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Dalai Lama

A Profile
manifestations of Avalokiteshvara
The 14th Dalai Lama - Nobel Lecture
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The 14th Dalai Lama : A Profile

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His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. He was born in a small village called Takster in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshin Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem, or simply, Kundun, meaning The Presence.

Education in
Tibet

He began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) when he was 25. At 24, he took the preliminary examination at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was held in the Jokhang, Lhasa, during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, held in the first month of every year. In the morning he was examined by 30 scholars on logic. In the afternoon, he debated with 15 scholars on the subject of the Middle Path, and in the evening, 35 scholars tested his knowledge of the canon of monastic discipline and the study of metaphysics. His Holiness passed the examinations with honours, conducted before a vast audience of monk scholars.

Leadership Responsibilities

In 1950, at 16, His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power as Head of State and Government when Tibet was threatened by the might of China. In 1954 he went to Peking to talk with Mao Tse-Tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-Lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, while visiting
India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti, he had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about deteriorating conditions in Tibet. In 1959 he was forced into exile in India after the Chinese military occupation of Tibet. Since 1960 he has resided in Dharamsala, aptly known as “Little Lhasa”, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961 and 1965. In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a draft constitution for Tibet which assures a democratic form of government. In the last two decades, His Holiness has set up educational, cultural and religious institutions which have made major contributions towards the preservation of the Tibetan identity and its rich heritage. He has given many teachings and initiations, including the rare Kalachakra Initiation, which he has conducted more than any of his predecessors.

His Holiness continues to present new initiatives to resolve the Tibetan issues. At the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987 he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan as a first step towards resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan calls for the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace, an end to the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms and the abandonment of China’s use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production and the dumping of nuclear waste, as well as urging “earnest negotiations” on the future of Tibet and relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people. In
Strasbourg, France, on June 15, 1988, he elaborated on this Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, “in association with the People’s Republic of China.” In his address, the Dalai Lama said that this represented “the most realistic means by which to re-establish Tibet’s separate identity and restore the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people while accommodating China’s own interests.” His Holiness emphasized that “whatever the outcome of the negotiations with the Chinese may be, the Tibetan people themselves must be the ultimate deciding authority.”

Contact with the West

Unlike his predecessors, His Holiness has met and talked with many Westerners and has visited the United States, Canada, Western Europe, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Vatican, China and Australia. He has met with religious leaders from all these countries.

His Holiness met with the late Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973, and with His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1980, 1982, 1986 and 1988. At a press conference in Rome, His Holiness the Dalai Lama outlined his hopes for the meeting with John Paul II: “We live in a period of great crisis, a period of troubling world developments. It is not possible to find peace in the soul without security and harmony between the people. For this reason, I look forward with faith and hope to my meeting with the Holy Father; to an exchange of ideas and feelings, and to his suggestions, so as to open the door to a progressive pacification between people.”.

In 1981, His Holiness talked with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities and spoke at an interfaith service in his honour by the World Congress of Faiths. His talk focused on the commonality of faiths and the need for unity among different religions: “I always believe that it is much better to have a variety of religions, a variety of philosophies, rather than one single religion or philosophy. This is necessary because of the different mental dispositions of each human being. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one’s own faith.”

Recognition by the West

Since his first visit to the west in the early 1970s, His Holiness’ reputation as a scholar and man of peace has grown steadily. In recent years, a number of western universities and institutions have conferred Peace Awards and honorary Doctorate Degrees upon His Holiness in recognition of his distinguished writings in Buddhist philosophy and of his distinguished leadership in the service of freedom and peace.

Universal Responsibility

During his travels abroad, His Holiness has spoken strongly for better understanding and respect among the different faiths of the world. Towards this end, His Holiness has made numerous appearances in interfaith services, imparting the message of universal responsibility, love, compassion and kindness. “The need for simple human-to-human relationships is becoming increasingly urgent . . . Today the world is smaller and more interdependent. One nation’s problems can no longer be solved by itself completely. Thus, without a sense of universal responsibility, our very survival becomes threatened. Basically, universal responsibility is feeling for other people’s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our enemy is entirely motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing that we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration.”

From Les Prix Nobel 1989.

Source: http://www.nobel.se/peace/laureates/1989/lama-acceptance.html

 

manifestations of Avalokiteshvara

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The Dalai Lama is held to be the reincarnation of each of the previous thirteen Dalai Lamas of Tibet (the first having been born in 1351 AD), who are in turn considered to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara, or Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, holder of the White Lotus. The Dalai Lama is also believed to be a manifestation of Chenrezig, in fact the seventy-fourth in a lineage that can be traced back to a Brahmin boy who lived in the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. “I am often asked whether I truly believe this. The answer is not simple to give. But as a fifty-six year old, when I consider my experience during this present life, and given my Buddhist beliefs, I have no difficulty accepting that I am spiritually connected both to the thirteen previous Dalai Lamas, to Chenrezig and to the Buddha himself.”

Discovery as Dalai Lama

When Lhamo Thondup was barely three years old, a search party that had been sent out by the Tibetan government to find the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama arrived at Kumbum monastery. It had been led there by a number of signs. One of these concerned the embalmed body of his predecessor, Thupten Gyatso, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, who had died aged fifty-seven in 1933. During its period of sitting in state, the head was discovered to have turned from facing south to north-east. Shortly after that the Regent, himself a senior lama, had a vision. Looking into the waters of the sacred lake, Lhamoi Lhatso, in southern Tibet, he clearly saw the Tibetan letters Ah, Ka and Ma float into view. These were followed by the image of a three-storeyed monastery with a turquoise and gold roof and a path running from it to a hill. Finally, he saw a small house with strangely-shaped guttering. He was sure that the letter Ah referred to Amdo, the north-eastern province, so it was there that the search party was sent.

By the time they reached Kumbum, the members of the search party felt that they were on the right track. It seemed likely that if the letter Ah referred to Amdo, then Ka must indicate the monastery at Kumbum  which was indeed three-storeyed and turquoise-roofed. They now only needed to locate a hill and a house with peculiar guttering. So they began to search the neighbouring villages. When they saw the gnarled branches of juniper wood on the roof of the Dalai Lamaís parentsí house, they were certain that the new Dalai Lama would not be far away. Nevertheless, rather than reveal the purpose of their visit, the group asked only to stay the night. The leader of the party, Kewtsang Rinpoche, then pretended to be a servant and spent much of the evening observing and playing with the youngest child in the house.

The child recognised him and called out Sera lama, Sera lama’. Sera was Kewtsang Rinpocheís monastery. Next day they left  only to return a few days later as a formal deputation. This time they brought with them a number of things that had belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, together with several similar items that did not. In every case, the infant correctly identified those belonging to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama saying, “It’s mine. It’s mine.” This more or less convinced the search party that they had found the new incarnation. It was not long before the boy from Taktser was acknowledged to be the new Dalai Lama.

The boy Lhamo Thondup was first taken to Kumbum monastery. “There now began a somewhat unhappy period of my life,” the Dalai Lama was to write later, reflecting on his separation from his parents and the unfamiliar surroundings. “However, there were two consolations to life at the monastery.” First, the Dalai Lama’s immediate elder brother Lobsang Samten was already there. The second consolation was the fact that his teacher was a very kind old monk, who often held his young disciple inside his gown.

Lhamo Thondup was eventually to be reunited with his parents and together they were to journey to Lhasa. This did not come about for some eighteen months, however, because Ma Bufeng refused to let the boy-incarnate be taken to Lhasa without payment of a large ransom. It was not until the summer of 1939 that he left for the capital, Lhasa, in a large party consisting his parents, his brother Lobsang Samten, members of the search party and other pilgrims.

The journey to Lhasa took three months. “I remember very little detail apart from a great sense of wonder at everything I saw: the  vast herds of drong (wild yaks) ranging across the plains, the smaller groups of kyang (wild asses) and occasionally a shimmer of gowa and nawa, small deer which were so light and fast they might have been ghosts. I also loved the huge flocks of hooting geese we saw from time to time.”

Lhamo Thondup’s party was received by a group of senior government officials and escorted to Doeguthang plain, two miles outside the gates of the capital. The next day, a ceremony was held in which Lhamo Thondup was conferred the spiritual leadership of his people. Following this, he was taken off with Lobsang Samten to the Norbulingka, the summer palace of His Holiness, which lay just to the west of Lhasa.

During the winter of 1940, Lhamo Thondupwas taken to the Potala Palace, where he  was officially installed as spiritual leader of Tibet. Soon after, the newly-recognised Dalai Lama was taken to Jokhang temple where His Holiness was inducted as a novice monk in a ceremony known as taphue, meaning ‘cutting of the hair’. “From now on, I was to be shaven-headed and attired in maroon monkís robes.”

His Holiness then began to receive his primary education. The curriculum - same as that for all monks pursuing a doctorate in Buddhist studies  included logic, Tibtean art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine and Buddhist philosophy. The last and the most important (ìand most difficultî) was subdivided into further five categories: Prajnaparamita, the perfection of wisdom; Madhyamika, the philosophy of the Middle Way; Vinaya, the canon of monastic discipline; Abidharma, metaphysics; and Pramana, logic and epistemology.

Dalai Lama in his youth

On the day before the opera festival  ‘most favourite entertainment’  summer 1950, the Dalai Lama was just coming out of the bathroom at the Norbulingka when His Holiness felt the earth beneath begin to move. As the scale of this natural phenomenon began to sink in, people naturally began to say that this was more than a simple earthquake: it was an omen.

Two days later, Regent Tathag received a telegram from the Governor of Kham, based in Chamdo, reporting a raid on a Tibetan post by Chinese soldiers. Already the previous autumn there had been cross-border incursions by Chinese Communists, who stated their intention of ìliberating Tibet from the hands of imperialist aggressorsî. “It now looked as if the Chinese were making good their threat. If that were so, I was well aware that Tibet was in grave danger for our army mustered no more than 8,500 officers and men. It would be no match for the recently victorious Peopleís Liberation Army (PLA).”

Two months later, in October, news reached Lhasa that an army of 80,000 soldiers of the PLA had crossed the Drichu river east of Chamdo. “So the axe had fallen. And soon, Lhasa must fall.” As the winter drew on and the news got worse, people began to advocate that the Dalai Lama be given his majority, his full temporal power. The Government consulted the Nechung Oracle, ‘a very tense moment’, who came over to where the Dalai Lama was seated and laid a kata, a white offering scarf, on His Holiness’s lap with the words “Thu-la bapí, ‘His time has come.’ At the age of fifteen, the Dalai Lama was on 17 November 1950 enthroned as the temporal leader of Tibet.

At the beginning of November, about a fortnight before the day of His Holiness’s investiture, the Dalai lama’s eldest brother arrived in Lhasa. “As soon as I set eyes on him, I knew that he had suffered greatly. Because Amdo, the province where we were both born, and in which Kumbum is situated, lies so close to China, it had quickly fallen under control of the Communists. …He himself was kept virtual prisoner in his monastery. At the same time, the Chinese endeavoured to indoctrinate him in the new Communist way of thinking and try to subvert him. They had a plan whereby they would set him free to go to Lhasa if he would undertake to persuade me to accept Chinese rule. If I resisted, he was to kill me. They would then reward him.”

To mark the occasion of his ascension to power, the Dalai Lama granted general amnesty whereby all the prisoners were set free. “I was pleased to have this opportunity, although there were times that I regretted it. When I trained my telescope on the compound, it was empty save for a few dogs scavenging for scraps. It was as if something was missing from my life.”

Shortly after the 15-year-old Dalai Lama found himself the undisputed leader of six million people facing the threat of a full-scale war, His Holiness appointed two new Prime Ministers. Lobsang Tashi became the monk Prime Minister and an experienced lay administrator, Lukhangwa, the lay Prime Minister.

“That done, I decided in consultation with them and the Kashag to send delegations abroad to America, Great Britain and Nepal in the hope of persuading these countries to intervene on our behalf. Another was to go to China in the hope of negotiating a withdrawal. These missions left towards the end of the year. Shortly afterwards, with the Chinese consolidating their forces in the east, we decided that I should move to southern Tibet with the most senior members of the Government. That way, if the situation deteriorated, I could easily seek exile across the border with India. Meanwhile, Lobsang Tashi and Lunkhangwa were to remain in an acting capacity.”

While the Dalai Lama was in Dromo, which lay just inside the border with Sikkim, His Holiness received the news that while the delegation to China had reached its destination, each of the others had been turned back. “So it was almost impossible to believe that the British Government was now agreeing that China had some claim to authority over Tibet.” The Dalai Lama was equally saddened by Americaís reluctance to help. ìI remember feeling great sorrow when I realised what this really meant: Tibet must expect to face the entire might of Communist China alone.”

Frustrated by the indifference showed to Tibet’s case by Great Britain and America, the Dalai Lama, in his last bid to avoid a full-scale Chinese invasion, sent Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, governor of Kham, to Beijing to open a dialogue with the Chinese. The delegation hadnít been given the power to reach at any settlement, apart from its entrusted task of convincing the Chinese leadership against invading Tibet.

“However, one evening, as I sat alone….A harsh, crackling voice announced that a Seventeen-Point ‘Agreement’ for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet had that day (May 23, 1951) been signed by representatives of the Government of the Peopleís Republic of China and what they called the ‘Local Governmentí of Tibet.’ As it turned out, the delegation headed by Ngabo had been forced into signing the agreement by the Chinese who even forged the Tibetan seal. The Chinese had in effect secured a major coup by winning Tibetan compliance, albeit at gun-point, to their terms of returning Tibet to the fold of the motherland.

Countdown to escape

The next nine years saw the Dalai Lama trying to evade a full-scale military takeover of Tibet by China on one hand and placating the growing resentment among Tibetan resistance fighters against the Chinese aggressors on the other. But disheartening reports of increasing brutality towards his own people continued to pour in when the young Dalai Lama was giving his final monastic examinations.

In his last week in Tibet, one winter day of 1959 General Chiang Chin-wu of Communist China extended a seemingly innocent invitation to the Tibetan leader to attend a theatrical show by a Chinese dance troupe. When the invitation was repeated with new conditions that no Tibetan soldiers was to accompany the Dalai Lama and that his bodyguards be unarmed, an acute anxiety befell the Lhasa populace. Soon a crowd of tens of In his last week in Tibet, one winter day of 1959 General Chiang Chin-wu of Communist China extended a seemingly innocent invitation to the Tibetan leader to attend a theatrical show by a Chinese dance troupe. When the invitation was repeated with new conditions that no Tibetan soldiers was to accompany the Dalai Lama and that his bodyguards be unarmed, an acute anxiety befell the Lhasa populace. Soon a crowd of tens of thousands of Tibetans gathered around the Norbulingka Palace, determined to thwart any threat to their young leaderís life.

On 17 March,1958 during a consultation with Nechung Oracle, the Dalai Lama was given an explicit instruction to leave the country. The Oracleís decision was further confirmed when a divinity performed by His Holiness produced the same answer, ìeven though the odds against making a successful break seemed terrifyingly high.î

A few minutes before ten oíclock the Dalai Lama, now disguised as a common soldier, slipped past the massive throng of people along with a small escort and proceeded towards Kyichu river, where His Holiness was joined by the rest of the entourage, including his immediate family members.

In exile

Three weeks after leaving Lhasa, the Dalai Lama and his entourage reached the Indian border from where they were escorted by Indian guards to Bomdila. The Indian government had already agreed to provide asylum to the Dalai Lama and his followers in India. It was in Mussoorie that the Dalai Lama met with the Indian Prime Minister and the two talked about rehabilitating the Tibetan refugees.

Realising the importance of modern education for the children of Tibetan refugees, the Dalai Lama impressed upon Nehru to undertake the formation of an independent Society for Tibetan Education within the Indian Ministry of Education. The Indian Government was to bear all the expenses for setting up the schools for the Tibetan children.

Thinking the ëtime is ripe for me to break my elected silenceí, the Dalai Lama called a press conference on 20 June when His Holiness formally repudiated the Seventeen-Point Agreement.  ìIn the field of administration, too, I was able to make radical changes.î For example the Dalai Lama saw the creation of various new Tibetan government departments. These included Offices of Information, Education, Rehabilitation, Security, Religious Affairs and Economic Affairs. Most of the Tibetan refugees, whose number had grown to almost 30,000, were moved to road camps in the hills of northern India.

On 10 March,1959 just before leaving for Dharamsala with the eighty or so officials who comprised the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, the Dalai Lama began what is now a tradition by making a statement on the anniversary of the Tibetan PeopleÌs Uprising. ìOn this first occasion, I stressed the need for my people to take a long-term view of the situation in Tibet. For those of us in exile, I said that our priority must be resettlement and the continuity of our cultural traditions. As to the future, I stated my belief that, with Truth, Justice and Courage as our weapons, we Tibetans would eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet.

Source : www.dalailama.com
 

The 14th Dalai Lama - Nobel Lecture

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Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1989

 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:

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the entire Tibetan plateau would be demilitarised;

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the manufacture, testing, and stockpiling of nuclear weapons and other armaments on the Tibetan plateau would be prohibited;

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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;

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the manufacture and use of nuclear power and other technologies which produce hazardous waste would be prohibited;

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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;

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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.

Thank you.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1981-1990, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore

 

Related Links

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http://www.motherjones.com/news/qa/1997/11/thurman.html

The Dalai Lama on China, hatred, and optimism  Interviewed By Robert Thurman

Some people say that you have to follow the religions of your own culture. Is it really a good idea to adopt a religion or spiritual practice foreign to one’s culture?...Dalai Lama in  A conversation with Robert Thurman

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/dalai.lama/

AS LEADER of the Tibetan people His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, leads a life of exile in India. After an uprising against Chinese rule 42 years ago, the Dalai Lama fled, followed by thousands of Tibetans  Latest news on the Dalai Lama

http://www.tibet.com/

The Government of Tibet in Exile .This site is maintained and updated by The Office of Tibet, the official agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in London.All references on Tibet include NEWS ROOM,THE STATUS OF TIBET , GOVERNMENT OF TIBET, TIBETAN CULTURE.

 

  • Tibet Online Resource Gathering -  operated by the international Tibet Support Group community, providing information on the Tibet and serving as a virtual community space for the movement.
  • Karma Triyana Dharmachakra -  North American seat of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa, head of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Nalandabodhi -  updates and breaking news on the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa in India.
  • Tibet Information Network -  an independent news and research service providing information and analysis of current events in Tibet.
  • Tibet Press Watch -  articles and analysis on U.S policies on Tibet and China as well as on developments in Tibet.
  • Worldbridges: Tibet -  guide to Tibetan culture, its people, language, and religion. Includes extensive streaming video and audio supplements.
  • Tibetan Studies WWW Virtual Library -  information resource and document archive for Tibetan studies. Includes search engines for several research publications.
  • www.dharmashop.com-Mission is to support Tibetan artisans by buying directly from Tibetan communities in Nepal and India. A portion of all proceeds is donated to charity.
  • www.newspaperarchive.com- SEARCH OVER 13 lacNEWSPAPER PAGES  , get the historical items regarding the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

 

Selected Bibliography

 

  • Freedom in Exile. The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama. New York: Harper Collins, 1990. (The fullest account, written in English.)

  • My Land and My People. Memoirs of the Dalai Lama of Tibet. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962, Reprinted, New York: Potala Corp., 1983, 1985. (His first account, translated from Tibetan, written with David Howarth, English writer, after escaping to India.)

  • Ocean of Wisdom. Guidelines for Living. Santa Fe, N.M.: Clear Light Publ., 1989. Reprinted, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990. (Includes Nobel acceptance speech.)

  • A Policy of Kindness. An Anthology of Writings by and about the Dalai Lama. Sidney Piburn, ed., Ithaca, NY Snow Lion Press, 1990. (Includes the official Nobel lecture and the informal lecture.)

 

Other Sources

  • Avedon, John F. In Exile from the Land of Snows. New York: Knopf, 1984. (Tibet, before and after the invasion, focusing on lives of individuals, based largely on interviews, including many with the Dalai Lama.)

Piburn, Sidney, ed., The Nobel Peace Prize and the Dalai Lama. Ithaca, NY Snow Lion Publ., 1990. (The Nobel speeches and statements. From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1981-1990, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore

 

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