Love Songs of Tsangyang Gyatso

The 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso was born in Monyu area in Tibet and belonged to the Monba ethnic minority. Monyu area is famous all over the world, which was firmly related to Tsangyang Gyatso who had been a famous and respectable leader of the Gelug sect (yellow lamaism), a part of Tibetan Buddhism.

Monyu, at the foot of the Himalayas, is high in the north and low in the south, falling from 4,000 meters above sea level to 1,000 meters, enjoying abundant rainfall, swift rivers, beautiful landscape and fertile land, which bears rice, maize, buckwheat, qingke barley, winter wheat, soybeans and sesame. Virgin pine forests are inhabited by wild boars, bears, foxes and golden monkeys.

The 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

He had composed a large number of poems and left people a poetry anthology named " Love Songs of Tsangyang Gyatso" which has earned great reputation both home and abroad. The hand-written copy of his poetry anthology written in Tibetan has been known to almost all the Tibetan people long before, and it had been translated in to Chinese, Tibetan and English by the end of nineteen thirties. The romantic and mysterious legends of Tsangyang Gyatso are handed down and still attract people's hearts in the district of Monba ethnic minority. The Monbas have composed many beautiful tunes and ballads over the centuries.

Among their most popular folk songs are the "sama" and "dongsanba," which are similar to many Tibetan songs. What's more, their dances are simple and dynamic. As the highest leader and the most respectable "living Buddha" of the Gelug sect (yellow lamaism), Tsangyang Gyatso dared to break the canon which forbids monks and nuns from having emotional feelings such as happiness, sadness, desire for love, grudge, etc. He composed large amount of love songs to show his loneliness, his irritancy, his eagerness and expectations.

The 6th Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso (Photo from baike.baidu.com)

His love songs, based on the folk songs of the Monba ethnic minority, have kept and developed the unique rhythm and style of Monba love songs. In the region of Monba minority, young people can feel free to be in love with each other, hence, the love songs, which have become the bridge connecting young people's heart closely, have been playing a very important part in the Monbas' life. The Monbas have created and collected thousands of love songs from generation to generation. People of Motuo and Monyu always amuse themselves by singing these sweet and emotional songs called "Jialu".

The Monbas are fond of singing love songs, as well as madrigals and ceremonial songs. The ceremonial songs (called "Sama") are popular in Monyu area. With vivid and humorous lyrics and cheerful rhythm, "Sama" songs are enjoyed by a lot of people in Tibet. "Sama" ceremonial songs are usually composed with lines containing seven to nine characters each, and no regular stanzas are labeled for their patterns. Composers like to use the techniques of comparison, metaphor and exaggeration to express their passionate desire pursuing lofty ideals and ambitious aspirations. It is said that "Sama" ceremonial songs were created first by a singer named "Labre", who had been singing songs for a whole life, bringing people pleasure and happiness while he himself finally attained Buddhaship. Therefore, the Monbas respect him and regard him as "God of songs".



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