Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:42 am

CHAPTER LXXXIX. Good-bye, Tibet!

The whole distance through which I had passed from Darjeeling to Lhasa was about two thousand four hundred and ninety miles. In the first place, I started from Darjeeling on the 5th of January, in the 32nd year of Meiji, and passing through Calcutta by railway, came to Segauli; hence also I travelled on foot, and on the 5th of February arrived at Kātmāndu. The distance between Segauli and Kātmāndu was about a hundred and fifteen miles. Leaving there on the 7th of March, on the 11th of the same month I came to Pokhra. I left there on the 14th of the same month and on the 16th of April reached Lo Tsarang at the distance of about eighteen miles from the boundary of Tibet. From Kātmāndu to here, I walked about two hundred and sixty miles. Staying a year there, on the 6th of April of the next year, I left there and for the convenience of entering Tibet, returning a little, I came to a mountain village Malba, situated on the eastern valley of Mount Dhavalagiri. I started from this village on the 12th of June, and passing half way up north of Mount Dhavalagiri at the height of nineteen thousand feet, I proceeded to the north-western plain; and on July 4th I reached the mountain gorge of the province of Hor-to-sho in the north-western plain of Tibet. The distance from Tsarang to Malba is about seventy miles, and that from Malba to the Province of Hor-to-sho one hundred and fifty-five miles. In these places, as I had to pass through thickets and round gorges, I walked more than the actual distance. On December 5th I came to the temple of Tashi Lhunpo, and after staying there a few days, departed. On the 21st of March, in the 34th year of[653] Meiji, just two years and three months after the departure from Darjeeling, I arrived at the Temple of Sera in Lhasa. As I took roundabout roads now and then from Hor-tosho to Lhasa I walked about one thousand two hundred and fifty miles.

When I got up the next morning I found that some fuel had been collected during the night, so I boiled water and made some tea, and at the same time we ate parched wheat-flour, and then departed. That day, as we thought it might be impossible to get parched wheat-flour on the way, we ate plenty of it before starting, and commenced to climb up the mountain. The rain ceased, and the weather was very fine; we climbed up three miles and came to a place covered with bushes of various kinds. Ascending half a mile further, there was a lonely house. It is placed there to detain men of suspicious character coming from Darjeeling, while word is sent to the castle of Nyatong. In that house there was a man and also an old woman. I was told that he went backwards and forwards between the place and Kalenpong on some sort of commercial business. I drank tea there, and as after ascending the high and steep mountain I was somewhat hungry, I ate parched wheat-flour, and again resumed the climb. After ascending about a mile among very short dwarf trees, the path came out upon a snow-mountain called by the name of Jelep-la or Jela. Before advancing over the snow, looking towards the north-eastern sky, across the wide, dark plain appearing and disappearing in the clouds, where stands Lhasa from which I had departed, I bade farewell to Tibet. There is a lake there the water of which was completely frozen over. While ascending, I looked down and saw an immense volume of cloud rising from a vast wide plain moving to and fro in a wide forest, and it was indeed beautiful. On the upper part of it, rhododendron flowers in full bloom were to be seen. Walking for a mile over the snow, I reached[654] the summit which forms the real boundary of Tibet and British India; a step on the other side of the mountain, the people are not governed by Tibetan law.


Since I had reached the boundary of Tibet, or Tsarang, in the Himalayan range, three years had elapsed, and at last I had safely arrived in a country where free communications are possible. The feeling that my safe arrival in this country is entirely owing to the protecting power of the Lord Buḍḍha was further deepened, and I worshipped Him with zeal and earnestness. Then I composed utas, as follows:

O Shakyamuni, Thou, my refuge dear!
Till now Thy guardian shield has guarded me
Through many devious dangerous paths and wilds
And snowy plateaux threatening instant deaths.
My grateful, fervent heart shall ever thrill
With deathless Dharma’s virtues taught by Thee.
In all my wanderings o’er the Himalayan range,
On all my paths beset with perils great,
The path of Dharma is the path for me.
Thus strengthened by the purest Dharma’s strength
Traversed have I these unknown wilds, secure,
And holiest Saints and Sanghas have I met.
Fore’er in Thee alone, O Lord, I live.

At that time, at the summit of the mountain, I felt extremely cold; but that feeling of coldness was entirely forgotten in the strong feeling of gratitude for the grace of Buḍḍha, in the joy felt for the safe passing of the manifold guard-houses. When I came to myself, I was indeed very cold, but happily the day was bright and sunny, so that I felt warmth more or less even among such snowy mountains. Descending about a mile, I came upon a very good road three feet in width and paved with stones. It was indeed a contrast, for even the idea of such a one is quite unknown in Tibet.

It was said that the year I came there especially large hailstones fell. Hailstones are notable in these regions of snow-mountains, and the hail I saw in Nepāl was very large. I dug out some imbedded in the snow, and found many as large as a pigeon’s egg; while it was said that at the time of falling they must have been as large as a hen’s egg.

It is hardly credible that such large stones come down like rain; but I believe it to be true from actually seeing some imbedded ones as large as pigeon’s eggs. Many people coming from Darjeeling and Tomo-Rinchen-gang for trade declare that what I have said about the size of a hailstone is true. It is not seldom here that when hailstones fall in abundance, the passage is stopped even for a month or more.

Now leaving the snowy part of the mountain and descending two miles, we again walked up an ascent of three miles; and descending still three miles more, we arrived at the post-town of Naktang. There were about twenty houses here, which, a long time ago, were constructed as barracks for a soldier’s station, the large ones are at present used as store-houses for woollen goods. As it rained that day, the road was very bad, and I lodged there that night.

In spite of rain falling furiously, we started on June 16th at five o’clock, and descending through a luxuriant forest for thirteen miles, we arrived at Lingtam and stopped there. If the weather had been fine, we could have gone further that day; but it was rainy all the day, and in addition to this, after leaving the Tibetan domain, we had no necessity for being in a great hurry; and the consequence of slow and loitering steps was that we were obliged to stop there. The next day we again descended for about four miles and came to a place where we felt extreme heat which by contrast was almost unbearable. I took off my clothing and, giving it to the servant, walked on only in an underdress; still abundant perspiration moistened my whole body. Going up toward the south-west, we came to Tsom-Takba and stopped there, as the weather was still rainy. The next day, in spite of rain, we walked three miles, and passing over a bridge, we went another three miles, and stopped in the town of Boetong.

This town lies in the centre of a rich and fertile plain among the Himālaya Mountains. Many people of Nepāl have immigrated to the neighborhood of this town, and in addition to the old cultivated fields, they have added many rice-fields here and there. Though it is under the dominion of England, and taxes are paid to the Government of British India, most of the people are Nepālese, besides a[657] small number of Sikkim people. Along the line of this road the most delightful thing I saw was the planting of rice-fields in the rain. Though most of the Indian rice is inferior and consequently disagreeable to the taste, yet that produced in this part of the Himālaya Mountains is not different from our Japanese rice either in quality or lustre. This Indian rice, when boiled, gives a very agreeable smell and is very sweet to eat. For the cultivation of it they were planting a rice-field that rainy day.

In this town many Europeans are living, and most of them are engaged in farming. It is a very flourishing post-town containing a fine post-office, a Roman Catholic Church, and a school for poor people connected with it. As I walked through the town and came right under the building of the post-office, a Tibetan gentleman, standing on a veranda and looking at the people passing by, turned his face and stared at me with great surprise.

“Come in, Sir,” said he, calling out to me suddenly in a loud voice.

“No, thank you,” replied I, “I am too busy to enter. I am searching for a house to stop in to-night. Will you be so kind as to lodge me?”

“Any thing will do,” said he, “please come in, Sir.”

“Though I go in,” replied I, “I shall be in great trouble if you do not lodge me.”

“Please come in,” said he, smilingly, “however it may be.”

Thinking it was strange for him to treat me as his intimate friend, I stepped in; and as soon as he saw me, “Do you forget me?” said he, extending his hand, and showing me in every way that he was indeed acquainted with me.

While I was in Darjeeling, he was a teacher of the Tibetan language in the Government High School there; but he[658] was not my instructor. Though he was a teacher of the second class, and not deep in learning, yet he was a man of general knowledge having the power of quick understanding. Of his change of position to be postmaster here I was entirely ignorant. After exchanging our respective accounts of events since we parted, he eagerly asked me how I had come through those vigilant guard-houses without endangering myself. My servant sitting near me, hearing us talking in English, looked almost stupefied. I at once perceived that our conversation would arouse the suspicion of my servant again, and tried to talk in the dialect of Lhasa. As the postmaster knew the dialect of Darjeeling very well, but did not know that of Lhasa, he did not answer me in the latter but consequently talked in English and Tibetan. This, just as I thought, aroused the suspicion which had been happily suppressed since our arrival at the first guard-house. The servant instantly went to the wife of the postmaster and asked her:

“Speaking truthfully, where is my master from?” said the servant.

“He is,” replied the lady, “a Japanese Lama.”

“Where is Japan?” asked the servant eagerly, as he heard me talking English, “is he not an Englishman?”

“No, he is a Japanese,” replied the lady, “Japan is, at present, so strong and powerful that even England looks at it with surprise. Her name, like the rising sun, gleams even to the remotest part of the world. So says my husband, who read it in a newspaper.”

“That is a terrible matter,” said the servant, being frightened almost into taking flight, haggard and pale; “I shall be killed.”

This account of her personal conference with my servant was given to me by the lady afterwards. It seemed to me that my servant almost trembled with fear, as though he[659] expected every moment to lose his life; but I had no time to explain his misunderstanding. I slept that night in a clean and comfortable European bed.
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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:47 am

CHAPTER XC. The Labche Tribe.

The next day I arrived in the rain at Kalenpong, a distance of fifteen miles. Kalenpong is a thriving town situated some thirty miles east of Darjeeling, across a large valley and on a little lower level. Though a cheap kind of goods forms the greater proportion of its business, the total amount of trade carried on there is said to exceed that of Darjeeling, for the merchants from Tibet, Sikkim, and Bhūtān generally exchange their goods here. As in Darjeeling, many foreigners live here; Tibetans, Hinḍūs, Sikkimese, Bhūtānese, Nepālese, and Europeans may all be found. There are also large protestant churches, schools, hospitals, Buḍḍhist temples, and smaller places of worship of various other religions. In Kalenpong there lives a Tibetan named Pu-chung, who moved here from Shigatze, where he had been a priest; but after his removal to this town he became a merchant and is now in good standing in his new way of living. It was to this man that my baggage had been directed through the kindness of the Chinese druggist Thien-ho-thang. As stated before, it was put under the care of a Chinese officer who was to carry it, together with the allowance to the Chinese soldiers, as far as Tomo-Rinchen-gang, whence it was to be trusted to some Chinese servants and to be brought to Kalenpong. Therefore when I came to Pu-chung I expected to receive it and start again directly, but I found that it had not yet arrived, so I had to wait.

When I arrived at his house, the host took me for a Tibetan and treated me as such, but after some time he asked my servant who I was, and my servant said that he knew nothing about me except that I was called “Japan[661] Lama”. Pu-chung came to me and told me what he heard from the servant, and asked whether I was the Japanese Lama who had been at Darjeeling, telling me at the same time that there was no need of concealment now that I was at Kalenpong. I answered that there was no concealment, for it had already been discovered at the post-office of Boeton, and I asked him what my servant was thinking about me and himself. Pu-chung informed me how surprised my servant was, and how pale he turned when the host told him that the Japanese Lama must have been an intruder into the Forbidden Land, and how he could not even eat the whole day from fear of the punishment he would receive when he got back for meddling with me. Poor fellow! I had to do something for him. If he was anxious to return to his wife, who was pregnant at that time, and to his children (of whom he had two) he must be sent back; but if he was too much afraid of punishment to go home, it might be better for him to stay and find some way of living at Kalenpong or Darjeeling, and then his family must be sent for; I was willing to help him to do this. Whichever he might choose he must settle it himself. So I told Pu-chung to go and ask my servant which he would prefer.

After a while my servant came to me accompanied by the host, and requested me to divine for him by the art of ‘Eki’ whether or not he should suffer if he were to go back to Lhasa. This request I refused, because of his connexion with me. Were he entirely a stranger to me I might try ‘Eki,’ but he was my servant; if ‘Eki’ were in favor of his staying there, it might be suspected that I kept him for my own advantage; if on the contrary, my ‘Eki’ predicted that it was better to return home, he might take me as anxious to get rid of him. So I told him plainly what I thought, and advised him to go to some noted Lama in the neighborhood and get his advice on the[662] subject. He would not listen to me, and demanded my judgment again and again. At last I firmly refused, saying that as there was no necessity to depend on ‘Eki’ now that I was out of Tibet, I should never do it again even if any one else applied to me. Seeing my strong determination he went out. After a while he came back and told me the judgment of a Lama was in favor of his returning home. Thereupon I gave him thirty-five rupees, some old clothes and provisions enough to carry him over the barriers, and so sent him away. He was to go by the short road of the Peach Valley, and he seems to have returned home safely and also to have escaped punishment, as I heard nothing more, though I inquired after him afterwards while I was in Nepāl.

Four or five days passed after his starting, yet the Chinese to whom I had entrusted my baggage did not come. I began to wonder about the cause of the delay; even if he were stopped at a barrier, there could be no arrest of the luggage. So it ought to be at Tomo at least, but I heard nothing from Tomo for seven days. On the eighth day, I met with a merchant from Tomo-Rinchen-gang and was told that there had been two Chinese with several Tibetan coolies and about twenty horses and mules coming south, but the road being very bad owing to the recent rains, three of the horses slipped into a river and were killed, losing all the loads on their backs, which consisted of musk and silver coins. My anxiety still further increased when I heard that the horses that dropped into the river belonged to the bigger Chinese of the two, for I remembered that the Chinese who took charge of my goods was the bigger one. Ten days passed, but nothing but similar tidings were to be heard. At last I was almost in despair, when on the morning of the eleventh day I heard of my goods, and that night both the Chinese made their appearance and to my great joy, I received my luggage at their hands.[663] I paid thirteen rupees as freight from Tomo to Kalenpong.

It was the first day of July when I received my baggage, and on the next day I left Kalenpong. After about ten miles descent I came to the river Tista, where an iron bridge of European style a hundred and fifty feet long was laid across. The bridge has no intermediate supports, probably because the river is too rapid to allow of them. From the Siliguri station by the river side, a bullock-cart way runs by a very roundabout way to Kalenpong and Boeton. It is chiefly used for freight.

The Tista river has a mythological history, which I will mention here. Among the Himālayas there is a savage tribe called Labche who live in a primitive state. The tribe is subdivided into two classes, of which one is much inferior to the other. The forefather of the advanced race, according to their genealogy, was called Tikum Serrong, and is said to have been born from the earth of the Himālayas, and his wife, whose name was Domi, from the water of the Tista river; they call the river Domi’s Rangni Unlam Hoklam. The river Tista runs through a large valley to the north-east of Darjeeling and joins the Gaṇgā.

The inferior tribe of the two is supposed to be descended from a large stone, which is still to be seen in a little village called Dalamthang, which is situated on a hill in the plain north-west of Darjeeling. Their kinsmen are also scattered about Sikkim. The superior and inferior tribes, though they have different supposed ancestors, are really of the same race—the Labche, though the latter tribe is much lower and as stupid as the stone their forefather. With a few exceptions, the Labche (who have lived at Darjeeling long enough to imitate in dress the Tibetan or the Nepālese style) all cling to their original customs and manners. The covering of the body is only a cloth wound crosswise around the waist. The cloth, known by the name of Kusdom of Domi, is woven[664] from the fibres of a grass called Sache in Tibetan. Sewing with needles is entirely unknown among them. The Labche women have their chins tattooed in three straight stripes, and those who cannot afford tattooing are content to dye three stripes, in some vegetable juice.

Their food chiefly consists of grasses, seeds of grasses of wild growth, and various kinds of mushrooms; meat and fish are very seldom eaten. They are practically vegetarians, and are such good botanists that they can discriminate with wonderful skill the poisonous vegetables from the edible; they know that such and such grasses are good against such and such diseases, and in what season they are or are not good to eat, and they know the names of all grasses. In this respect they are far more intelligent than the Hinḍūs, who know nothing of the names of grasses, nor even those of flowers. The bamboo is the plant most useful to the Labches. In the first place a section of bamboo is used as a kettle, into which are stuffed the roots of grasses or fruits, and sometimes corn well seasoned with salt and honey. Then it is fastened with a lid and put on the fire (for fuel they use bamboo) until the outside of the bamboo kettle turns black. When it is removed and the lid opened, the contents are found well cooked and ready for the table. This is the only way of cooking known to the Labches in the mountains. Earthen and stone kilns and metallic kettles are not known at all. The bowls which they use at dinner are also of bamboo, the bucket in which they carry water, the basin in which they keep provisions and milk, are all cylinders of bamboo. They also make bows and arrows from the same useful plant, and are skilful archers with bamboo bows and poisoned arrows.

Among the Labche tribe polygamy is sometimes, but very rarely, to be found; but polyandry is, in contrast to the Tibetans, entirely forbidden. They are very timid by nature and are extremely inactive, like other aboriginal races,[665] but instead of diminishing, like the American Indians or the Ainos of Japan, their number increases as much as does that of the Tibetans. I believe their being monogamic counts for something in their favor. I cannot say whether their ancestors originated in the Himālaya mountains, but, judging simply from their language, which seemingly has no relation either to Tibetan or to Samskṛṭ, I may safely say that they are descendants of aboriginal people settled there in a very remote time. Their faces are rather white and fine, and they are the best looking among the Himālayan mountaineers. But they have no courage or energy and look rather consumptive. Though thieving is very common among this tribe, such cruelty as manslaughter is utterly unknown. Most Labches who come to Darjeeling now-a-days are of the superior tribe of the two. Some people of the inferior tribe sometimes come up to the city, but they are too timid to mingle with others, and unless the utmost care be taken they run back to their old home. But both of these tribes have the finest countenance in the Himālayas, and, sad to say, many of their women at Darjeeling are slaves of soldiers, who are so numerous as to include many of the women of the place in this infamous employment. In Sikkim there are many immigrants both from Tibet and Bhūṭān, but they mostly use the broken Tibetan language and can be distinguished from the Labches, who differ from them not only in language, but in appearance, customs, manners and everything. The Labches believe in Buḍḍhism, but of a very simple kind. I think they are a people of the greatest ethnological interest. If polygenists find here original man, it would be of no small interest to investigate how his lines of descent have branched off. Monogenists, on the other hand, would have to explain what linguistic and ethnological relations they bear to the neighboring tribes. No careful study seems to have been made of[666] them yet. So we must leave the thorough investigation to the scientists.

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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:48 am

CHAPTER XCI. Visit to my Old Teacher.

But I must continue my journey. I crossed the iron bridge over the Tista river, and found a good and wide road on the other side. This time it was an ascent of seventeen miles as far as Ghoom, where I expected to arrive on that day. I quickened the pace of the horse on which I was riding, but owing to the recent rain the two horses which were loaded with my baggage could not go so fast, and I was obliged to stop at a village for the night, after only seven miles’ journey. The next day, I arrived at Lhasa Villa, the country seat of Saraṭ Chanḍra Ḍās of Darjeeling, my old teacher, through whom I first became acquainted with the Tibetan language. When I knocked at his door, one of his children opened it. He had forgotten me and was asking my name, when Mrs. Chanḍra Ḍās made her appearance and asked me on what business I came.

I replied with a smile, “Have you forgotten me? Can you not still remember me?”

Then the Rai Bahāḍur, who had probably recognised my voice, rushed out and said: “Is it you, Mr. Kawaguchi? You are welcome.”

My baggage was immediately unloaded and carried in by the servant, and I was shown in. Great was his surprise and joy to see me again. He told me that he had known of my whereabouts from my two letters to him, and with what joy he had heard of my well-being as a doctor, but with what apprehension he had considered my prospects of getting out of Tibet. He also explained to me how Tsa Rong-ba came to him to hand him my letter, but as he ran away without calling at his house again as he promised, he could not give me his answer, adding that[668] in his answer he had intended to advise me to return quickly, because on seeing my letter he had noticed there was no further need for me to study the Tibetan language and religion. He also told me that Dr. Bunyiu Nanjio of Japan had been very anxious about me and asked him in almost every letter to tell all he heard of me; and he said he would write to the Doctor directly. I talked of my experiences in Tibet and of the journey, and it was midnight when we went to bed.

Next morning I had bad fever, and when the fever went down it was followed by palsy; my limbs began to lose power and I felt as if the palsy was going to the heart. By and by I was unable to move my hands or feet at all, and I thought it must be a kind of heart attack of beri-beri from which it is generally believed death is almost inevitable. Rai Saraṭ was much concerned about me, and attended me all the time of my sickness. Meanwhile a physician came in and examined me. I learned afterwards that the physician pronounced my disease to be a Tista fever, the most frightful kind of malaria. I thought myself dying, and thought how lucky it was to die here at Darjeeling, for then my death could be announced to all my friends, whereas if it had occurred in Tibet, no one would have heard of it. But I thought that before I died I must make a will to the effect that the books I brought from Tibet must be sent to Japan, either to the Japanese Imperial University or to any other great library within easy reach of my fellow-countrymen. Therefore though in an almost insensible state I told my teacher to write a will for me, and began to talk in English but with great difficulty. Rai Saraṭ told me it was needless, for he understood what I meant to say. The physician also told me to keep quiet and spare both bodily and spiritual exertion as much as possible.


That night I felt a little better, but the palsy of the limbs remained just the same, and I entered into samāḍhi, trying thus[669] to remove the root of the malady. If any one had seen me in that state, he would have thought that I was indeed beside myself. After three days’ suffering, thanks to the careful attendance of Rai Saraṭ, I was a little better, and my limbs began to have some feeling in them, and after that, though slowly, I grew better and better, and on the eighth day I could move my hand a little. I wished to telegraph home of my whereabouts, but from Darjeeling to Japan the charge is thirty-seven rupees for three words, and two rupees was all the money I had left in my pocket now. Nor was I bold enough to borrow the money from my teacher, so after all, I did not telegraph home. But wishing to notify my return, I did my best to use my hand and wrote a letter addressed to Hige Tokujūro in my native town, though I do not quite remember what I wrote in it. I was gradually recovering, but for a whole month I was unable to do anything, and became very thin and weak. While in Tibet I had grown fat and healthy, and they had often told me that I was another man after ten months’ stay in Lhasa, and I had felt so too; but now I was again quite lean. Happily, however, by the grace of Buḍḍha I survived, and before another month had passed I was able to read and write. After that I had a great many visitors with whom I had every kind of conversation, to relate which would take another volume, but as they have no direct connexion with the journey to Tibet they need not be narrated here.

I was obliged to stay at Darjeeling for some time, because after having been accustomed to the cold climate of Tibet, I was afraid in my enfeebled state to undertake a journey over the scorching plains of India. My doctor also advised me to stay in Darjeeling for three months at least, and I determined to do so. While I was thus waiting for the recovery of my health, I heard nothing from Lhasa, for in this season of the year the communication between[670] Phari and Darjeeling is almost entirely suspended from the fear of attacks of fever on foreign travellers in the intermediate region. The natives of Tomo-Rinchen-gang, who are accustomed to the climate, do not catch it easily, but if Tibetans were to pass through the district in the dangerous season they would surely be attacked by the malady. When I left Tibet it was at the beginning of the season and the caravan which I joined was the last but one. I knew the danger very well, but I had no other choice; the affair which occurred in Lhasa drove me to come across the dangerous path, and had caused my illness at Darjeeling. In October the first caravan came from Tibet and brought me some shocking news.
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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:00 am

CHAPTER XCII. My Tibetan Friends in Trouble.

I learned that a month had hardly passed after my escape from Lhasa, when many of my acquaintances were arrested and imprisoned. According to this information, the ex-Minister of the Treasury with whom I lived, the old nun living in his house, and one of his favorite servants, were arrested and taken to prison; the new Treasury-minister was set free, as he had not had much relation with me; the Sera Seminary was closed, Tsa Rong-ba and his wife and Takbo Tunbai Choen Joe were taken to jail and examined with terrible tortures; every house which I had frequented was closely observed by the detectives, and the people in them were expecting every moment to be arrested; therefore everybody who had had any connexion whatever with me was endeavoring to conceal it, and consequently bribery was prevalent in Lhasa. Such were the stories I heard from the caravan, but the Tibetans are great story-tellers in general, and are very fond of surprising people by lies. So I thought they might be productions of their imagination, derived from the rumor that I escaped from Lhasa, and I did not give them much credit, and told them they were absurd stories; but still I had some doubts.

Some story of this kind reached the ear of the Magistrate of Darjeeling. One day he called me to his private house and asked me several questions as to the number of the priests, and the educational system, and the regulations of the Sera Monastery, and whether there was any law by which a school could be closed for such occurrences as had happened and whether I believed the stories. To this last question I answered negatively, because not only the Tibetans, but even the Chinese in Tibet, are very often fond of exaggerating truths and circulating rumors at Darjeeling; for instance, they say Russians have been seen striding along the streets of Lhasa in broad daylight, while in fact there are none, but only a Mongolian employed by the Government of Russia.

The local English officers of these districts are very desirous of knowing anything about Tibet, and they would write down any tidings brought thence, not distinguishing whether they are true or not.
At Ghoom there is an officer whose special business it is to enquire into anything occurring in Tibet. If there is anyone newly arrived from that country, he would see him, ask various questions, and if he found any important news he would take the man to the Governor’s to enquire more minutely about the matter in his presence. The present Governor of Darjeeling can speak the Tibetan language to some extent, but not with much ease; so interpreters are hired in most cases. But the British Indian Government greatly encourages these Governors of the districts adjoining Tibet to study the Tibetan language, and they can take an examination if they are able to speak colloquial Tibetan and explain easy composition; and if they pass the examination they can obtain a prize of a thousand rupees. Therefore most of them study Tibetan. From these facts the reader may infer with what caution the British Government is trying to get insight into the Forbidden Land.

As I knew well that the Tibetans were liars, I did not much mind their talk, but when another caravan which came two weeks later brought similar rumors my uneasiness was greatly increased. Some days after a merchant of my acquaintance came to Darjeeling, so I went to see him and asked him whether these rumored stories were true.

“Not exactly,” said he, “things are not so bad as that. It is true that the ex-Minister of the Treasury was once arrested, but he was set free without being taken to prison. However they say he will be again arrested in the near future. When I started from Lhasa he dwelt in his residence, not in prison; but I cannot tell what may have happened since. Among those who are sure victims are your tutor and your security at the Sera Seminary, Tsa Rong-ba and his wife, Takbo Tunbai Choen Joe. Their torture is terrible indeed; they are to be flogged every day, receiving three hundred blows daily with a willow stick. We wished to pay them a visit, and do something for them, but could not do so; for if we did, it would only arouse the suspicion of the detectives, who were hunting after anything they could get hold of.”

When I heard him I wondered what necessity there was for such cruelty if it got out that I was a simple Japanese priest, and asked the merchant whether he knew the cause of the persecution. Then he said that they took me for an English spy and not for a Japanese.

“But then,” said I, “did any one tell them that I was an Englishman?”

“Yes, some one did,” said he. “In an official report Chyi Kyab, the chief Guard of Nyatong, has stated to the Pope that the Lama who was rumored to be a Japanese was in truth an Englishman and brother to a high official of the British Indian Government, by whose request he entered Tibet in the disguise of a Japanese or Chinese. He also stated that the disguised English spy had, while in Tibet, several communications from Darjeeling through Tsa Rong-ba and Takbo. Furthermore, the report says you are by no means an ordinary man and can work miracles. It says you did not come through the barrier on the highway, and that even the bye-ways were watched with equal care, so that you could not have passed through. It is said that you must have flown to this side of the mountains when you came to the neighborhood of the barriers. Since the report was read by the Pope, the persecution of the prisoners is said to have been severe.”

“By the way” he continued, “how did you come over from Nyatong? Did you not fly?”

“As I am no bird, how could I do such a thing?”

“But they say you can do such a thing,” said he, “and I am one of those who believe it, because for one who can revive the dead, it must be an easy miracle to fly in the air. In Tibet they all believe what Chyi Kyab has reported to the Pope.”

“Then,” said I, “I will show you one thing that tells more than my speech; it is the passport given by the order of Chyi Kyab himself.”

The merchant seemed not to believe me yet, for by this time even in Darjeeling the story that I could work miracles became current and he had heard of it. I think that this was caused by the fraudulent report of Chyi Kyab, who was afraid of the punishment which was likely to befall him if he made a true one. Sometime later when the merchant came to my place, I showed him the passport and he seemed to believe it. But a new suspicion arose that I must have enchanted Chyi Kyab by magic and stolen the passport. Ignorant people very often take a truth for a miracle; and many Tibetans are no exception.

I could not be calm now that I had heard such terrors were raging in Tibet. In the first place, the ex-Treasury-minister’s fate caused me much uneasiness. His acute and strong character made him many enemies among his mean fellow-countrymen, who might now find an opportunity of revenging themselves upon him. Tsa Rong-ba and his wife, my tutor at the Sera Seminary and my security there, all of whom had shown me much favor and kindness, were now suffering in chains; how could I sleep in peace? How I wished I had been able to fly as they said I could, and go to Lhasa to their rescue! Many considerations came to my mind as to the way of delivering them; but only two of them seemed to be practicable. The one was to go to Peking and to secure an order from the Chinese Government to the Tibetan to suspend the hideous cruelty, and the other was to go to Nepāl and ask the help of the Nepālese Government. It took me a long while to decide which method I should choose, but at last I determined to try the latter.

First, it was doubtful whether the Chinese Government would admit any application, either from myself or through the influence of the Japanese Government. In the second place, China herself has ceased to have credit in Tibet. In Tibet it is believed, even among the Government officers, that the present Chinese Emperor has been married to an English lady, and that since then, as she is on good terms with England, the country is always disturbed. Besides they know that China has become so helpless that they can disobey her without being chastised. Lastly, the Tibetan Government does not like any diplomatic interference from China, because China is a country that proclaims herself as friendly with all foreign countries. On the other hand, Nepāl is much feared by the Tibetans, for the people of Nepāl are very strong, and their soldiers, disciplined in the English style, prove themselves very brave in time of war. So the Tibetans are trying not to offend her, and her advice is heard with more attention than that of China. What made me think of the greater probability of success through applying to the Nepālese Government was the fact that that country puts so much trust in Japan that she sends many students to Japan for study. Thus I was determined to go to Nepāl.

To do this, however, some money was needed, of which I had none at that time; indeed, I had even some small debts. Thanks to heaven, help came in my need; my acquaintances at my native town were so kind as to collect and send me three hundred yen, and with this money I was ready to start. But there was one thing that held me back; it was the compilation of a Tibetan grammar, which I had sometime ago begun at the request of my teacher Saraṭ Chanḍra Ḍās, who needed a complete grammar of the Tibetan language to append to his Tibetan-English dictionary. I began at once, and wrote some twenty pages, but the complete study of the grammar of a foreign language is not to be compared to writing compositions for papers or magazines; books must be referred to and the opinions of others must be consulted. And thus three months were spent, but the completion of the grammar proceeded at a very sluggish pace and I felt that it would take a year or more to finish it. But the present prison affair in Lhasa required my immediate exertion, otherwise all hope might be gone. So I told my teacher that I had to suspend the work, and towards the end of November I left Darjeeling and came to Calcutta.
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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:16 am

CHAPTER XCIII. Among Friends.

I arrived at Calcutta and lodged at the Mahāboḍhi Society’s rooms, where I found many priests from Ceylon and Burma as my fellow-lodgers and conversational companions. One or two days after my arrival, I called on Mr. Kōjun Omiya, one of my fellow-students in Japan, who was now staying here for a long time for the study of Samskrt. He had not the slightest notion of my being in the same town, and I was dressed in Tibetan clothes when I called on him. Being informed by his servant that he was in the parlor, I entered the room without being announced. Owing to the total disuse of Japanese for many years, it was some while before I could utter a single word in that language, so I simply bowed to him a little and stared at him. My old friend, who was also staring at me and undoubtedly feeling offended by the intrusion of a strange man in a Tibetan dress, addressed me in Hindustani: “Whence have you come?”

I could not help laughing to hear him say this, but at the same time the words in Japanese came back to me and I said: “Are you not Omiya?”

He did not yet recognise me, and asked in Japanese: “You are a Japanese who knows me? But who are you?”

I replied: “I am Kawaguchi.”

He was of course much surprised by so great a change in me that I could easily have passed for a Tibetan. I was soon shown to his room, which was kept very neat, and we talked about our own country. Mr. Omiya is a priest of the Tendai Sect and a very agreeable companion, and from this time I shared his room. On the evening of December 14th, Dr. E. Inouye, the president of the Tetsugakkwan[678] in Tokyo (where we were instructed) came to Calcutta and called on us. I need not describe here how delighted our kind teacher was to see me back safe from the Forbidden Land.

Next morning, about three o’clock, I waked up Dr. Inouye, and guided him to the Tiger Hill near Darjeeling, the best place from which to see the Himālayas; for though it was the best season of the year to see the loftiest mountains in the world, it was generally impossible to get a good view after nine or ten o’clock in the morning. With the noblest work of Nature before us, our poetical interest was aroused and we made several poems. After short trips here and there, on the 23rd of the month I returned to Calcutta with Dr. Inouye, and on the same night we had to start on a pilgrimage to Buḍḍhagayā. Pilgrimage was not my sole object in going to Buḍḍhagayā; I wished to go to Delhi to see Lieutenant-General Oku of Japan, who was to be present at the Durbar in honor of the coronation of the King of England and Emperor of India, and to apply to him for a letter of introduction to the King of Nepāl, through whose influence I intended to make my appeal to the Tibetan Pope. So I had first to go to Buḍḍhagayā, and then to the holy land of Benares, where I had to part with Dr. Inouye, he going to Bombay and I to Delhi. We got into a train and the next afternoon we arrived at Bankipur. Here we had to stay some five hours to change cars for Buḍḍhagayā. Dr. Inouye went to send a telegram and I remained at the station; there was a Hinḍū there also, who could speak English. He approached me and asked: “Are you a Tibetan?”

“No, I am not.”

“Are you a Nepālese then?”

“I am not that either?”

“Do you not come from Tibet?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Do you say you have come from Tibet, and yet are not Tibetan?”

“It does not necessarily follow that I am a Tibetan, though I came from Tibet.”

While I was thus talking, one man whose presence I did not notice came running to me. Turning to the man, I found my old acquaintance the Rev. Fujii Sensho. Extending his hand to me, he expressed his joy at the unexpected meeting, and congratulated me on my safe return from Tibet.


“But what are you waiting for in such a place?” said he.

“I am going to Buḍḍhagayā with Dr. Inouye.”

“Then our destination is the same. I am going to call on the Rev. Otani Kozui, who is staying at Gayā.”

We despatched a telegram to Mr. Otani telling him that we should arrive by the next train, and we three then entered the train which took us to Gayā, where we found a carriage sent by Count Otani to meet us. When we arrived at the Dak bungalow, we enjoyed a conversation with the Honorable Count Otani and his suite. After various questions and answers, His Highness asked me where I was going. I replied that I was going to Nepāl. Mr. Fujii, whom I had not had an opportunity of telling my object, was much surprised to hear it now, and asked me what I wanted there.

“I have two things to do there,” said I; “one is to bring back my books, which I left with a certain person in that country. The other is more serious. Many of my acquaintances and friends in Tibet are now suffering in prison for having been friendly towards me. So though it is doubtful whether I shall succeed, I am going to Nepāl to get help from its Government to save them.”

Mr. Fujii rebuked me, saying, “You are no more Kawaguchi of college life. Your fellow-countrymen are anxious to see you come back and to hear of the strange land you have visited. Therefore give up that idea of going to Nepāl, where you can expect nothing but attacks of fever or wild beasts or robbery, of which you have already had plenty of experience; I tell you you had better prepare to start home.”

Dr. Inouye, from whom I had heard such advice very often, but who found me unpersuadable, now said to Mr. Otani: “What is the opinion of Your Highness about the matter of Kawaguchi?”

His Highness, who was listening to our discussion with interest, spoke now: “I can but praise your courage,[681] Mr. Kawaguchi; with such courage only you could enter and return from the closed country. But think of your personal position; you must not expose yourself to useless danger.”

I was again obliged to expound my motive and intention to go to Nepāl, and said:

“All that has been said is very true. But if I follow the advice of you all, where is ‘the Japanese righteousness?’ I am a servant of Buḍḍha, and my duty is to save any one from misery, though he should have no personal relations with me. But here are a great many men, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, by whose help I accomplished my escape. They are suffering in jail; while I am enjoying myself in a warm and comfortable room, what pains are they suffering? I can see them shivering with cold in the unlighted prison of Lhasa. In the day-time they are flogged, and the only food given them is a small quantity of parched barley once a day. Knowing them to be in such a condition, how should I abandon them, and start for home, even though my life is very precious to me?”
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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:16 am

CHAPTER XCIV. The Two Kings of Nepal.

Having made up my mind as to what I was going to do, I took a train back to Calcutta a few nights after. Money has its power in India, as elsewhere, and soon afterwards I was once more on my way to Nepāl.

By some means I was introduced to a Professor Keḍarnāṭh Chatterji, an old Bengalī gentleman who had once been the Principal of the Municipal School of Kātmāndu, Nepāl, and was then living in Calcutta and known to be in the good graces of the King of Nepāl. He readily, even cheerfully, complied with my request and gave me a letter of introduction to the King of Nepāl. I may observe that the natives of Tibet, Bhūṭan and Sikkim are allowed to travel in Nepāl, so long as they are in possession of a passport issued by the Commander-in-Chief of Beelganji; but no other foreigners are admitted into that country unless armed with the King’s own pass. Hence my negotiations with Professor Chatterji, to whom I presented myself as one anxious to make a pilgrimage to all the holy Buḍḍhist stations in Nepāl.

On January 10th, 1902, I left Calcutta by train and reached Raxaul, a station on the Nepālese border, at dusk of the following day. It was about six o’clock then and, hiring a coolie to carry my luggage, I crossed the Siman River which separated India from Nepāl. Landed on the other side, I was refused further progress by the officers of a police station there, on the ground that the King of Nepāl was soon coming home, and that, consequently, no one from beyond the borders could be allowed entrance into the country, until they had been subjected to thorough examination and found harmless. I noticed that the natives beg[683]ged, begged, and were finally allowed to pass on. I thought that here too bribery had its logic. But, no, I was a foreigner and could under no circumstance be granted an immediate passage. I finally produced Chatterji’s letter of introduction to the King of Nepāl. The policeman on attendance, who until then had refused even to let me interview the chief of the station, now took me to that functionary. The upshot was that the station chief caused my letter of introduction, together with a very carefully prepared description of my person, to be forwarded to Beelganji and ordered me to wait for the result. At Beelganji was the Commander-in-Chief, who was then acting there as Regent in the absence of the King, and it was to this authority that the documents were sent.

The distance between the Siman police station and Beelganji is only about a mile. I had waited in vain till eleven o’clock at night for the expected instruction, and I had just set about making a hot cup of tea in order to keep myself warm, when a policeman belonging to the Royal Palace Force put in an appearance and ordered me to accompany him at once to Beelganji. At Beelganji I was taken to a cottage in front of the Local Hospital to lodge for the night. The next morning I presented myself at the Regent’s court and there had to wait till five in the afternoon before I could have an interview with His Excellency, who informed me that the King was coming home on the 14th and that he would then endeavor to secure for me an audience with his royal master.

I may here explain why I have given to the present chapter the heading: “The Two Kings of Nepāl.” Nepāl, indeed, possesses two Kings, a King de jure and a King de facto, in Nepālese respectively Pānch Sarkār and Tīn Sarkār. The de facto King is the real Ruler of Nepāl and the de jure King is only the figure-head, maintaining his court by means of a civil list, or rather a pension allowed[684] by the former. In name the de facto King is the Prime Minister of the country, but the actual sovereignty is in his hands, and the nation knows only him as its King. The existence of the King de jure is known, it may be said, only by a circle of Government officials, the general mass having but a very vague idea about it. It was of the return home of the de facto King that I was informed.

About sunset on the 14th, the Prime-Minister (the King de facto) did, indeed, arrive in Beelganji, preceded and followed by a cortège of great splendor, the most conspicuous feature of which was a train of enormous elephants, on which were seated the Princes and Princesses of the royal family. Nepāl is a polygamous country, and the number of royal scions is consequently very large. The entrance of the royal procession into Beelganji was announced with a salvo of thirteen guns. So the King returned, but the Regent advised me to wait another day, promising me that he would manage to obtain an audience for me at about ten o’clock the following morning, or more accurately, he would arrange the matter for me if I should present myself at the palace at about ten o’clock in the morning and patiently wait there till five o’clock in the afternoon. This I did.

It appeared that no person, as a rule, is granted an audience in the palace on the occasion of a first presentation. However I was taken into an inner court and was presented to the King as he came out on his evening walk. Then I had the singular satisfaction of his accepting from me a certain object of Japanese fine art. The Prime-Minister King seemed to be very well pleased with my present, and even offered to pay me its price. Whatever the King’s offer meant, I insisted on its being a present on my part. Then I was invited to go in with His Highness, who treated me like a ten years’ acquaintance.

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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:17 am

CHAPTER XCV. Audience of the Two Kings.

Following the de facto King into a royal apartment, I saw His Highness take his seat first, followed by another who sat by him and whom I took for a Minister of State. I subsequently found out that the second gentleman was no less a personage than his Majesty the real King of Nepāl. The audience took the form of a catechism, which was in substance as follows:

“I understand that you have been to Tibet: what made you undertake the adventure?”

“In order to complete my study of Buḍḍhism, Your Highness,” replied I.

“I am told,” said the Prime Minister, “that while in Tibet you were in friendly intercourse with the nobles and high priests of that country: who is the most powerful person in Tibet just now?”

“As a Buḍḍhist priest,” answered I, “I devoted all my time to the study of Buḍḍhism and had no opportunity to make myself acquainted with the political condition of that country.”

“There is no occasion whatever for you to be reserved; Tibet and our country are on the most friendly terms with each other, and your divulgence will do no harm. I want to know these things only for my own information: besides, I know that you are well posted on things Tibetan.”

“Your Highness, I am well aware of the amicable relations existing between Nepāl and Tibet: I only wish to speak of nothing of which I have no accurate information.”

“I understand that;” said the Minister; “I do not mean to find fault with you: I shall only be pleased to hear your opinion on the subject.”

“May it please Your Highness, then, the most powerful personage in Tibet at present is, I think, the Dalai Lama himself, and the man of the greatest influence among his subjects, Shata.”

“What do you think of the position of the Chinese representative in Tibet in relation to the Hierarchy?”

“I think his influence is in decadence now, Your Highness.”

“How do you account for that, Mr. Kawaguchi?”

“I imagine it all comes from the impotency of the Peking Government, on the one hand, and from the fact of His Holiness being a man of great ability, decision and political acumen.”

“Do you know Tsan-ni Kenbo of Russia?”

“No, Your Highness. He was not in Lhasa while I was there.”

“But you must have heard something about him?”

“That I have,” I admitted.

“Who among the Government officials of Tibet is said to be on the most friendly terms with him? Do you think he enjoys the confidence of the Dalai Lama, as well as that of His Holiness’s high officials?”

“Shata alone, with the Dalai Lama, seems to place infinite confidence in Russia; but the latter is an object, as far as I know, of much distrust and dislike to all others.”

Here the true King, sitting next to the Prime-Minister, asked in Nepālese whether or not what I was saying coincided with the stock of information in this latter’s possession. The reply was a full affirmative. Then the catechism was resumed:

“Supposing,” asked the Minister “that Tibet concludes a secret treaty with Russia, do you think that our neighbor will be able to give effect to such a treaty?”

“In my humble opinion, Your Highness, there will be nothing to prevent the two Governments concluding such[687] a treaty; but the moment it is made public and an attempt is made to put its stipulations into practice, one of two things will happen—either the poisoning of the Dalai Lama, or a popular uprising.”

“What makes you hold such a view?”

“Because,” replied I, “so far as I can see, the majority of the Government authorities and the people in general are opposed to such a state of things, even though a few persons may be in its favor.”

The Prime-Minister-King asked me some other questions, but these I may omit here, with the answers which I made. The point he seemed to be most anxious to know was the secret path I took in entering Tibet. For a moment I thought of satisfying his curiosity, but prudence counselled forbearance, and I kept silence; because I thought that the divulgence on my part might involve some of my erstwhile friends and acquaintances in serious trouble. Consequently I excused myself on the ground that my poor command of English was not equal to the task of narrating so complicated a tale, and that I might have an occasion, when in the Nepālese capital, of imparting the whole story to some of his Highness’s trusted officials who understood Tibetan.

The last question I was asked on the occasion was: “What has transformed Japan into so great a power as she is now?” I, of course, answered that it was the result of education and patriotism. I was then excused from the royal presence with the instruction that I should return there at two o’clock the following afternoon.
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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:18 am

CHAPTER XCVI. Second Audience.

At the appointed hour on the following day, I repaired to the Government building, and the guards refused me admittance until about five o’clock. When finally I was admitted to the royal presence, it was only to be told that his Highness was extremely busy that day, and that he would see and give me the necessary papers the following day at the Lambān preserve.

When I came back to my lodging that evening my servant expressed himself as quite sure that I was being duped and that I would never be allowed to reach Lambān on the morrow. That was bad. So I walked a distance of about two and a half miles and back, in order to see and be assured by the King’s Lord Chamberlain that I was only uselessly worrying myself.

On the 17th I hired an ekka (a single seat carriage) and with my servant drove to the foot of a mountain called Binbiti, going over a distance of about four days’ journey on foot. On the way I went to the royal preserve of Lambān, which is situated at the southern end of the Dalai Jungle. The place presented a grand sight on this occasion, for a hunt was being held in honor of the Coronation of the Emperor of India. There must have been fully five or six hundred tents pitched, covering an immense tract of land and forming an entrance to the famous Dalai Jungle. The royal tents sheltering the Kings and their multiple consorts, the Princes and Princesses, were conspicuously beautiful to look at, while the sight of those of the Ministers of State and others, variegated in colors of red, white, blue and yellow, dotting the woodland, was both grand and picturesque. There were about[689] two thousand soldiers present, all of the Royal Bodyguard. Their uniform was after the British pattern, and they all looked men of splendid physique.

Being refused admittance, I hung about the royal precincts for about four hours, all the time looking for an opportunity to obtain an audience. Ultimately I got a glimpse of the King, who was going out on a hunt seated on a huge elephant. He recognised me, but had just time enough to express his regret and tell me to come to him in the morning; and he was gone! Then my servant again tried to make light of my credulity; but I scolded him into silence.


At six o’clock on the morning of the 18th, I smuggled myself into the royal enclosure, having chosen an unguarded spot for the purpose. There was such a great number of tents that I in vain tried to locate that intended for royalty. While wandering about I was challenged by an officer. I explained the purpose of my presence there, only to be told that the time for audience had not yet arrived. Eventually the officer ordered a private to see me out of the enclosure. I thought that, once out of the enclosure, I might never have an opportunity of seeing the King, and feigning not to hear the remonstrances of the private, I doggedly held my ground. Finally a guard came and ordered me out. I said that I was there by the order of the King. But my words were only wasted on the sturdy soldier, who forthwith collared me and with a push on my back, as I staggered up, hurled me out of the enclosure, handling me altogether as if I were a little child. Outside the fence I became an object of the laughter of the soldiers and of jeering remarks from the general spectators. Professor of resignation and self-denial though I am, this treatment could not but displease me. But on second thoughts I awoke to the fact of my still lacking the spirit of patience[690] and perseverance. Dead to my surroundings for the time being, I sat in silence on the grass for hours, and in the meanwhile I could not hold back my tears as I thought, if it was hard for me to bear these insults, how great must be the suffering of my Tibetan friends and benefactors, who because of me were even then, as I imagined, undergoing dreadful tortures, having no one to vindicate their innocence for them, and I composed an uta for my consolation:

My suffering surely I with ease must bear
Compared with all the tortures which my friends
Now undergo, for my sake prisoners made,
In distant regions far above the clouds.

At about eleven o’clock I noticed the Lord Chamberlain passing by me, and I hastened to acquaint him with the plight I was in. His Lordship greatly commiserated me and at once gave orders that I should that minute be taken to the tent of royal reception. After waiting another two hours in the tent, the King was announced—the Prime-Minister-King I should have said.

The King wanted to know what I wished to have from him. The passport, I said. Then he said that that I should certainly have, but that what he had meant was if I was well provided with travelling funds. I replied that I had then with me three hundred rupees. His Highness thought that the amount was not enough for my purpose, and ordered his attendants to give me two hundred rupees. I refused to accept his generosity, saying that I had not come to his country to make money. What was it then that I wanted in reality? I was on the point of making a direct reference to my petition; but that spirit of caution and forbearance which I have already mentioned counselled me once more to bide my time on that score; and I disclosed a part of my desire, that I wished to secure a complete collection of the Samskṛṭ text of the Buḍḍhist Scriptures in existence in Nepāl, offering in return to forward the Japanese edition of the same on my return home. That I should have, he said, and ordered me to present a list of the texts I wanted to the Regent at Kātmāndu, where His Highness was to return in twenty-five days. Henceforward I became a sort of special traveller under royal protection, for a police official was detailed to escort me to Kātmāndu.
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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:24 am

CHAPTER XCVII. Once more in Katmandu.

After procuring my passport, escorted by the policeman, I came back to a village called Simla where I had left my carrier and carriage. I found that the carriage and its driver had absconded in my absence: it had been paid for in advance. The policeman wanted to beat my carrier for allowing the driver to abscond; but I interfered. It was then after three in the afternoon, and my route to Khātmāndu lay for eight miles at least through the jungle. I was warned about tigers; but I knew the route, as I was going over it for a second time, and forthwith I set out on the road.

Every two miles, through the eight miles of the jungle, is a large reservoir of drinking water, each reservoir being connected with the one next to it by means of iron ducts. Originally not a drop of water was obtainable in the jungle, and the ducts and reservoirs were built in compliance with the dying wish of the late Queen of Nepāl, who in that way wanted to benefit the travelling public. One reads the origin and history of this benevolent institution engraved on stone tablets, set up on the roadside; the language used on one being Nepālese, on another Tibetan, on the third English, then Hinḍū and Parsī.

Before night came on I arrived at Bichagori, where on the occasion of my former visit I heard a tiger break the midnight silence with his roars. I felt rather lonely on account of the absence of his roaring now, and I made an uta:

The same as once before the moonlight sleeps
On Bichagori fair; but whence is heard
Upon the stream the savage tiger’s roar?

Crossing the Bichagori river, I travelled to Spalta, from Spalta to Bahise, thence to Binbit and Tispanī during the next two days. Tispanī is also known by the alternative name of Tisgari, which, I think, was the one I mentioned before. Between Simla and Tispanī I had my passport examined three times. Tispanī maintains a custom-house and all ordinary ingoing travellers are detained here at least half a day. The case was different with me: my stop here lasted no longer than half an hour. My police-escort took leave of me here and his place was taken by a soldier, who thenceforth accompanied me to Kātmāndu.

As we reached the top of Tisgari, I once more stood an all-absorbed admirer, struck by the wondrous grandeur of the Himālayas, which, seen a second time, appeared to increase instead of diminish in their fresh majesty and charms.

To fitly paint the grandeur of the scenes
Words fail me quite; what can I, helpless, do?
These scenic beauties on the Himal’yan range
E’en human eyesight fails to comprehend.

Thousands of years ago, Shākyamuni Buḍḍha, our Lord, spent six years in the jungles and mountains, and I imagined that I was possibly treading in His holy footsteps. I had spent the same number of years under the shadows of the Himālayas, but neither had I attained Nirvāṇa, nor become a Boḍhisaṭṭva!

Yuki yama-ni mutose heshi mino ikani-shite
Akatsuki-no Hoshi-ni awade sugoseshi?

Upon these plateaux six years have I passed
But yet Illumination’s Morning Star
Have I not seen—the Star that flashed so bright
At that Illumination of our Lord,
The Holy Saint under the Bodhi tree.[5]

We next made a sharp descent of about three miles past the village of Kurikane and an iron bridge, and[694] entered Marku, where we lodged for the night. Starting at three o’clock on the 21st we calculated upon reaching Kātmāndu by the evening. The weird serenity of the great mountain pass under the starry heavens of the early morning; the bracing chill, the gradual revelation of the scenery around under the rising sun, the famous rhododendron flowers almost in bloom, the climb of Chandragiri, the vast plain at the height of six thousand feet above the sea level—all the sights and scenes, awe-inspiring, entrancing and interesting—were there as on the occasion of my former visit.

Arrived in Kātmāndu, I at once proceeded to the official residence of the Local Commander-in-Chief and Acting Prime Minister. His Excellency was too busy to see me that evening, and sent me word asking to come the next day. In the place of the one that had accompanied me to Kātmāndu two fresh bodyguards were then given to me. Such being the case, my arrival in the town had apparently become known to my old friend of four years ago Lama Buḍḍha Vajra; for, as I came out of the Commander-in-Chief’s residence, I was met by one of my friend’s sons and some servants with a horse. I at once rode to the Kāṣyapa Buḍḍha Tower and there renewed my friendship with its master, who, it will be superfluous to say, received me with a right royal welcome and placed me under fresh obligations by his great hospitality. I may add, however, that the Nepālese custom is almost the reverse of that of Tibet, in that all those who can afford to do so marry two, three, even five wives. My friend, though a Lama, but belonging to the Old School, has two wives and thirteen children.


I considered it a rare privilege to pass a night in a place of such holiness, and availing myself of the opportunity I spent the best part of the night in lighting up the butter-lamp and holding a service in memory of my father[695] and friends, who had died at home during my absence. The next morning I saw the sun rising from the snows and felt the emotions which are embodied in the following uta.

In Japan was I born, my native land
Of cherry flowers fair, the cheerful home
Of birds e’er singing their melodious songs.
It is for this am I inspired to sing
Of that bright light reflected from the snows?

That afternoon at one o’ clock, accompanied by my friend, I called on His Excellency Bheem Shamsher, the Commander-in-Chief of Nepāl. We were shown into the reception hall in the second floor of the building, in which I found fourteen or fifteen chairs of Western style, while the[696] upper half of the floor was covered over with a rectangular piece of thick Nepālese carpet, with a layer of white cloth over it. On the walls of the room I noticed a number of pictures in occidental frames. Trifling as these details may appear, I mention them here, because the use side by side of native and western articles indicates the general features of the national policy of Nepāl.

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Re: Three Years in Tibet, by Ekai Kawaguchi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:25 am

CHAPTER XCVIII. Interview with the Acting Prime Minister.

In His Excellency Bheem Shamsher I found a perfect gentleman, easy of approach, but nevertheless of commanding presence.

“How are you impressed with our country?” said he.

“I am filled with a feeling of extreme pleasure,” I replied.

“How can that be?”

“Because not only your natural scenery, trees and plants, but even your people look very much like those of my own country, and I cannot help feeling quite at home here—a feeling which makes me forget the difficulties of travel I have come through.”

His Excellency smiled a little. “That may be, because we belong to the same race; but are you quite sure about our flora?”

“Why, yes, Your Excellency, not only your mountains and waters look like ours, but you have pines, cedars, oaks, willows, keyaki (Planeta japonica), cherries, peaches, pears, oranges, azaleas, elms, among trees, and field products, such as rice, wheat, beans, millet, buck-wheat and corn are as common with you as they are in Japan. I also notice an equal similarity between the flowers and birds of the countries. Above all I am profoundly impressed by the bravery of your people and their kindness toward strangers.”

Quite pleased at what I said, His Excellency now changed the course of conversation:

“I have been told that Tibet has concluded a treaty with Russia: do you know of any evidence to prove this?”

“I have not come across any definite proof,” I replied; “but judging from what Tsan-ni Kenbo has done and the fact that the Dalai Lama has accepted a present of a Bishop’s robes from the Russian Government, one may think that there must be some foundation for the rumor. Furthermore, since the return of a Tibetan envoy from his mission to the court of S. Petersburg, the Tibetan Government has, it is said, come to show great firmness, even to the extent of expressing its determination to engage in war, if need be, with any other country, and this fact may point to the existence of a secret Russo-Tibetan treaty.”

“I have no doubt of its existence,” said my interlocutor; “but what do you think has induced Tibet to conclude it?”

“As a mere priest, I know nothing about politics and diplomacy, but I may venture to presume that it all came from the unreliability of China, and the skilful manœuvres of Tsan-ni Kenbo, who worked on Tibetan sensitiveness as regards its relationship with the Indo-British Government.”

“Why is the Tibetan Government hostilely disposed toward England?” asked the Commander-in-Chief.

The other questions which he put to me may be gathered from the answers I gave, which were to the effect, that Tibet believed that its intercourse with Christian England would end in the destruction of its Buḍḍhism and nationality, while it rejoiced in the delusion that Russia was a Buḍḍhist Power, and that the reason why it did not befriend Japan was because it knew practically nothing about the existence of such a country.

I next took my turn in leading the conversation, and as a beginning I gave in detail the story of the causes which had led to the incarceration and torture of my friends and benefactors in Tibet, and appealed to His Excellency’s[699] generosity to take the trouble of forwarding my petition to the Dalai Lama. In the second place I referred to the Samskṛṭ edition of the Buḍḍhist Scriptures, promised me by the Prime-Minister-King. Thereupon the Commander-in-Chief cheerfully gave consent to both my requests. He greatly pitied the ignorance of the Tibetan authorities, and keenly sympathised with my position. He promised me to do all in his power to have the petition forwarded, but as the matter rested solely with the King de facto, he advised me to wait for the latter’s return, when he would put in a good word for me. As for the Scriptures, he saw no way of procuring for me the entire collection within the period of time I intended to spend in Nepāl. I then informed him of my determination to revisit Nepāl in two years’ time, and that I should be most pleased to receive the remainder of the Scriptures on the occasion of that second visit, I taking home for the time being such portions of them as could be collected during my stay. All this was agreeable to His Excellency, and before I took leave of him he shook me warmly by the hand and flattered me by saying that he was very glad to have met such an honored Japanese.
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