This site contains resources for teachers about the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayan region and how they the are facing the inevitability of change.
During the course of the Institute, I came to see change as the one constant in all of the regions, cultures, history, and even languages that we studied. In this millennium, not only are we faced with the extinction of plant
and animal species, but also languages and entire cultures. "Linguists now
estimate that half of the more than 6,000 languages currently spoken in the
world will become extinct by the end of this century," this from a recent
article in the New
York Times Magazine. According to Tibet Online, in Tibet today, the indigenous population of Tibetans is a minority in
their own country.
With the stresses caused by globalization and Western influences, political and religious differences, increasing population and changing geological and climatic conditions, the Himalayan Buddhist cultures are--without a doubt--going to change. What form that change will take is the question. Worldwide efforts are underway to preserve the languages, cultures, religions, and ecology of the Himalayan region.
Each area is dealing with change in its own way: Tibet by trying to transplant its culture in India, Bhutan by controlling exposure to the West, Nepal undergoing internal strife that will determine its direction.
What will be gained and what will be lost is uncertain.