BRISBANE: The 10th Festival of Tibet concluded in Brisbane, Australia, with inspiring stories of love and compassion. The festival opened on 27 April with a message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the festival’s Australian audiences. The message was read by Mr Lhakpa Tshoko, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australasia. The reading was followed by Jetsun Pema (His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sister) joining media personality Meshel Laurie in a conversation with former Kalon Tempa Tsering on stage.
During the discussion, Jetsun Pema underlined the vital role of compassion in nurturing children for over four decades in exile.
“Conditions were tough when we lost our country in 1959. There wasn’t much left to share in a material sense. We lost everything. But we had each other and our affection for each other. Today we have more than 12 thousand orphan or semi-orphan children in our care in India having nurtured more than 52 thousand children since 1960 – which is almost half of our population in exile,” Jetsun Pema said.
Internationally renowned Brisbane-based Tibetan musician and festival organiser Tenzin Choegyal, was one such direct beneficiary of Jetsun Pema’s care.
“Growing up in such a school, I never felt abandoned or alone. I felt nurtured with love and care, and continue to feel so with Amala (a common reference Ms Pema in Tibetan meaning “respected mother”),” Mr Choegyal said.
As well as revealing some mundane moments of her domestic life with Mr Tsering, Ms Pema also regaled in sharing the wistful moments when the children remind her of the passing years while showering her with their love.
“Before children used to call me “ama-la”, now the younger ones call me “mo-la” (Tibetan: grandmother). It’s is a fact I am getting old,” Ms Pema said.
Following the conversation, the Festival presented the Mystical Tibet concert with the Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra. Tenzin Choegyal also performed a range of songs coined as Tibetan folk chamber music. Tenzin Choegyal and his collaborators created an exquisite blend of classical and traditional that took the entire auditorium from wistful to contemplative, ending with a rousing sing along as he taught a few simple Tibetan prayers “Om Mani Padme Hum” (invoking Buddha of compassion) to the audience.
The second day of the festival saw the artist and cultural commentator Michael Leunig create original artworks ‘1000 Stories’ live on stage, accompanied by Tenzin Choegyal and his music. The duo reflected on the theme “Nurturing the earth” whilst accompanied by Shen Flindell on tabla and Marcello Milani on guitar and vocals, as well as Michael Askill on gongs and singing bowl and Richard Grantham on Viola. Proceeds of two of his artworks were donated to the Tibetan Children’s Village school and the Australia Tibet Council.
Prior to that session the Story of Us saw Australia Tibet Council’s Executive Officer Kyinzom Dhongdue and Tempa Tsering, a former minister in the Tibetan Government-in-Exile engaged in a conversation by Amy Wang, a journalist with SBS Mandarin service on the issue of Tibet.
Respected Tibetan Buddhist master, Khensur Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering and Meshel Laurie as they discuss the ideals of compassion and loving kindness and Buddhism For The Unbelievably Busy
The second day also saw Mrs Pema hosted by the Brisbane Tibetan Community for lunch. In her speech to the community, Ms Pema recounted the development of the Tibet Festival from its early years and praised Mr Choegyal for his dedication into making the festival a reality. She highlighted the role of education and warned against pursuing a narrow parochial interest and shared precious moments with Australian Tibetan children.
Throughout the three days, the festival offered guided lessons on Tibetan yoga by Kunga, meditation and art exhibition by Karma Phuntsok, Sand Mandala by Ven Karma Gyasey from New Zealand and many other free workshops and exhibitions on Tibetan art and food. Festival concluded be huge success.