DHARAMSHALA, November 29: In solidarity with the increasing number of self-immolations inside Tibet, around one thousand Tibetans held a prayer service yesterday at the Mindrolling Monastery in Clement Town, Uttarakhand coinciding with the auspicious full moon day of the 10th Lunar month of year of the Water Dragon.
Mindrolling Monastery organised the prayer ceremony to commemorate the “selfless sacrifice of the brave Tibetans who laid down their lives through self-immolation for Tibet’s freedom and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.”
The prayer service was presided over by H.E. Penam Rinpoche, H.E. Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, and Ven. Tulku Lhundrub Tengay of Mindrolling.
Hundreds of Tibetans, including Tinlay Jigme, the Tibetan Settlement Officer for the State of Uttarakhand, trulkus, khenpos, monks, nuns, and lay people from Dhundup Ling Tibetan settlement in Clement Town and nearby settlements attended the prayer service.
The ceremony began with offerings to the throne of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, followed by the entire gathering observing a minutes silence as a mark of respect to all the Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Tibet.
Addressing the prayer service, Jigme expressed his deep concern at the critical situation inside Tibet and called for greater support for the sacrifices being made by Tibetans inside Tibet.
Following the prayer service, thousands of butter lamps and candles were lit and hundreds of people continued to recite prayers and circumambulate the great Mindrolling Stupa for Peace through the night.
The deepening crisis inside Tibet has witnessed large scale anti-China protests and a series of self-immolations that has now seen 89 Tibetans set themselves on fire, since 2009, demanding freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile.
November alone has reported 27 self-immolations and protests by thousands of Tibetans, including by school students in Chabcha and in Rebkong.
The Dharamshala based exile Tibetan administration has said that the escalation in self-immolations clearly reflects the gravity of Tibet’s current situation.
“Despite our repeated appeals not to take drastic actions, self-immolations continue in Tibet,” Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the elected head of the Tibetan people said in a release this month. “Therefore, I appeal to the international community and governments to stand for justice by answering the universal aspirations of Tibetans in Tibet: the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.”