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Posts Tagged "his holiness the dalai lama"
There are 23 results found
FPMT had the incredible fortunate to make offerings for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the conclusion of this year’s Jangchub Lam-Rim teaching event at Sera Je Monastery. Lama Zopa Rinpoche was present and offered a giant silver Dharmachakra, a beautiful White Tara thangka made of pearls, and over US$20,000 on behalf of all FPMT centers, projects and services.
Each year FPMT is committed to arrange or be an official benefactor for His Holiness’ long life puja. Over twenty years ago, Lama Zopa Rinpoche requested for this to happen annually. Please rejoice!
Tremendous thanks to everyone who contributed to this wonderful long life offering. You can donate anytime to the Long Life Puja Fund for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
FPMT has the incredible opportunity to be one of the main sponsors of the long life puja that will be offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the conclusion of this year’s Jangchub Lam-Rim teaching event at Sera Je Monastery. This is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s continued teachings and transmissions on eighteen classic Lam-rim commentaries.
FPMT will be organizing the traditional offerings as well as a special thangka of White Tara, that is made completely of tiny pearls, which Lama Zopa Rinpoche has carefully arranged in Nepal, working closely with the artist on the design, brocade, and many details.
An important priority for FPMT is offering long life pujas every year for our immeasurably precious teachers: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Lama Zopa Rinpoche requested the FPMT organization to offer a long life puja to His Holiness the Dalai Lama every year. FPMT International Office has taken on this responsibility, through the Long Life Puja Fund, for twenty years, and will continue to do so, on behalf of the entire organization.
If you would like to contribute to the annual long life puja offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on behalf of the entire FPMT organization, you are welcome to offer any amount toward the expenses.
To understand why a long life puja is essential, we must understand the value of the Guru. He is our guide in this life, the bardo, and future lives. He is immensely important. It is not a case where if we ask him to live he will, and vice-versa, but that to offer such a ceremony purifies our own broken samayas.
In November 2012, on the very auspicious occasion of the 610th Anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa’s composition of his masterpiece Lam-rim Chen-mo (The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) and the 600th Anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching of this text at Gaden Monastery for the first time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began offering teachings and transmissions on eighteen classic Lam-rim commentaries at the request of His Eminence Ling Rinpoche. His Holiness is continuing the incredibly rare teachings and transmissions this year. The teaching event will take place December 25, 2013 – January 3, 2014 at Sera Je Monastery. More details can be found on the event’s website.
In 2012 the Preserving the Lineage Fund sponsored the printing of the 50,000 copies of five different texts needed for the teaching event, as well as the bags for all the texts and a sound system for the event. The texts will be utilized again this year.
These incredible teachings are being streamed via live webcast.
You may also download the texts used in the event.
Please rejoice in this incredibly precious and historic event. Sincere thanks to all who have contributed.
“It’s very sad,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama told ABC News in April 2013, responding to questions about the reported role of Buddhist monks in violent and deadly attacks against Muslims in Myanmar (also known as Burma). “All the major religions teach us the practice of love, compassion and forgiveness. So a genuine practitioner among these different religious traditions would not indulge in such violence and bullying of other people.”
An April 2013 report by Human Rights Watch describes “the role of the Burmese government and local authorities in the forcible displacement of more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Burmese officials, community leaders, and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population. The tens of thousands of displaced have been denied access to humanitarian aid and been unable to return home.”
ABC News asked what His Holiness would say to the Burmese Buddhist monks, if he had an opportunity to address them directly. “We are religious people,” His Holiness replied. “Buddha always teaches us about forgiveness, tolerance, compassion. If from one corner of your mind, some emotion makes you want to hit, or want to kill, then please remember Buddha’s faith. We are followers of Buddha.”
In May 2013, Reuters reported His Holiness called acts of violence perpetrated by Buddhist monks against Muslims in Myanmar “unthinkable.” “I think it is very sad,” he said, during a public talk at the University of Maryland, “I pray for them (the monks) to think of the face of Buddha.”
FPMT News Around the World
The 26th Mind and Life conference recently wrapped up at Drepung Monastery in Mundgod, South India. His Holiness the Dalai Lama convened the six-day meeting, titled “Mind, Brain and Matter: Critical Conversations Between Buddhist Thought and Science.” Video of the proceedings can be watched online.
The conference brought 20 well-known and respected scientists and philosophers together with His Holiness and other senior Tibetan scholars. Several thousand monks and nuns from numerous Tibetan monastic centers of learning also were able to watch the meeting, which explored questions concerning the fundamental nature of the physical world, consciousness and scientific research of contemplative practice. In addition, monastic students attended an educational session on the historical development of science and the influence that scientific thought has on how we understand the world.
The Mind and Life Institute, which organized the conference, supports ongoing dialogue and research to better understand the benefits of contemplative practice. The Institute grew out of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s interest in modern science and his desire to discuss the nature of reality with scientists.
With more than 160 centers, projects and services around the globe, there is always news on FPMT activities, teachers and events. Mandala hopes to share as many of these timely stories as possible. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.
If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.
FPMT News Around the World
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama just wrapped up a busy four-day visit to Hawaii, kicking off a visit to the United States and Canada. During his stay in Hawaii, His Holiness’ visit touched on many familiar themes, including secular ethics and the importance of compassion and education. On April 15, His Holiness gave a sold-out public talk called “Advancing Peace Through the Power of Aloha.”
“We’re all human brothers and sisters. We’re all the same human being. Mentally, emotionally, physically, we are the same. So whenever I give a talk to people, I always feel I am just one of you. No differences. No barrier,” His Holiness told the audience of 9,000.
“I have been a few times here. This time having the opportunity meeting more people. Yesterday, children. I feel some sort of meaningful day. Now here a public talk. I am very happy. My friend, in his introduction, gave a clear explanation of the meaning of aloha. Now I learned some sort of deeper meaning of aloha. Very helpful. Thank you.
“Expressing the word aloha very easy. But implementing the real meaning of aloha not easy. …
- Tagged: his holiness the dalai lama
Your Majesty, Members of the Nobel Committee, Brothers and Sisters:
I am very happy to be here with you today to receive the Nobel Prize for Peace. I feel honoured, humbled and deeply moved that you should give this important prize to a simple monk from Tibet. I am no one special. But, I believe the prize is a recognition of the true values of altruism, love, compassion and nonviolence which I try to practise, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the great sages of India and Tibet.
I accept the prize with profound gratitude on behalf of the oppressed everywhere and for all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace. I accept it as a tribute to the man who founded the modern tradition of nonviolent action for change – Mahatma Gandhi – whose life taught and inspired me. And, of course, I accept it on behalf of the six million Tibetan people, my brave countrymen and women inside Tibet, who have suffered and continue to suffer so much. They confront a calculated and systematic strategy aimed at the destruction of their national and cultural identities. The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated.
No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have the same basic human needs and concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples. That is human nature. The great changes that are taking place everywhere in the world, from Eastern Europe to Africa, are a clear indication of this.
In China the popular movement for democracy was crushed by brutal force in June this year. But I do not believe the demonstrations were in vain, because the spirit of freedom was rekindled among the Chinese people and China cannot escape the impact of this spirit of freedom sweeping many parts of the world. The brave students and their supporters showed the Chinese leadership and the world the human face of that great nation.
Last week a number of Tibetans were once again sentenced to prison terms of up to nineteen years at a mass show trial, possibly intended to frighten the population before today’s event. Their only “crime” was the expression of the widespread desire of Tibetans for the restoration of their beloved country’s independence.
The suffering of our people during the past forty years of occupation is well documented. Ours has been a long struggle. We know our cause is just. Because violence can only breed more violence and suffering, our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred. We are trying to end the suffering of our people, not to inflict suffering upon others.
It is with this in mind that I proposed negotiations between Tibet and China on numerous occasions. In 1987, I made specific proposals in a five-point plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet. This included the conversion of the entire Tibetan plateau into a Zone of Ahimsa, a sanctuary of peace and nonviolence where human beings and nature can live in peace and harmony.
Last year, I elaborated on that plan in Strasbourg, at the European Parliament. I believe the ideas I expressed on those occasions are both realistic and reasonable, although they have been criticised by some of my people as being too conciliatory. Unfortunately, China’s leaders have not responded positively to the suggestions we have made, which included important concessions. If this continues we will be compelled to reconsider our position.
Any relationship between Tibet and China will have to be based on the principle of equality, respect, trust and mutual benefit. It will also have to be based on the principle which the wise rulers of Tibet and of China laid down in a treaty as early as 823 A.D., carved on the pillar which still stands today in front of the Jo-khang, Tibet’s holiest shrine, in Lhasa, that “Tibetans will live happily in the great land of Tibet, and the Chinese will live happily in the great land of China”.
As a Buddhist monk, my concern extends to all members of the human family and, indeed, to all sentient beings who suffer. I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion and elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.
The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human-created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
With the ever-growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play by reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. Both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on the pressing global concern with the environment. I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means might appear different the ends are the same.
As we enter the final decade of this century I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.
I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings.
From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1981-1990, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore
- Tagged: his holiness the dalai lama
Brothers and Sisters:
It is an honour and pleasure to be among you today. I am really happy to see so many old friends who have come from different corners of the world, and to make new friends, whom I hope to meet again in the future. When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically, we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other. That is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and to develop friendship and closeness.
Thinking over what I might say today, I decided to share with you some of my thoughts concerning the common problems all of us face as members of the human family. Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream, but a necessity. We are dependent on each other in so many ways, that we can no longer live in isolated communities and ignore what is happening outside those communities, and we must share the good fortune that we enjoy. I speak to you as just another human being; as a simple monk. If you find what I say useful, then I hope you will try to practise it.
I also wish to share with you today my feelings concerning the plight and aspirations of the people of Tibet. The Nobel Prize is a prize they well deserve for their courage and unfailing determination during the past forty years of foreign occupation. As a free spokesman for my captive countrymen and -women, I feel it is my duty to speak out on their behalf. I speak not with a feeling of anger or hatred towards those who are responsible for the immense suffering of our people and the destruction of our land, homes and culture. They too are human beings who struggle to find happiness and deserve our compassion. I speak to inform you of the sad situation in my country today and of the aspirations of my people, because in our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.
The realisation that we are all basically the same human beings, who seek happiness and try to avoid suffering, is very helpful in developing a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood; a warm feeling of love and compassion for others. This, in turn, is essential if we are to survive in this ever shrinking world we live in. For if we each selfishly pursue only what we believe to be in our own interest, without caring about the needs of others, we not only may end up harming others but also ourselves. This fact has become very clear during the course of this century. We know that to wage a nuclear war today, for example, would be a form of suicide; or that by polluting the air or the oceans, in order to achieve some short-term benefit, we are destroying the very basis for our survival. As interdependents, therefore, we have no other choice than to develop what I call a sense of universal responsibility.
Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen, but is equally valid for the positive developments. We not only know what happens elsewhere, thanks to the extraordinary modern communications technology. We are also directly affected by events that occur far away. We feel a sense of sadness when children are starving in Eastern Africa. Similarly, we feel a sense of joy when a family is reunited after decades of separation by the Berlin Wall. Our crops and livestock are contaminated and our health and livelihood threatened when a nuclear accident happens miles away in another country. Our own security is enhanced when peace breaks out between warring parties in other continents.
But war or peace; the destruction or the protection of nature; the violation or promotion of human rights and democratic freedoms; poverty or material well-being; the lack of moral and spiritual values or their existence and development; and the breakdown or development of human understanding, are not isolated phenomena that can be analysed and tackled independently of one another. In fact, they are very much interrelated at all levels and need to be approached with that understanding.
Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighbouring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free. True peace with oneself and with the world around us can only be achieved through the development of mental peace. The other phenomena mentioned above are similarly interrelated. Thus, for example, we see that a clean environment, wealth or democracy mean little in the face of war, especially nuclear war, and that material development is not sufficient to ensure human happiness.
Material progress is of course important for human advancement. In Tibet, we paid much too little attention to technological and economic development, and today we realise that this was a mistake. At the same time, material development without spiritual development can also cause serious problems, In some countries too much attention is paid to external things and very little importance is given to inner development. I believe both are important and must be developed side by side so as to achieve a good balance between them. Tibetans are always described by foreign visitors as being a happy, jovial people. This is part of our national character, formed by cultural and religious values that stress the importance of mental peace through the generation of love and kindness to all other living sentient beings, both human and animal. Inner peace is the key: if you have inner peace, the external problems do not affect your deep sense of peace and tranquility. In that state of mind you can deal with situations with calmness and reason, while keeping your inner happiness. That is very important. Without this inner peace, no matter how comfortable your life is materially, you may still be worried, disturbed or unhappy because of circumstances.
Clearly, it is of great importance, therefore, to understand the interrelationship among these and other phenomena, and to approach and attempt to solve problems in a balanced way that takes these different aspects into consideration. Of course it is not easy. But it is of little benefit to try to solve one problem if doing so creates an equally serious new one. So really we have no alternative: we must develop a sense of universal responsibility not only in the geographic sense, but also in respect to the different issues that confront our planet.
Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually. Peace, for example, starts with each one of us. When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. When our community is in a state of peace, it can share that peace with neighbouring communities, and so on. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. And there are ways in which we can consciously work to develop feelings of love and kindness. For some of us, the most effective way to do so is through religious practice. For others it may be non-religious practices. What is important is that we each make a sincere effort to take our responsibility for each other and for the natural environment we live in seriously.
I am very encouraged by the developments which are taking place around us. After the young people of many countries, particularly in northern Europe, have repeatedly called for an end to the dangerous destruction of the environment which was being conducted in the name of economic development, the world’s political leaders are now starting to take meaningful steps to address this problem. The report to the United Nations Secretary-General by the World Commission on the Environment and Development (the Brundtland Report) was an important step in educating governments on the urgency of the issue. Serious efforts to bring peace to war-torn zones and to implement the right to self-determination of some people have resulted in the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and the establishment of independent Namibia. Through persistent nonviolent popular efforts dramatic changes, bringing many countries closer to real democracy, have occurred in many places, from Manila in the Philippines to Berlin in East Germany. With the Cold War era apparently drawing to a close, people everywhere live with renewed hope. Sadly, the courageous efforts of the Chinese people to bring similar change to their country was brutally crushed last June. But their efforts too are a source of hope. The military might has not extinguished the desire for freedom and the determination of the Chinese people to achieve it. I particularly admire the fact that these young people who have been taught that “power grows from the barrel of the gun”, chose, instead, to use nonviolence as their weapon.
What these positive changes indicate, is that reason, courage, determination, and the inextinguishable desire for freedom can ultimately win. In the struggle between forces of war, violence and oppression on the one hand, and peace, reason and freedom on the other, the latter are gaining the upper hand. This realisation fills us Tibetans with hope that some day we too will once again be free.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize to me, a simple monk from faraway Tibet, here in Norway, also fills us Tibetans with hope. It means, despite the fact that we have not drawn attention to our plight by means of violence, we have not been forgotten. It also means that the values we cherish, in particular our respect for all forms of life and the belief in the power of truth, are today recognised and encouraged. It is also a tribute to my mentor, Mahatma Gandhi, whose example is an inspiration to so many of us. This year’s award is an indication that this sense of universal responsibility is developing. I am deeply touched by the sincere concern shown by so many people in this part of the world for the suffering of the people of Tibet. That is a source of hope not only for us Tibetans, but for all oppressed people.
As you know, Tibet has, for forty years, been under foreign occupation. Today, more than a quarter of a million Chinese troops are stationed in Tibet. Some sources estimate the occupation army to be twice this strength. During this time, Tibetans have been deprived of their most basic human rights, including the right to life, movement, speech, worship, only to mention a few. More than one sixth of Tibet’s population of six million died as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation. Even before the Cultural Revolution started, many of Tibet’s monasteries, temples and historic buildings were destroyed. Almost everything that remained was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. I do not wish to dwell on this point, which is well documented. What is important to realise, however, is that despite the limited freedom granted after 1979, to rebuild parts of some monasteries and other such tokens of liberalisation, the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people are still today being systematically violated. In recent months this bad situation has become even worse.
If it were not for our community in exile, so generously sheltered and supported by the government and people of India and helped by organisations and individuals from many parts of the world, our nation would today be little more than a shattered remnant of a people. Our culture, religion and national identity would have been effectively eliminated. As it is, we have built schools and monasteries in exile and have created democratic institutions to serve our people and preserve the seeds of our civilisation. With this experience, we intend to implement full democracy in a future free Tibet. Thus, as we develop our community in exile on modern lines, we also cherish and preserve our own identity and culture and bring hope to millions of our countrymen and -women in Tibet.
The issue of most urgent concern at this time, is the massive influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet. Although in the first decades of occupation a considerable number of Chinese were transferred into the eastern parts of Tibet – in the Tibetan provinces of Amdo (Chinghai) and Kham (most of which has been annexed by neighboring Chinese provinces) – since 1983 an unprecedented number of Chinese have been encouraged by their government to migrate to all parts of Tibet, including central and western Tibet (which the People’s Republic of China refers to as the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region). Tibetans are rapidly being reduced to an insignificant minority in their own country. This development, which threatens the very survival of the Tibetan nation, its culture and spiritual heritage, can still be stopped and reversed. But this must be done now, before it is too late.
The new cycle of protest and violent repression, which started in Tibet in September of 1987 and culminated in the imposition of martial law in the capital, Lhasa, in March of this year, was in large part a reaction to this tremendous Chinese influx. Information reaching us in exile indicates that the protest marches and other peaceful forms of protest are continuing in Lhasa and a number of other places in Tibet, despite the severe punishment and inhumane treatment given to Tibetans detained for expressing their grievances. The number of Tibetans killed by security forces during the protest in March and of those who died in detention afterwards is not known but is believed to be more than two hundred. Thousands have been detained or arrested and imprisoned, and torture is commonplace.
It was against the background of this worsening situation and in order to prevent further bloodshed, that I proposed what is generally referred to as the Five-Point Peace Plan for the restoration of peace and human rights in Tibet. I elaborated on the plan in a speech in Strasbourg last year. I believe the plan provides a reasonable and realistic framework for negotiations with the People’s Republic of China. So far, however, China’s leaders have been unwilling to respond constructively. The brutal suppression of the Chinese democracy movement in June of this year, however, reinforced my view that any settlement of the Tibetan question will only be meaningful if it is supported by adequate international guarantees.
The Five-Point Peace Plan addresses the principal and interrelated issues, which I referred to in the first part of this lecture. It calls for (1) Transformation of the whole of Tibet, including the eastern provinces of Kham and Amdo, into a zone of Ahimsa (nonviolence); (2) Abandonment of China’s population transfer policy; (3) Respect for the Tibetan people’s fundamental rights and democratic freedoms; (4) Restoration and protection of Tibet’s natural environment; and (5) Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people. In the Strasbourg address I proposed that Tibet become a fully self-governing democratic political entity.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain the Zone of Ahimsa or peace sanctuary concept, which is the central element of the Five-Point Peace Plan. I am convinced that it is of great importance not only for Tibet, but for peace and stability in Asia.
It is my dream that the entire Tibetan plateau should become a free refuge where humanity and nature can live in peace and in harmonious balance. It would be a place where people from all over the world could come to seek the true meaning of peace within themselves, away from the tensions and pressures of much of the rest of the world. Tibet could indeed become a creative center for the promotion and development of peace.
The following are key elements of the proposed Zone of Ahimsa:
- the entire Tibetan plateau would be demilitarised;
– the manufacture, testing, and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other armaments on the Tibetan plateau would be prohibited;
– the Tibetan plateau would be transformed into the world’s largest natural park or biosphere. Strict laws would be enforced to protect wildlife and plant life; the exploitation of natural resources would be carefully regulated so as not to damage relevant ecosystems; and a policy of sustainable development would be adopted in populated areas;
– the manufacture and use of nuclear power and other technologies which produce hazardous waste would be prohibited;
– national resources and policy would be directed towards the active promotion of peace and environmental protection. Organisations dedicated to the furtherance of peace and to the protection of all forms of life would find a hospitable home in Tibet;
– the establishment of international and regional organisations for the promotion and protection of human rights would be encouraged in Tibet.
Tibet’s height and size (the size of the European Community), as well as its unique history and profound spiritual heritage makes it ideally suited to fulfill the role of a sanctuary of peace in the strategic heart of Asia. It would also be in keeping with Tibet’s historical role as a peaceful Buddhist nation and buffer region separating the Asian continent’s great and often rival powers.
In order to reduce existing tensions in Asia, the President of the Soviet Union, Mr. Gorbachev, proposed the demilitarisation of Soviet-Chinese borders and their transformation into “a frontier of peace and good-neighborliness”. The Nepal government had earlier proposed that the Himalayan country of Nepal, bordering on Tibet, should become a zone of peace, although that proposal did not include demilitarisation of the country.
For the stability and peace of Asia, it is essential to create peace zones to separate the continent’s biggest powers and potential adversaries. President Gorbachev’s proposal, which also included a complete Soviet troop withdrawal from Mongolia, would help to reduce tension and the potential for confrontation between the Soviet Union and China. A true peace zone must, clearly, also be created to separate the world’s two most populous states, China and India.
The establishment of the Zone of Ahimsa would require the withdrawal of troops and military installations from Tibet, which would enable India and Nepal also to withdraw troops and military installations from the Himalayan regions bordering Tibet. This would have to be achieved by international agreements. It would be in the best interest of all states in Asia, particularly China and India, as it would enhance their security, while reducing the economic burden of maintaining high troop concentrations in remote areas.
Tibet would not be the first strategic area to be demilitarised. Parts of the Sinai peninsula, the Egyptian territory separating Israel and Egypt, have been demilitarised for some time. Of course, Costa Rica is the best example of an entirely demilitarised country. Tibet would also not be the first area to be turned into a natural preserve or biosphere. Many parks have been created throughout the world. Some very strategic areas have been turned into natural “peace parks”. Two examples are the La Amistad Park, on the Costa Rica-Panama border and the Si A Paz project on the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border.
When I visited Costa Rica earlier this year, I saw how a country can develop successfully without an army, to become a stable democracy committed to peace and the protection of the natural environment. This confirmed my belief that my vision of Tibet in the future is a realistic plan, not merely a dream.
Let me end with a personal note of thanks to all of you and our friends who are not here today. The concern and support which you have expressed for the plight of the Tibetans have touched us all greatly, and continue to give us courage to struggle for freedom and justice: not through the use of arms, but with the powerful weapons of truth and determination. I know that I speak on behalf of all the people of Tibet when I thank you and ask you not to forget Tibet at this critical time in our country’s history. We too hope to contribute to the development of a more peaceful, more humane and more beautiful world. A future free Tibet will seek to help those in need throughout the world, to protect nature, and to promote peace. I believe that our Tibetan ability to combine spiritual qualities with a realistic and practical attitude enables us to make a special contribution, in however modest a way. This is my hope and prayer.
In conclusion, let me share with you a short prayer which gives me great inspiration and determination:
For as long as space endures,
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1981-1990, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore
- Tagged: his holiness the dalai lama
Our world is becoming smaller and ever more interdependent with the rapid growth in population and increasing contact between people and governments. In this light, it is important to reassess the rights and responsibilities of individuals, peoples and nations in relation to each other and to the planet as a whole. This World Conference of organizations and governments concerned about the rights and freedoms of people throughout the world reflects the appreciation of our interdependence.
No matter what country or continent we come from we are all basically the same human beings. We have the common human needs and concerns. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering regardless of our race, religion, sex or political status. Human beings, indeed all sentient beings, have the right to pursue happiness and live in peace and in freedom. As free human beings we can use our unique intelligence to try to understand ourselves and our world. But if we are prevented from using our creative potential, we are deprived of one of the basic characteristics of a human being. It is very often the most gifted, dedicated and creative members of our society who become victims of human rights abuses. Thus the political, social, cultural and economic developments of a society are obstructed by the violations of human rights. Therefore, the protection of these rights and freedoms are of immense importance both for the individuals affected and for the development of the society as a whole.
It is my belief that the lack of understanding of the true cause of happiness is the principal reason why people inflict suffering on others. Some people think that causing pain to others may lead to their own happiness or that their own happiness is of such importance that the pain of others is of no significance. But this is clearly shortsighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another being. Whatever immediate advantage is gained at the expense of someone else is short-lived. In the long run causing others misery and infringing upon their peace and happiness creates anxiety, fear and suspicion for oneself.
The key to creating a better and more peaceful world is the development of love and compassion for others. This naturally means we must develop concern for our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than we are. In this respect, the non-governmental organizations have a key role to play. You not only create awareness for the need to respect the rights of all human beings, but also give the victims of human rights violations hope for a better future.
When I travelled to Europe for the first time in 1973, I talked about the increasing interdependence of the world and the need to develop a sense of universal responsibility. We need to think in global terms because the effects of one nation’s actions are felt far beyond its borders. The acceptance of universally binding standards of Human Rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants of Human Rights is essential in today’s shrinking world. Respect for fundamental human rights should not remain an ideal to be achieved but a requisite foundation for every human society.
When we demand the rights and freedoms we so cherish we should also be aware of our responsibilities. If we accept that others have an equal right to peace and happiness as ourselves do we not have a responsibility to help those in need? Respect for fundamental human rights is as important to the people of Africa and Asia as it is to those in Europe or the Americas. All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured. The question of human rights is so fundamentally important that there should be no difference of views on this. We must therefore insist on a global consensus not only on the need to respect human rights world wide but more importantly on the definition of these rights.
Recently some Asian governments have contended that the standards of human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are those advocated by the West and cannot be applied to Asia and others parts of the Third World because of differences in culture and differences in social and economic development. I do not share this view and I am convinced that the majority of Asian people do not support this view either, for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal to achieve that. I do not see any contradiction between the need for economic development and the need for respect of human rights. The rich diversity of cultures and religions should help to strengthen the fundamental human rights in all communities. Because underlying this diversity are fundamental principles that bind us all as members of the same human family. Diversity and traditions can never justify the violations of human rights. Thus discrimination of persons from a different race, of women, and of weaker sections of society may be traditional in some regions, but if they are inconsistent with universally recognized human rights, these forms of behavior must change. The universal principles of equality of all human beings must take precedence.
It is mainly the authoritarian and totalitarian regimes who are opposed to the universality of human rights. It would be absolutely wrong to concede to this view. On the contrary, such regimes must be made to respect and conform to the universally accepted principles in the larger and long term interests of their own peoples. The dramatic changes in the past few years clearly indicate that the triumph of human rights is inevitable.
There is a growing awareness of peoples’ responsibilities to each other and to the planet we share. This is encouraging even though so much suffering continues to be inflicted based on chauvinism, race, religion, ideology and history. A new hope is emerging for the downtrodden, and people everywhere are displaying a willingness to champion and defend the rights and freedoms of their fellow human beings.
Brute force, no matter how strongly applied, can never subdue the basic human desire for freedom and dignity. It is not enough, as communist systems have assumed, merely to provide people with food, shelter and clothing. The deeper human nature needs to breathe the precious air of liberty. However, some governments still consider the fundamental human rights of its citizens an internal matter of the state. They do not accept that the fate of a people in any country is the legitimate concern of the entire human family and that claims to sovereignty are not a license to mistreat one’s citizens. It is not only our right as members of the global human family to protest when our brothers and sisters are being treated brutally, but it is also our duty to do whatever we can to help them.
Artificial barriers that have divided nations and peoples have fallen in recent times. With the dismantling of Berlin wall the East – West division which has polarized the whole world for decades has now come to an end. We are experiencing a time filled with hope and expectations. Yet there still remains a major gulf at the heart of the human family. By this I am referring to the North-South divide. If we are serious in our commitment to the fundamental principles of equality, principles which, I believe, lie at the heart of the concept of human rights, today’s economic disparity can no longer be ignored. It is not enough to merely state that all human beings must enjoy equal dignity. This must be translated into action. We have a responsibility to find ways to achieve a more equitable distribution of world’s resources.
We are witnessing a tremendous popular movement for the advancement of human rights and democratic freedom in the world. This movement must become an even more powerful moral force, so that even the most obstructive governments and armies are incapable of suppressing it. This conference is an occasion for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to this goal. It is natural and just for nations, peoples and individuals to demand respect for their rights and freedoms and to struggle to end repression, racism, economic exploitation, military occupation, and various forms of colonialism and alien domination. Governments should actively support such demands instead of only paying lip service to them.
As we approach the end of the Twentieth Century, we find that the world is becoming one community. We are being drawn together by the grave problems of over population, dwindling natural resources, and an environmental crisis that threaten the very foundation of our existence on this planet. Human rights, environmental protection and great social and economic equality, are all interrelated. I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for one self, one’s own family or one’s nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the is the best foundation for world peace.
This need for co-operation can only strengthen humankind, because it helps us to recognize that the most secure foundation for a new world order is not simply broader political and economic alliances, but each individual’s genuine practice of love and compassion. These qualities are the ultimate source of human happiness, and our need for them lies at the very core of our being. The practice of compassion is not idealistic, but the most effective way to pursue the best interests of others as well as our own. The more we become interdependent the more it is in our own interest to ensure the well-being of others.
I believe that one of the principal factors that hinder us from fully appreciating our interdependence is our undue emphasis on material development. We have become so engrossed in its pursuit that, unknowingly, we have neglected the most basic qualities of compassion, caring and cooperation. When we do not know someone or do not feel connected to an individual or group, we tend to overlook their needs. Yet, the development of human society requires that people help each other.
I, for one, strongly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Every individual has a responsibility to help more our global family in the right direction and we must each assume that responsibility. As a Buddhist monk, I try to develop compassion within myself, not simply as a religious practice, but on a human level as well. To encourage myself in this altruistic attitude, I sometimes find it helpful to imagine myself standing as a single individual on one side, facing a huge gathering of all other human beings on the other side. Then I ask myself, ‘Whose interests are more important?’ To me it is quite clear that however important I may feel I am, I am just one individual while others are infinite in number and importance.
- Tagged: his holiness the dalai lama
I am happy to be in the United States to share my thoughts with you about Tibet-China and the United States. This is a crucial time when China is entering a period of great change — a time which provides the United States and the international community the opportunity to help the Tibetan and Chinese people realize their deepest aspirations.
We Tibetans have dealt with the Chinese for a long time. For centuries they were our close neighbors, but over the past five decades we have suffered under the oppressive rule of the Communist dictators in Beijing. We must also continue to live as China’s neighbors into the future. I therefore hope our unique experiences and insights may be of some value.
My sincere desire is to see China embark on a new era of peace, prosperity, and stability.
China has gone through revolutionary changes in this century The nationalist movement overthrew foreign Manchu rule in China in the early part of this century, which, in turn, was overthrown during the Maoist Communist revolution. The same ills that plagued the nationalists, corruption and inflation, are now rampant in Beijing. As the last of the comrades of Mao pass away major change is again inevitable and for the first time in China’s history, the emergence of a system based on the rule of law is a possibility.
As students, business leaders, and as Americans dedicated to human rights, justice and democracy, you have the ability to play a vital role in ending the suffering of my people and in bringing fundamental rights and freedoms to the people of China. We must work together to ensure that the changes that occur in China will be beneficial to all in the long-run, not just in the short-term.
For the U.S. and other members of the international community, a peaceful transformation is crucial because of the effect on regional stability, peace and the world economy. An increasingly strong and aggressive China, even if partly capitalist in its economic system, is very dangerous while it remains under totalitarian rule. On the other hand, a pluralist China, open to the outside world, will reduce fear of China in Asia and will promote stability and peace. This is essential for economic and lasting political development to occur.
Just a few years ago, monumental change came to the former Soviet Union. At that time the United States understood the importance of a peaceful and democratic transition of power and acted accordingly. The results of the current transition in China may have even larger ramifications for the United States than in the Soviet Union — and because of China’s huge population, chaos and instability could lead to blood shed and tremendous suffering for millions of people. I would therefore like to see China change to a more open and democratic nation in a peaceful and evolutionary manner.
Recently, there have been some strains on U.S.-China relations. I have no intention to take advantage of this. On the contrary, I would like to urge America to improve its relations with China. A strong and positive relationship between the U.S. and China will not only benefit the two countries, but will also help solve the Tibet problem. I would also like to urge the Chinese leadership that force and intimidation will not improve China’s image in the world.
You may wonder why I speak so extensively about China. I am concerned that a country which holds almost a quarter of the world’s population is on the brink of an epic change which will affect us all. My people’s future depends largely on what happens in China in the upcoming months. A government which oppresses its own people is not going to respect the rights of the Tibetan people or any other nation or people. Furthermore, all things are interdependent, and the situation for the six million Tibetan people, and indeed for all of you here today, is connected economically and strategically to what occurs in China itself.
In analyzing China and determining U.S. policy towards China, it is impossible to do so effectively without addressing the situation in Tibet.
The difficulties that we face in Tibet will not go away until China agrees to address them in an open and systematic way. When China’s leaders begin the process of honest and open negotiations on Tibet, it will be a clear indication that they are committed to a government that draws its legitimacy from the will of the people.
What happens in Tibet is also important from a strategic point of view, because regional peace and stability are tied to the solution of the Tibet question.
In Europe, where the tectonic plates of Christianity, Islam and Orthodox religions meets in the Balkans, there has been recurring and tragic conflict. Tibet occupies a similar place in Asia, surrounded by Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. And yet Tibet, because of the peaceful way of its people, has been able to remain stable and prevent direct confrontation between these groups. I have therefore called for Tibet to be turned into a zone of Ahimsa, a zone of peace. Such demilitarized zones have been created in other parts of the world. Doing so in Tibet would also allow us to play our historical role in maintaining peace in Central and South Asia.
As a result of Tibet’s unique culture and world view, we can also contribute to the peace and prosperity of China. Even with the overwhelming efforts of the Chinese government to wipe out all vestiges of the Tibetan culture during its rule, the Tibetan Spirit has survived — it has survived in exile, but also in the courageous hearts of the six million Tibetan people in Tibet. Our compassionate and non-violent Buddhist culture has much to offer to the rest of the world, and especially to China and the Chinese people, to whom Buddhism is not an alien religion.
To understand the situation in Tibet and to design sensible policies to help alleviate the suffering of the Tibetan people it is critical to understand that the essence of the problem in Tibet today is that the Chinese and Tibetans are fundamentally very different peoples. Tibetan civilization originated thousands of years ago. We speak different languages; are of different civilizations; have different customs; our religion and culture, and even our written languages are completely different.
Tibet has a long history, in which our country was never a part of another country had good relations with our neighbors, but we were never united with any other country or annexed by one. Armies invaded Tibet but were repelled or left after signing treaties with us. Tibet was an independent state when the Communist Chinese army invaded our country in 1949, in direct violation of international law. The newly installed Communist government in Beijing forced Tibetans to sign a treaty for the “peaceful liberation of Tibet.” It then proceeded to occupy our country.
Mao Tse-tung told me when I met him in Beijing in 1954 that the Chinese were there to help Tibetans develop economically, politically and socially. The reality has turned out very differently. Instead of helping Tibet, the Chinese have killed, tortured, raped and robbed the Tibetan people. An estimated 1.2 million Tibetans have died as a result of the Chinese occupation, and more than six thousand monasteries, temples, forts and other historic landmarks, the repository of our ancient civilization, have been destroyed, desecrated and plundered. I was forced to flee into exile in 1959.
It saddens me to tell you that the suffering of the Tibetan people in Tibet continues.
Today, the repression of my people has taken a new form. It is less open, and more subtle. Tibetans are allowed to visit temples and to pray but they are often not allowed to receive religious teachings, people are allowed to burn incense on their altars, but they are not allowed to observe events of great historic or religious significance; children are allowed to attend school, but they are encouraged to study in their non-native tongue, and parents are punished for sending their children to study abroad.
The Chinese government insists on controlling even our most cherished religious traditions. For many years, China banned our practice of recognizing the reincarnation of religious figures. Today, China has established rules which, if followed, would rob us of this tradition which is so essential to our beliefs.
Most dangerous of all, China has encouraged millions of Chinese to settle in Tibet in order to eliminate all vestiges of Tibet as a land for Tibetans. This is China’s idea of a “final solution” to its Tibet problem. Already today, Tibetans are marginalized in many major towns and cities. If this population transfer is allowed to continue, Tibetan civilization will cease to exist.
So the Tibetan struggle is a struggle for survival– for the survival of a people, a civilization, a unique culture and spiritual tradition, and for our environment.
Our struggle is not a struggle against the people of China, nor is it an ideological struggle. The Chinese are a people with an ancient and rich civilization. We have great respect for them, as we do for our other neighbors. The Chinese people have suffered terribly under the communist regime, especially during the Cultural Revolution. So we sympathize with them, and we understand their yearning for democracy and freedom.
The Tibetan struggle is also a non-violent struggle. We take our inspiration from the teachings of love and compassion of the Buddha, and from the practice of non-violence of the great leaders, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. For me, the path of non-violence is a matter of principle and my stand on this is absolutely firm. Moreover, in the case of the Tibetan struggle for freedom I believe this path is the most beneficial and practical in the long run.
As part of our efforts, we have proposed negotiations with China. We first did so in 1979, after Mr. Deng Xiao-ping promised us that “everything except total independence can be discussed.” It is on that understanding that I have based my proposals, which I first conveyed to the Chinese government. When no response came, I made my proposals public. The Five Point Peace Plan was presented on Capitol Hill during my visit in 1987. The Strasbourg proposal was presented a year later at the European Parliament.
These proposals contain maximum concessions — they provide that Tibet would not be fully independent of China. The proposals recognize that China can play an important role in Tibet. But they are based on the need for mutual respect and mutual benefit. If Tibetans benefit from a close relationship with China, then they may feel no need to fully separate. But if China continues to exploit Tibet and suppress the people, Tibetans will continue to struggle to free themselves from China. Unfortunately, the Chinese government has refused to sit down to negotiate with us.
I have great hope that this new era dawning in China provides the Chinese and Tibetan people an opportunity to bring fundamental change to their lives. In large part the change is dependent on the outcome of power struggles within the Communist Party and the army. However, the seeds for this change are firmly planted in China and the Chinese leadership is facing a generational change, as we saw during the courageous Tianenman Square movement. This has been equally clear in Tibet where Tibetan monks, nuns and lay persons continuity defy the oppressive Chinese rule.
Because of the influence the U.S. can have on developments in China, the solution to the Tibetan problem is also dependent on your actions. U.S. policy towards China must be proactive, not reactive. It must be designed to promote democracy, rule of law and respect for peoples currently under Chinese Communist rule.
The United States must not underestimate its role in the world today. As Americans you should be proud of your heritage; proud of the values upon which your constitution is based. Accordingly, you should not shirk from your responsibility to bring those same fundamental rights and freedoms to people living under totalitarian regimes.
U.S. influence can be exercised an many levels. High level meetings with Chinese leaders, for example, can send very powerful messages to the Chinese population and to the leadership. I know that there are people of vision among its leadership in Beijing who wish to see change in China towards a more open and pluralist government. These are the same people who wish to see the question of Tibet resolved through negotiations. These are the people the U.S. should support and encourage, to the extent that is possible. Explicit and public references to the need for democratic change and for a resolution of the question of Tibet would also show a new resolve from the United States.
Economic leverage, as the U.S. has used elsewhere, can be very effective. Indeed, the dramatic rise in arrests of dissidents and other human rights violations in China and Tibet since China’s Most Favored Nation status was unconditionally renewed, shows how effective even the threat of economic sanctions can be. Furthermore, a totalitarian China which benefits from an escalating trade surplus with the United States, but does not respect the rule of law or international norms of behavior, is a danger to us all.
The business community can play a major role in ensuring that the U.S. government exercises its influence. Business is very much a part of politics today. Whether openly or not, business interests play a major role in political decisions. Not only does action affect politics, but inaction has an impact. Business leaders must take their responsibility in this respect seriously.
There is one last point I would like to make. For four decades communist rule has separated the Chinese people from their moral and spiritual roots. By spiritual I do not mean a particular religion, but values that come from basic moral teachings common to any tradition. Similarly, during these forty years of communist rule, everything that give a Chinese person a sense of outer individual identity was also taken away. For many years everyone had to dress alike, think alike and behave alike.
Therefore, the Chinese people have been deprived of both their inner lives and their outer lives, and there is a tremendous hunger for a restitution of both. But it is very dangerous to feed only the outer hunger for material things because that leads to corruption and anarchy. The inner life — the spirit of a person — must be fed too, so that there is a balance. In achieving this balance, I believe we Tibetans can play a helpful role by sharing our spiritual insight and knowledge with our Chinese brothers and sisters.
In conclusion, I urge the United States, its leaders and its people, to study China carefully, to understand China’s potential as a responsible member of the international community, and the dangers of a renegade nation, home to one fifth of the planet’s population. Addressing the question of Tibet is in the self-interest of the U.S., as much as it is in the interest of China, South, and Central Asia. It is of course very much in the interests of the Tibetan people.
I therefore urge the United States to:
- forcefully promote democracy and the rule of law in China, particularly with regard to the plight of the Tibetan people;
- engage in a high-level dialogue with responsible leaders in China;
- use economic leverage to bring about positive change — linkage between human rights, the rule of law and economics is an essential component in today’s interdependent world;
- promote responsible business ventures, which will bring economic and moral prosperity to China which will serve generations to come;
- strongly encourage the Chinese to begin substantive negotiations with me or my representatives, and use its leverage to make this point;
- provide leadership for a multilateral response to China’s policy towards Tibet.
After 46 years of Chinese Communist rule the Tibetan people are weary of an oppressive government; weary of poverty, discrimination and deprivation of cultural expression. Change in China could mean more suffering for my people and cause your people great economic and military hardship. It could also mean new life and hope for Tibet and the emergence of a stable and peaceful business partner and ally for the United States. I remain hopeful that with concerted international pressure, positive change can come to China, and thus to Tibet.
I repeat today what I said two years ago while speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations and in 1988 to the European Parliament. I or my representatives are ready to meet with China’s leaders to resolve the question of Tibet. I want to state clearly that independence need not be on the agenda of negotiations with China. We must first find solutions to the substance of relations between the Chinese and the Tibetans, based on mutual respect and equality, and based on concepts of fairness and justice.
In the past America has played a useful and important role in bringing conflicting parties together. I would hope that America could bring leaders together to begin to iron out the differences between us, as you have done in the Middle East and elsewhere. This is the way civilized nations and people should behave.
I urge China to reconsider its policy towards Tibet and I appeal to the United States and other democratic countries to persuade China to do so. Let us talk to each other as human beings in a sincere effort to resolve this issue, which has caused suffering to so many for so long.
- Tagged: his holiness the dalai lama
Statements of Appreciation
First of all, congratulations on the successful launch of the DB Online programme, its fantastic!!! Second, I’ve long meant to comment on how amazed I am by all resources of the FPMT Education Department, and the breadth of the Education Program worldwide (and accessibility) from DB to the Masters Program. Its all first-rate, from the teachings, the resources and materials, all the booklets, audio and video FPMT offers are quite fantastic, and such an important support for anyones practice at any level. The love that’s gone into all of it is abundant and obvious.
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