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<-Back to WTN Archives The Wandering Goddess
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Wednesday, January 21, 2004



1. The Wandering Goddess


This article first appeared in Lungta No 15, The
Singing Mask, Echoes of Tibetan Opera. I must thank
the guest editor, Isabelle Henrion-Dourcy, and editor
(and leading Tibetan scholar) Tashi Tsering for their
invaluable help and guidance.

The Wandering Goddess
Sustaining the spirit of Ache Lhamo in the Exile
Tibetan capital

Jamyang Norbu

The revival in exile of Tibetan opera or Ache Lhamo
first took place in the early sixties, in Kalimpong,
in Northern India. A frontier town that borders Tibet,
Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal, Kalimpong was once home to a
flourishing community of Tibetan traders, craftsmen
and a few émigré aristocrats and lamas. This town was,
in the old days, one of the few 'foreign' destinations
of touring troupes of opera performers mainly from the
Kyurmulung (sKyor-mo-lung) company that hailed from
Lhasa city. Since this was the only opera company
whose members were not farmers, it was required of
these performers that, after the main opera festival
at Drepung, Lhasa and Sera they tour the countryside
and even beyond Tibet, to maintain their skills and
earn a living. The government office in charge of the
opera companies was the Treasury Office ('Phral-bde
las-khungs or rTse-phyag las-khungs) - which,
incidentally, was also responsible for managing the
Shoton (zho-ston) opera festival and all things
concerning opera.

So even before the Tibetan Diaspora, there were
already a few Kyurmulung opera performers in Kalimpong
and more importantly, a community of opera aficionados
in that town. Yet in the fifties more immediate
matters than opera concerned most Tibetans in
Kalimpong and elsewhere; what with the Chinese
occupation of Tibet, the violent uprisings in Eastern
Tibet, and the steady flow of expatriates, agents of
the resistance, and refugees to that frontier town.

Perhaps it should be mentioned that at the time in
Kalimpong, there was an exceptionally fine amateur
opera singer who was also a bard (sgrung-mkhan), a
singer of the Tibetan Gesar epic, and had been a court
entertainer (and personal bard) to the former regent
of Tibet, Reting Rimpoche. Some of the early
Tibetologues who lived in Kalimpong then, as George
Roerich and René de Nebesky-Wojkowitz probably heard
their first namthar, or opera aria, from this artiste,
Jampa Sangdag (Byams-pa gsang-bdag). He was also a
language teacher and informant to Prince Peter of
Greece and Denmark, an anthropologist and
Tibetologist, and also informant to the French scholar
R.A. Stein. The Tibetologists Alexander and Ariane
Macdonald also appear to have met Jampa Sangdag in
Kalimpong around the fifties.

In 1959 concerned Tibetan residents of Kalimpong set
up a performing troupe to promote awareness of the
Tibetan issue in the Indian public, and to raise funds
for the growing flood of refugees. The members of this
troupe came from a fairly diverse background:
professional Lhasa musicians, opera performers and
children of Khampa merchants and émigré aristocrats.
Their programme consisted of a variety of colourful
folk dances with traditional musical accompaniment. To
liven up their show excerpts from Tibetan opera like
the 'Dance of the Wild Yaks' (Yak-tse g.yag-rtsed or
Shel-grong 'brong-rtsed) were included. This item is
still a big favourite with Indian audiences.

After the establishment of the Tibetan
government-in-exile at Mussoorie in 1959, and its
relocation to Dharamshala in April 1960, this
embryonic performing troupe in Kalimpong was summoned
to Dharamshala to become the official performing arts
institute of the Tibetan government-in-exile and was
called the Tibetan Historical and Cultural Drama Party
(bhod ki gyalrap rigshung zlos-gar tshogs-pa) which
was later changed to the Tibetan Music, Dance and
Drama Society, or Bhod ki Dhoegar Tsokpa (bhod ki
zlos-gar tshogs-pa) in Tibetan. This later became the
present Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, which
still claims its founding date to be the 11th of
August 1959 (at Kalimpong) and boasts of being the
first Institute of its kind to be established in
exile.

In 1961, the professional opera performer Norbu
Tsering (Nor-bu tshe-ring) known to all in Lhasa as
'Laba', escaped from a Chinese labour camp near Lhasa,
and arrived at Kalimpong. Local opera fans there
decided to set up an opera company with Norbu Tsering
as the master. A few other Kyurmulung performers,
Phurbu Samdup and Tsering (according to Norbu Tsering)
then living in Kalimpong joined this new company. I
clearly remember two Kyurmulung children, Shilog and
Namgang Lhamo, who occasionally performed with them,
but who were later enrolled in the Tibetan Central
School in Kalimpong.

According to my friend Tashi Tsering (bKra-shis
tshe-ring) at least two other exile opera troupes
seemed to have been organised in the early sixties:
one from among the members of the Tibetan Handicraft
Centre in Dalhousie in East Punjab (later Himachal
Pradesh), other from the road-workers of the Chamba
Road Camp Group (or Champa brgya-shog) also in East
Punjab.

In Kalimpong, the opera company was able to obtain on
loan, the elaborate (and expensive) costumes from the
aristocratic house of Phunkhang (Phunkhang). The head
the Phunkhang family, the late Gonpo Tsering (mGon-po
tshe-ring) was married to a princess of the Sikkimese
royal family, and hence had managed to transfer
earlier much of his family valuables to Sikkim. This
company also performed in the neighbouring city of
Darjeeling for the Tibetan community and schools.
Around this time, the first detailed ethnological
study of this one company of Tibetan opera was
conducted by the American scholar, Jeanette Snyder.

In 1965 Phuntsok Namgyal Dumkhang (Ldum-khang
Phun-tshogs rnam-rgyal), was appointed director of the
Music, Dance and Drama Society in Dharamshala. He had
served as a junior official in the old Tibetan
government and had also studied in China. More
importantly, he was a talented musician and a creative
director. He persuaded the opera performer, Norbu
Tsering and other performers from Kalimpong and
Darjeeling to join the official Music, Dance and Drama
Society in Dharamshala. It was during Dumkhang's
directorship that the opera was first performed at the
Drama Society. Two scripts, The Goddess Dowa Sangmo
(mKha'-'gro'i bu-mo 'Gro-ba bzang-mo), and The
Celestial Maiden Sukyi Nyima (gZugs kyi nyi-ma) were
successfully produced.

Though the Dharamshala public thoroughly enjoyed the
performances, some people questioned whether the
tradition of the Tibetan opera should be revived at
all. In the early and mid sixties the Dalai Lama and
the Tibetan community-in-exile went through a somewhat
ill-informed and muddled modernization period. I was
later told by the Secretary of the Drama Society,
Tenzin Gyeche Tethong (bsTan-'dzin dge-byed
bKras-mthong), that one opinion held that the revival
of the opera represented a reversion to former feudal
and aristocratic ways. On the other hand, Dumkhang was
also criticised by conservatives and opera purists for
making some small changes in costuming, which he had
done in the interest of realism. Dumkhang's
innovations in opera and also in other areas of music
and dance were, on the whole, successful. He resigned
as the director of TIPA in 1968.

I joined the Drama Society in the March of 1969,
essentially as an English teacher, though I was soon
involved in helping out with the productions and also
playing the dranyen lute for the dance performances.
The departure of Dumkhang and other senior performers
had demoralised the remaining performers, and it was
an enormous task for the new director, Ngawang Dhakpa
(Ngag-dbang grags-pa), and the Secretary, Tenzin
Gyeche , to keep the organisation functioning, far
less attempt radical innovations. Furthermore, living
conditions at the Drama Society were grim, and quite a
few of the performers were anaemic and suffered from
tuberculosis.

When I joined, the Society was then only performing
propaganda plays, folk dances and so called
"historical plays" which were rather wooden
dramatizations of Tibetan history, interspersed with
song and dance routines that seemed jointly inspired
both by Chinese opera and by the musical routines of
Hindi films. In fact Tenzin Gyeche once timed all the
sequences of a 'historical play' and discovered that
nine-tenths of the show was taken up by the dance
routines and only one-tenth of it was, strictly
speaking, actually about history. It was also
performed indoors on a proscenium stage with crudely
painted sets. But in all fairness it must be said that
the Tibetan public hugely enjoyed these colourful
shows, which also served as an effective morale
booster to the refugee population and as an elementary
history lesson on Tibet's glorious imperial past.

Tenzin Gyeche and I were against the continual
performances of the 'historical plays' and wanted
traditional operas to be revived again. When the talk
came up again of opera being feudal, we tried to
explain that even in such developed nations as France
and Germany, opera was not only performed but regarded
as the premier classical performing art; and that even
in the Soviet Union traditional opera and ballet was
supported and encouraged by the state. It was only the
Communist Chinese who were actively destroying their
own opera tradition and most other features of their
old culture.

All the artistes at the Drama Society were keen on
performing opera again, as much as the Tibetan public
was keen on enjoying it, as it later became quite
apparent. The 'progressive' criticism of opera was by
this time clearly limited to a very insignificant
minority. A especially enthusiastic opera revivalist
was the old opera master at the Drama Society, Gyen
Dorjee (rDo-rje), who had in the past been a member of
the Chungpa company from the district of Chung Riwoche
(gCung Ri-bo-che), in Western Tibet. The Chungpa had
been the Thirteenth Dalai Lama's favourite company. We
chose the story of The Celestial Maiden Sukyi Nyima,
which is held to be the Tibetan adaptation of the
great Sanskrit classic Shakuntala, by Kalidasa, which
was much admired by Goethe. The Drama Society already
had the costumes and the musical instruments
necessary, so in a fairly short while, around the
spring of 1970, we had a performance ready. My
inability to sing opera arias did not prevent me from
playing the role of the village idiot in the story. I
should also emphasize how very small my own
contribution was to this revival. I am sure the Drama
Society would have performed opera sooner or later. I,
in my impatience, pushed them to do it a little
faster.

With my newfound interest in Tibetan opera I
interviewed various experts in the field and in
particular conducted a long interview with kungo
Liushar (sKu-ngo sNe'u shar), the retired Foreign
minister of the exile Tibetan Government, who was
regarded by some as an expert on opera, particularly
on the tradition of the Gyangara (rGyal-mkhar-ba)
company. This troupe of mainly monk performers was
especially appreciated by the true opera connoisseur
for its restrained performance and classic singing
style. Kungo Liushar was emphatic that the Drama
Society had to revive the Gyangara style and in
particular the romantic classic, The Story of Prince
Norsang, which is derived from the Sudhana Jataka, one
of the stories of the former lives of the Buddha. The
problem was that all the performing scripts
('khrab-gzhung) had in the past been kept in the
Treasury Office in Lhasa, and, no one had managed to
bring out any to exile. The biographies and historical
accounts on which such scripts were based, did exist
in print, even in Dharamshala, yet the performing
scripts are quite different from their original
sources. In the case of Norsang, the play is only a
specific selection (the second half) of the story.
This particular jataka story was novelised by the
Tibetan writer, Dingchen Tsering Wangdu (sDing-chen
Tshe-ring dbang-'dus) in the 18th century. The novel
itself was available in print, but adapting the
performing script from the novel was a major task.

Another additional problem was that not a single
member of the Gyangara Company had made it to exile.
But Drama Society director Ngawang Dhakpa remembered
that there was, in Dharamshala, a retired government
official, who had formerly been a disciplinarian
(chab-dam) of Drepung monastery, and a great opera
fan, particularly of the Gyangara school. This person,
chab-dam Ugen (O-rgyan), had even organised a troupe
from among the refugee community in Dalhousie in
Northern India, and had personally performed before
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. So an informal committee
was constituted with Ugen, the opera master Dorjee,
director Ngawang Dhakpa, senior performer Phurbu
Tsering (Phur-bu tshe-ring) and myself - mainly for
impetus.

Gradually a performing script was put together.
Getting people to remember the melodies for the songs
was harder. It was like putting together a jigsaw
puzzle from the memories of various people. Kungo
Liushar, the retired foreign minister, contributed the
tunes to some arias. My mother, Lodi Lhawang, knew the
ghop-sol (go-gsol) arias sung by Prince Norsang's
mother, the queen, to consecrate his suit or armour,
sword and helmet, before Norsang departs for battle
against the 'Wildmen' of the North. She had been
taught these as a young girl of fourteen or fifteen at
Chamdo by the famous opera connoisseur and expert
kungo Mindrukbu (sKu-ngo sMon-grub-sbug).

In 1932, after Tibetan forces in Kham had suffered a
disastrous military defeat, my mother's father,
Tethong Gyurme Gyatso, was appointed Governor-General
of Eastern Tibet. Shortly after the arrival of the new
Governor General and reinforcements in Kham, a peace
treaty was concluded with the Chinese. My mother
remembered a special picnic/banquet hosted in Chamdo
by her father where an opera performance was given.
Her father was an opera lover and a patron of the
Gyangara company. My mother remembers that there were
quite a few skilled monk performers at Chamdo, as a
special Sermak "Golden Army" of monks from Drepung,
Sera and Ganden had been conscripted and set to
Eastern Tibet as part of the military reinforcement.
Kungo Mindrukbu also joined in this amateur
performance along with the Governor General's younger
brother. My mother recalls that kungo Mindrukbu was a
junior official then, though she did not remember
whether he was a special district administrator (tog
[?] Sde dpon) or quartermaster (phogs dpon). Mindrukbu
later became a senior official in the Treasury Office
in Lhasa, and was also put in charge of auditioning
the performers from all the opera companies that came
to Lhasa annually to perform at the Shoton opera
festival, and of supervising production.

At the Drama Society in Dharamshala, Chab-dam Ugen
contributed the bulk of the melodies, information and
memories for this revival of Norsang. By this time we
had also managed to get the former opera master Norbu
Tsering to visit the Drama Society from his new home
in Bylakuppe, South India, and he joined in our
efforts and provided much help and direction.

My small contribution to the forthcoming performance
of Norsang was in the making of suits of fake armour,
helmets, shields etc., for Norsang and his warriors. I
also started work on the construction of a small Greek
style open-air amphitheatre on the hillside behind the
Drama Society grounds. Tibetan opera is usually
performed in the round, but suffers from the fact that
most scenes are played facing the front. So it is not
true theatre in the round. I felt that a workable
compromise would be a Greek style open-air
amphitheatre with the audience seated on three sides,
with every next row of seats slightly higher than the
one in front. Acoustically, there would be an
advantage as the singers would generally be facing the
audience, and I intended to erect a curved reflecting
surface at the back of the stage. Everyone at the
Drama Society put in a couple of hours labour every
day for six months. But this was one experiment that
was not too successful.

In 1971, before the end of the construction of the
amphitheatre and the premiere performance of Norsang,
I was obliged to leave the Drama Society to join the
Tibetan resistance force in Mustang in Northern Nepal.
I would just like to mention one incident related to
my life at Mustang. One day I made the discovery at
resistance headquarters of a set of opera costumes and
masks. On enquiry I was told that the soldiers had in
the past performed opera (Dowa Sangmo, to judge by the
costumes) on certain holidays and ceremonies, but that
the tradition had died out. The connection between the
Tibetan military and opera is not unusual. For
instance, the commander of the victorious Tibetan
forces at Chamdo in 1918, had the opera Sukyi Nyima
performed for the entertainment of the troops and the
populace as well as the British peace negotiator Eric
Teichman. The performers were all Tibetan soldiers. In
September 1904, after the Younghusband expedition
forced its way into Lhasa, a treaty was signed at the
Potala between the Tibetans and the British. At the
conclusion of the ceremonies the opera Kiu Pema Woebar
(Khye'u Padma 'od-'bar) was performed for the
entertainment of the British officers. 1

In 1975, I was appointed as manager of and spokesman
for the Drama Society on their first international
tour of the USA, Europe and Australia and Singapore.
The first presentation of a Tibetan opera in the West
took place in the summer of 1975 at the Volkshaus in
Vienna, where Mozart's Magic Flute had been first
performed. We put on the story of Kiu Pema Woebar
(The story of the previous incarnation of Guru
Padmasambhava). On this tour the Drama Society had two
programmes that sponsors or theatres could chose from.
One was an abbreviated but complete two-hour
performance of Pema Woebar, while the other, "Dances
From the Roof of the World" contained a few excerpts
from the operas Sukyi Nyima and Dowa Sangmo.

In the autumn of 1980, I was requested by Drama
Society artistes and the Secretary of the Council for
Tibetan Education of the Tibetan government, Riga
Lobsang Tenzin, (Ri-kha Blo-bzang bstan-'dzin)to
become the director of the Drama Society. I started
work in December that year though my official
appointment was from January 1981. On assuming this
responsibility I was immediately involved in a
controversy involving the opera. In the spring of
1981, I, as director of the Drama Society, attended
the Annual General Meeting (lo-'khor sri zhus
las-bsdoms tshogs-'du) of the Tibetan government,
attended by all members of Assembly of Tibetan
People's Deputies, the kashag (bka'-shag), all senior
government officials, heads of resettlement camps and
various institutions, and even independent political
organisations like the Tibetan Youth Congress and the
Four Rivers Six Ranges.

At the meeting, a member of the Assembly of Tibetan
People's Deputies, Tsering Gyaltsen, (Tshe-ring rgyal
mtshan) representing the Nyingmapa sect, raised
objections to the way opera performers poked fun at
religious institutions. He specifically objected to
the scene from the opera Prince Norsang (Chos-rgyal
Nor-bzang) where an itinerant priest (a-mchod) is
shown dozing when conducting services, and also
surreptitiously stealing and eating sacrificial cakes.
Another member of parliament, Amdo Chone Chaypa Alak
Jampel, (A-mdo co-ne mched-pa a-lags 'Jam dpal) a
Gelukpa incarnate lama, also expressed his strong
disapproval of the comic scenes in the opera Sukyi
Nyima where an oracle is depicted as inebriated and
uttering nonsensical prophecies; and also another
scene (from the same opera) where monks and nuns are
shown as quarrelling and finally coming to blows over
the offerings made by sponsors.

I replied that opera performers had been performing
such satires and making such irreverent jokes even in
the old days, and that I would certainly not stop this
democratic tradition in our performing culture. One of
the two MP's denounced me as an 'unbeliever' (chos la
dad-pa med-mkhan). I jokingly replied that if
Buddhists were now becoming so intolerant I would
probably convert to Islam. The following days of the
Annual General Meeting, I (somewhat facetiously, in
retrospect) signed the attendance register as Abdul
Norbu. The two MP's were furious with my disrespectful
attitude and a heated exchange took place. Finally,
the chairman of the Annual General Meeting, Lodi
Gyari, who was vice-chairman of the Assembly of
Tibetan People's Deputies, stepped in and put a stop
to the dispute, which was getting fairly ugly. Some of
the older people at the meeting, especially those from
Lhasa, who disliked anyone messing with their beloved
opera, gave me moral support. One of them was chab-dam
Ugen, who in 1970, had helped us to revive and stage
the opera, Norsang.

But as they say in Lhasa, it doesn't pay to cross
opera performers. The secretary of the National
Working Committee, Jangtay Phuntsok Wangdu
(Byang-bkras Phun-tshogs dbang-'dus) had earlier
requested the Drama Society for an opera performance
at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting. The
opera master, performers and I decided on the play
Prince Norsang and made some changes in the script in
the greater interest of free speech and cultural
preservation. In the scene where the rascally
itinerant priest, Black Hari, makes his appearance, we
managed to interject some pointed observations about
the intolerance of certain members of the Assembly of
Tibetan People's Deputies. The public enjoyed the
joke, and the kashag ministers who were themselves
often the victims of the Assembly's criticism were
observed to be having a good laugh at the expense of
their erstwhile critics.

I remember one particular scene where the itinerant
priest Amchoe Hari Nagpo, faces a predicament about
what religious service he could perform without giving
offence to one sect or the other. He first decides to
recite the Vajra guru mantra, but then one of the
royal servants rushes over and claps his hand over the
priests mouth, telling him that the Nyingma sect would
take offence at a rascally priest like him reciting
this mantra. Amchoe Hari then decides to recite the
Dmigs-brtse ma prayer, but the king's servant tells
him that the Gelukpas would not like it. And so it
goes on, till the priest realizes that regardless of
what he does some Buddhist sect would find it
offensive. Exasperated, the old priest decides to play
it safe. Vigourously ringing his drilbu bell and
rattling his damaru drum , he launches (dance and all)
into the swinging Bombay film song Dil Deykay Dekho,
Dil Deykay Dekho "Give (your) heart and look". A
decade later, the anthropologist, Dr. Marcia Calkowski
wrote of this incident in the American Ethnologist. 2

In spite of such obstacles we managed to bring about a
small renaissance in Tibetan opera in the next five
years. My first task was changing the name of the
Tibetan Music, Dance and Drama Society to that of the
Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, or TIPA, as it
generally began to be called. At the beginning of my
tenure as director, TIPA faced enormous problems, ill
health among the performers, because of malnutrition,
being one. Many performers suffered from tuberculosis.
Furthermore, traditional prejudice against actors and
musicians, a throwback to mediaeval times, still
prevailed, right up to the highest levels of Tibetan
society, which affected the morale of performers.

One of the main sticking points was funding. At that
time, aside from Tibetan Buddhism, there was little
interest in Tibet and Tibetan culture internationally.
What little humanitarian attention Tibetan refugees
received was largely confined to the plight of
children, especially at the Tibetan Children's
Village. The Tibetan government itself was desperately
strapped for cash, though a year later I was able to
lobby the cabinet and the Assembly of Tibetan People's
Deputies to raise (in fact double) the salary of all
artistes. I was given great support in this by the
late Riga Lobsang Tenzin, Secretary of the Council for
Tibetan Education, who was an enthusiastic and sincere
supporter of TIPA.

We also published a newsletter Dranyen (which is what
the Tibetan lute is called, and which literally means
'melodious sound') and started a 'Friends of TIPA'
program which bought in some donations from abroad.
One of our main supporters was Mrs. Anne Jennings
Brown of Britain, who not only worked at TIPA for a
couple of years but also raised funds for us abroad.
Among the many who donated to TIPA I should mention
the late Hugh Richardson, the last British
representative in Lhasa, who besides some generous
financial donations also sent us the original copy of
the lyrics of the ceremonial songs of "Bras bu gling
nga" sung at the Potala on New Year's Day, which he
had, long ago, received from the chief clerical office
(Yig-tshang las-khungs). Mr. Richardson also
contributed a wonderfully evocative article on the
Lhasa Opera Festival for our publication Zlos-gar: The
Performing Traditions of Tibet (Dharamshala, Library
of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1986).

Gradually, we managed to overcome many of our
difficulties. Let me elaborate on those specifically
having to do with the opera. To make our artistes more
focussed and dedicated, and their performances more
dynamic, we resorted to a variety of schemes quite a
few of which turned out surprisingly effective. We
made it mandatory for every TIPA member, including
staff and director, to participate in a daily
half-hour of prayer and meditation in the morning,
during which an invocation and prayer dedicated to
Thangtong Gyalpo the patron saint of Tibetan opera was
chanted. This special prayer was unearthed for us by
the eminent Tibetan scholar Tashi Tsering, who also
helped us with much of our research work in opera and
other performing traditions.

We also built a 'Temple of the Performing Arts' with
statues of Buddhist deities, saints and lamas related
to the performing arts: Sarasvati (the Indian goddess
of the arts), Padmasambhava (tantric dance), Milarepa
(singing and composition), Sakya Pandita (treatise on
music), and the Sixth Dalai Lama (romantic songs). Of
course, we also had an image of the Buddha and the
Bodhisattva Manjusri. The centerpiece was a large
statute of Thangtong Gyalpo. All these images were
housed in a detailed three-dimensional representation
of the Tibetan landscape featuring mountains,
wilderness, pastoral and agricultural scenes. The
Potala palace, a monastery, a town, a merchant
caravan, the Tsangpo river and a chain suspension
bridge provided detail and specificity to this
miniature Tibetan world. Tiny models of every
conceivable Tibetan animal, real and mythical, were
present in this representation. One of the intentions
of this temple was to provide younger TIPA members
with a detailed and captivating image of their lost
homeland. The concept and initial design was mine but
the actual execution of the project was entrusted to
TIPA's master sculptor and mask-maker, U Kalsang of
Kongpo. The 'Temple of the Performing Arts' attracted
visitors and worshippers in its own right. It also
inspired a few imitations, most notably that at the
Norbulingka Institute in Dharamshala.

Formal acting classes were now added to the training
routine at TIPA. Traditionally, only singing lessons
had been a part of the performer's curriculum. To
broaden the theatrical knowledge of our artistes, we
managed to obtain films of other performing traditions
of the world, and also documentaries on such great
mime artistes as Marcel Marceau.

We did not want to bring about too many major changes
in the simple traditional staging of the performance,
but added a low platform in the centre of the stage,
for some spatial variation in the positioning and
movement of actors. To create a culturally authentic
visual experience for the audience we made absolute
sure that all items and props used on stage were
genuinely Tibetan. For instance it is customary for
performers to sometimes take a drink on stage
especially if the day is hot and he or she has a
number of arias to sing. We made sure only traditional
drinking vessels were used. We also started a project
to locate and purchase such traditional household
articles, as bowls, cooking pots, ladles, bags,
yak-hair ropes, travel-chests, saddle-bags and so on,
all of which were also intended to be used later for
exhibition at a proposed Museum of Folk Culture at the
Institute.

One major project for our opera "renaissance" was the
recreation in 1982 of the giant canopy 'Floating in
the Sky' (bya-g.yab nam-mkha' lding) that used to
cover the large stone-flagged stage at the Norbulingka
palace in Lhasa during the annual opera festival. This
vast white canopy, decorated with traditional
auspicious symbols, shaded not only the stage but a
large part of the audience as well. Donations for the
canopy came from individuals and small businesses in
Dharamshala, the main amount coming from the late Dr.
Lobsang Dolma. Another Norbulingka-inspired feature
was in decorating the stage with flowers. During the
opera festival in Lhasa there would be, on stage, an
informal exhibition of flowers from the palace
gardens. The Norbulingka gardeners would change the
potted plants every day of the festival. At TIPA we
helped senior artistes and families to cultivate
flowers in their spare time, which were displayed
during the opera performance. This little innovation
probably contributed to the nostalgia quotient of the
audience, but even otherwise seemed to enhance the
fairly-tale atmosphere of the show.

Costumes and jewellery were a problem, because, as far
as possible, they had to be genuine. Substitute
costume material as tinsel, chintz, cardboard, etc.,
that could pass muster under artificial lighting, were
quite unsuitable for performances in daylight,
especially with the audience sitting up close as is
the case in opera performances. His Holiness had, in
the sixties, donated a number of expensive costumes
for the main characters, but most of the others were
made in TIPA itself where we had a costuming designing
and tailoring section. We discovered that the special
brocades and silks needed for certain costumes were
manufactured by firms of Indian silk weavers in the
city of Varanasi, which had old commercial ties to
Tibet. In the matter of masks, which are crucial to
Tibetan opera, we had the assistance of gifted
craftsmen from Nechung monastery and the Gyuto
monastery. Our own mask-maker U Kalsang, made the
spectacular papier-mâché demon masks for the opera
Pema Woebar, among others. The master thangka painter,
the late Jampa Tseten, an absolutely loyal (and
regular) opera goer, also contributed enormously over
the years by painting costumes, masks, props etc., for
us.

One of the major problems we faced was finding a good
quality opera drum, the shell of which is wooden and
has special acoustic properties because of an extra
inner space that is scooped out of the wooden shell.
Tibetans believe that this gives the drum a special
depth in tone and can further project sound better. No
such traditional drums were available in India. Even
the Dalai Lama's personal monastery had been forced to
use military snare drums with copper shells. But the
tone of these drums was too flat and lacked depth.
Though we looked around it proved impossible to find a
traditional drum-maker from Tibet. Finally, through
the help of the kashag minister kungo Tsewang Tamdin,
who had formerly been a steward to the Sakya Lamas, we
located a professional drum-maker U Lhakchung (Lhag
chung) from Grum pa, and we finally got our drum. The
appearance of a skilled drum-maker at TIPA gave me an
idea.

There is an un-stated but quite firm rule that no
musical instrument other than a drum and a cymbal be
used during an opera performance. I reasoned that I
could stick to this rule but modify it to enhance the
expressive and dramatic qualities of these
instruments. I had three different size drums made.
The largest was about five feet in diameter, the next
about two and a half feet, the size of the normal
opera drum, while the smallest was only about a foot
and a half in diameter. All three drums were mounted
on a special frame and the drummer was required to use
two sticks to play them. I did not want to overwhelm
my drummer and initially only required him to use the
different drums to play specific tattoos for different
characters: the big drum for important or villainous
characters, the small drums for comic characters and
so on. I thought that over time we could develop this
in complexity and depth. I also managed to put
together matching cymbals to complement the drums.
There is a historical precedent for such
experimentation with the opera drums.

In 1922, a year before the 6th Panchen Lama fled Tibet
for China he had the Chungpa company from Chung
Riwoche in Western Tibet, perform the opera Chung
Donye Dhondup (gCung Don-yod Don-grub), the Brothers
Dhonyo and Dhondup, at the annual 'Great Spectacle'
(gZigs-mo chen-mo) performances at Tashi Lhunpo
monastery. During the scene when the elder brother
carries his dying younger brother across a terrible
wilderness, there was, according to an informant, not
a dry eye among the spectators. Some in the audience
even had a premonition of impending tragedy. The sense
of foreboding seems to have been heightened by an
innovation of the stage manager who had the drummer
rub a little honey on the palm of his hand and then
run it across the surface of a giant drum. The
resulting friction created a faint rumble, like that
of distant thunder.

One of the most important decisions we made at TIPA
was to put together one old opera script every year
and to perform it. We managed through research work
and committee discussions, as I have described before,
to put together two scripts in 1982. One was the
historical play Gyasa-Belsa, (rGya-bza' Bal-bza'), The
Chinese Princess and the Nepalese Princess, the story
of how the Emperor Songtsen Gampo's wily minister Gar
Tongtsen triumphed over all contenders at a trial of
wits to win the hand of the Chinese princess for his
emperor. The other play was Nangsa, a true account of
a beautiful and deeply spiritual woman who dies from
being abused by her husband, a feudal lord, and his
family. She returns from a sojourn in the netherworld
to make her tormentors see the errors of their ways
and devote themselves to a life of religious practice.

We also recreated in 1981, the Shoton or the annual
Opera Festival that took place in Lhasa before 1959.
We staged the introductory performances of all the
various opera troupes that attended the festival, and
even put on the cham dances of the Karmashar oracle
and his entourage, that was performed on the first
morning of the opera festival at Norbulingka.

In 19813, I got the idea of writing a completely new
opera for TIPA. The story I chose was the legendary
account of how Tibetan opera had been started by the
great sage Thangtong Gyalpo as a vehicle of public
entertainment and education, and also a means of
raising resources for his bridge-building activities.
I chose as the main characters two humble pilgrims, a
Khampa chagtsel lama (phyag- 'tshal bla-ma), a pilgrim
who prostrates the length of his journey, and the
other a devout Amdowa accompanied by his donkey, who
meet on the trail to Mount Kailash and become friends.
They encounter many difficulties: bandits, a raging
river and rapacious ferrymen. Ultimately they are
helped by Thangtong Gyalpo who convinces them and all
the local people of the area to join him in the
construction of a chain suspension bridge that would
not only benefit all people but even animals as well.
More trials follow with local demons sabotaging the
project, but in the end Thangtong Gyalpo and his
new-found disciples overcome all odds to build the
first chain suspension bridge in Tibet.

Norbu Tsering worked on adapting certain melodies from
other opera arias to the new lyrics of this opera,
which we called Chaksam (lCags-zam, The Iron Bridge).

The Tibetan opera is frankly Lhasa-centric and
unapologetically mediaeval in its outlook. All the
main characters are invariably depicted in the
costumes of the Lhasa aristocracy. Even the eponymous
heroine of Nangsa, who is unquestionably from Gyantse
in Tsang province, is always shown wearing the
headdress and jewellery of a Lhasa, and not a Tsang,
aristocratic lady. Villains and buffoons are usually
depicted as people from outlying regions and provinces
of Tibet. Khampas are invariably represented as
executioners and hunters. The malicious gossip and
poisoner in Sukyi Nyima is a Kongpo woman (the
poison-cult is said to be widespread in Kongpo). The
hag witch-servant in Dowa Sangmo is a Tsang woman. The
Wild Ape-Men (migou) of the North in Norsang are
dressed as nomads, though the nomads of Pemachen, in
Dowa Sangmo, are presented in a more positive light.
Mutikpa or heretics (actually members of a Hindu sect
in the original story) in Pema Woebar are nonchalantly
represented as Tibetan Muslims with their dranyen
lutes and typical exclamations "Khuda Kasam, Bhai-la".
(I swear by Allah, O brother). People from Amdo are
completely ignored in the opera. Only in exile, and
even there only in the concluding and customary sertri
ngasol, the "coronation or installation of the golden
throne" scene, does an Amdowa make a brief appearance
as a representative of one of the "Three Provinces of
Tibet", a post 1959 political construct."

Of course, operas world over, with the exception,
perhaps, of The Marriage of Figaro, are not vehicles
for egalitarian or revolutionary sentiments. Still, I
thought that it would be nice to have at least one
opera where a humble Tibetan layperson from outside
Lhasa, was the principal character. So in Chaksam I
created these two lowly pilgrims, one from Kham and
the other from Amdo, so poor that they cannot pay the
one tramka ferry ride to cross the Kyichu river. The
peasants of the village of Chushul (where the Kyichu
meets the Tsangpo river) are also celebrated, and
among them the village blacksmith, Achung, who forges
the iron chains of Thangtong Gyalpo's first suspension
bridge. The traditional prejudice against blacksmiths
is still prevalent in exile Tibetan society. I
certainly did not intend to emulate the heroic
proletarian spirit of Madame Mao's revolutionary
operas and our two pilgrims, Achung, et al., are
depicted as human, fallible and often absurd. They are
only heroic in the sense that they, like most other
Tibetans, seldom lose their good humour, their faith
and their humanity even when overwhelmed by life's
travails. When knocked down all they require is a
little tsampa, some meat (on bone), a long swig of
chang, a prayer to the gods, and they're back on their
feet again.

One other feature of my opera, The Iron Bridge, was
its didactic quality, not just in the moral of the
story but in the details of the production. I used the
opera as a vehicle to teach children and
youth-in-exile how Tibetans lived and did things in
the past. For instance, the kind of traditional
camping gear: willow pack-frames, saddles, blankets,
bellows, folding ladles, and cooking pots that were
used by old-time travellers. Also how farmers worked
in the fields, what equipment they used, and how
Tibetan blacksmiths worked metal. I would like to
stress this educational aspect of our performances
because the opera was hugely popular with children.
TIPA regularly performed operas for the Tibetan
Children's Village in Dharamshala, and the response
was overwhelming. Small children would sit on the
ground the whole day in rapt attention. Generally
small groups would gather around one child who knew
the story and who explained the scene to others. Their
involvement in the story would be total. For instance,
in the scene from Nangsa, where the eponymous heroine
is beaten by her husband and tormented by her
sister-in-law, I often noticed that children would be
in tears, as would older women in the audience.
Performing for children was always a very rewarding
experience.

After the success of this opera I made plans, and even
got so far as drafting a 'treatment' for an opera on
the life of the great Tibetan yogi, Milarepa. But I
had to leave TIPA in 1985 before I could carry out the
project. I am glad to say that performers and staff at
TIPA managed to write and produce this opera some
years later.4

To ensure that the opera was not just entertainment
for children and older folks, we worked to improve
production values in every aspect of the performance.
For instance in the old days the comic scenes would be
broad, often repetitious and generally unrehearsed.
Though we allowed some spontaneity, we started to
script and rehearse the comic scenes, and sometimes
provided them with a satirical bearing on contemporary
political events and social mores. This proved a big
success with the audience and also gave the opera a
cachet with the younger and more educated segment of
Tibetan society. We also tried to emphasise certain
star quality performers, and very soon there was a
response, in terms of fan letters and so on from the
younger audience.

In nearly every aspect of Tibetan opera, in the
staging, musical accompaniment, costumes,
choreography, comedy and production values we made
definite improvements over traditional staging of the
opera. Yet in one aspect, the singing, we were unable
to make a satisfactory breakthrough. The general
consensus among connoisseurs was that the opera
singing in TIPA was uniformly good, but that we lacked
the brilliant, star quality voice, which I was
assured, was not all that unusual in old Tibet.
Otherwise even the sternest conservative opera fan
agreed that TIPA performances were as good, if not
better in terms of production values and staging, than
performances at the Opera Festival in Lhasa, in the
old days.

The public, in Dharamshala and other Tibetan
settlements and centres where we toured, loved the
opera performances, and TIPA's opera season became an
important fixture in refugee social life. We tried to
infuse the actual production and also the surroundings
with a rich pageant like feel, not only with the
Tibetan style canopy and flower exhibition as
mentioned earlier, but also by the use of traditional
decorative banners and hangings. Our emphasis on
authentic costuming not only applied to performers,
but extended to musicians and stagehands as well. Even
I as the director (in full traditional regalia) was
inducted in a solemn ceremony at the beginning of the
festival where Thangtong Gyalpo's statue was installed
on a throne on the stage and offerings of incense,
khatags and iron chains were made. A carnival like
atmosphere was also created with a variety of Tibetan
food-and-beverage stalls and sales of paper opera
masks for children. We also encouraged families to
bring picnic lunches and drinks and even erected a few
park-style picnic tables and benches, though most
Tibetan preferred sitting on rugs on the ground.
Overall, we managed to produce not only good
entertaining traditional opera, but were also somehow
able to recreate a bit of the ambience of old Tibet in
the lives of the refugee population. And they fell in
whole-heartedly with our sentimental design, as I once
mentioned in an article in Du, the Magazine of
Culture, (Switzerland) July 1997:

"If some spring evening you were to take a walk up the
mountain road from McLeod Ganj to the Tibetan
Institute of Performing Arts you might come across
cheerful groups of men and women proceeding rather
unsteadily downhill. They will probably be clinging to
each other in boozy camaraderie, helping to prop each
other up. They will all be singing - at the top of
their voices - a peculiar yodel-like air. These people
are returning from a day long performance of the
Tibetan folk opera, LHAMO, a theatrical form that
combines the relaxed informality of village cricket,
the magical world of pantomime, and the open-air
eating and drinking of a good picnic."

Inside Tibet opera began to make a tentative
reappearance in the early eighties. After the
unsuccessful uprising of 1959, the Chinese authorities
had not immediately banned the traditional opera, but
allowed it to be performed during the visits of
dignitaries and guests, especially foreign ones. For
instance, in 1961 on the visit to Tibet of a left-wing
British journalist, Stuart Gelder, 5 a traditional
opera was performed. Gelder depicts some sequences
from a performance in the documentary he shot. In the
centre of the stage where usually the image of the
patron saint of opera is placed, can now be seen a
portrait of Mao Zedong. But the gradual suppression of
traditional opera (xiju) in China itself, a couple of
years later, ensured that Tibetan opera would soon be
proscribed.

With the advent of the Cultural Revolution no
traditional performance of any kind was permitted. In
fact, the only performances allowed were the eight or
so revolutionary operas approved by Madame Mao. This
stricture held even in Tibet where in the late sixties
at the Songjoe Ra (gSung-chos rva-ba), the main square
behind the Jokhang temple, where the Dalai Lama would
give his annual post-New Year sermon, the
revolutionary opera/ballet The White Haired Girl
(Baimao nü) was performed.

But from the 1980s, with the advent of Deng's
so-called liberalisation policies, the official
Performing Arts Troupe in Lhasa began to perform an
officially approved version of Tibetan opera. The
singing voices were changed to sound somewhere between
the "meowing and shouting" (André Malraux) of Beijing
opera, and the classical European style introduced by
the Russians to China. Traditional scripts were
rewritten in order to conform not only with official
ideology but also Chinese interpretation of Tibetan
history, as in the traditional opera, The Chinese
Princess and the Nepalese Princess (Gyasa-Bhelsa), now
called Princess Wencheng, after the excision from the
story of the inconvenient Nepalese Princess.

Ideological changes could also be observed in the play
Nangsa, traditionally the story of a pious village
girl forced to marry the son of a powerful feudal
lord. Nangsa is abused in her new home and dies, but
because of her piety is sent back again to the world
of the living by the Lord of Death, Shingje Chogyal
(gshin rje chos rgyal). At the end of the story she
attains liberation and makes her husband and in-laws
see the error of their ways. The Chinese director of
the Tibet Opera Troupe, Hu Jin'an, changed the story
to one of class conflict. Nangsa returns from the dead
to denounce her husband and in-laws in the approved
Communist 'struggle' manner ('thab 'dzings). Then
brandishing a large broadsword she proceeds to murder
them one by one. The acting and dancing style was also
speeded up and 'modernised' that it seemed to be a
deliberate parody of a Tibetan opera. 6

These performances were not popular with most
Tibetans. In 1978, a group of former opera lovers from
the small village of Zhol below the Potala, set about
reviving the authentic Lhamo tradition. A friend of
mine, Lhasang Tsering, was in Lhasa in 1980 and
attended one of their public performances at the
Norbulingka, the Dalai Lama's Summer Palace. He
informed me that some of the actors were very old and
could not move that well, but that their culturally
authentic show appeared to be hugely popular with the
people of Lhasa. In fact, stories circulated in opera
circles in Dharamshala that the master of the Zhol
troupe was so old and weak that after singing an aria
he would collapse on the ground and would have to be
lifted up and supported to sing the next aria. I have
been informed that such folk companies were later
successfully organised in a number of villages and
districts in Tibet. But this development is not within
the purview of this paper, which deals with the
revival of Lhamo in exile society.

In 1985, I was officially removed from TIPA. The main
but un-stated reason was political, which I don't need
to go into in this paper, but the immediate cause of
my dismissal had to do with a production related to
the opera. My earlier opera Chaksam (Iron Bridge) had
faced some criticism, mainly from local politicians,
who charged that depicting a poor Amdowa accompanied
by a donkey was insulting to the people of Amdo. In
fact in the editor's after-word to a history of
Labrang, Amdo, 7 a young ex-monk, Hortsang Jigme
(Hor-tshang 'Jigs-med) who edited this book, makes a
clear reference to this particular opera. He states
that he was spurred to encourage the author to write
this book to counteract such demeaning depictions of
Amdo people. The donkey in question was (in the
tradition of the English pantomime horse) merely two
actors in a costume. Designed and made by TIPA's
master costume designer, Chime Dorjee, who I am
certain had never read Winnie the Pooh, the finished
product ended up looking remarkably like Eeyore.

In 1985, I revived this humble donkey in a new
production of mine on the occasion of the Dalai Lama's
birthday. This tableau vivant, which was titled Lhasae
Denlu (A Song in Memory of Lhasa), was inspired by the
famous poem (of the same title) written by the Tibetan
scholar/official Shelkar Lingpa in 1910, when he was
living in exile in India, serving the Thirteenth Dalai
Lama. In this production, the main scene is a busy
market street around the Barkor area of Lhasa. The
street is filled with richly dressed noblemen, ladies,
lamas, Khampa merchants, ordinary Lhasa folk and a
ten-man revue of dancing dranyen players. The
musicians play a medley of popular nangma/toeshay
tunes, the lyrics roughly corresponding to the
happenings on the street. The humble donkey is shown
carrying a load of firewood through the Barkor. The
show was a big hit, but some weeks later, local
Tibetan politicians in Dharamshala began to raise a
furore, claiming that it was a deliberate insult to
the Dalai Lama to trot out a donkey on his birthday
celebrations.

After my departure from TIPA in November 1985, the
opera tradition has been carried on by other
directors, though certain problems have been created
because of the apparent decision of the Tibetan
government-in-exile, to appoint as directors of TIPA
only officials from within the ranks of the
bureaucracy, with no background in the performing
arts, and to exclude members or former members of TIPA
from the selection. Furthermore TIPA's autonomous
status was revoked after my departure and the
Institute was put under the Council for Religious and
Cultural Affairs.

In 1986, prior to TIPA's tour of the West, Kim Yeshe,
an American woman connected with the Council for
Religious and Cultural Affairs, appointed a Frenchman
with some theatrical background to direct the Lhamo
performance of Sukyi Nyima, that TIPA was preparing
for its foreign tour. Overriding the protest of
Tibetan artistes, a number of bizarre changes were
made in the production. For instance, at the end of
the opera when the celestial nymph finally meets her
long estranged husband, the king, the couple were made
to go into a romantic clinch, à la "Gone With the
Wind", in complete contravention not only of Tibetan
opera conventions, but also of normal Tibetan behavior
in public. Certain Tibet experts in the audience were
reported to have raised loud protests. This Frenchman
published an article on Tibetan opera in Choyang, 8
the journal of the Council for Religious and Cultural
Affairs. The article made extensive and verbatim use
of material I had published earlier in TIPA's
newsletters and in articles in the Tibetan Review, but
did not once cite a source.

Some of the latest directorial changes in opera
performances at TIPA have been those instituted by a
young Tibetan performer/instructor recently arrived
from Tibet, and trained by the Chinese. I happened to
see one such opera where actors performed with the
exaggerated stylized gestures - rolling of eyes,
raising of eyebrows, etc., - characteristic of Chinese
theatre. But such aberrations do not yet fortunately,
seem to have completely taken over the traditional
performing style. Of course, one cannot in all
fairness, blame the young instructor from Tibet for
such unhappy innovations. He was just doing what he
had been trained to do. The fault lies in the Tibetan
government's repeated decisions to appoint as
directors of TIPA only officials who have no knowledge
or experience of Tibetan performing culture.

Besides the official opera company of the Tibetan
Institute of Performing Arts, other opera companies
have been organised in various other Tibetan
communities in India and Nepal,9 that still maintain
traditional standards. An opera company was even
started in the Tibetan community in Switzerland,
though I am not sure of its situation right now. One
former performer and instructor of mine at TIPA,
Tenzin Gonpo (bsTan-'dzin mgon-po), now lives and
performs in France. Last year I saw him give an
incredible solo performance in Paris of the
introductory ritual dance ('don) and the concluding
ceremony (bkra-shis) of the opera, normally requiring
at least a dozen odd people. It was not only
tremendously moving but a veritable tour de force.

The most successful and professional group outside
Tibet or South Asia is "Chaksampa" (Builders of the
Iron Bridge) in San Francisco, established by two
former artiste/instructors of mine at TIPA, Shazur
Tashi Dhondup (Shar-zur bKra-shis don-grub) and Sonam
Tashi (bSod-nams bkras-shis). This troupe has not only
successfully managed to provide cultural sustenance to
the Tibetan community in North America, but has even
organised annual summer-camps to educate Tibetan
children in opera and Tibetan performing culture. This
troupe also performs at various American universities
that in spite of their relative success, they were not
satisfied with their participation in 'cultural
events' in the West. It became apparent that what they
wanted most of all was to perform opera for a Tibetan
audience; furthermore, an audience not only familiar
with the nuances of the tradition, but one whose
critical judgement they could respect and from which
they could learn and improve.

This in a sense represents the overriding cultural
problem Tibetans face now, not only with opera
performers, but everyone else in the Tibetan cultural
world. What is the extent to which one can
successfully preserve Tibetan culture outside of
Tibet? Yes, exhibitions of Tibetan sacred art,
thangkas, bronzes and sand mandalas are now held
regularly in major cities of the West. Tantric dances
and sacred monastic music are readily available,
recorded or live, to a Western audience, and also
authentic Tibetan opera performances. That is, of
course, all to the good. But what does this actually
mean to the Tibetan and his personal cultural world?
In order to truly survive, not only in museums, or in
the accolade and admiration of foreign friends,
Tibetan culture, especially performing culture must be
able to entertain and inspire a new generation of
Tibetans, and must have real meaning in the daily
lives of Tibetans everywhere.

Notes:
1 This is reported in Macdonald, David, 1991 [1932].
Twenty years in Tibet. Intimate and personal
experiences of the closed land among all classes of
its people from the highest to the lowest. Gurgaon:
Vintage Books, p. 39 [editor's note].
2 Calkowski, Marcia S., 1991, "A Day at the Tibetan
Opera: Actualized Performance and Spectacular
Discourse," in American Ethnologist, 18(4): 643-657.
3 See K. Dhondup, "A Bridge Long Ago," in Tibetan
Review, November 1981, pp. 9-10 [editor's note].
4 See 'Khrab gzhung zur 'don dang/ 'Khrab 'khrid byed
mkhan Blo bzang bsam gtan, Rnal 'byor gyi dbang phyug
chen po Mi la ras pa'i rnam mgur las lha mo'i 'khrab
gzhung du snying bsdus bkod pa, TIPA, Dharamsala, 1999
(Editors note)
5 See Stuart & Roma Gelder, The timely rain; the
travels in new Tibet, Hutchinson, London, 1964
(Editors note)
6 See [Jamyang Norbu], Art and propaganda, Dra-nyen;
Newsletter of the TIPA, Dharamsala,1984, vol.8,no.1,
pp.31-36 (Editors note)
7 Bla brang 'Jigs med rgya mtsho, Bla brang bkra shis
'khyil dang 'brel ba'i 'bel gtam chos srid gsal ba'i
me long, [Kathmandu], 1996, See p.3 under the "zhu dag
pa'i mthong snang".
8 Alain Fromaget, Lhamo, Choyang: The Voice of Tibetan
Religion and Culture, Year of Tibet Edition, Council
for Religious and Cultural Affairs, Dharamsala, 1991,
pp.321-325 (Editors note)
9 Bod kyi zho ston dus chen, Special Shoton (Opera)
Festival 17-21 April, 1993, TIPA, Dharamsala, pp.4-6,
8. (Editors


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