Spread­ing word about re­gion and its cul­ture

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

Born and raised in Lhasa, cap­i­tal of the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion, Tsen­ten Tashi has been ob­sessed with Ti­betan cul­ture, lan­guage and his­tory since he was young.

The 51-year-old said he is lucky to be able to make a liv­ing from en­joy­ing what he loves.

But Tsen­ten Tashi has gone one step fur­ther than many Ti­betol­ogy fans, con­duct­ing cour­ses in Ti­betan stud­ies and help­ing spread aware­ness of the sub­ject widely.

“I al­ways feel like I amob­li­gated to tell more peo­ple about Ti­bet,” said the di­rec­tor of the China Ti­betol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter at Ti­bet Univer­sity.

Tsen­ten Tashi said he aims to record and doc­u­ment Ti­betan cul­ture and his­tory.

After earn­ing a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in Ti­betan lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture from TU in 1985, Te­sen­ten Tashi joined the school’s Ti­betan his­tory re­search cen­ter. He later earned a doc­tor­ate at Minzu Univer­sity of China.

“We (at the cen­ter) are cur­rently work­ing on trans­lat­ing The Epic of King Ge­sar into Chi­nese,” he said, adding that the next move is to trans­late the epic into English to tell more peo­ple about the an­cient Ti­betan king and hero.

Tsen­ten Tashi’s work with Ge­sar dates back to the 1990s, when he par­tic­i­pated in record­ing and doc­u­ment­ing works linked to the story of the king with Drakpa, arhap­sodist.

The Epic of King Ge­sar was spread via rhap­sodists’ recitals and oral per­for­mances. But they­w­ereil­lit­er­ate­and­no­table to write down the epic.

The univer­sity’s Ge­sar re­search cen­ter, now un­der the China Ti­betol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter, was founded in 1978. It is re­spon­si­ble for writ­ing down the epic.

The cen­ter was able to record 25 episodes from Drakpa be­fore he died and trans­lated one episode into Chi­nese. Fif­teen books have been pub­lished based on the rhap­sodist’s nar­ra­tive, and three more are about to be pub­lished.

Be­sides lead­ing the cen­ter’s ef­forts to spread Ti­betan cul­ture, Tsen­ten Tashi also de­votes him­self to re­search on Ti­bet his­tory and re­li­gion.

Over the past three decades, he has pub­lished 12 aca­demic books on Ti­betol­ogy. Some have be­come re­quired read­ing for col­lege Ti­betol­ogy ma­jors.

Tsen­ten Tashi has also con­ducted re­search on monastery ad­min­is­tra­tion, with the aim of pro­vid­ing the­o­ret­i­cal support to monastery man­age­ment in Ti­bet.

He also be­lieves that mas­ter­ing English is es­sen­tial for Ti­betol­ogy schol­ars.

“I ask my stu­dents to im­prove their English and never stop learn­ing the lan­guage. I am so im­pressed by the col­lec­tions in many in­ter­na­tional li­braries, such as the Ti­betan Bud­dhist doc­u­men­ta­tion cen­ter in New York. Many col­lec­tions are miss­ing in China,” he said, adding that th­ese works are valu­able as­sets for Ti­betol­o­gists.

Nam­gyal, Tsen­ten Tashi’s col­league, an as­sis­tant re­searcher of the China Ti­betol­ogy Re­search Cen­ter at TU, con­sid­ers him­self very for­tu­nate to be work­ing with Tsen­ten Tashi.

“He led me through the door of Ti­betan his­tory. I was his stu­dent and work with him now,” the 41-year-old said.

“He is my model and good friend.”


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