When you are frightened by something, you have to relate with fear, explore why you are frightened, and develop some sense of conviction. You can actually look at fear. Then fear ceases to be the dominant situation that is going to defeat you. Fear can be conquered. You can be free from fear if you realize that fear is not the ogre. You can step on fear, and therefore, you can attain what is known as fearlessness. But that requires that, when you see fear, you smile.
-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
The word Surmang both refers to a region of eastern Tibet as well as a group of monasteries of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism within that region. The traditional seat of the Trungpa tulkus, Surmang has been the home of countless dedicated practitioners and advanced Vajrayana masters.
Yet, while so blessed in so many ways, Surmang has also suffered from many terrible tragedies. Being a remote and rugged region, the area has long suffered from tremendous poverty. In the 50’s, when the Communist Chinese invaded Tibet they showed little mercy and thousands in the area were killed and virtually all of the monasteries were destroyed. Most recently, Surmang was of the areas hit hardest by last spring’s devastating Yushu Earthquake. Despite such immense challenges, the good people of Surmang have not lost heart. With a sangha that now spans the planet, and with the help of incredible organizations like the Konchok Foundation, the Surmang Foundation, and the Gesar Fund, they are pushing forward, both honoring the past and building an even brighter future.
For further reading:
“Of Books and Blankets – A Better Future for the Surmang Region” by Lyndon Comstock of the Konchok Founsation (VIA the Shambhala Times)
Surmang Signs Historic Agreement with Chinese Government (PDF download of the Surmong Foundation newsletter)
How to help:
Introduction to Surmang Dutsi Til:
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