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Kelsang Nyima: a guardian of Tibetan folk proverbs

Publish Time: 2017-05-16 Author: Tian Ruolin From: Kangba TV

Walking into the Yamzhog Yumco Teahouse in Banaxoi Alley, Lhasa City, people can always see Kelsang Nyima drinking sweet tea and telling stories on Tibetan proverbs. 

 “Diligence for delicacy.” “Laborious work for sweet food.” According to Kelsang Nyima, proverbs of this kind are of distinct educational significance and display Tibetan people's emphasis and love for labor. 

Kelsang Nyima said, “Some philosophical proverbs are summed up by Tibetan people during their long-term observation of the natural and social phenomena. For example, ‘idleness leads to illness and practice brings craftsmanship’. This is a proverb depicting the relationship between cognition and practice.”  

Kelsang Nyima, from Nagchu Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, is 68 years old now and he lives in Lhasa to enjoy his later life after the retirement in 2005. He often said, “I am keen on listening to the stories of King Gesar and interpreting Tibetan proverbs.” 

Kelsang Nyima herded animals like other kids with adults when he was young. In leisure time, he would ask the adults to tell him stories about King Gesar and folk proverbs. 

 “Genius is nothing but intense interest and obsession.” Kelsang Nyima is able to blurt out over 2,000 folk proverbs from around Tibet. He is the Mr. Know-all of Tibetan proverbs in Lhasa. 

When it comes to Tibetan proverbs, Kelsang Nyima talks eloquently.  

“Tibetan proverbs imply rich production knowledge and life experience. The number of proverbs on philosophy and moral integrity is the biggest. They are of cognitive value and educational significance, which are worth treasuring.” 

 As long as Kelsang Nyima has time, he would come to the teahouse to have sweet tea and tell stories on Tibetan proverbs.  

He wants to promote these Tibetan proverbs and pass them on to more people. Kelsang Nyima’s fans respectfully call him the guardian of Tibetan proverbs. 

Kelsang Nyima often asked guests to drink up their tea when they left and said, “Labor is happiness’ right hand and thrift is happiness’ left hand.” 


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