#Tsampa Revolution and Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees at Rutgers

Exactly one year after they were taken, the photos of “Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees and Ex-Political Prisoners’ will be shown at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. The show is being hosted by The Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights with which Built on Respect has a professional fellowship. Since last […]


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Tattoos of Tibetan Refugees

Today on TV, we see so many TV shows dedicated to the stories behind tattoos. In the three years that I have been coming to the Tibetan community of Dharamsala in India, I’ve been quietly observing the tattoos of the people here. In many cases, these tattoos mark the skin of former political prisoners. In […]


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3/12/11 Back in Dhasa

Somehow, I’ve been here a week already. I’ve been gone for eight months, and coming back, I just gazed on all the new construction, how many new buildings can a mountain top hold? My college sociology classes came tumbling back into my head: what is this doing to the rent for the locals as more […]

Human Rights Meets Miami Ink

I’ve been on the receiving end of a tattoo needle for the past 21 years. In New York, I work with various magazines and musicians — when I’m in Dharamsala my life appears to be drastically different, many of my close friends there are monks and geshes, and young people who have dedicated their lives […]

Can ABC World News Get Answers?

Diane Sawyer and “ABC World News” are headed to China and are asking “What Issues Do You Want to Know More About?” Whilst Chinese Media is censored and there are restraints on foreign journalists, this is still a chance to bring Tibet’s issues to the forefront.

Music in full effect!

Several years ago, I watched “Cry Of The Snow Lion”, and was invigorated by a scene three quarters of the way through, the famed Tibet Freedom concerts, spearheaded by the Beastie Boys.

Musical Revolution

I can’t believe I’ve been Stateside for two and a half months now. Usually, this would be the time I started to pack my bags, and head back to India, but I’m trying to stay put for a little while, I have a lot I want to accomplish here this year.

Palden Gyatso Interviews

I have started to edit together almost 2 hours of an interview with Palden Gyatso. If his name is new to you — Palden was a political prisoner in Tibet – for 33 years. He escaped to India, bringing some of the tools he was tortured with. He has spoken in front of Human Rights […]

Save Zanskar and Built on Respect Updates!

Happy sunny Sunday from Dharamsala! I just wanted to give a few updates on Geshela’s Save Zanskar work as well as Built on Respect’s latest projects! First, we have done two screenings of Journey from Zanskar here, thanks to Common Ground — we did a TALK TIBET at Yongling School and this past week, we […]

An ENTIRELY DIY way to support Zanskar

As some of you may have read on my blog, or on International Campaign for Tibet’s blog, I have been fortunate enough to work with and teach a VERY amazing man. I adore Geshela, and cherish the time I spend with him. Today, we received copies of the movie made about him and Damchoe — […]

Joe Strummer, Part 2

Joe Stummer, and the music he made has influenced my life in such a major way. His quotes from interviews are beyond inspiring: ”The way you get a better world is, you don’t put up with substandard anything.”

Contemporary Tibetan Art: PART 2

It is hard to believe in a community literally built around the Dalai Lama — with its influx of tourists and refugees, that there is not a space dedicated to contemporary art.

A long-overdue update

Surprisingly, it’s been 6 weeks since I arrived in Dhasa. I had big plans for this trip – starting SamaSource here was a main priority I’m glad to say, this has been going well. There were so many obstacles — having working computers, finding a good manager, and the small unavoidables, such as lack of […]

Offering a Home to Creativity

It’s no secret the Tibetan Government has been in exile for 51 years, and an extraordinary culture and life has bloomed in exile. The streets of Dharamsala are filled with juxtaposition – a culture previously isolated has collided with the modern world at an astoundingly fast pace. The first generation of elders offspring are now […]

Hardcore Benefit Show in Italy!

Props to Luca and all involved for taking the time to put this together! I hope everyone has a great time!!!

Hard work, tattoos and changing the status quo

I arrived in Delhi 12 days ago, and this has been the first time I’ve had time to write about what EXACTLY I’ve been doing for 12 days. They weren’t lost in a haze of jet lag, on the contrary, they’ve been exciting, challenging and non-stop days that have run into each other and played […]

Human Rights Videos

About two weeks ago, I found a video on FaceBook — it explained human rights. What made it interesting to me was that it started off asking people on the street WHAT ARE human rights? People were better able to explain what they weren’t — but not what they were.

The next round of projects!

Hi all, I’m headed back to Dharamsala in 4 weeks. There are a few things could use help with if you wanted to support.

Last Week

I got home on Monday, and looked at my Indian cell phone. I was going through it, and realized how quickly I add numbers, and delete them. Whether it’s just numbers of people passing through town, or of my friends there. On this past trip, two of my best friends there left India to start […]

Common Ground: Young people making a difference

Wen King, only 25 years old, has built something amazing in Dharamsala, India — a place where there is no agenda, just a Common Ground for conversation. Wen firmly believes conversation can deconstruct propaganda, foster understanding, and has started the Common Ground Cafe for this purpose, amongst others.

Tea parties, political prisoners, chocolate, and Obama to Beijing

It’s been a week of more ‘small’ things. But pennies are small, and they make dollars. One of my students now has glasses. Maybe a small thing, but he hadn’t realized he had bad vision. After several weeks of classes, I became very aware that he was squinting in classes. I asked Tenzin to help […]

Meeting My Hero

SamaSource has arrived! Rohan, one of the fellows from SamaSource arrived in Dharamsala two days ago. Today, we met with the program manager and started to get the plan in action. We will be selecting the first students this week!

Tattoos and puppies, some of my favorite things

I’ve definitely settled into my schedule here. Last week, one of my oldest friends here, Wangdu, got his Visa, and left with his wife for the US. The evening we went to the bus station, I found a small group of puppies.

Lost in the calm

This week, the Dalai Lama gave 2 teachings, one sponsored by Taiwan, and one by Singapore. Classes kind of go on hold, well, at least the regular schedule, as everyone is at the teachings. Geshe Wandak and I have been making time after the teachings for his classes, which is great. We’ve been working hard, […]

Apple vs. Paypal – a parable

Yesterday, there was a massive power surge in Dhasa — enough that it started to fry my Mac power cord (thank god not my computer!) It was bad enough that the power was shut down in the whole state for 8 hours yesterday while they fixed it. Such is India.

Big Picture Projects

About a week before I came here, my friend Jenn in CA mentioned a company to me – it’s a non-profit called SamaSource. Here’s a bit about them from their website: “Samasource derives its name from the Sanskrit word sama, which means “equal”. Our mission is to reduce poverty by connecting people to dignified, computer-based […]

PRC’s Birthday

This morning, instead of class, the Geshe’s and I watched the celebrations in Beijing for the People’s Republic of China’s 60th birthday. 60 is a more significant number than 50, as China uses the lunar calender. We watched it for about 2 hours. It was massive, but so sad and scary. Military tanks, new weapons […]

East Meets West

My thangka teacher  just completed the Je Tsongkhapa thangka for the Tibet House. The SOLO Foundation, which oversees Built On Respect purchased it for this event:

Fruits of labor

Saturday, I spent a better part of the day at IBD — we did three hours of conversation in the morning, focusing on the Dalai Lama’s teachings given that week.

Humility, amongst other thoughts…

Humility and selling don’t always go hand in hand. I know, totally strange sentence to start a blog with, but it was what came to mind after Monday’s occurrences.

The first week…

The week was amazing. The past two days I was literally working 14 hours straight. The Rowell fund is accepting applications this month. It is only for Tibetans, and I’ve been helping several non-profits fill out their forms.

Started teaching today!

Hi all! Just a quick update, I am exhausted! I began teaching two senior geshes this morning, it was wonderful. Immediately following, I went to ITTA ( I was able to give Ngodup $400 for one of the thangka that sold on eBay’s World of Good site.

Already busy! Just arrived in India!

After about 35 hours of travel, where I inadvertently lost a day, I arrived in Dhasa on Friday afternoon. Luckily I had that DIY presence of mind to keep the plastic utensils from my flight, as my new room here doesn’t have anything in the kitchen!

Tibet House and ICT

Special thanks to two awesome people! This week I met with Ganden Thurman at the Tibet House, which works to promote Tibetan culture. Last week I went to a great dharma lesson there from Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche. Tibet house has a great directory of Tibetan businesses, artists, organizations and more both on their website, and […]

NYC Summer!

Summer is here in New York, but from what I’ve heard from my friends in Dharamsala, I should be glad to be here! The monsoon hasn’t started there yet, and there are severe water shortages. I got an update from Kypia at Jamtse, the re-building of the bathrooms at Jampaling (the elders’ home) is coming […]

The last month has been pretty amazing…

Don’t underestimate the power of the web. I have been to no less than 10 shows in the last month, and I am floored. At every show, I have had so many people pull me aside and say I have inspired them… Zeze who runs a zine, Alex from a union on Long Island, Johnny […]

Next trip is booked!

YIPPEE! I am heading back to Dharamsala on September 2nd, and staying through mid-November! More updates are coming soon!

Back In The US (but only for a while!)

Hello all! Well, I am back from India, and it has been an amazing three months. I guess I need to start this with the fact that I will be returning for another few months in September. I got to meet so many new people, and be involved with so many great projects.

The Last Week

I seriously cannot believe it’s been three months! I’ve started to take some random footage, just of things I find interesting here.

Traditional Tibetan Music

This week, Wangdu and I went to the Yongling School to see a free performance by Dorjee Tsering. Dorjee was featured in the Hope Center’s newsletter this month; he is a graduate of TIPA, and very talented. In the video, he explains the differences in the three Tibetan regions’ music. I have been helping him […]

Field Trip To Meet Karmapa

On Monday, Built on Respect teamed up once again with Jamtse In Action to work on an event for the elders at Jampaling. Built on Respect underwrote the trip, and the lovely Kyipa of Jamtse coordinated EVERYTHING! We rented two buses, and took 70 of the elders to the temple of the 17th Karmapa, for […]

Interview With Karmapa!

Oh my goodness oh my goodness! Yesterday we went to the police station, and got the final papers that approve our private interview with the Karmapa! Built on Respect is sponsoring a trip to his temple for the elders at Jampaling, they will have a private audience — all of this is through the hard […]


This week was exams for the entry level students, I helped Wangdu create their exam. There is a video up on the media section. Yesterday was the Panchen Lama’s birthday, missing for 14 years, there were vigils in town, and a performance at TIPA, the Tibetan Institute of the Performing Arts. I’m working on editing […]

BOR Is Featured In AMP Magazine!

Thank you to Jason and Lisa for this RAD story on Built on Respect!!!!!

Supporting Art Education

Tibetan art is integral to its cultural preservation. Nestled below the Tibetan Library, is a small school called the Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art. The school is free for its 20 international students, it is a five-year program under two teachers who studied under Sange Yeshe.

Helping Jamtse in Action

Here are the latest updates from Kyipa at jamtse in Action, and how you can help! Dear Jamtse members, Prior to anything, thank you so much to all of you for supporting and joining this cause to help the elderly in our community. Jamtse is trying its best to make some difference in the lives […]

Art & Culture

The Internet has been dodgy this week, so I’ve been immersing myself in Tibetan culture. This week, the ‘Thank you India’ celebration took place at the temple, there were dancers and music, and a beautiful show of traditional dress:

Fascinating Interviews

This week, I started a series of interviews. One was with B. Tsering, the president of the Tibetan Women’s Association.

March 31st in Italy – And More Press!

Luca from Countdown Records took the initiative to put our logo on fliers for several upcoming hardcore shows, and will be collecting donations. I love this kind of support, it means a lot! In addition, Luca started writing for a new magazine in Italy, called World Peace. He did a great interview with me, and […]

Back from Delhi!

Lordy! It’s only March, and Delhi is already hot, and swarmed with flies and mosquitoes! All the paperwork went smoothly for our friend, and we got to meet the shirt makers and see their products — they are great! 100% cotton, made in India, by Tibetan refugees.

In Delhi (Ack!)

Mike (Convoy Films) decided last minute it would be interesting to come to Delhi with one of our friends who is in the process of getting her yellow book for travel. With barely 2 hours before the bus departed, we gathered our stuff together. The bus is 12 hours (no bathroom thank you) – and […]

Puppies and Tattoos

Lord, they cut an internet cable when working on the roads, so I haven’t had any for 2 days! Anyway! My friend Deb got here a few days ago, she works with Arvind at the Dharamsala dog rescue. They fix the stray dogs, give them shots, and work in the community to educate the public […]

Jamtse In Action, Again!

Today, one of Kyipa’s friends donated an autoclave to her NGO to present to the clinic at Jampaling, the elders’ home here in Dharamsala. The clinic did not have one, and had to go every day to the neighboring hospital to sterilize gauze and needles. Kyipa has been very involved, and supporting this home. They […]

Tibetan Women’s Uprising Day

March 12th was the Tibetan Women’s uprising day. The Tibetan Women’s Association organized a march, and activities throughout the day at the temple. There were photos on display, and they also invited people to paint. Many of the pictures were by the students at TCV, but Wangdue, Tenzin, me and Catlyn painted too:

Celebrate Your Freedom (v-log)

Tibetan Childrens Village

Today we spent the day at Lower Tibetan Children’s Village, where Kusang spent his last two years of school, and where Kyipa’s sister teaches. We had a really good time walking around the grounds. I can’t begin to explain the community feeling, everything that you could need is there: canteen, home, classes, playgrounds, doctors, sports […]

Murder in the Snow Documentary and Hope

I’ve been wanting to post this, it just took a bit of time, and trying to get a stable Internet connection! Last night, there was a second screening of a new documentary — Mike was able to watch it with us this time. The first screening was last Saturday at the Dalai Lama’s Temple at […]

Classes Have Started!

So on Sunday, we cleaned the Hope Center offices in preparation for the students. I also picked Mike up from the airport, and we went to dinner with the Board Members. Monday started early, with our first meeting of the new year. We discussed the class schedule,and different activities. Last night, Kyipa and Kusang came […]

Groovy Granny And More

THIS IS THE VIDEO I promised the other day. Kusang and I used iMovie, it was his first video editing lesson. I think I’ve already thanked Mike at Convoy for teaching me, but Mike saved us again today. As Tenzin and I were working on the new brochures and postcards, we realized we had a […]

More Losar!

So last night was New Year’s Eve. Kyipa invited Kusang and I over for a traditional dinner. We just had a really good time hanging out. Needless to say, we had even more fun making a video of it! You can Watch it Here! Today, volunteers and board members of The Hope Center joined Kyipa’s […]

Losar Preparation

Traveling caught up with me, and I was a bit sick for the past two days. But, Tibetan New Year is about to start, and I have been really looking forward to it. Losar is based off of a lunar calendar. While normally it is a big celebration that can last for several weeks, this […]

2/19/09 Blog

Yesterday we met at my apartment — Kusang, Lhakchung, Tashi and Wangdue. We are working more with the TIbetan folk stories, reading out loud — pronunciation, and defining new words. Kusang looked over the new brochure copy, and later we met with Tenzin, another board member, who is doing the layout.

2/18/09 Blog

I started off the day at my apartment, with English lessons for the board members. The last time I was here, I had purchased a book of Tibetan folk stories. Our first lesson was reading a story together. We are taking turns reading paragraphs out loud, working on pronunciation, defining unknown words and then giving […]

Back In Dhasa

Today was my first day meeting with everyone. Tashi, Tenzin, Kusang, Wangdue, Lhakchung and I all met. They are working to create business cards, a banner, letterhead, and brochures. Now that they have NGO status (they are a registered non-profit), these are all priorities.

Valentine’s Day!

And what a fitting day to land in India!!!!! Just wanted to drop a quick blog that the flight was uneventful (yea!) and that I’m off to Dharamsala tomorrow! Namaste 🙂

Barely 2 Weeks, And Thank You NYU

I’ve been online more than ever lately, reposting to raise awareness; friends have been helping loads! In the past 3 days we’ve raised almost $300, which is so amazing! One of the projects I’ve been researching is independent book publishing; I really want to be able to help the Hope Center put out their book […]

Joe Strummer

Today was the six year anniversary of Joe Strummer’s way-to-premature death. When I first started Built on Respect, there was no better ‘mission statement’ to me that his statement: In Fact PUNK ROCK means EXEMPLARY manners to your fellow human being. I’d recently been researching some other quotes, and thought I’d share them with you. […]

New Column At!

Hi all! So cool news, I’ve started a column on Inked Magazine’s website, featuring different tattooed personalities and the social causes they support! There will be a new interview up every other week. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Tattoo Picture & Video

Several weeks ago, Tasha at NYHC started on my right arm, we’re doing a Tibetan flag, and started with the Snow Lions.

Is It Almost The Holidays?

They are fast approaching and it’s been a few days since I’ve blogged. Inked Magazine has let me start a new column, Inked for a Cause; it appears exclusively on their website, with a new one every other week. It’s really nice to be able to interview people specifically on the charitable work they do […]

Signed ‘Sick Of It All’ Merch

A whole bunch of CDs and DVDs were just listed on eBay for 5 days. Here are the items if you want to check them out! All proceeds go to Built on Respect!

Rocks Off And The Cro-Mags Rock!

Last night’s show was AMAZING! Totally packed, great bands! To those of you who donated, bought the BNB Bowl:2008 DVD, and signed the mailing list, thank you SO much!!!! Here is the PSA!


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Items On eBay To Benefit Built On Respect

Hey all! SO, I posted up a bunch of Franky & Minx gear on eBay, samples, all brand new, and really discounted from what they originally sold for. A bunch of belts are literally $10.00.

Ink Time

So I’m headed over to NYHC Tattoos tonight, Tasha is going to do snow lions on my arm, I’m really looking forward to it, we’ve been talking about it for a while. Our friend Jeffro is coming by to take some pictures to I’ll be posting them soon. The past week has been really great. […]

Cool Things

So, on December 13th, Devil Doll is doing a holiday XXXtravaganza with vendors, performances, all sorts of cool things in LA at Sam’s Safari. A percentage of the proceeds will be coming in towards BOR! Also – I’m guessing a lot of people are reposting, we’re up to 101,674 hits as I’m writing this!


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Music, Coming Soon!

Our first track for free download will be from Scotland’s 4 Past Midnight! It should be up next week! Ace! 4PM’s site!

“Where Does My $1 Go?”

I apologize, I’ve put information in different places in the site, and have been asked twice today to answer this in one place! I am working to raise funds to support several projects when I am there.Often, to start a project, you need money. Whether it’s to pay for xerox fliers to pass around town […]

Updates From The Hope Center

So, I’ve been working with Raoul to finish the new Hope Education Center website, it should be done this week. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the projects they are doing, these are projects I will be working on with them when I am there. I think you’ll find there is diversity, […]

I Think Every Blog Will Be Headed, ‘Thank You.’

So the phone’s been ringing. Yesterday, I spoke with the lovely people at World of, who are partnered with eBay. I’m working on setting ups a store now that I will use when I’m in India to develop sustainable business models. The really cool news? They are interested in the video footage I will […]

Thank You Gypsy Queens

Special thanks to Rock the Ink, and Frankie from Gypsy Queens. Through their help this weekend, we were able to spread the word, and raise money!


That seems to be the theme of the week — reaching out to potential sponsors, to existing sponsors, making new friends, talking with old friends.

Thank You, And Creative Math

So, I sent out some thank you notes last night when I saw that within 5 days of launching, this site had received over 31,000 views. Today, as I write this, we are at 33,464! Why am I telling you this? Well, a couple of reasons.

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

Painted on wall at the entrance to a Tibetan Monastery in Sarnath.

Nonprofit Status!

YIPPEE!!!! I had a wonderful meeting with my accountant yesterday. Howie actually oversees his own non-profit, THE SOLO FOUNDATION, which is arts related. He is able to be our ‘fiscal sponsor’, which means any donations made to his group, earmarked for Built on Respect, are marked as charitable donations, and we are able to give […]

Visa Arrived!

My five-year visa for India arrived today, so it seemed auspicious to get to work on this project. was updated to link to this page, I set up my matching email (minx at builtonrespect dot com), and decided to build out this profile as the main home for the initiative. It’s a lot easier […]

Moving Along

So I’ve been working on the net all week. I set up a project on the site. Ian at Hopeless introduced me to Aria who works there, we had a nice meeting, they really embody the DIY spirit. Bands have been reposting, and as of last night, which was 4 days after the new […]

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