|Wind Messages on Iron Horse's Tracks|
Quoting from a 'communication management meeting of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)', China Tibet Online affirms: "The number of fixed-line phone users and mobile users totaled 3.05 million, accounting for 99.3 percent of the overall population."
Of course, one has to take Chinese statistics with a pinch of salt.
Anyway, another article of Xinhua states that the number of Internet users in the TAR reached 2.03 million at the end of 2013.
Qunggyi, the head of the Tibet Communications Administration explained: "This means 67.5 percent of Tibet's 3 million population have access to the Internet".
He added that many Internet users are surfing the network using their smartphones. The number of 3G network subscribers in Tibet has reached 964,000 and the new-generation 4G network will soon be available.
Further, 665 townships of the plateau region have been connected with optical cables, covering 97.5 percent of all townships, while 3,231 villages have access to broadband Internet, covering 61.4 percent of the total number of villages.
All this is of course closely monitored by the Chinese Public Security Bureau, but this is another issue.
According to taobao.com, a sales platform under Alibaba: "On last year's Singles Day (Nov. 11) shopping spree at China's largest online purchasing platform Taobao, Tibetans spent more than 7.7 million U.S. dollars, almost double that of 2012."
Here are some 'propaganda' photos of the penetration of the cellphones in Tibet.
On the way, she met many lamas, anchorites, yogis, magicians who had obtained supernatural powers (siddhis).
One of these siddhis was to be able to send 'message on the wind', what Europeans call 'telepathy'.
Below are excerpts from With mystics and magicians in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel (Penguin books).
Undoubtedly, 'speaking on the wind' is easier today.
But has humanity really progress?
It is a more difficult question to answer.
Messages Sent ‘On the Wind’
Tibetan mystics are not talkative, those of them who accept disciples teach them according to methods in which discourses have but little place. The disciples of the contemplative hermits seldom see their master and only at intervals determined by the spiritual attainment and needs of the novice.
A few months or a few years may elapse between these meetings. But in spite of their seeming aloofness, master and disciples—especially advanced disciples—do not lack means of communication when they deem it necessary.
Telepathy is a branch of the Tibetan secret lore and seems, in the Land of Snows, to play the part that wireless telegraphy has recently taken in the West. Yet, while apparatus for wireless transmissions are, in Occidental countries, at the public's disposal, the subtler ways of sending messages ‘On the Wind’ remain the privilege of a small minority of adepts in that art in Tibet.
Telepathy is not altogether a novelty to Westerners psychic research societies have, more than once, called attention to telepathic phenomena. These, however usually seem to have occurred by chance. The author of the phenomenon was not aware of his part in it under such peculiar circumstances, he had sent forth the mysterious waves that had reached, at a greater or lesser distance, a human receiver, but he had not done this knowingly and on purpose. On the other hand, the experiments made to transmit volitional telepathic messages have given doubtful results, for they could not be repeated successfully as often as desired.
Things are different among Tibetans. They assert that telepathy is a science, which can be learnt like any other science, by those who have proper teaching and are fit instruments to put the theory into practice.
Various ways are mentioned for the acquisition of telepathic power, though Tibetan adepts of secret lore are unanimous in ascribing the cause of the phenomena to an intense concentration of thought.
One may remark that as far as telepathy has been observed and studied in Western countries, its cause has seemed identical with that discovered by Tibetans.
Mystic teachers declare that mastery in telepathy requires a perfect command over the mind, in order to produce at will the powerful ‘one-pointedness of thought' on which the phenomenon depends.
The part of conscious ‘receiver’, always ready to vibrate at the subtle shock of the telepathic waves, IS considered almost as difficult as that of the sender. To begin with, the intended receiver must have been ‘tuned’ with him from whom he especially expects messages.
Now, volitional perfect concentration of mind on one single object, until every other object vanishes flora the field of consciousness, is the basis of the lamaist spiritual training, and this training also includes psychic exercises that aim at developing the power of detecting the various ‘currents of energy’ that are crossing each other in every direction.
So some affirm that telepathy, as well as tumo [inner heat] and other kindred accomplishments, is a natural by-product of the spiritual training and, consequently, need not be studied separately. This also explains the power with which all great gomchens [meditators] and dubchens [someone with great ‘magic’ powers] are credited, of communicating with their disciples, whatever may be the distance that separates them.
However, some see the matter in another light though they agree that proficiency in the spiritual training brings in its train proficiency in minor accomplishments, such as telepathy, they think that those who are not able to reach the high stages of the mystic path may rightly cultivate telepathy or other byproducts separately.
Mystic masters agree to this to a certain extent and, in fact, a number of them train their disciples in telepathy
A number of Tibetan anchorites have become able without having undergone any special training, to catch the telepathic messages of their guru. This is commonly considered as proof of their great devotion to him. A few have spontaneously acquired the power to emit messages.
As for those who cultivate telepathy, the main lines of the training may be sketched as follows.
First, it is necessary to go through all the practices devised to produce the trance of ‘one-pointedness’, the concentration of thought on one single object and complete oblivion of all other things.
The complementary practice which consists in ‘emptying’ the mind from all cogitations, establishing in it complete silence and blankness, must also be mastered.
Then comes the analysis and discrimination of the various influences which cause sudden, apparently inexplicable, psychic or even physical sensations or moods of the mind, such as abrupt feelings of joy, of melancholy of fear, and also sudden memories of persons, things or events apparently unconnected with anything going on around one.
When the pupil has exercised alone for a time, he may sit in meditation with his master in a silent and darkened room, the thoughts of both being concentrated on the same object. At the end of a given period, the student tells his teacher the phases of his meditation and these are compared with those of the master, concordances and discrepancies are noted.
Now, stopping, as far as he can, the activity of his mind, emptying it of all ideas, reflections and mental representations, the novice watches the thoughts which arise involuntarily and unexpectedly in him without being apparently linked with any of his present preoccupations or feelings. He notes the subjective images which appear. And, again, at the end of the meditation, thoughts and images are made known to the lama teacher who sees whether or not they correspond to those he mentally suggested to his disciple.
Then, the master sends mental orders to his disciple, while the latter is at a short distance from him. If these are duly received and the student answers by acting accordingly, the exercise continues, the distance between master and disciple being gradually increased.
It is believed in Tibet that dubchens are capable of reading the thoughts of others at will. The master being credited with such a power, it would be absurd to train anyone to send him telepathic messages. The very intention of sending them would be detected by him before the messages had actually been sent. Whether this power is real or not, the master is compelled to act as if he possessed it. Consequently, his disciples practice the exchange of telepathic messages among themselves. Two novices or a number of them associate for that purpose under their teacher's supervisions and the training is very much like that described above.
Novices test their progress in dispatching unexpected telepathic messages to one another at a time when the person designated is likely to be busy and not thinking about receiving communications.
They also try to convey messages to people with whom they have never been connected through training in common, and who know nothing about telepathy. Some make experiments with animals.
Years are devoted to these practices. It is impossible to guess how many of the students who pursue this study really obtain results from it.
Whatever may be the fruits they reap, the most worshipful among mystic teachers do not encourage this kind of exertion. The efforts made to acquire supernormal powers are considered by these masters as uninteresting childish sports.
It seems proved that great contemplative anchorites are able to communicate by telepathy with their disciples and some even say, with any sentient being, but that power—as already stated—is considered as a mere byproduct of deep insight into psychic laws, and of spiritual perfection.
It is said that, when on account of the enlightenment acquired through various contemplative meditations one has ceased to consider "one's self" and "others' as entirely distinct entities, devoid of points of contact then telepathy IS easily practiced.
The discovery—during prolonged introspections—of these ‘points of contact’ leads to a sphere in which delimited beings vanish and only continual exchanges are perceived.
These are psychic and mystic experiences which words cannot describe. Whatever may be the share of truth or fancy in such theories, I prefer to avoid discussing them.
One thing I may say, however, is that communications from mystic masters to their disciples through gross material means, such as letters falling from the ceiling or epistles one finds under one's pillow are unknown in lamaist mystic circles. When questions regarding such facts are put to contemplative hermits, erudite lamas or high lamast dignitaries, they can hardly believe that the inquirer is in earnest and not an irreverent joker.
I remember the amusing reflection of a lama from Tashilhunpo when I told him that some ‘philings’ [foreigners] believed in such ways of communicating with departed ones or even with Tibetan mystic teachers: ‘And these are the men who have conquered India!’ he exclaimed utterly amazed at such simplicity in these otherwise redoubtable Englishmen relying on observations which extend over a large number of years, I shall venture to say that Tibet seems to offer peculiarly favourable conditions for telepathy— as well as for psychic phenomena in general. What are exactly, these ‘conditions’?
It would be presumptuous to attempt defining them while the very nature of psychic phenomena is still so mysterious.
Maybe the very high level of the country is helpful. Perhaps we may, also, take into account the great silence in which the country is bathed, that extraordinary silence of which—if I dared to use so strange an expression—I would say that it is heard above the loudest voices of the most furiously roaring torrents.
Again, solitude might be reckoned with: the absence of big crowds whose mental activity creates many whirlpools of psychic energy which trouble the ether. And perhaps the placidity of Tibetans whose minds are not filled, like ours, with cares and cogitations is another of these favourable conditions.
Whatever may be the causes at work, telepathic transmissions, either conscious or unconscious, seem to occur rather frequently in Tibet.
Regarding my own experience, I am certain that I did receive on several occasions, telepathic messages from lamas under whom I had practiced mental or psychic training. It may even be that the number of these messages has been larger than I suspect. However, I have only retained a few cases in which the lama afterwards inquired if I had understood what he meant to tell at a given time.