Tibetan Americans

Last updated
Tibetan Americans
Total population
9,000 (Tibet Office estimate, 2008) [1]
Regions with significant populations
California (mainly Northern California), Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Boston, Wisconsin, Chicago
Languages
Tibetan, Chinese, English
Religion
Tibetan Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Tibetans, Chinese Americans, Bhutanese Americans, Nepalese Americans and other Asian Americans particularly Americans of East Asian and South Asian descent

Tibetan Americans are Americans of Tibetan ancestry. Over 9,000 Americans have Tibetan ancestries.

Contents

History

The history of Tibetans in the United States is relatively short, as the United States had limited contact or involvement with Tibet before World War II [ citation needed ] expanded to the Pacific.

Ethnic Tibetans began to immigrate to the United States in the late 1950s. [2] Section 134 of the Immigration Act of 1990 gave a boost to the Tibetan immigration to the US, by providing 1,000 immigrant visas to Tibetans living in India and Nepal. [1] [2] Chain migration followed, and by 1998 the Tibetan-American population had grown to around 5,500, according to a census conducted by Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The 2000 United States Census counted 5,147 US residents who reported Tibetan ancestry. [1]

Immigration timeline

Demography

An estimate of c. 7,000 was made in 2001, [2] and in 2008 the CTA's Office of Tibet in New York informally estimated the Tibetan population in the US at around 9,000. [1] The migration of the Tibetans to the United States took on the pattern of 22 "cluster groups", located primarily in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region and the Intermountain West. Other communities include Austin, Texas and Charlottesville, Virginia. Tibetan Americans who are born in Tibet or elsewhere in China are officially recognized as Chinese nationals. [3]

Northeast

Communities of Tibetan Americans in the Northeast exist in Boston and Amherst, Massachusetts, Ithaca, New York, and New York City, and in the states of Connecticut, Vermont and New Jersey. In New York and New Jersey, they live primarily in Queens and New Brunswick.

The town of Northfield, Vermont has been home for many years to the seat of the current Trijang Rinpoche, who has been estranged from the Dalai Lama due to the Dorje Shugden controversy, which has become a cultural heritage center for thousands of followers.

Mid-Atlantic

In the Mid-Atlantic region, the largest communities can be found in Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., Montgomery County, Maryland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Great Lakes region

On the grounds of Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Bloomington, Indiana Bloomington-TibetanCC-Stupa-9107.jpg
On the grounds of Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Bloomington, Indiana

Communities of Tibetan Americans in the Great Lakes region exist in Chicago and in the states of Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. There is a Tibetan Mongol Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, Indiana near the campus of Indiana University. [4] The late brother of the Dalai Lama was a professor at the university.

Minnesota has the second largest concentration of Tibetan Americans in the United States. [5]

Western United States

Communities of Tibetan Americans in the western U.S. exist in Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, Berkeley, California, several locations in Southern California, and in the states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Washington, and Utah.

Every year, Seattle holds an annual Tibet Festival in August.

Colorado

Although quite small in number overall, Colorado has one of the highest concentrations of Tibetans in North America, focused on Boulder, Colorado Springs, Douglas County and Crestone. The state has Naropa University whose values statement states, "We are Buddhist-inspired, ecumenical, and nonsectarian welcoming faculty, staff, and students of all faiths as well as those who don’t ascribe to any religion." [6] There is a Buddhist commune[ citation needed ] west of Castle Rock and several cities have Tibetan outreach organizations. Colorado Springs alone has three Tibetan stores and a restaurant.

Much of the reason[ citation needed ] behind this rather peculiar demographic is that Tibetan guerillas were secretly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) at Camp Hale outside of Leadville. Camp Hale was used as a training camp for expatriate Tibetans to be inserted to aid the existing resistance in Tibet after the region was retaken by the Chinese People's Liberation Army, between 1959 and 1965.

From 1958 to 1960, Anthony Poshepny trained various special missions teams, including Tibetan Khambas and Hui Muslims, for operations in China against the Communist government. Poshepny sometimes claimed[ citation needed ] that he personally escorted the 14th Dalai Lama out of Tibet, but sources in the Tibetan exile deny this.

The site was chosen because of the similarities of the Rocky Mountains in the area with the Himalayan Plateau. The CIA parachuted four groups [7] of Camp Hale trainees inside Tibet between 1959 and 1960 to contact the remaining resistance groups, but the missions resulted in the death or capture of many team members.

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

The Dorje Shugden is a controversy over Dorje Shugden, also known as Dolgyal, who some consider to be one of several protectors of the Gelug school, the school of Tibetan Buddhism to which the Dalai Lamas belong. Dorje Shugden has become the symbolic centre-point of a conflict over the "purity" of the Gelug school and the inclusion of non-Gelug teachings, especially Nyingma ones.

Sera Monastery Buddhist monastery in Tibet

Sera Monastery is one of the "great three" Gelug university monasteries of Tibet, located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) north of Lhasa and about 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the Jokhang. The other two are Ganden Monastery and Drepung Monastery. The origin of its name is attributed to a fact that during construction, the hill behind the monastery was covered with blooming wild roses.

Pabongkhapa Déchen Nyingpo Buddhist lama

Pabongkhapa Déchen Nyingpo, (1878–1941) was a Gelug lama of the modern era of Tibetan Buddhism. He attained his Geshe degree at Sera Mey Monastic University, Lhasa, and became a highly influential teacher in Tibet, unusual for teaching a great number of lay people. Pabongkha was offered the regency of the present Dalai Lama but declined the request because "he strongly disliked political affairs."

Buddhism in Kalmykia

The Kalmyk people are the only people of Europe whose national religion is Buddhism. They live in Kalmykia, a federal subject of the Russian Federation. It borders Dagestan to the south, Stavropol Krai to the southwest, Rostov Oblast to the west, Volgograd Oblast to the northwest and Astrakhan Oblast to the east. The Caspian Sea borders Kalmykia to the southeast.

Ngawang Wangyal, popularly known as "Geshe Wangyal," was a Buddhist priest and scholar of Kalmyk origin who was born in the Astrakhan province in southeast Russia sometime in 1901.

Shabdrung Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche was born into a noble family in Lhasa, Tibet in 1935. He is also known as Losang Kunga Gyurme, and the son of Tsipon Shuguba, the last Finance Minister in the Dalai Lama's government in Lhasa. His mother Tsering Chonzom, was daughter of Trimon Norbu Wangyal, who became the chief cabinet minister in the Tibetan government of the 13th Dalai Lama. Trimon was the second son of the Shakabpa Tenzin Norgye. Hence, Lama Kunga Rinpoche, is a close relative of the Tibetan historian Tsepon Shakabpa.

Glenn H. Mullin tibetologist

Glenn H. Mullin is a Tibetologist, Buddhist writer, translator of classical Tibetan literature and teacher of Tantric Buddhist meditation.

The Tibetan National Anthem, known as Gyallu, is the anthem of the Tibetan Government in Exile and is strictly banned by the People's Republic of China, especially in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It was written by Trijang Rinpoche in 1950.

Thekchen Choling is a registered Buddhist organisation in the Republic of Singapore. The organisation was started in 2001 by Namdrol Rinpoche and a group of his initial disciples. The organisation promotes non-sectarian Buddhism, emphasizing understanding of Theravada and Mahayana teachings.

Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa Tibetan politician

Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa was a Tibetan nobelman, scholar, statesman and former Finance Minister of the government of Tibet.

Manjushri Institute was a large Buddhist college situated at Conishead Priory in Cumbria, England from 1976 until its dissolution in 1991. In 1991 its assets, including Conishead Priory, were transferred to a new centre on the same premises, Manjushri Mahayana Buddhist Centre, which was later renamed Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre.

14th Dalai Lama The 14th and current Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism, which was formally headed by the Ganden Tripas. From the time of the 5th Dalai Lama to 1959, the central government of Tibet, the Ganden Phodrang, invested the position of Dalai Lama with temporal duties.

Tibet Institute Rikon

The Tibet Institute Rikon is a Tibetan monastery located in Zell-Rikon im Tösstal in the Töss Valley in Switzerland. It is an established as a non-profit foundation because Swiss laws resulting from the 19th century secularization movement did until 1973 not allow for the establishment of new monasteries.

Rato Dratsang

Rato Dratsang, also known as Rato Monastery, Rato Dratsang is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" order. For many centuries Rato Dratsang was an important monastic center of Buddhist studies in Central Tibet.

Ling Rinpoche title for a Tulku - Tibetan Buddhist teacher (for the 6th incarnation see Q512927)

Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche is a Tibetan tulku. The best-known incarnation is the sixth incarnation, Thupten Lungtok Namgyal Thinley, a Tibetan buddhist scholar and teacher.

Trijang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso Buddhist lama (1901-1981)

The Third Trijang Rinpoche, Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (1901–1981) was a Gelug Lama and a direct disciple of Pabongkhapa Déchen Nyingpo. He succeeded Ling Rinpoche as the junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama when the Dalai Lama was nineteen years old. He was also a lama of many Gelug Lamas who taught in the West including Zong Rinpoche, Geshe Rabten and Lama Yeshe. Trijang Rinpoche's oral teachings were recorded by Zimey Rinpoche in a book called the Yellow Book.

Khyongla Rato

Khyongla Rato, also known as Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Rato Khyongla Rinpoche, Khyongla Rinpoche and also as Nawang Losang, his monk's name, is a scholar and teacher in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in what was then the Kham region of Tibet, and was recognized as an incarnate lama at an early age. He spent over 30 years of his life as a monk studying in the monasteries of Tibet and receiving teachings from many highly qualified lamas.

The Tibet Center

The Tibet Center, also known as Kunkhyab Thardo Ling, in New York City, is a center for the study of Tibetan Buddhism, a dharma center. The Tibet Center was founded by Venerable Khyongla Rato Rinpoche in 1975, and is currently directed by Khen Rinpoche, Nicholas Vreeland, who is the abbot of Rato Dratsang. The primary teachers at The Tibet Center are Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, Geshe Nicholas Vreeland, and Anthony Spina.

Nicholas Vreeland Swiss photographer

Nicholas Vreeland, also known as Rato Khen Rinpoche, Geshe Thupten Lhundup, is a fully ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk who is the abbot of Rato Dratsang Monastery, a 10th-century Tibetan Buddhist monastery reestablished in India. Vreeland is also a photographer. He is the son of Ambassador Frederick Vreeland and grandson of Diana Vreeland, the renowned fashion editor.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Global Nomads: The Emergence of the Tibetan Diaspora (Part I), by Seonaigh MacPherson (University of British Columbia), Anne-Sophie Bentz (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies), Dawa Bhuti Ghoso
  2. 1 2 3 Bhuchung K. Tsering, Enter the Tibetan Americans: Tibetan Americans establish a presence in the United States. Tibet Foundation Newsletter, February 2001.
  3. Ling, Huping (2008). Emerging Voices: Experiences of Underrepresented Asian Americans. Rutgers University Press. pp. 77–78.
  4. Tibetan Mongol Buddhist Cultural Center, Bloomington, Indiana Archived 2010-01-31 at the Wayback Machine - official site
  5. Immigration in Minnesota: Discovering Common Ground (PDF) (Report). The Minneapolis Foundation. October 2004. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  6. "Mission and Values". www.naropa.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  7. Committee, Canada Tibet. "Canada Tibet Committee | Library | WTN | Archive | Old". www.tibet.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-03.