheritance - Nobles who enter the priesthood -Reincarnated saints - The Sha-tra family - Born during an eclipse - The Do-ring family - Military service - Boy ranks above his father - The Sacred Dagger -Misfortunes of Pa-Iha - Other noble families  
IX The Nobility (Cont.) 95
  Poor but honored - A gentleman's day - Feasts - A visit to & quot; The Four Joys & quot; - An old pony - With the pa-Iha Ken-chen - Drinking customs - Washing- A gentleman's servants - Military officers keep their soldiers pay for themselves - Wife helps in Government business - Education of children -Official subordinates - Biography of a nobleman - A private nunnery.  
X The Traders 109
  Divisions of Tibetan society - Position of the traders - Chief products: wool, yak-tails, pashmina, salt, musk, medicinal herbs, deer horns, gold – Objective to mining - Manufactures - Dumb bargaining - Prayers in trade dealings – Trade centers and trade routes - Kali pong route - Pa-ri - Transport animals - Trade caravan on the march - Sheep and goat transport - Wool frauds - Money advances for wool - Tibetan merchants prefer stable prices - Exchange value of Tibetan and Indian money - Marwaris - Imports from India - Trade with Nepal and Bhutan -Nepalese traders in Tibet - Carrying a large sum of money - Friction between Tibetans and Nepalese - 'Lost his own name' - Increase in Indo-Tibetan trade -Sino-Tibetan trade, Tachienlu, Jye-kun-do - Tea - Caravans from Mongolia, KokoNor, and Amdo  
XI A Mercantile Nation 125
  General keenness for trade shared by herdsmen, peasantry, nobility, monasteries, chiefs. - Tibetan Government and robber tribes - Woman's share in commerce -Commodities used instead of money - Gyangtse market - Shops, meat market, and barbers in Lhasa - A wealthy merchant - A merchant's day, business, gambling.  
XII Beggars 132
  Hereditary beggars - Necessity of giving to them - Mendicant monks - An eleventh-century priest - Monks appropriate offerings dedicated to the spirit of a mountain - Tradition that there were formerly no beggars in Tibet - Feeding the birds - Extraordinary salute - Forms of address used by beggars – Sacred roads frequented by beggars - Fiddlers - White Devils - 'The Mad Bhutanese' -Revolving cloth with prayers - Shelters for beggars - Ra-gyap-pas - Risen from the dead - Walking corpses.  
XIII Robbers 140
  Brigandage inevitable - Feats on horseback - Respect for the rule and custom -Summer and winter clothes - Rules applied to brigands; theft and trade combined- Brigands in Gya-de-Am-do-was travel and armed against brigands - Cha-treng Monastery - More brigandage in parts of Tibet under Chinese rule - Robberies due to bad crops - Commander-in-Chief's wife has her jewellery stolen - Magic charm cast on robbers - Brigands in Bhutan - Dharma Raja's measures - His deputy's maxim - Monk's cell invaded by Bhutanese robbers - Stolen property restored to monasteries - Punishments for the theft and robbery - Cheerful convicts  
XIV The Women 147
  Freedom of Tibetan women - Their general appearance - Care of complexions, applying caoutchouc - Rouge pads- Moles - Ornaments worn by women and men - Charms against illness, accident, and other evil influence - Witches - Rosaries  
XV The Position of Woman 156
  Good position of women - Work in the home - Plaiting men's hair - Ladies as waitresses - Make your guests drunk - Effects of Buddhism and polyandry on position of women - Women in industry; hard workers - 'Third son Tamang' -Women's influence in government; chief-tainesses and queens - Women in religion, signs of their inferiority, blessed with tassel only, forbidden to enter Ta-lung Monastery, girl's indelicacy causes student to become a priest, Burmese women, women's different outlook on religion - Religious services for women - Cases in which women have shone in religion also - 'The Thunderbolt Sow' - Nunneries -Prophetesses  
XVI Women’s work and Recreations 170
  How a Tibetan lady Spends her day - Picnics - Theatrical entertainments - Singing - Topics verses – Men and women singing against each other - Duties of Tibetan ladies – Feminine characteristics  
XVII Marriage 175
  Marriages arranged by parents - An elopement - Sons and daughters who choose their own spouses - Love song - Daughters of Lhasan nobility marry princes of outlying territories - Wedding preliminaries - The Wedding ceremony – Converted to religion at a wedding feast - Government officials forbidden to exact fees for marriages - Wedding ceremonies among Sikkim-Tibetans  
XVIII Marriage (Cont.) 189
  A celibate priest - A much-married saint - A living Buddha married - The loss of his wife turns a lad to religion - Transferred his consciousness to the body of a dead goose - Cross-currents - Polygamy - Polyandry - Monogamy - Divorce -Adultery  
XIX The Children 196
  Characteristics of Tibetan children - Young children and their mothers -Infantile mortality; baby in box - Names - The 'Life Power' - Children's recollections of their previous lives - Childhood days of saints and teachers as narrated in Tibetan books - Secular education in country and towns - A typical course. - Schools in Lhasa - Subjects chiefly taught - School at Nan-kar-tse -Education in the Chumbi valley - Government schools - Beating asked for – The school in the Finance Office - How to write letters - Dalai Lama's views on literary qualifications for officials - Western education - Sikkimese opinion on educational needs - Heredity  
XX Children and others 208
  Tibetan ignorance of India - A Tibetan work on world geography – Tibetan histories of Tibet - Nam-tars - Eclipses - Wide reading and hard study – Wise sayings and proverbs - Children's homework - Dance boys - Children's games  
XXI Food 217
  Stable diet of Tibet - Slaughtering yaks and sheep - 'Pooling the sin' – The power of sin - The wicked flourish - Tibetan books condemn the eating of meat -Religious service for animals killed for food. - Natural to eat meat in Tibet -The meat market in Lhasa - Presents of food - Old eggs - Meat kept for several years - Salt - Hornets - Vegetables - Barley-flour - Grain kept for several hundred years - Rice - Fried rice and honey - Sugar cane - How flour is stored -Cakes and biscuits - Butter and cheese - Butter as a religious offering - 'The offerings of the Fifteenth' - Fruit - Mushrooms - Walnuts - Oranges at the New year - Official feasting - The Dalai Lama takes English food - English sweets in Tibet - Avoidance of sweet foods - Everyday meals of the richer classes -Chopsticks - Black balls in meat - Living on milk, flowers, and herbs on essences; on pills  
XXII Drinking and smoking 235
  Tea the national beverage - Praised in the History of Bhutan - How Prepared for drinking - Huge tea cauldrons - Substitutes for tea - Teapots - Teacups, some of which detect poison - Water - Beer, how prepared - More drunk in Tsang than in U- Actors drink beer on the stage - Beer jugs - tobacco, abused in the History of Bhutan - The spirits dislike its smile - Cigrattes the worst of all; anill-omened word - Smoking prevalent across Indian frontier, but much less in Tibet - Rhubarb smoked instead of tobacco - Snuff  
XXIII Ceremonial and Etiquette 246
  Importance of etiquette and ceremonial - king of Sikkim's interview with Regent of Tibet - The first Dharma Raja exposes a trick - Right to perform ceremonies secures the allegiance of subjects - Laying the foundation of a building eleven hundred years ago -Ceremonial presents - The scarf of ceremony; its appearance, uses, and mode of presentation - Etiquette on passing acquaintances on the road - Masters and servants - How to address one's wife - Invitation to dinner - Ceremony in delivery of a letter - Etiquette observed towards traveling officials - 'A lad of only thirteen ages' - Music and dancing en route - Cannonading one's mule -Putting out the tongue - Presents of food - Polite speeches and letters  
XXIV Ceremonial and Etiquette (Cont.) 256
  Etiquette when paying calls - Presents given by the visitor - Refreshment on the road - Etiquette in farewells - Parting words - Ceremonious letters – The observance of rank - The Dalai Lama finds ceremonial irksome, but, when necessary, observes it carefully - So do all Tibetans - And appreciate its observance by foreigners in Tibet - 'Manners market man.'  
XXV Amusements 263
  Feats of strength - Picnics - 'The Incense of the Whole World' - Dice games -Gambling - Singing and Dancing - Monastic sports, jumping, skipping - Sa-lam Nam-sha - Quoits and putting the weight - Horse racing - 'The Crop Circuit' -Archery  
XXVI The New Year Games at Lhasa 272
  The importance of Lhasa - 'The Great Prayer' - 'The Camp Preparation at Lu-gu'- 'The Account at Trap-shi' -Racing and sports in Lhasa City - 'The Gallop behind the Fort' - 'Heaven's Arrows' - The Dalai Lama's departure - 'Love is now invited  
XXVII The Last Rites 285
  The Tibetan view of death - Last priestly ministrations - Religious services between death and funeral - Burial - Cremation - Lama's bones as relics -Throwing into rivers - Giving to the birds - Return of the body to earth, fire, water, or air - Funeral of a king of Sikkim - Rules regarding funerals in Bhutan- Food for the deceased - Funeral ceremonies to cleanse from sins - Largesse distributed at the funeral of a king of Sikkim - Embalming - A mummy over a thousand years old - 'Red Tombs' and 'Body Tombs' - A miraculous mummy – Lepcha funerals - Buddhism ousting its predecessor - Old funeral hymn - Rebirth -Nirvana  
  Appendixes 301
I The Unit of Land Taxation  
II The Ser chok estate its management and rituals  
  Bibliography 305

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Of Related Interest :

Tibet

The Buddhism of Tibet

RELIGION OF TIBET

THE RISE OF ESOTERIC BUDDHISM IN TIBET

TIBET PAST AND PRESENT

Religions of TIBET in Practice

Religions of TIBET in Practice

The Dalai Lamas of Tibet

Sample Pages




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Publisher: Motilal Banarsidas Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Pages: 338
Weight: 465 gms
Specifications: Paperback (Edition: 2000)

Motilal Banarsidas Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN 81-208-1049-x

Language: English
Size: 8.3" X 5.5"
Pages: 338
Weight of the Book: 465 gms
Item Code: IDD466
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