In his poem, "The Character to be Discarded," Hortsang Jigme has four main messages for Tibetans. He counsels them to forsake practices that have compromised their solidarity since the incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China, to recognize their common origins and remain true to their own traditions, and to become aware of the ways in which the Chinese government has tried to marginalize them and make them feel inferior. Finally, he warns Tibetans not to be fooled by Chinese promises but to struggle for their rights.
Heavy anger between parents and children,
Lawsuits among relatives,
Great disputes with neighbors on the left and right:
These are not Tibetan customs of self-respect.
The brave heroes among the tribes are many,
Their arteries are thick when seeking a haystack,
They sacrifice themselves for the ditch of a field boundary:
This is not the Tibetan way to display one's proud spirit.
There's no smile between Labrang and Rebkong when they meet,
The thinking of Ü and Tsang are different as east and west,
Every region has its own respect for itself:
These are not Tibetan thoughts for the common good.10
The incarnate lamas in each monastery are many,
The entourages of each individual incarnation are vast as the oceans,
Joining into each of these makes for vast entourages:
This is not the Tibetan way of making deep friendships.
Most of the lamas like Chinese silver,
Most of the geshes like prestigious titles,
Most of the monks like jealous words:
The is not the Tibetan way of serving as a monk.11
Quarrels over the prestige of Old and New give rise to clashes,
Seeking Mahamudra or Dzokchen, stupidity is revealed,
The four lineage traditions regard each other as enemies:
This is not the way to uphold the self-respect of the doctrine.12
High incarnations work for the victory of China,
Ordained monks are drawn to China,
Mahayana tantrics take delight in Chinese women:
This is not the way to turn the wheel of dharma.13
One victorious over hundreds of households serves as king,
When quarrels break out among the petty kingdoms they turn to China,
Bringing Chinese troops into Tibet, they overcome the Tibetans:
This is not the Tibetan way of being a king.
The mirror of earlier history is cast behind one's back,
The political and religious actions of the future are thrown far away,
For the moment one carries out Tibetan affairs by the pleasant tip of the tongue:
This is not the Tibetan way of rule.
The master of logic has but one eye,
The master of language has but one eye,
No one has a pair of far-seeing eyes:
This is not the way to learn Tibetan culture.
Wild nomads can always eat raw flesh,
Poor villagers always eat tea and tsampa,
They spend their lives eating only one thing:
This is not the prosperous life of Tibetans.14
Father gives his ornaments to his son before he dies,
The son gives his torn out clothes to his nephew,
Long-life clothes, their color changed by smoke:
This is not the Tibetan way of gathering clothes.
Most of the good plains land has been taken by the Chinese and the Hui,
The cavernous interiors of all of the winding valleys are held by Tibetans,
There it is hard to work with the fields and animals:
This is the sort of settlement that should be rejected by Tibetans.15
There is great jealousy between scholars,
Savaged hatred between religious folk,
And much strife between villagers:
Their characters should be rejected by Tibetans.
In a world over which the dark cloud of ignorance moves,
One can't bear the prosperity of others; and yet,
In the bad omens of the decline of our own nationality,
The red-faced Tibetans attain less than others.16
With no future and a desire for liberation, a man takes up the dharma,
Seeing the clamor of sensual pleasure he becomes attached to the worldly,
And passes his life without either the dharma or the worldly:
This is not how Tibetans carry out undertakings.
A strong Amdowa shows his fist to the enemy,
A wild Khampa depends on his sword for his life,
A smart Tibetan from Ü shows his different colors:
This is not how Tibetans have a superior ear.17
Seeing the enemy who killed one's parents as a friend,
Holding the butcher who plundered one's ancestors as a kinsman,
Showing honor to the bandits who stole one's patrimony:
This is not how superior Tibetans do things.
Smiling if the nation's lineage is violently sundered,
Feeling happy even though the forests have been made grasslands,
Taking delight even though all of the mineral treasures are being mined:
This is not how Tibetans become happy.
We are helpless as the sphere of our land is taken by force,
A flock of hawks throws the lion's baby to the ground,
Sunbeams and moonlight together are thrown on the plain:
If you are truly concerned about the cause of Tibet, look back.
The assemblage of our kind, aged parents,
Starved to death, denied any food or drink,
Put to death by the sword, after a shower of bullets,
Put to death ignobly, through craft, deceit and cunning.
With the old father's lifeblood not yet dry,
Sons filled with happiness,
Brave ones bereft of beloved brothers:
Show the teeth of your sharp swords!
In the square enclosure of one's family one is highest,
In the eyes of one's loving parents one is handsome,
In one's own mind one's own nationality is highest:
There is no one who seems inferior to oneself.
Though the mask is beautiful, it is made from earth,
Though the pot's color is black, it is made from earth,
Though the earthen pot's bottom bulges, it is clumped earth:
All three of these are made of earth.
Between the fortunes of rising and falling is the barrel of a gun,
From the reversals of movement higher and lower,
The sounds of satisfaction are emphatically made; and yet,
It is like something emanating from the face of a witch.
This is not good for the nobly-born son,
One used to hearing sweet praise,
But it is the ever louder throbbing of a small living heart,
Coming from the blood of the Tibetans.
July 15, 199210 The stanza reminds Tibetans of the Chinese administrative system which divides Tibetans administratively. Labrang and Rebkong are two towns in Amdo with major monasteries. Labrang is in Gansu province and Rebkong in Qinghai. Ü and Tsang are two areas within the T.A.R. whose earlier history of contention has been exacerbated by Chinese authorities. 11 Geshes are monks who, having passed rigorous academic and religious examination, attain high monastic degrees. 12 The stanza refers to doctrinal disputes. 13 The wheel of the dharma refers to the teachings of Buddha. 14 Tsampa is roasted barley flour, the staple Tibetan food. 15 The stanza refers to the marginalization of Tibetans by migrants. The Hui are Chinese Muslims. 16 "Red-faced Tibetans" is one of many traditional names that Tibetans apply to themselves. 17 The stanza comments on the divisions among Tibetans from the three major Tibetan areas, Amdo, Kham, and the T.A.R.