Appeal to Chinese Spiritual Brothers and Sisters (25 April 2008)


April 25, 2008 12:00 am

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Appeal to Chinese Spiritual Brothers and Sisters

Friday, 25 April 2008, 10:41 a.m.


Today I would like to make a personal appeal to all Chinese
spiritual brothers and sisters, both inside as well as outside the
People’s Republic of China, and especially to the followers of the
Buddha. I do this as a Buddhist monk and a student of our most revered
teacher, the Buddha. I have already made an appeal to the general
Chinese community. Here I am appealing to you, my spiritual brothers
and sisters, on an urgent humanitarian matter.

The Chinese and the Tibetan people share common spiritual
heritage in Mahayana Buddhism. We worship the Buddha of Compassion -
Guan Yin in the Chinese tradition and Chenrezig in Tibetan tradition -
and cherish compassion for all suffering beings as one of the highest
spiritual ideals. Furthermore, since Buddhism flourished in China
before it came to Tibet from India, I have always viewed the Chinese
Buddhists with the reverence due to senior spiritual brothers and
sisters.

As most of you are aware, beginning with the 10th of March this
year, a series of demonstrations have taken place in Lhasa and across
many Tibetan areas. These are caused by deep Tibetan resentment against
the policies of the Chinese government. I have been deeply saddened by
the loss of life, both Chinese and Tibetans, and immediately appealed
to both the Chinese authorities and the Tibetans for restraint. I
specially appealed to the Tibetans not to resort to violence.

Unfortunately, the Chinese authorities have resorted to brutal
methods to deal with the development despite appeals for restraint by
many world leaders, NGOs and noted world citizens, particularly many
Chinese scholars. In the process, there has been loss of life, injuries
to many, and the detention of large number of Tibetans. The crackdown
still continues, especially targeting monastic institutions, which have
traditionally been the repository of ancient Buddhist knowledge and
tradition. Many of these have been sealed off. We have reports that
many of those detained are beaten and treated harshly. These repressive
measures seem to be part of an officially sanctioned systematic policy.

With no international observers, journalists or even tourists
allowed to Tibet, I am deeply worried about the fate of the Tibetans.
Many of those injured in the crackdown, especially in the remote areas,
are too terrified to seek medical treatment for fear of arrest.
According to some reliable sources, people are fleeing to the mountains
where they have no access to food and shelter. Those who remained
behind are living in a constant state of fear of being the next to be
arrested.

I am deeply pained by this ongoing suffering. I am very worried
where all these tragic developments might lead to ultimately. I do not
believe that repressive measures can achieve any long-term solution.
The best way forward is to resolve the issues between the Tibetans and
the Chinese leadership through dialogue, as I have been advocating for
a long time. I have repeatedly assured the leadership of the People’s
Republic of China that I am not seeking independence. What I am seeking
is a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people that would ensure the
long-term survival of our Buddhist culture, our language and our
distinct identity as a people. The rich Tibetan Buddhist culture is
part of the larger cultural heritage of the People’s Republic of China
and has the potential to benefit our Chinese brothers and sisters.

In the light of the present crisis, I appeal to all of you to
help call for an immediate end to the ongoing brutal crackdown, for the
release of all who have been detained, and to call for providing
immediate medical care to the injured.

The Dalai Lama
Hamilton, USA
25 April 2008