Lhakar (White Wednesday) is a home grown non-cooperation movement that has been
spreading across Tibet since late 2008. Tibetans take concrete actions to promote Tibetan identity such as wearing traditional Tibetan clothing, to speak Tibetan only and go to the temple on Wednesday, and to buy only from Tibetan shops and restaurants.
Wednesday is an auspicious day for the Tibetan people because it’s His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s soul day.
Since April 2011, Tibetans in Nangchen (Kham, Eastern Tibet) have been boycotting Chinese-owned vegetable stores. On the Dalai Lama’s birthday 6th July 2011, the boycott has spread to three other Tibetan cities resulting in several Chinese shops shutting down and Tibetan shops opening up. Restaurants in Dzoege (Amdo, Eastern Tibet) refuse to serve Tibetans who ask for dishes in Chinese.
In Lhasa (U-Tsang, Central Tibet) the Bharkor is every Wednesday packed with Tibetans making offerings to pray for the Dalai Lama’s long life. Many school are giving language awards to recognize students who excel at Tibetan language and history.
Leading writers and scholars have called for a nation-wide boycott and noncooperation movement. Lhakar is now also in India and other countries. Tibetans in exile wear their Tibetan dress on Wednesday, they go to the temple for prayers and offerings, and eat and drink Tibetan only.
Tibetans inside Tibet are prepared to sacrifice their life because of the despair they feel at the disappearance of their own culture and religion. Tibetans outside Tibet have a special responsibility to help keep their own culture alive and not something people talk and read about. TCC requests Tibetans outside Tibet and their supporters to show solidarity. While we cannot grant their wish of a free Tibet, we can show that their gestures are not going unnoticed.
This is why TCC strongly requests Tibetans to attend those Lhakar evenings whenever they have the opportunity.
Wednesday 5th December 2012, the Tibetan Cultural Center in Belgium organised the first Lhakar in Brussels. Twenty people in total assembled at the Ogen Kunzang Choling Buddhist Center in Brussels, of which five westerners who wanted to show their solidarity and support for this initiative and the Tibetan culture in general. All the Tibetans wore their traditional dress At first a video was shown about Lhakar, how it started and spread over Tibet.
Afterwards there was a prayer session with a Tibetan monk, followed by a tea break with different kinds of Tibetan tea, rice and a delicious tsampa cake. After the break, there was a first teaching by Khenpo Tseten from Bhutan. He talked about how buddism was spread after Buddha’s Enlightenment.
The Lhakar will be each Wednesday in Brussels. The events will consist of buddhist teachings to the Tibetans, an introduction to meditation, mantra recitation etc. Also westerners are always welcome to join.
For more information about Lhakar: www.lhakar.org.
By Dennis Barbion and Denwa Jigmey, Brussels, 7th December 2012 for The Arachneed.
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