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February 5, 2013

BEAM: An opportunity that’s come full circle

(Continued)

And then there are the Buddhist practitioners and other Tibetans exiles who have escaped the repressive Chinese regime that has taken over their country. Even today, Buddhist monks and nuns burn themselves in the streets of their towns to protest the repression and attempted eradication of their religion and culture. 

While dining at the restaurant Anyetsang’s Little Tibet that night, Morrison introduced me to its namesake and owner Thupten Anyetsang. Anyetsang grew up in Tibet and experienced firsthand the aftermath of the occupation. He lost his father, a Khampa warrior, to this struggle for Tibetan independence.

Firsthand accounts like Anyetsangs must be told so future generations of all nationalities can understand the true history of the Tibetan people. I hope, in upcoming accounts, to do justice to their plight.

Buddhists believe life is cyclical, like a turning wheel or the never-ending phases of the moon. Somehow, even as a Christian, I feel I’ve been riding a Tibetan carousel throughout my own life. 

In 1996, I had that chance encounter with Professor Norbu. Two years later in Beijing, I witnessed an older man wearing a paper hat unroll a long scroll in Tiananmen Square. His protest was a silent one, but it stays with me loud and clear even today. 

I don’t know what happened to that man after the Chinese security hauled him away for opposing their Tibetan rule. But with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Louisville, I’m reminded of the protester I observed so long ago. 

Even though he wore no orange robes nor had a shaved head, he spoke to me without speaking. Like any book, words, not the cover, tell the story. Someone just needs to pay attention and read.

— Amanda Beam is a Floyd County resident and Jeffersonville Native. Contact her by e-mail at hoosiermandyblog@gmail.com

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