Towards the last two months of my last visit to India in the spring of 2012, I encountered the Tibetan community in exile in India experiencing painful news of their people self-immolating in fire one after another in China-occupied Tibet. My experiences in the past visits in India (drawing a cremation site in Varanasi, documenting fire pits, cremation alters, and contemplating on life and death around fire) synchronized with this particular movement, an extreme way of ‘offering’ their bodies to ‘fire’ for asking freedom and peace.I could not help drawing large and small drawings as emotional response and with a sense of mourning.

After coming back to Vancouver, the self-immolation kept happening and I felt that my personal and professional task is not finished.

I have come back to India to continue to document and draw under the same theme.

30 April 2015

Light Impermanence

All living things are born to this world
as if only to experience cruel successions of transience in life
as if only to experience sorrows and pains
that are caused by many destructive outer forces
and their lives are taken without them knowing what savours and depth of life are.

we often feel powerless in front of huge fierce storms.

However, the seemingly powerless sum of beings, transform despairs to resilience, power to live, and boundless compassion.  The survived gather and light candles and butter lamps to send rays of light in a dark tunnel because they see a light at the end of the tunnel.

16 April 2015

For Nyikyab ( Dhamkar)

For Nyikyab who self immolated in the village of Suruma in Ngaba county, Amdo, Tibet on April 15 2015.  He set himself on fire after calling out slogans.

Pictures of himself in Tibetan dress, his dead body, and a makeshift alter made by him before his self immolation protest, came to the exile Tibetan community first.

The alter was adorned with a framed photograph of the 14th Dalai Lama, and late the 10th Panchen Lama, his family pictures with his children, various offering bowls, and flowers.
Imagine the feeling when he was making the alter, making offerings, and looking at pictures of his gurus and his dear family.  Prostrations, prayers, burning incense, and he offered himself.
The alter of somber and a pure heart.

Please come back to your homeland and may a real peace and freedom soon prevail there.

15 April 2015

Two Waterfalls from My Eyes

Eyes, burning "lights" among eyes
burning incense with a candle light
all of sudden there came the sense of presence
of people near and far who passed away from this world,
in flame, in the shaken and collapsed land, in water and in immeasurable pain

Uncle came, dear friend came and many came around the candle light
Many whom I never met, I know only their last stories in their troubled lands.
They came, even though it were in my illusion.

Eyes were shedding tears like waterfalls.
Eyes became surfaces of lakes, connected from a heart
For thousands of eyes, thousands of waterfalls

On one night after a memorial day of Yushu earthquake 2010

10 April 2015

For Yeshe Khando

For Yeshe Khando, a 47 years old nun, who self immolated in Ganze, Kham, Tibet on April 8 2015.

She went to kora ( circumambulation) around Ganze Monastery and around 9 am, she set herself on flame in front of the local police station. Her last words were " return of H.H. the Dalai Lama","Freedom in Tibet", and "One united Tibet, not two“. 

The police extinguished the flame and took her body away.  If she is dead or alive is not known.

She had been in a long meditation retreat and was known a calm and composed person.

"Give the ones you love
Wings to fly
Roots to come back
and reasons to stay"

Dalai Lama

With many prayers