From the recording TIBET Land of My Tears
Deborah Schmidt: Native American Flute
Billie Woods: Celtic Harp
Valarie Young: Cello
It seemed we were approaching the outskirts of some kind of large village. Soon we entered Namtso Lake National Park. We pulled up at what looked like another Tibetan guest house. The structure at the back that looked like a U.S. public storage unit was actually our hotel. It was hence dubbed, “storage shed hotel”. The wind reminded us we’d be sleeping not in pajamas but with under layers, outer layers, jackets, double socks, hats and gloves all stuffed in our sleeping bags!
Sleepily walking to have breakfast, we heard the words, “Have you seen the lake?” We walked down a path and a National Geographic full color, glossy fold out of the most stunningly beautiful blue lake flanked on the far side by snow blanketed mountains!
We were mesmerized by the vast blues and contrasting white caps being churned by the whipping winds. Far off in the distance we could see figures by the shoreline. Our guide, SamTen, and leader, Richard, walked up. Glancing at SamTen, we saw a most sad, melancholy look radiating from his dark brown eyes. Soon, SamTen walked away. Pondering what we witnessed, we asked Richard if SamTen was alright.
Richard explained that Lake Namtso , or “Heavenly Lake”, is a very sacred lake in Tibetan Buddhism. Touching the water was considered taboo, therefore not allowed. Well, the Chinese government has turned this cherished area into a National Park. We didn’t realize the figures we saw by the shoreline were tourists riding yaks, sometimes plodding through the water.
We realized that the Chinese occupation of Tibet had occurred only a few years before SamTen was born. He was witnessing egregious violations of a place so very venerable to his culture and religion. We asked Richard how SamTen copes. Richard paused and said, “He has to let it go. He’s learned how to let it go to survive.” This song honors SamTen.