TIBET AWARENESS – DALAI LAMA’S WELCOME TO BRITISH BUDDHISTS, 26 SEPTEMBER 1922
I am pleased to share this news story published by The Guardian. Tibet declared its full independence on February 13, 1913 and Dalai Lama was keen to develop contacts with Europe while preserving Tibetan Identity and defending Tibetan Freedom.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE. ESTABLISHMENT 22
FROM THE ARCHIVE, 26 SEPTEMBER 1922: DALAI LAMA TO WELCOME BRITISH BUDDHISTS
Pilgrims at the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, 2007. Photograph:
Saturday 26 September 2015 00.00 ED
Reuter’s Agency learns that cablegrams from the Indian frontier, just received in London, show that the members of the British Buddhist Mission to Tibet have crossed the Jelepla Pass, through which the great trade route traverses the Himalayas at a height of some 14,500 feet, and have reached Chumbi. The first and one of the most difficult stages of the great journey has thus been safely accomplished.
The special transport devised for the carriage of stores and gifts for the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan notabilities has answered the severest test, and the Mission reports that everything is going well. The next stage of the journey, that to Gyangtse, is now being made. It has been learned that the Dalai Lama is already acquainted with the approach of the Mission, and is sending a deputation of High Lamas to meet it at Gyangtse. To these will be presented the credentials which are expected to secure for the party permission to proceed to Lhasa itself.
This final stage will be along a route running in a north-westerly direction to the Brahmaputra at Shigatse. Thence a 160-mile journey will be made down the river by boat, the transport being convertible into pontoons for the purpose, to a point about 30 miles south of Lhasa.
This river journey has never yet been made by Europeans. It is at present practically unmapped, and is expected to prove of the greatest interest and importance from the geographical point of view.
In a letter just received, Captain J. E. Ellam, joint leader of the Mission, writes that according to information received in India at the time of writing, the Dalai Lama is anxious to meet representative Buddhists from outside, especially those from the West. “What the Tibetans are afraid of,” Captain Ellam continues, “is an inroad of European adventurers who might seize the country, exploit its resources, and interfere with their religion, laws, customs, &c. Rather than submit to this they would fight or even throw themselves into the arms of the Russian Bolsheviks, some of whose emissaries are now in Lhasa.
“The Dalai Lama wants to develop the resources of his country, which are immense, and to enter into less trammelled relations with the outer world. If,” Captain Ellam says, “the Tibetans can work through the agency of recognised Buddhists upon whom they can rely to protect them from undesirable influences, they will welcome any suggestion to this end with enthusiasm. They realise that their wealth should be the means of procuring for them more of the amenities of that civilisation with which the Dalai Lama and many of his people have already come into contact.
“It is not generally known that several Tibetans have visited England in the guise of Chinese, returning with an account of their experiences.”
Captain Ellam adds that as he is informed that travelling in Tibet is not difficult after the first snows have fallen, and as they will be invited to visit parts of the country where no European has ever been before, he proposes that the Mission shall spend the whole of the winter in the Unknown Land.
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