Greetings from the foothill of the Himalayas. It has been almost one month since I arrived here. I rent a part of the beautiful studio of a wonderful Thanka painter, Karma, and also live there like a hermit (alone with monkeys on the roof at night), with a little bed and curtain protected window. My Vancouver days fade away as green trees and leaves soften my heart.
While my heart is calmer and stabler being here, sad news of people giving their lives away for freedom, human rights and peace in Tibet increases. Since I arrived, 5 people have set themselves on fire. Now the death toll by self-immolation is at 57 (since 2009). Every time this happens, here, at the core of the Tibetan community in exile, vigils and prayers for the lost precious lives are organized immediately.
There is now a sense of fear in the community consciousness about when this may happen next. Pain and sadness are always there but at the same time, I realize these earthy, compassionate and courageous people of the land of snows will never give up their belief and devotion. Suppression only makes them stronger.
I continue to draw one drawing when a self-immolation happens. I read news, see pictures of the self-immolated and make a drawing in a couple of hours. I've made it a custom and this is one of the small things I feel I can contribute as an artist and human being for the people, land and world I truly love. The essence of art is elusive, however it does speak its own way and permeates our bodies and souls. I do not feel it is me who made these drawings. I believe those who devoted their lives to the wholesome cause moved my hands.
When I draw, I think about life, death and offering.
I hope you have been well and happy at your end.
Love and Peace,
Tomoyo ( the mountain otter in the cave).
[from Dharamsala, India, on Monday, October 22, 2012]
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