Có chừng 100 ngàn người Tây Tạng lưu vong, tản mác đi khắp năm Châu. Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma đã xây dựng lại hai thực thể là cộng đồng lưu vong cho hiện tại và cho dân tộc Tây Tạng tương lai.
Tại vùng đất Dharansaka của Ấn Độ, dưới sự hướng dẫn của Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma cộng đồng ấy đã mở một kỷ nguyên vận động quốc tế chưa từng thấy trong lịch sử Tây Tạng và đạt được những kết quả chưa từng thấy từ nhiều cộng đồng lưu vong khác.
Kể về lực thì thật ra Cộng đồng Tây Tạng lưu vong không đông mà cũng chẳng giàu, nhưng nói vế thế thì cộng đồng này có sức tác động hiếm có ở nhiều diễn đàn khác nhau, đó chính là nhờ vị lãnh đạo tinh thần của họ, Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma 14.
Cách đây 20 năm vị lãnh đạo Tây Tạng mở một chiến dịch tấn công ngoại giao ở diễn đàn của Quốc Hội HK bằng kế hoạch Hòa Bình Năm Điểm nhằm kêu gọi Bắc Kinh cùng hợp tác để biến Tây Tạng thành khu vực hòa bình, tôn trọng nhân quyền của người Tây Tạng, tôn trọng môi sinh Tây Tạng. Và quan trọng nhất là mở ra việc đối thoại với Tây Tạng.
Năm sau Tậy Tạng tiến xa hơn trên mặt trận ngoại giao khi đề nghị trước Quốc Hội Âu Châu tại Strabourg một số điểm chiến lược là Tây Tạng không đòi độc lập nhưng yêu cầu được quyền tự trị, với chính quyền dân cử do dân bầu lên và sống chung hòa bình với Trung Cộng.
Những thử thách chính trị càng trở nên nguy ngập như vụ Thiên An Môn, hằng ngàn người bị thảm sát, lúc đó người dân Tây Tạng mới hiểu vì sao Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma kêu gọi dân chúng phải đấu tranh bất bạo động và muốn thảo luận chuyện hòa giải với Trung Cộng.
Năm 1989 Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma được giải thưởng Nobel Hòa Bình. Đối với Đức Đạt Lai Lạc Ma, giải thưởng Nobel vinh danh Ngài nhưng có nghĩa là thế giới công nhận và ủng hộ cuộc đấu tranh có chính nghĩa của nhân dân Tây Tạng.
Trải qua gần nửa thế kỷ, từ năm 1967 đến nay Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma 14 đã thăm viếng gần năm mươi quốc gia, gặp gỡ hầu hết các vị lãnh đạo dân chủ của thế giới. Đối với Trung Cộng thì đây là một khiêu khích không thể chấp nhận được vì Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma không phải là Quốc trưởng của một quốc gia, Tây Tạng chỉ là một đặc khu của Trung Quốc. Ngài cũng là một vị Tăng Thống đã hân hạnh được gặp ba vị Đức Giáo Hoàng của Giáo Hội Công Giáo Hoàn vũ (ĐGH Paul VI, ĐGH John Paul II và ĐGH Benedictine).
Nhờ nhân cách đặc biệt của Ngài mà cuộc đấu tranh bền bĩ của người Tây Tạng mà ngày nay Tây Tạng đã trở thành vấn đề của Thế Giới và Trung Quốc.
Người Tây Phương thường lý luận rằng sở dĩ Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma chủ trương đấu tranh bất bạo động là vì Ngài chịu ảnh hưởng tinh thần bất bạo động của Thánh Mahatma Ghandi. Thật ra chiến lược đấu tranh bất bạo động xuất phát từ cái tâm Từ Bi của một nhà tu hành. Nhất là Ngài được thế giới coi là hóa thân của một vị Bồ Tát mà người Việt gọi là Quán Thế Âm Bồ Tát, là vị Bồ Tát của Từ Bi, một đức tính của Nhà Phật. Ngài thông cảm với những người có tinh thần đấu tranh quyết tử, nhưng tâm từ bi thì luôn hướng về sự thuyết phục hòa bình.
Nhìn về quê hương Tây Tạng, Ngài là một nhà lãnh đạo tài ba, nhìn ra thế giới bên ngoài, Ngài là người có công hoằng pháp vĩ đại nhất của Phật giáo. Thông điệp về hòa bình và từ bi của đạo Phật đã như những giọt nước cam lồ tưới mát cho hiện trạng nóng bỏng của thế giới ngày nay. Chưa khi nào sức bành trướng của Phật Giáo mạnh mẽ như ngày nay, một phần nhờ vào Đức Lạc Lai lạt Ma, vị Tăng Thống Phật Giáo Tây Tạng. Ngài được coi như một Đức Giáo Hoàng của Phật Giáo.
Ảnh hưởng của Ngài không chỉ hạn hẹp trong lãnh vực chính trị của Tây Tạng mà trong cách suy nghĩ và cách sống của rất nhiều người qua những luận giải của Ngài về Phật Giáo. Luận giải của Ngài giúp nhiều người thức tĩnh và nhớ tới ánh sáng Từ Bi của Đạo Phật, trong thế giới âm u ngày nay.
Ngoài việc nhấn mạnh đến Từ Tâm như một bản sắc rực rỡ của Đạo Phật, Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma còn hiện đại hóa Phật Giáo cho Thế Kỷ 21. Ngoài hai đóng góp lớn về lòng Từ Bi và tinh thần hiện đại hóa, Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma còn thể hiện đức tính cung kính và khiêm nhường.
Là một nhà lãnh đạo lưu vong, Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma thấu hiểu tâm trạng của những người Việt lưu vong. Thế giới ngày nay đầy dẫy những oán thù, xung đột và cả khủng bố, Ngài đề cập đến vấn đề Việt Nam như sau. Tinh thần Tây Tạng không chỉ là ý thức chính trị, là lòng khát khao tự do, mà cũng là một sức mạnh tâm linh nhắm vào sự giải thoát bằng lòng từ bi. Lòng từ bi là chân tánh của chúng ta. Trong nhiều hoàn cảnh, chân tánh ấy có thể bị đe dọa. Khi để thù hận nổi lên, mình đánh mất lòng từ bi, nghĩa là mình đã thua. Sự giác ngộ giúp chúng ta vượt chặng đường khổ ải mà vẫn giữ được từ tâm đối với những người làm mình khổ.
Nói về Phật tử, Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma khuyên đừng nghĩ tới việc xây chùa hay sự giải thoát cho bản thân mình dưói mái chùa. Ngài cảnh tĩnh các Tăng Ni là phải mở rộng ra thế giới bên ngoài, đừng chấp vào những lễ tục bí hiểm trong chùa với chiêng trống om xòm. Hãy bước ra khỏi chùa, tham gia vào các sinh hoạt xã hội . Từ đó mình hiểu được các vấn đề của xã hội , của con người và tìm ra những giải đáp cho các vấn đề ấy bằng giáo lý Phật Giáo.
Và trong mọi hoàn cảnh, tình huống, không bao giờ đánh mất lòng từ bi của mình. Nuôi dưỡng từ tâm chẳng những có lợi cho sức khỏe bản thân mà còn ích lợi cho đời sống và cho hòa bình của nhân loại.
Nói về Việt Nam Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma viết trong một thông điệp gởi cho Nhật Báo Việt Báo: "Dân Tộc Việt Nam cũng đã trải qua một chấn động lớn trong Thế Kỷ hai mươi và đã vượt qua rất nhiều thử thách như dân Tây Tạng. Tôi tin rằng cùng chịu ảnh hưởng rất nhiều của Phật Giáo, hai nền văn minh Tây Tạng và Việt Nam có rất nhiều điểm tương đồng. Mỗi nền văn minh lại có một lịch sử lâu dài, đa sắc đa diện và ngay trong hiện tại, nền văn hóa phong phú mà thực chất là sự hiếu hòa của chúng ta hàm chứa một khối kinh nghiệm hữu ích nếu được quảng bá cho các nền văn minh khác."
Trung Quốc thúc Bush không gặp Đạt Lai Lạt Ma
Trung Quốc đã hối thúc Tổng thống Mỹ George W Bush hủy cuộc gặp với Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma với lý do nó sẽ "hủy hoại nghiêm trọng" mối quan hệ.
Ông Bush sẽ đón tiếp lãnh tụ tinh thần của Tây Tạng tại Nhà Trắng.
Vào hôm thứ Tư, ông Bush sẽ dự buổi lễ tại Đồi Capitol nơi Đạt Lai Lạt Ma sẽ nhận Huân chương Vàng Quốc hội, huân chương dân sự cao nhất của Mỹ.
Đây sẽ là lần đầu tiên một tổng thống đương quyền xuất hiện trước công chúng cùng vị lãnh đạo Phật giáo 72 tuổi.
Một người phát ngôn của Bộ Ngoại giao Trung Quốc nói: "Chúng tôi một lần nữa thúc giục phía Mỹ sửa chữa sai lầm và hủy các buổi gặp."
Nhà Trắng nói ông Bush hiểu lo ngại của Bắc Kinh, nhưng hy vọng các lãnh đạo Trung Quốc có thể biết rằng Đạt Lai Lạt Ma là người muốn hòa bình.
Cuộc gặp ở Nhà Trắng sẽ là cuộc gặp thứ ba giữa tổng thống Mỹ và Đạt Lai Lạt Ma kể từ khi ông Bush nắm quyền tháng Giêng 2001.
Nhưng dự kiến cuộc gặp không diễn ra ở Phòng Bầu dục, mà ở trong tư dinh Nhà Trắng, như một cử chỉ nể vì Trung Quốc.
Các viên chức Trung Quốc ở Tây Tạng đã bày tỏ giận dữ trước loan báo về giải thưởng Quốc hội.
Bí thư Tỉnh ủy của Đảng Cộng sản ở Tây Tạng, Trương Khánh Lê, lên án vị lãnh đạo tinh thần lưu vong là tìm cách "chia rẽ tổ quốc".
"Chúng tôi phẫn nộ," ông nói. "Nếu Đạt Lai Lạt Ma có thể nhận giải thưởng đó, hẳn là không có công lý hay người tử tế trên đời."
Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma đã sống lưu vong ở Ấn Độ kểu từ khi mở cuộc nổi dậy thất bại chống sự thống trị năm 1959.
Bắc Kinh từ lâu nói rằng người nhận giải Nobel Hòa bình 1989 này muốn hủy hoại chủ quyền của Trung Quốc bằng cách thúc đẩy độc lập cho Tây Tạng.
Đạt Lai Lạt Ma nói ông muốn "tự trị thật sự", không phải độc lập cho khu vực này.
Trung Quốc cho rằng Tây Tạng đã là lãnh thổ của họ trong nhiều thế kỷ và là vùng mà họ đã cai trị từ khi lực lượng cộng sản xâm chiếm năm 1951.
Gần đây, các lãnh đạo thế giới đã mạnh miệng hơn trong việc nêu lo ngại nhân quyền ở Tây Tạng.
Hồi tháng Chín, Thủ tướng Đức Angela Merkel đã gặp Đạt Lai Lạt Ma, khiến Bắc Kinh giận dữ.
Cuộc gặp lịch sử ở Berlin đã khiến Trung Quốc rút khỏi một hội nghị Đức – Trung Quốc lẽ ra diễn ra ở Munich, và hủy sự kiện hàng năm ở Bắc Kinh tháng 12 để thảo luận nhân quyền.
Đức Đạt Lai Lạt Ma cũng gặp Thủ tướng Áo Alfred Gusenbauer và Thủ tướng Úc John Howard năm nay, và cuối tháng này, sẽ gặp Thủ tướng Canada Stephen Harper.
Năm ngoái Trung Quốc phẫn nộ khi Canada trao quy chế công dân danh dự cho Đạt Lai Lạt Ma.
TQ Mời Đại Sứ Mỹ Ở Bắc Kinh Trách Vụ Đạt Lai Lạt Ma
Báo Thứ Sáu, 10/19/2007, 12:02:00 AM
Tin Reuters cho biết, Hoa Lục đã gay gắt chỉ trích Hoa Kỳ hôm Thứ Năm vì đã tặng Huy Chương cao quý nhất cho Đạt Lai Lạt Ma, và triệu tập đại sứ Mỹ tại Bắc Kinh để phàn nàn, nói rằng hành động của Hoa Kỳ đã làm tổn hại tới mối quan hệ giữa hai nước.Phát ngôn nhân Bộ Ngoại Giao Hoa Lục Liu Jianchao nói trong một cuộc họp báo rằng hành động của Hoa Kỳ là “can thiệp thô bạo vào nội bộ của Hoa Lục, làm tổn thương tình cảm của nhân dân Trung Quốc, và mối quan hệ giữa Trung Quốc và Hoa Kỳ.”
Liu nói: “Chúng tôi buộc Hoa Kỳ phải có những hành động tiếp theo để xóa đi những tác động đáng sợ của hành động sai lầm của mình.”
Liu không nói rõ Hoa Kỳ sẽ làm gì để gọi là “sửa chữa sai lầm”, mà chỉ nói rằng Washtington cần phải “thận trọng trong những giai đoạn kế tiếp.”
Liu cũng nói rằng trước khi Cộng Sản Hoa Lục nắm quyền kiểm soát Tây Tạng, Đạt Lai Lạt Ma là người chịu trách nhiệm vì đã hình thành một lớp nông dân “u tối và hung ác.” Liu còn nói, sau khi trốn thoát, Ngài đã “không ngừng lôi kéo, vận động người Tây Tạng hải ngoại hành động nhằm mục đích chia rẻ đất nước Trung Quốc.”
Source http://www.calitoday.com& www.vietbao.com
Bush urges China to meet the Dalai Lama
Elizabeth Williamson in Washington
October 19, 2007
THE US President, George Bush, has presented the Dalai Lama with Congress's highest civilian honour, while pressing China to engage with Tibet's exiled leader in his most significant embrace of the man whose cause and global following are a constant irritant to Beijing.
Tibet's spiritual and temporal leader accepted the Congressional Gold Medal from Mr Bush, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate President, Robert Byrd, in a Capitol Rotunda ceremony that had even politicians dabbing their eyes.
The event marked the first time a US president has appeared in public with the Dalai Lama.
"An era that has seen an unprecedented number of nations embrace individual freedom has also witnessed the stubborn endurance of religious repression. Americans cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close our eyes or turn away," the President said before a sea of dark-clad politicians punctuated by the bright saffron and maroon of Tibetan Buddhist monks. Seated behind him, the Dalai Lama smiled, nodding.
"And that is why I will continue to urge the leaders of China to welcome the Dalai Lama to China," Mr Bush said. "They will find this good man to be a man of peace and reconciliation."
China, in the midst of the Communist Party's 17th National Congress, reacted with fury, summoning the the US ambassador, Clark Randt, in Beijing.
"The move of the United States is a blatant interference in China's internal affairs, hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and has gravely undermined relations between China and the United States," said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Liu Jianchao.
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama to be a separatist, feudal leader whose one-time demand for independence has not changed, despite his efforts to compromise on limited self-rule.
Mr Bush and congressional leaders of both parties showed uncommon unity in their request that China consider the Dalai Lama's repeated requests for a meeting to discuss autonomy for Tibet.
In a speech punctuated by laughter and self-deprecating asides about his faulty English, the Dalai Lama thanked "American friends … that have stood with us in the most critical of times and under the most intense pressure".
"The consistency of American support for Tibet has not gone unnoticed in China," he said. "That this has caused some tension in the US-Sino relations, I feel a sense of regret."
He praised China for its powerhouse economy and technological advances. And he sought to assure China that he has no designs on independence for Tibet.
"I am seeking a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people," he said. "There is no hidden agenda."
A spokesman for the Dalai Lama said the spiritual leader's remarks were more carefully calibrated than usual, so as not to provoke a strong public response during the Communist Party congress.
One of the most moving tributes came from the novelist and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, another Congressional Gold Medal recipient.
He saluted his 72-year-old friend and spoke of their shared exile. "Like Jerusalem .. Tibet is not far away," he said. "One day, when we die … we will go to Tibet together."
Washington Post, Reuters
US honours Dalai Lama
By Washington correspondent Kim Landers
Posted Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:14am AEST
Updated Thu Oct 18, 2007 11:06am AEST
The Dalai Lama with George W Bush and Nancy Pelosi.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, centre, points at the ceiling as he sits with US President George W Bush and the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. (AFP: Saul Loeb)
* Video: Watch the Dalai Lama accepting the medal from President Bush (ABC News)
* Video: Watch President Bush discussing the Chinese reaction to the medal (ABC News)
US President George W Bush has made an unprecedented public appearance with the Dalai Lama at a ceremony honouring the Tibetan spiritual leader.
Despite strong objections from China, the Dalai Lama has been given the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the US Congress.
"It is a great honour for me to receive the Congressional Gold Medal," the Dalai Lama said.
"This recognition will bring tremendous joy and encouragement to the Tibetan people."
Before handing the medal to the Buddhist monk, Mr Bush urged China's leaders to invite him to Beijing.
The President has told reporters he admires the Dalai Lama "a lot" and does not believe US relations with China will be damaged by his public appearance with him.
China's economic progress is a stark contrast to its backward stance on Tibet.
THE more things change the more they stay the same. Over the past decade China has undergone a transformation so dramatic that it has rocketed to become the world's third largest economy. This week the 17th Communist Party congress has been assessing the impact of that growth and President Hu Jintao has outlined his vision for addressing some of the pressing issues — social and income inequality and environmental degradation — that have been a byproduct of it. He has also given notice of a planned shift in focus, which may see more emphasis on high technology and service provision as distinct from manufacturing. Whatever the outcome, the overall impression is that China is a dynamic place to be, that it is inexorably on the move.
But this is not so when it comes to Tibet, an independent and devoutly Buddhist nation that China invaded in 1950 and has been harshly colonising ever since. Today the United States' President George Bush will meet the Tibetan leader and Nobel peace prize laureate, the widely venerated Dalai Lama, and award him the Congressional Gold Medal, an honour previously bestowed on such significant world figures as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. According to the US, the Dalai Lama was worthy of joining this impressive alumni because of his longstanding efforts to make Tibet an issue of international concern, which as a result of the Dalai Lama's tireless, peaceful shuttle diplomacy, it has certainly become.
In stark contrast to its forward-thinking approach on the future of its economy, albeit within the framework of a one-party state, China's response to this honour has been emblematic of its historical failure to move forward on Tibet. Ever since its brutal occupation of Tibet four decades ago, Chinese governments have tried, with varying success, to stop foreign governments from acknowledging the Dalai Lama as Tibet's spiritual or temporal leader. It did so with his visits to this country in 2002 and earlier this year when Australian political leaders — mindful of China's growing strategic economic importance — dithered about whether to see him. True to form, China denounced the Washington ceremony, warning that it was tantamount to meddling in China's internal affairs and that it would have an "extremely serious impact" on relations between Beijing and Washington. But the US is not Australia and China's objections were noted but rightly ignored. The basis for China's belligerence is a blinkered belief that the Dalai Lama is a dangerous separatist whose real agenda is to gain independence for his homeland. This ignores repeated statements from the Tibetan leader that he favours a degree of autonomy for Tibet within a unified China, which would include the right of the Tibetans to administer their own monasteries, preserve their language and have some control over the education of Tibetans in Tibet.
China has long shown contempt for freedom of association and human rights in general — its failure to pressure the venal Burmese junta, its complicity in the Darfur crisis, the persecution of the Falun Gong come immediately to mind. But the occupation of Tibet, with the dispossession and repression of its people, is the longest-standing charge against it. China's strategy of criticising any country that has dealings with the Dalai Lama reflects its anachronistic resolution on this matter and undermines its desire to be awarded the international respect it seeks on the eve of the Olympics. At this week's Communist Party congress, Mr Hu has given little hope of any change in China's political system. Equally, its diplomatic jabs at the United States suggest there will be no positive developments in its relationship with Tibet's government in exile. But given that Mr Hu is a former party secretary in Tibet, during which time he authorised a severe crackdown on dissent, this is not surprising.
Bush and Congress Honor Dalai Lama
Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Bush joined Congress in praising the Dalai Lama Wednesday as he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — Over furious objections from China and in the presence of President Bush, Congress on Wednesday bestowed its highest civilian honor on the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists whom Beijing considers a troublesome voice of separatism.
Dressed in flowing robes of dark burgundy and bright orange, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, beamed and bowed as the president and members of Congress greeted him with a standing ovation and then praised him as a hero of the Tibetan struggle. President Bush called him “a man of faith and sincerity and peace.”
But the Dalai Lama said he felt “a sense of regret” over the sharp tensions with China unleashed by his private meeting on Tuesday with Mr. Bush and by the Congressional Gold Medal conferred on him in the ornate Capitol Rotunda.
In gentle language and conciliatory tones, he congratulated China on its dynamic economic growth and recognized its rising role on the world stage, but also gently urged it to embrace “transparency, the rule of law and freedom of information.”
The 72-year-old spiritual leader made clear that “I’m not seeking independence” from China, something that is anathema to Beijing. Nor, he said, would he use any future agreement with China “as a steppingstone for Tibet’s independence.”
What he wanted, he said, was “meaningful autonomy for Tibet.”
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since the Chinese Army crushed an uprising in his homeland in 1959.
Speeches by the president and the top leaders of each party emphasized the Dalai Lama’s humble beginnings and humanitarian achievements, as well as a long history of American support for him. He was also lauded by the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a previous winner of the Congressional Gold Medal, which is cast in the image of the recipient.
When the speaker of the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi, noted that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had given the Dalai Lama, then very young, a watch that displayed the phases of the moon — and that he still had it — the honored guest tugged on his robe, held his wrist out before President Bush, tapped on the watch and grinned.
Earlier, Beijing offered a sharp new rebuke of the award ceremony, which the top Chinese religious affairs official condemned as a “farce.”
“The protagonist of this farce is the Dalai Lama,” said Ye Xiaowen, director general of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, Reuters reported. Other officials have warned, without specifying, of a “serious impact” on relations between the United States and China.
Mr. Bush, during a news conference, appeared unconcerned.
“I don’t think it ever damages relations,” he said, “when an American president talks about, you know — religious tolerance and religious freedom is good for a nation.”
The two have met three times before. But in the face of the Chinese broadsides, their encounter on Tuesday was held with the maximum discretion: in the White House residence, not the Oval Office, with no cameras present, and shorn of the trappings of a meeting of the president and a political leader.
Mr. Bush reminded reporters that he had told President Hu Jintao of China, when they met recently in Sydney, Australia, that he would meet the Dalai Lama. During the award ceremony, he urged the Chinese to do the same.
“They will find this good man to be a man of peace and reconciliation,” he said.
Apparently in a protest over the award, China pulled out of a multiparty meeting this month to discuss Iran. It also canceled a human rights meeting with Germany, displeased by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting last month with the Dalai Lama.
Dalai Lama's Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Address Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 October 2007
President Bush, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Byrd, my fellow Laureate Elie Wiesel, Honorable Members of Congress, Brothers and Sisters.
It is a great honor for me to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. This recognition will bring tremendous joy and encouragement to the Tibetan people, for whom I have a special responsibility. Their welfare is my constant motivation and I always consider myself as their free spokesperson. I believe that this award also sends a powerful message to those many individuals who are dedicated to promoting peace, understanding and harmony.
On a personal note, I am deeply touched that this great honor has been given to me, a Buddhist monk born of a simple family from the remote Amdo region of Tibet. As a child I grew up under the loving care of my mother, a truly compassionate woman. And after my arrival in Lhasa at the age of four, all the people around me, my teachers and even the housekeepers, taught me what it means to be kind, honest, and caring. It is in such an environment that I grew up. Later my formal education in Buddhist thought exposed me to concepts such as interdependence and the human potential for infinite compassion. It is these that gave me a profound recognition of the importance of universal responsibility, non-violence, and inter-religious understanding. Today, it is a conviction in these values that gives me the powerful motivation to promote basic human values. Even in my own struggle for the rights and greater freedom of the Tibetan people, these values continue to guide my commitment to pursuing a non-violent path.
I have had the honor to be in this hall once before when I visited your country in 1991. Many of the faces that welcomed me then, I can see today, which gives me great joy. Many have retired and some are sadly no longer with us. However, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize their kindness and contribution. Our American friends have stood with us in the most critical of times and under most intense pressure.
Mr. President, thank you for your strong support, and for the warm friendship that Mrs. Bush and you have extended to me personally. I am deeply grateful to you for your sympathy and support for Tibet, and your firm stand on religious freedom and the cause of democracy.
Madam Speaker, you have not only extended an unwavering support to me and the just cause of the Tibetan people, you have also worked hard to promote the cause of democracy, freedom and the respect for human rights in other parts of the world. For this, I would like to offer my special thanks.
The consistency of American support for Tibet has not gone unnoticed in China. Where this has caused some tension in the US-China relations, I feel a sense of regret. Today, I wish to share with you all my sincere hope that the future of Tibet and China will move beyond mistrust to a relationship based on mutual respect, trust and recognition of common interests.
Today we watch China as it rapidly moves forward. Economic liberalization has led to wealth, modernization and great power. I believe that today’s economic success of both India and China, the two most populated nations with long history of rich culture, is most deserving. With their new-found status, both of these two countries are poised to play important leading role on the world stage. In order to fulfill this role, I believe it is vital for China to have transparency, rule of law and freedom of information. Much of the world is waiting to see how China’s concepts of “harmonious society” and “peaceful rise” would unfold. Today’s China, being a state of many nationalities, a key factor here would be how it ensures the harmony and unity of its various peoples. For this, the equality and the rights of these nationalities to maintain their distinct identities are crucial.
With respect to my own homeland Tibet, today many people, both from inside and outside, feel deeply concerned about the consequences of the rapid changes taking place. Every year, the Chinese population inside Tibet is increasing at an alarming rate. And, if we are to judge by the example of the population of Lhasa, there is a real danger that the Tibetans will be reduced to an insignificant minority in their own homeland. This rapid increase in population is also posing serious threat to Tibet’s fragile environment. Being the source of many of Asia’s great rivers, any substantial disturbance in Tibet’s ecology will impact the lives of hundreds of millions. Furthermore, being situated between India and China, the peaceful resolution of the Tibet problem also has important implications for lasting peace and friendly relation between these two great neighbours.
On the future of Tibet, let me take this opportunity to restate categorically that I am not seeking independence. I am seeking a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People’s Republic of China. If the real concern of the Chinese leadership is the unity and stability of PRC, I have fully addressed their concerns. I have chosen to adopt this position because I believe, given the obvious benefits especially in economic development, this would be in the best interest of the Tibetan people. Furthermore, I have no intention of using any agreement on autonomy as a stepping stone for Tibet’s independence.
I have conveyed these thoughts to successive Chinese leaders. In particular, following the renewal of direct contact with the Chinese government in 2002, I have explained these in detail through my envoys. Despite all this, Beijing continues to allege that my “hidden agenda” is separation and restoration of Tibet’s old socio-political system. Such a notion is unfounded and untrue.
Even in my youth, when I was compelled to take on the full responsibility of governance, I began to initiate fundamental changes in Tibet. Unfortunately, these were interrupted because of the political upheavals that took place. Nevertheless, following our arrival in India as refugees, we have democratized our political system and adopted a democratic charter that sets guidelines for our exile administration. Even our political leadership is now directly chosen by the people on a five-year term basis. Moreover, we have been able to preserve and practice most of the important aspects of our culture and spirituality in exile. This is due largely to the kindness of India and its people.
Another major concern of the Chinese government is its lack of legitimacy in Tibet. While I cannot rewrite the past, a mutually agreeable solution could bring legitimacy, and I am certainly prepared to use my position and influence among the Tibetan people to bring consensus on this question. So I would also like to restate here that I have no hidden agenda. My decision not to accept any political office in a future Tibet is final.
The Chinese authorities assert that I harbor hostility towards China and that I actively seek to undermine China’s welfare. This is totally untrue. I have always encouraged world leaders to engage with China; I have supported China’s entry into WTO and the awarding of summer Olympics to Beijing. I chose to do so with the hope that China would become a more open, tolerant and responsible country.
A major obstacle in our ongoing dialogue has been the conflicting perspectives on the current situation inside Tibet. So in order to have a common understanding of the real situation, my envoys in their sixth meeting with their Chinese counterparts suggested that we be given an opportunity to send study groups to look at the actual reality on the ground, in the spirit of “seeking truth from facts.” This could help both sides to move beyond each other’s contentions.
The time has come for our dialogue with the Chinese leadership to progress towards the successful implementation of a meaningful autonomy for Tibet, as guaranteed in the Chinese constitution and detailed in the Chinese State Council “White Paper on Regional Ethnic Autonomy of Tibet.” Let me take this opportunity to once again appeal to the Chinese leadership to recognize the grave problems in Tibet, the genuine grievances and deep resentments of the Tibetan people inside Tibet, and to have the courage and wisdom to address these problems realistically in the spirit of reconciliation. To you, my American friends, I appeal to you to make every effort to seek ways to help convince the Chinese leadership of my sincerity and help make our dialogue process move forward.
Since you have recognized my efforts to promote peace, understanding and non-violence, I would like to respectfully share a few related thoughts. I believe this is precisely the time that the United States must increase its support to those efforts that help bring greater peace, understanding and harmony between peoples and cultures. As a champion of democracy and freedom, you must continue to ensure the success of those endeavors aimed at safeguarding basic human rights in the world. Another area where we need US leadership is environment. As we all know, today our earth is definitely warming up and many scientists tell us that our own action is to a large part responsible. So each one of us must, in whatever way we can, use our talents and resources to make a difference so that we can pass on to our future generations a planet that is at least safe to live on.
Many of world’s problems are ultimately rooted in inequality and injustice, whether economic, political or social. Ultimately, this is a question of the wellbeing of all of us. Whether it is the suffering of poverty in one part of the world, or whether it is the denial of freedom and basic human rights in another part, we should never perceive these events in total isolation. Eventually their repercussions will be felt everywhere. I would like to appeal to you to take a leadership role in an effective international action in addressing these problems, including the huge economic imbalance. I believe the time has now come to address all these global issues from the perspective of the oneness of humanity, and from a profound understanding of the deeply interconnected nature of our today’s world.
In conclusion, on behalf of six million Tibetan people, I wish to take this opportunity to recognize from the depth of my heart the support extended to us by the American people and their government. Your continued support is critical. I thank you once again for the high honor that you have bestowed on me today. Thank you.
President Bush Attends Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring the Dalai Lama
United States Capitol
1:51 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker; and Senator Byrd; Mr. Leader; members of the congressional delegation, particularly Senators Feinstein and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Senator Thomas -- God rest his soul -- distinguished guests, particularly our friend, Elie Wiesel; and Your Holiness.
Over the years, Congress has conferred the Gold Medal on many great figures in history -- usually at a time when their struggles were over and won. Today Congress has chosen to do something different. It has conferred this honor on a figure whose work continues -- and whose outcome remains uncertain. In so doing, America raises its voice in the call for religious liberty and basic human rights. These values forged our Republic. They sustained us through many trials. And they draw us by conviction and conscience to the people of Tibet and the man we honor today.
Nearly two decades have passed since the Dalai Lama was welcomed to the White House for the very first time. Members of both of our political parties and world leaders have seen His Holiness as a man of faith and sincerity and peace. He's won the respect and affection of the American people -- and America has earned his respect and affection, as well.
As a nation, we are humbled to know that a young boy in Tibet -- as a young boy in Tibet, His Holiness kept a model of the Statue of Liberty at his bedside. Years later, on his first visit to America, he went to Battery Park in New York City so he could see the real thing up close. On his first trip to Washington, he walked through the Jefferson Memorial -- a monument to the man whose words launched a revolution that still inspires men and women across the world. Jefferson counted as one of America's greatest blessings the freedom of worship. It was, he said, "a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government, and yet proved by our experience to be its best support."
The freedom of belief is a yearning of the human spirit, a blessing offered to the world, and a cherished value of our nation. It's the very first protection offered in the American Bill of Rights. It inspired many of the leaders that this rotunda honors in portraits and in marble. And it still defines our way of life.
Consider where we gather today. This great symbol of democracy sits quietly near a Catholic parish, a Jewish synagogue, a Muslim community center, a Greek Orthodox cathedral, and a Buddhist temple -- each with faithful followers who practice their deeply held beliefs and live side by side in peace. This diversity is not a source of instability -- it's a source of strength. (Applause.) This freedom does not belong to one nation -- it belongs to the world.
One of the tragic anomalies of the past century is that in an era that has seen an unprecedented number of nations embrace individual freedom has also witnessed the stubborn endurance of religious repression. Americans cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close our eyes or turn away. And that is why I will continue to urge the leaders of China to welcome the Dalai Lama to China. They will find this good man to be a man of peace and reconciliation. (Applause.)
Throughout our history, we have stood proudly with those who offer a message of hope and freedom to the world's downtrodden and oppressed. This is why all of us are drawn to a noble and spiritual leader who lives a world away. Today we honor him as a universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd for the faithful, and the keeper of the flame for his people.
I congratulate His Holiness on this recognition. I'm so honored to be here with you, sir. Laura and I join all Americans in offering the people of Tibet our fervent prayer that they may find days of prosperity and peace.
And now I ask the Speaker and Senator Byrd to join me for the Gold Medal presentation. (Applause.)
Live Webcast As Dalai Lama
Receives Highest US Civilian Honour
This Wednesday, October 17th, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be presented with a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington.
You can register to watch this historic event live by going to http://ict.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=DLDC_webcast_English
The webcast will begin at 11.00am Washington time (1.00am Thursday morning Australian Eastern Time), with the awards ceremony itself commencing two hours later.
The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour that the US legislature can bestow, may be the most significant international tribute to the Dalai Lama since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
All over the world, Tibet support groups and Tibetan communities in exile will be celebrating this momentous occasion and using the opportunity to strengthen calls for real improvements in Tibet and sincere dialogue between Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama.
The award, bestowed for the Dalai Lama’s ‘many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights and religious understanding’ (US Congress) will be presented by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a ceremony in the Capitol building at which President George W. Bush and Laura Bush will be present.
This will be the first time that a US President has appeared at a public event with the Dalai Lama.
The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has organized a huge event on the West Lawn of the Capitol building to precede and follow the ceremony. This will include a public address from His Holiness, Tibetan cultural performances and remarks by Nancy Pelosi and long-time Tibet supporter Richard Gere.
Wednesday’s ceremony comes as Chinese authorities are intensifying their smear campaign against the Dalai Lama and backsliding on human rights and basic freedoms for Tibetans. Since the Dalai Lama’s tour of Australia earlier this year there has been a brutal crackdown on dissent and religious expression in Eastern Tibet, with many arrests and increased pressure on Tibetans to denounce the Dalai Lama.
The coming year may be crucial to the future of Tibet. The enormous attention on China in the run up to the Olympics in Beijing next August provides an unprecedented opportunity to hold China to account for its ongoing human rights abuses, an opportunity strengthened further by America’s powerful endorsement of the Dalai Lama this week.
Help ATC and the international movement of Tibet supporters make the coming year a pivotal year in the struggle for a free Tibet. Keep an eye on the ATC website – www.atc.org.au - for ways you can help.
It’s Time for Tibet.
Bush Throws Down Gauntlet
to China With Dalai Lama Meeting Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 October 2007
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President George W. Bush will risk angering China by attending a ceremony next week to award a Congress medal to the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, at the bastion of American democracy.
Barely a month after China strongly protested German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, the White House said Wednesday that Bush and his wife will participate in the landmark event for the 72-year-old Buddhist spiritual leader at the Capitol building next Wednesday.
“The president and Mrs Laura Bush will attend the ceremony,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe told AFP.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will present the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the legislature can bestow, to the Dalai Lama.
“He has used his position to promote wisdom, compassion, and non-violence as a solution — not only in Tibet — but to other world conflicts,” said Pelosi, a sharp critic of China’s human rights record. “The United States must continue to be committed to meeting the challenge that Tibet makes to the conscience of the world,” she said.
A bill to award the medal won the support of more than two thirds of members of both the Senate and House of Representatives last year before it was signed into law by Bush.
The medal has also been given to such diverse individuals as Sir Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa and former South African president Nelson Mandela.
This will be the first time that a sitting US president will appear with the Dalai Lama in a public event, a move that could anger China, diplomats said.
China reacted angrily when the US Congress announced the award last year. The award “has sent very serious, wrong signals to the Tibetan independence forces, seriously interfered into China’s internal affairs and damaged China-US relations,” Beijing said then.
The ceremony in Washington comes just after Merkel’s September 23 meeting with the Dalai Lama. Beijing warned Germany after the talks that bilateral ties had been damaged. Aside from Merkel, the Dalai Lama also met Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer last month and was received by Australian Prime Minister John Howard in June. He is scheduled to meet Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper this month.
“We are seeing a trend in which world leaders are becoming more aware that it is in their interest to meet the Dalai Lama despite China’s objections because he is after all one of the world’s leaders,” said Kate Saunders, spokeswoman for the International Campaign for Tibet. “As he is increasingly received by world leaders, China is stepping up its anti-Dalai Lama campaign in Tibet,” she said.
Following the ceremony, the Congress, in a rare move, has agreed to allow the Dalai Lama to address a large crowd of well wishers on the West Lawn of the Capitol.
Bush, known for his religious convictions, has been frank with China on human rights, particularly religious freedom, and strongly supports the idea of a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Beijing. He had met the Dalai Lama several times at the White House residence rather than the offices, apparently to avoid the full wrath of China.
China has ruled Tibet since sending troops in to “liberate” the Himalayan region in 1950. The Dalai Lama fled to India following a failed uprising in 1959 after Beijing crushed the revolt in Lhasa. The Tibetan leader lives in the northern hill town of Dharamsala, which is also the seat of his government in exile.
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama a political exile bent on establishing an independent Tibet, an accusation the 1989 Nobel Peace price winner has repeatedly denied. He instead says he only wants greater autonomy and respect for Tibetan culture and religion.
Dalai Lama Expresses Solidarity
With Protesting Burmese Monks Print E-mail
ImageThe Dalai Lama has conveyed his sincere appreciation and admiration to the large number of fellow Buddhists monks for advocating democracy and freedom in Burma.
In his message on 23 September, the Dalai Lama said, “I extend my support and solidarity with the recent peaceful movement for democracy in Burma.”
“I fully support their call for freedom and democracy and take this opportunity to appeal to freedom-loving people all over the world to support such non-violent movements,” His Holiness added.
The Dalai Lama further said, “As a Buddist monk, I am appealing to the members of the military regime who believe in Buddhism to act in accordance with the sacred dharma in the spirit of compassion and non-violence.”
The Dalai Lama also said he would pray for the success of this peaceful movement and the early release of fellow Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Dalai Lama's Envoys Return From China
Saturday, 07 July 2007
Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi Gyari, head of the Tibetan delegation, released the following statement after the sixth round of discussions with the Chinese leadership:
ImageEnvoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and I, accompanied by two members of our Task Force, Sonam N. Dagpo and Bhuchung K. Tsering, visited China from 29 June to 5 July 2007 for the sixth round of discussions with the Chinese leadership.
On our return to Dharamsala we made our reports to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche. We have also briefed the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and the Kashag.
During this trip three sessions of discussion were held over a day and a half in Shanghai and Nanjing. The Executive Vice Minister of the Central United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun, and the Vice Minister, Sithar (who has been recently promoted to this post), led the discussions from the Chinese side. The discussions were candid and frank. Both sides expressed in strong terms their divergent positions and views on a number of issues.
Our dialogue process has reached a critical stage. We conveyed our serious concerns in the strongest possible manner on the overall Tibetan issue and made some concrete proposals for implementation if our dialogue process is to go forward.
We were instructed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to submit a comprehensive analysis of the dialogue process. The Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche will be convening a meeting of the Task Force, which has been specially established to assist the Envoys in the dialogue process.
7 July 2007
Tibetan Envoys Leave For Talks in China
A Tibetan delegation led by the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoys, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, left India on 29 June 2007 for a sixth round of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue. A proposal by the Dalai Lama to go for a pilgrimage in China is expected to be a central topic of the discussions.
This round of dialogue has raised particular expectations beforehand as it may well be the last one before the Olympic Games are held in Beijing in the summer of 2008. Many observers are convinced that it was the international spotlight of the Olympic Games which moved the Chinese authorities into resurrecting contact in September 2002. Opinions diverge however though as to what Beijing’s motivation is, and exactly what goals it is pursuing.
The last round of talks in February 2006 took place while thousands of Tibetans were burning wildlife furs - following the Dalai Lama’s advice to ban the use of wildlife products, and thus testifying en masse their loyalty to their spiritual leader in a manner unseen since the late 1980s. On their return, the Tibetan delegation reported that “substantive issues” had been dealt with. But they also noted that major differences still exist, even in the basic approach to addressing the Tibet issue.
While both sides expressed that they remained committed to the dialogue process, the Chinese authorities simultaneously increased their anti-Dalai Lama campaigns in Tibet.
Two Hands Are Needed To Clap
The Sino-Tibetan dialogue is fully supported by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. In his annual 10 March statement in 2006, the Dalai Lama requested that Tibetans and their international supporters “work toward the creation of a conducive environment for negotiations”. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile even appealed to Tibetans and Tibet supporters to refrain from any activities, including demonstrations, that would cause embarrassment to China’s President, Hu Jintao, during his 2006 visit to the US, which coincided with a visit by the Dalai Lama.
In contrast, despite expressing commitment to the negotiation process, the Chinese government continue to campaign against the Dalai Lama in Tibet and around the world. The paranoia over the influence of the Dalai Lama on Tibetans can be seen in the statements of the Communist Party Chief in Tibet, Zhang Qingli, who spoke of a conspiracy by “international hostile forces” to “cause disorder in Tibet”. Zhang also spoke of the “Dalai-clique” stepping up “infiltrations” in Tibet. Disturbingly, Zhang also alluded to the abolition of Tibetan Buddhism when he stated that “due to specific historical and environmental factors”, religious influences are deep-rooted and “cannot be abolished in one day”.
Religious statue destroyed
ImageMost recently, in May 2007, the Chinese government showed its ongoing refusal to accept ‘un-authorised’ religious activities by ordering the demolition of a near-complete giant religious statue at the Samye monastery. Lodi Gyari condemned destruction as a “divisive and sacrilegious act” causing “deep anguish” among Tibetans, and noted ironicly that, because the construction had united Tibetan Buddhist and Chinese Buddhist patrons, it was “nothing less than an act of splittism [by the Chinese authorities]”.
Washington, USA-- As most sentient beings in North America know by now, The Dalai Lama was on Capitol Hill today. Congress gave him a medal, and he encountered President Bush for the second day in a row. Perhaps it was a good opportunity for His Holiness to explore the Buddhist concept of anatta, or Non-Self.
Anatta says that personal identity - the self - is actually an illusion. Instead, each of us is an aggregation of different factors (biological, historical, karmic, experiential, etc.), intersecting to create the false sense that we exist as distinct beings.
The Buddha compared the self to a chariot: Is the "chariotness" in the wheels, the axle, the seat ... or not in any single place at all?
Study of anatta is intended to lead to the kind of ego-less state that doesn't usually go along with a career in politics.
From the New York Times: (The Dalai Lama) said that he felt "a sense of regret" over the sharp tensions with China unleashed by his visit and the honors conferred upon him.
In gentle language and conciliatory tones, he congratulated China on its dynamic economic growth, recognized its rising role on the world stage, but he also gently urged it to embrace "transparency, the rule of law and freedom of information."
The Chinese were not appeased by gentleness and conciliation. They called the event a "farce," pulled out of a multi-state conference on Iran, and threatened further diplomatic consequences. That's unfortunate, since the Administration has been hoping they would put diplomatic pressure on Burma - in part to protect the Buddhist monks there. (There's a whole lotta interconnectedness goin' on, once you start looking for it ...)
The White House tried to downplay any symbolism that might be inflammatory, and I think they were probably wise to do so. (Hmm ... is his Buddhist tolerance rubbing off on us?) On the other hand, there was enjoyment to be had in this statement from Press Secretary Dana Perino:"We in no way want to stir the pot and make China feel that we are poking a stick in their eye."
Good thinking. The only thing worse than having your eye poked with a stick is having your eye poked with a stick that was just used to stir a pot. Painful - and messy, too. But it's easier to have compassion for Dana Perino if you believe that karmic forces are what make her mix metaphors like that.
Martin Scorsese and Richard Gere were with His Holiness today, too. Makes sense. If you really want to understand anatta, there's no better place to start than the movie business. If there is no self, after all, how can your agent ask for a percentage?
We can kid - it's in our nature - but underlying it all is an overwhelming sense of tragedy. And there's a lot to be learned from the way the Dalai Lama handles conflict with the Chinese. He doesn't lower himself or get personal ... but he doesn't surrender, either. That's not bad for somebody who, at least on a metaphysical level, may not really exist.
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