By Phurbu Thinley
Tibetan Buddhist Monks lead a prayer service along with 12-hr symbolic fasting for freedom and peace in the world and Tibet in Dharamsala, India, Saturday, August 30, 2008
Dharamsala, August 30: Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan Government-in-exile, led a 12-hr mass fasting and prayer service, in conjunction with Tibetans and supporters around the world, to draw attention to the plight of the Tibetan people.
While observing fasting, the Tibetan exiles and supporters simultaneously offered prayers for the wellbeing and long life of the Dalai Lama, world peace and, for freedom from oppression in China, Tibet and elsewhere.
Tibetan Government offices, schools and usual businesses run by Tibetans here remained closed to observe the day-long mass prayer service and fasting. In a massive show of strengthening their nonviolent commitment to end China’s oppression in their Himalayan homeland, the courtyard of the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag-Khang
), the official venue for the peaceful action, remained packed to the fullest. Some five thousand or more, including Tibet supporters and people from Himalayan region, congregated since 7:00 in the morning to take part in it.
Fasting with prayers are also being observed by Tibetans at respective Tibetans schools, monasteries, nunneries and dharma centres that are located around Dharamsala but could not make it to the main Tibetan Temple here.
Many others are known to be observing the day-long fasting and holding prayers at their homes.
Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche and others members of the cabinet, Speaker and Deputy Speaker and members of the Tibetan Parliament and other senior government officials have taken part in the non-violent action for Tibet.
Senior leaders of the Tibet’s Government-in-exile, including Kalon Tripa (PM) and his cabinet ministers, and Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament took part in the day-long fasting and prayer service in Dharamsala on Saturday
“We are immensely fortunate and grateful that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consented to take part in person here, but due to a slight indisposition this could not happen,” PM Prof. Rinpoche said this morning in his official address to the gathering.
“However, His Holiness is observing the fasting and prayer from Mumbai today and we convey our immense gratitude and respect to him,” he added.
Rinpoche said this kind of activity was not a “protest led by hatred, rancour and anger but by the teachings of the Lord Buddha in all the vehicles to refrain from harming others and do everything to benefit others with love and compassion, which is the essence of spiritual practice”.
“Due to the consistent effort and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to pursue non-violent methods to resolve the Tibetan issue, it has been many years that most of the Tibetan movements remained free from gross physical violence, he said. “This garnered immense support from around the world for the just cause of Tibet,” he added.
“Our pursuit of non-violence has not only enabled us to keep alive the Tibetan issue but also compelled the People's Republic of China to respond to our policy of rapprochement irrespective of their sincerity” he said.
Rinpoche expressed hope that the sincere practice of non-violence by Tibetan people would “ultimately help change the mind of the PRC authorities to more compassionate” and urged all Tibetans to put “concerted non-violent efforts to bring natural end to the torture and persecution in Tibet”.
The Tibetan PM said “We pay our condolence and homage to those who lost their lives and those who are imprisoned, tortured and beaten in the recent uprisings in Tibet,” he said.
“We also pray and sympathise for the victims of the earthquakes in Sichuan and the one in South-western Tibet recently and the disaster caused by flood in some other part as well”.
Speaker Karma Chophel, also the chairman of the Tibetan Solidarity Committee, said today’s non-violent action was guided to enhance collective merits of all those people in the world in general and Tibetans in particular who have been victims of forced oppression and violence and deprived of fundamental human rights.
He said the non-violent action was to offer prayers for the long and healthy life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to relieve those Tibetan who are still enduring atrocities under the brutal Chinese oppression.
Since March this year, major anti-China unrests broke out in Lhasa that slowly spilled out into other Tibetan regions. Chinese communist authorities responded with military crackdown on Tibetan demonstrations leading to deaths and arbitrary arrests of hundreds of Tibetans, and left many more injured and missing.
The March protests in Lhasa and other parts of Tibet were among the biggest in almost 50 years of oppressive Chinese rule.
China sent tens of thousands of troops into Tibetan regions to quash the demonstrations. Its harsh response brought worldwide criticism, and several world leaders even threatened to boycott the Beijing Olympics, which ended last Sunday.
China repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan religious leader, and his followers of instigating the unrest and trying to derail the games. Facing strong international pressure, Beijing agreed to hold talks with the Dalai Lama's representatives two times after large scale unrests across Tibet.
However, Beijing has continued to vilify the exiled Tibetan leader, most recently for a trip to France that ended last week.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, he accused Beijing of imposing a new, long-term "plan of brutal repression" and building new military camps in Tibetan areas.
The Dalai Lama has said that despite China's harsh crackdown on the March demonstrations, he still supports a peaceful solution of meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China's rule, not independence.
Today’s worldwide non-violent action campaign, initiated by Tibetan Solidarity Committee
, is to further reinforce Tibetan people’s commitment to nonviolence and strengthen its force in their struggle for freedom under the Dalai Lama’s leadership.Click Here
for the full text of the Kashag's statement