Eight Verses for Mind-Training Composed by Geshe Langri Thangpa Dorjee Singghe (1054-1123).
Audio: H.H. the Dalai Lama
May I consider sentient beings,
dearer than the Wish-Fulfilling Gem.
Best wishes in mind,
Forever hold them dear.
Whenever whoever I am with
May I see myself least important.
And sincerely others in mind,
Hold them dearly highest.
Always observe my behaviour.
Negative thoughts may arise,
[and]Hurt myself and others.
Confront and suppress it with force.
For unpleasant sentient being is,
Overwhelmed by bad-karma and suffering.
When stumble upon rare treasure,
Cherish and empathise.
Out of envy others may,
Insult, abuse and treat me unjustly.
May I accept [freewill] defeat and loss,
And offer victory to them.
Whom I have helped,
With great expectation.
Did immense harm and unjust in return.
May I see him as my true teacher.
In essence, directly or indirectly,
Offer total wellness to mothers.
Suffering and pain of mothers,
Inconspicuously take upon myself.
All above be free from
eight compromises of Acquired Concept.
Recognizing all phenomena is illusory,
May I be free from bondage of disgusting Attachment.
*mother: sentient beings
Tibetan Horses and Tea
Tea came from Asia and Tibet was the main market. Cultivation of tea tree began 2000 years ago by Wu Lizhen, in Southern Yunnan.
Blang tribes grow huge 4 to 5 meter tea trees. Some of these tea trees are 100 years old. They are part of mountain landscape and not a cultivated field. Climbing such tall tree for picking leave is a difficult task. In the beginning tea was used for medicinal purposes.
Cultivation of tea trees for beverage began at least 2000 years ago. These small tea trees are shorter than human length for easy leaf picking.
Historically, small and young or new tea leaves are considered best. Large leaf, old leaf and leaf stems are not good quality tea. However, these are packed and sold as cheap tea produce and sold mainly to Tibetans.
Pu Erh Tea(PT)
Pu Erh tea came from Pu Erh City in Yunnan. PuErh tea is made from large tea leaves pressed for 30 minutes under a block of stone. It is made into a flat circular shape when dry. Such shape prevents it from crumbling and withstands long journey. Each of PuErh tea cake weighs about 357g. Seven of these PuErh tea cakes are bundled in a Bamboo husk and shoots. Each bundle now weighs 2.5 kg. 12 of these bundle makes 30 kg. A horse can carry 60 kg; 30 kg on each side of a horse.
Pu Erh Tea(PT) gets fermented along the way to Tibet due to humidity and incessant rain in Southern Yunnan. Fermentation gave PT the richness and distinct flavour. As PT ages, it gets better and costlier. Some aged Pu Erh tea cakes were sold for $500,000 USD.
Today, Pu Erh tea is fermented artificially in Yunnan.
Yaan city in Sichuan is yet another tea manufacturing city. Yaan produce tea exclusively for the Tibetans. Since these tea are supplied to borders area it is called Fang or Zang Tea. Unlike PuErh Tea from Yunnan, Zang teas are made from Large Tea leaves and stems. It is cheaper and is of low quality. These are fermented and made into a block instead of circular PuErh tea shape.
Tibetan drinks more than 50 cups of tea per day. Since Tang Dynasty, Tibet was the largest market for tea. Journey of 5,000 km for Tibet begins at Yunnan, Dali, Hengduan Mount- east end of Himalaya.
Horse Caravans were the main transport. It used to be people once. They travel about 3 months to get to Lhasa, Tibet. Tibet was the final destination for tea merchants.
Tea Horse Old Road (THOR)
The civil route from Yunnan to Tibet was known in ancient text as THOR. Many humans and horses have lost their life passing through THOR. Altitude, bridgeless strong rivers, precarious cliff, cold and narrow passages made 5,000 km a test of endurance for man and horses. Some roads along the THOR are so small it is named Bird and Mouse Road. But journey must be made to make money in Tibet!
Trade Horses for Tea
Tibetan Horses are one of the fasted and strongest horses in the battle field. Chinese Dynasties rushed into Tea-Horse trading to get hold of Tibetan horses to fight with northern Nordics- Mongols, Afghanistan.
First gate way to Tea Horse Old Road is Dali, ancient capital of Nanzhao Kingdom, 1300 years ago. Teas were sold and bought at very high price. Nanzhao monopolized Tea price which annoyed other kingdoms such as Tang Dynasty. In 724 BC war broke out and 200,000 Tang Troops were lost at Erh lake.
Since Song Dynasty, Tibet has been the main market for Yunnan tea. Song Dynasty established office called Chamasi(Tea-Horse Control). During Song Dynasty price for a Tibetan Horse was 1080 Kg of Tea. However, during Ming Dynasty it was 78 Kg per Horse. Tea was becoming more expensive and horse cheaper. Price was kept under control for their advantage. Ming’s first emperor, Zhu Yuanzhong, prohibited tea trading to Tibet via Dadu River. Tibet loved tea so much that it had to offer horses in large quantities in exchange for Zang Tea-cheap tea.
Once, huge load of Zang tea were carried on back of Han people as they don’t have horses. Later with tea-horse trade, Han owned horses to carry tea to Tibet.
Scale of trade
10,000 yaks are required to carry one shipment. A stone tablet found near Lijian was 1300 years old and it describes maps of Horse Caravan. Price fetched in Tibet for tea was 6 times over. That was very attractive price for any business.
Young tea leaves are plucked and baked on open fire on a flat surface. When it is just right it is brewed in a pot with hot water, not boiling water, and served.
Most people do not bake tea leaves as we do not have tea garden in our backyard. We have garbage bins instead. Heat the water upto 80 C and pour it into a pot with PuEr Tea or power Tea. Leave it for 4-5 minute and done.
Tibet is very dry country. Himalaya Mountains blocks any chance for monsoon rains to cross into Tibet from Bay of Bengal or East China Sea. To keep us from dehydration, we drink loads of tea. Tea pot is 24/7 on the stove.
Tibetan and Indian boil our tea. Indian would add milk and sugar. Tibetans would add butter, salt and sometimes milk and give a through shake. Otherwise butter will not mix well.
I happen to know a friend who will, always, order two cups of tea instead of one although he is only one who will consume both the cups. In North America he can order Extra Large!
Note: There are reports that too much tea consumption can reduce bone density which is the main cause of arthritis.