Images of Kham

"Myriad forms appear, interdependent and unobstructed, as the lama of symbolic appearance in the outer world. Indescribable is this dance of magical forms. Experiencing the natural freedom of form and emptiness, I pray to the lama, bless me with the direct understanding of Nirmanakaya, Enlightenment skillfully manifesting as the world of form."

- Kalu Rinpoche, A Shower of Blessings

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Kham is eastern Tibet, the region between central Tibet and China. The terrain is one of steep mountain ranges running from northwest to southeast, cut by the deep gorges of the Yangtse, Yalung, Mekong, and Salween rivers. In Tibet, Kham is also called "Chushi Gangdruk", the "four rivers and six ranges".

Where the valleys are broad, they sustain a rich agriculture and settled communities. The high grasslands support the large herds of yak, sheep and goats of pastoral nomads. Nomadic Khampas live on horseback, and are renowned throughout Tibet for their prowess as traders, warriors, rustlers and bandits.

Kham is the land of Gesar of Ling, the legendary culture hero of Tibet. It was also the domain of important Buddhist monasteries of the four major lineages, and the homeland of many of the greatest Buddhist lamas of Tibetan history, right up to the present day.

These pictures were taken in the summer of 1998, in the area of Litang, Ganze and Derge, a region of Kham that has been incorporated politically into Szechuan Province.

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