On this auspicious occasion of the birth anniversary of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the supreme saviour of all sentient beings, the master of the entire corpus of the Buddha’s teachings extant on this earth; a great champion of world peace; the human embodiment of Avalokitesvara, the spiritual king of the three realms and Supreme leader, protector of symbol, of Tibet and the Tibetan people, I, on behalf of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, extend my greetings with great pleasure to all the guests who are present here.
For the sake of all sentient beings in general, and especially for the sake of the sentient beings of the Snowland of Tibet, whom he had especially assumed the obligation to bring under the realm of His spiritual guidance, His Holiness took birth amid numerous amazing signs and omens on the 5th day of the 5th month in the Wood- Pig Year of the 16th Tibetan Royal Sexantry, corresponding to the 6th of July 1935, as a son to His father Chokyong Tsering and mother Dekyi Tsering at Taktser Village in the Kumbum region of Dhomey Province. On this perfect, auspicious occasion, we offer our greetings to His Holiness by worshipfully holding over our heads the soil on which He has trodden and with unwavering devotions of body, speech and mind. On this basis, we forever remain in prayers to His Holiness, day and night, beseeching that He, the saviour and true refuge of all the Tibetan people in the Land of Snows, and a champion of world peace, to live for a hundred aeons so that we may receive the nectar of His omniscient guidance in a continuing stream from its pristine, original source.
By assuming obligation to bring the people of the Land of Snows under the realm of His spiritual guidance, and appearing in human form in such numerous and diverse capacities as kings, ministers, Bodhisattvas and so on, His Holiness has carried out vast and varied religious and humanitarian roles. From the time of the Great Fifth, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had assumed temporal and spiritual leadership of Tibet and exercised unquestioned authority over the Tibetan people in accordance with the principles of the co-existence of religion and politics. In particular, for the benefit of the people of Tibet, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama had, with a great sense of commitment and resolute drive, expressed desires and undertaken initiatives to introduce historic reforms in the system of governance in Tibet for the benefit of the Tibetan people. However, by then Communist China had already begun its invasion of Tibet and His sacred wishes could not be carried out. In addition, by 1959, the entire territory of Tibet was already under the occupation of Communist China. Therefore left with no other choices, nearly 100,000 Tibetan people fled into exile to the neighbouring country India. Immediately on reaching India, His Holiness especially established Tibetan schools, monasteries, settlements, and other kinds of Tibetan centres. In particular, since introducing democracy in the Tibetan community in exile in 1960, steps were taken in a continuous series of moves to attain a genuine democratic system. In this connection, a new system was introduced in 2001 by which the Tibetan people directly elected the head of their government, the Kalon Tripa. Thereafter, in 2011, His Holiness devolved to the directly elected leaders of the Tibetan people his entire political and administrative authorities. He thereby oversaw the transition of the Tibetan administration in exile into a legitimate, stable democratic system fully based on law. The entire deeds of great magnitude He carried out in both spiritual and political fields has earned His Holiness the Dalai Lama plaudits from across the world, which has presented to Him hundreds of awards and certificates, including the Nobel Peace Prize. In the immediate past one year alone, for example, he was presented the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace, reiterated with the awarding of recognition as the master of all the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, awarded the peace prize of the University of California San Diego, and presented an honorary degree by Loyola University in the US city of Chicago. In particular, for His constant and unrivalled accomplishments in the courses of advocating kindness and compassion, universal responsibility, and peace and non-violence as well as for his promotion of interfaith harmony and friendship, and the inter-relationship between Buddhism and science, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was presented the famous Templeton Prize.
Likewise, during the past one year alone, His Holiness visited numerous countries across the world, including the United States of America, Switzerland, France, Finland, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Mongolia, Japan, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and India’s capital New Delhi. In all these places, He met with revered religious leaders, as well as important political figures, such as current and former presidents and prime ministers, and members of parliaments. He also very graciously gave lectures on profound topics of great current and future as well as immediate and long term universal relevance and benefits to the student community as well as the general public in those countries. He especially visited the physically handicapped and those devastated by flood, met with the affected people, encouraged them by counseling about the importance of having a sense of determination, gave donations and consoled them in such manners. Likewise, His Holiness visited people devastated by earthquakes, offered prayers at the affected places, as well as consoled and instilled courage in the victims of the calamities. Also especially in the past one year, His Holiness gave His 31st and 32nd Kalachakra Empowerment teachings. In Canada, His Holiness took part in the inaugural session of the 6th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet and addressed its participants. It bears no mention at all that through events such as the above, His Holiness has carried out His noble commitments and advocacy actions without subjecting himself to any kinds of limits and still continues to do so.
It also bears no mention that the happiness of the people of this world in general terms and especially the hopes for an immediate resolution of the just cause of Tibet, as also the happiness of the Tibetan people, and the sanctity thereof rises in direct proportion to the rise in the level of the roles carried out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Given this fact, it is obvious that not even a minuscule fraction of the gratitude we owe to His Holiness for his past and continuing roles for our benefits cannot be repaid even if we were to offer to Him the entire collection of virtues and a universe filled with Seven Kinds of Precious Minerals. Nevertheless, on behalf of the Tibetan people both in and outside the Land of Snows, we, with our body, speech and mind pay obeisance and prostration, present a manner of expressing our unfathomable gratitude to Him and at the same time pray with utmost vigour that for the sake of all sentient beings in general terms and especially for the benefit of the exceedingly anguished people of the land of snows, turn His attention to this blessed land of snows and continue as before his vast and uninterrupted role of caring for them out of a compassionate feeling of special closeness.
In the year 2010, His Holiness spoke on successive occasions about His desire to retire from politics. There was no denying the fact that His Holiness made His remarks out of a great feeling of compassionate concern for the immediate and long term interests of the Tibetan people, religion and government. Nevertheless, the Tibetan people both in and outside Tibet felt greatly concerned and saddened by this development and they offered successive petitions to Him, pleading with him never to entertain any thought about taking such a step. In the course of this development, the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile too pleaded with Him, saying we the people of the Tibetan Land of Snows were sustained only by the kindness and gratitude they owed to His Holiness. On the basis of the fact that it was destined by the Buddha’s prophecy for His Holiness to have Tibet as the realm of his spiritual guidance or care, the Standing Committee entreated that He continue to adhere firmly to the oath-bound commitments he had been moved to make regarding the people of Tibet, which we said rendered it impossible for him to ever remove himself from his excellent role as the temporal and spiritual leader of the country for as long as this aeon endures. Likewise, in a background report to the First Special General Meeting of Tibetans held under Article 59 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile in 2008; during successive sessions of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile; and especially in the very first paragraph of the final report summarizing the suggestions received from the participants in the First Tibetan National General Meeting, held at Bylakuppe in 2010, it was stated: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama has thus far assumed responsibility as the Head of the great Tibetan nation and as the head of the Tibetan government. On behalf of the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile, we offer immense gratitude to His Holiness. At the same time, His Holiness the Dalai Lama remarked in His speech that He was already in semi-retirement. This has plunged the entire people of Tibet, both those in the county and outside it, to such depth of despair that they are no longer able to digest their food or to go to sleep in peace. In view of this development, this general meeting appeals to His Holiness the Dalai Lama never to carry out any plan for such a decision.” Such was the prayer we offered in our petition to His Holiness.
Thereafter on 14 March 2011, during the 11th session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, a precious message was received from His Holiness, which stated thus: “Lay down the conditions by which within a definite time schedule both the political and administrative authorities will vest in a leadership directly elected by the Tibetan people. In doing so, make sure that the relevant provisions of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile are in scrupulous conformity with a republican form of democracy. Because of this development, a number of deliberations in and outside of the parliament were held over a period of four working days, during which detailed discussions were held. At the end of it, a petition was submitted to His Holiness through the Secretaries of the Private Office, stating, among other things, “We remain resolute in praying that Your Holiness continue to assume your role as the supreme temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.” However, the reply we received through the Private Office was stern and firm, stating, “There will be no change in His Holiness’s wishes and the decisions which flowed from them. There is therefore no possibility to take up for consideration the provisions of the resolution of the Parliament-in-Exile. The resolution is therefore being sent back herewith.” Pursuant to this development, the members again held informal meetings, as well as group meetings with equal apportionment of the members of the parliament-in-Exile.
Thorough and indepth discussions were held in each of these committees. And for the purpose of implementing the wishes expressed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Speakers constituted a committee consisting of members of the parliament-in-Exile and members of the Kashag of the Tibetan administration in exile, with the task of drawing up draft recommendations for amending the relevant provisions of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile. And in accordance with its recommendations, a Second Special General Meeting of Tibetans was held. At that meeting too, it was amply explained that because an emphatic appeal based on our unanimous decision praying that His Holiness the Dalai Lama continue his leadership of the Tibetan nation, as was traditionally done by his successive predecessors, was turned down, an additional session of the Tibetan parliament was held from 26 to 28 May 2011 and the 25th amendment of the Charter of the Tibetans in Exile adopted. And it is a fact that in accordance with the provisions of this amendment, all the political and administrative authorities bequeathed by His Holiness were vested in leaders directly elected by the Tibetan people over the following courses of developments. Apart from that, it is important for everyone to understand that there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to give any credence or repose any trust in the exaggerated kinds of information which are totally at variance from the facts. Only a short time has passed since it finally became clear with absolute certainty that we had no alternative but to respect His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wish mandating that his decision to hand over all his authorities be accepted. Nevertheless, the entire Tibetan people have thus far managed to properly follow, straight on, along the path of democracy and freedom so that the situation of the Tibetan administration in exile remains in conformity with the wishes and successive advices of His Holiness. However, the Tibetan people both in and out of Tibet still haven’t stopped feeling uneasy and discomforted by the fact that His Holiness no longer exercises direct political and administrative leadership over them. We would therefore like to emphatically remind the entire Tibetan people that the current situation means that we have arrived at an especially momentous event in history when we should apply our efforts with even greater vigour to both carry out our personal responsibilities and to contribute to the collective endeavours for the purpose of upholding our end of the sacred mutual obligations.
Ever since invading and occupying Tibet, Communist China set out to obliterate the Tibetan people’s ethnic identity and implemented a policy of demographic aggression. In the course of doing so, it split apart the entire territory of Tibet and separated them by merging various portions of it with a number of Chinese provinces. It banned the great monastic seats of learning in Dhotoe, Dhomey and U-Tsang from continuing their age-old practice of enrolling students from their historically connected areas and regions in Tibet within their various sections. In addition, the Chinese government especially established monastery management committees and through them forced the Tibetan monks and nuns to study, and subjected them to propaganda, about the atheist communist Chinese ideology and policies in the name of the so-called “love your nation, love your religion” campaigns. These practices continue to this day through successive campaign actions. In this milieu, any Tibetan who shows loyalty to his or her own race or work to protect the Tibetan culture is criminally branded as a separatist or splittist. And in violation of its own ethnic minority policy, China subjects such Tibetans to racially discriminatory “strike hard” campaigns, thereby making it impossible for the Tibetan people to tolerate the situation through day and night. It is no wonder, therefore, that peaceful Tibetan protest movements against the Chinese government has continued unabated.
Since the great Tibetan protest movement of the Earth-Mouse Year in 2008 and thereafter the self-immolation protest by monk Tabey in Amdo Ngaba on 27 February 2009, until 27 June, 2012 when Tenzin Choezom la at Ga-Kyegudo staged self-immolation protests, a total of 42 lay and ecclesiastical Tibetans have torched themselves in Tibet. Of them, 31 have died. These courageous men and women living in Tibet have shouted demands that, speaking in general terms, sought to uphold the just cause of the Tibetan people and, in particular, called for His Holiness the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet, the rights and freedoms of the Tibetan people to be respected, the policy to obliterate the Tibetan religion and culture to be halted, and so on. These Tibetan made great personal sacrifices by adopting such non-violent methods as self-immolation on numerous successive occasions. Many have lost their precious lives in doing so. In addition, much more number of Tibetans have been detained for purposes of investigation and their whereabouts remain unknown even as they continue to be subjected to all manners of unbearable torture. For all such Tibetans who still continue to suffer, and with the hope to see all their demands being fulfilled, the Tibetan administration in exile and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile jointly led from 18 October 2011 a four-day official programmes of extensive campaign actions carried out by Tibetans living across the world to make clear our sense of solidarity and feeling of communal oneness with them in hours of both happiness and sorrow. From 29 January 2012 onwards, a delegation of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile travelled to New Delhi and over a period of one week met with prominent Indian leaders as well as diplomats of various missions. The Tibetan MPs spoke to them about the tragedy of the situation in Tibet today. And on the Tibetan Water-Dragon New Year day this year, the members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, including the Standing Committee members,carried out a peaceful campaign action designed to symbolically express solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet by leading a day-long hunger strike by the Tibetan public. Likewise, during the third session of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, an eight-point official resolution expressing solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet was adopted. The resolution urged people across the world to lend their support to the just cause of the Tibetan people and so on. Also adopted was an additional resolution in memory of and by way of expressing solidarity with the patriotic and heroic men and women of Tibet who, in their struggle for freedom, gave up their all, including their very lives, in the cause of the religion, government, people and culture of Tibet.
Besides, at the 6th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, discussions were held on about six agenda items which focused on reviewing and furthering the major decisions for action arrived at during the World Parliamentarians’ Conventions on Tibet since 2009 and during other similar meetings. In addition, not only agreements and decisions were reached on many Tibet related issues, but also the meeting, in which all the delegates took part, was able to come out with an Ottawa Declaration on Tibet. Likewise, through contacts and discussions with and by way of appeals to members of parliaments in various countries of the world, we were able to get resolutions and related parliamentary actions in support of Tibet being adopted. In that way, numerous and various kinds of urgent campaign actions were carried out and we plan to make more such efforts in future.
With regard to the especially important day of today, the Tibetan parliament is going to organize a worldwide campaign in the form of a “Flame of Truth” relay. In India, the relay will set off from three places, namely from Ladakh, Shillong and Kochi. All three relays will eventually conclude in New Delhi. Likewise, “Flame of Truth” relays will also set off in North America, Europe and also other places where offices of representatives of the Tibetan administration in exile have been set up, with the date for it being 2 September this year. Along the courses of the relays of the “Flame of Truth,” public gatherings will be organized at various places and lectures delivered, press conferences held, petitions submitted, signatures collected on a petition on Tibet to be sent to the United Nations Secretary General, and so on. Three separate relays will eventually come to an end on the World Human Rights Day of 10 December 2012 in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City where the United Nations Secretary General has his office, in front of the office of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva, and in front of the United Nations representative’s office in New Delhi. At each of these places, the flames and a compilation of the collected signatures will be submitted and the campaign concluded. In view of this, we appeal to all Tibetans and supporters of the Tibetan cause to provide wholehearted and cooperative support when the relay campaign takes place in their concerned areas. The demands of the “Flame of Truth” relay campaign are:
1) The United Nations must discuss the issue of Tibet based on the resolutions that it had adopted in 1959, 1961 and 1965, and continuously make efforts to fulfill the substantive provisions of these resolutions;
2) An independent international fact-finding delegations must immediately be sent to investigate the ongoing crisis in Tibet; and
3) The United Nations must bear special responsibility to ensure that the basic aspirations of the Tibetans inside Tibet are fulfilled.
For the purpose of resolving the Sino-Tibetan dispute, the Tibetan side has made every possible effort without making any change in our mutually beneficial Middle Way policy. However, the Chinese government’s position and policy on the Tibet issue has only kept on deteriorating from bad to worse. Besides, the Chinese government totally ignored the basic aspirations of the Tibetan people and their just demands. On the contrary, it took to allege that the self-immolation protest movement being carried out by Tibetans in Tibet has been instigated by the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan administration in exile. And using that as a pretext, it has made massive troop deployments throughout Tibet and thereby subjected a thoroughly oppressed Tibetan people to intimidation and violent repression on a war footing. As a result, the situation in Tibet today is so extremely serious that a state of de facto martial law prevails there. Many tens of thousands of Chinese cadres have been deployed in all the villages throughout Tibet to clampdown on the Tibetan people with surveillance and spying operations over them. At the monasteries in Tibet, China has ordered the implementation of a policy called “Nine Must Haves” and “Six Ones”. Under this campaign, the Chinese government has made it compulsory for all the monasteries to display portraits of the top leaders of the atheist communist party leaders. Within the monasteries, communist party offices have been set up and communist cadres exercise direct control over their administration and religious functions and routines. In particular, a campaign called “Model Harmonious Monastery” and a policy of selecting and awarding what is called “Advanced, Patriotic Monks and Nuns” has been started. What all this means in realistic terms is that a system of class division and class persecution which prevailed during the period of the Cultural Revolution has been revived in the whole of Tibet. Besides, in Tibet’s capital Lhasa, Tibetans who are not permanent residents in the city are being expelled while Tibetans who wish to visit there are required to produce six different kinds of identity papers. On the other hand, ethnic Chinese are allowed to freely enter Tibet both by air and land routes without any kind of hindrance to their journeys. Tibetans who complete their higher level education in China are required to land a job there itself while Chinese graduates continue to be poured into Tibet in the name of “Aid Tibet” cadres. To sum up, the Chinese government is implementing in Tibet a policy of racial contempt, racial discrimination, and racial obliteration against the Tibetan people in a manner which is all too obvious and blatant to warrant any doubt. Recently, delegations of so-called Chinese Tibetologists undertook tours to a number of countries, including the United States of America and Canada. In the course of doing so, they spokeabout a so-called four basic points underlying the reasons why thereincarnation of the Dalai Lama would be needed to be appointed by the Chinese government. They also spoke, with obvious negative motivations, about a set of so-called four reasons underlying the self-immolations in Tibet, including an insidious suggestion that they were caused by foreign political and religious instigators. With planned and scheduled courses of actions, they have been carrying out – as they still do – various kinds of distorted propaganda campaigns borne of ill-motivated designs. A concerned official of the United Front Work Department of China publicly made a suggestion that the status of ethnic minorities enshrined in the constitution of the People’s Republic of China should be done away with altogether. His ulterior motive was to thereby eliminate the legal basis on which the system of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities is founded. Because of these reasons, the Tibetan Special Envoy and the Envoy in talks with the Chinese government both felt constrained to resign and the Kashag had to accept the resignations with regret.
Many educated people in China these days are opposed to the policies of their government. The existence of disharmony and power struggle within the Chinese leadership became obvious recently from the Bo Xilai and Wang Lijun episode. Premier Wen Jiabao has, at numerous places, spoken out about the need for reform in China’s political system. Within the general Chinese population too, there is a hope for a democratic transformation of their country and their desire and interest for it keeps on growing. Speaking from the point of view of a China of the future, this is a moment of great opportunity. At this juncture of imminent transformation in their political powers, the call of the moment is for the Chinese government leaders to introspect, review the erroneous policies that they have hitherto pursued on the Tibet issue, and set out on a corrective course to bring them in line with the global trend of today and thereby make changes for the better.
So far His Holiness the Dalai Lama has not been touched by even an iota of any manifest harm to his bodily, oral and mental health.That He has continued to remain in a permanent state of good health, without being marred by any moment of any dip in it, is, no doubt, attributable primarily to the sacred strength of the effect of his prayers for his obligated objects of spiritual guidance, the collective merits of the Tibetan people, and the deeds of Tibet’s sea of oath-bound protector deities. In addition to these, gratitude is owed to the central and state governments of India where Tibetans mainly reside and, likewise, to the facilitative role played by the central and local government of other foreign countries visited by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to the dedication of the officials of the Security Department of the Central Tibetan Administration, and so on. The sunshine of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s great noble deeds of today could hardly be blurred by anyone. Nevertheless, the autocratic government leaders of China continue to try to libel him in all sorts of unimaginable and degrading manners and the possibility of them trying to harm him even physically cannot be ruled out. And so, over and above the security measures and conditions mentioned above, it is of utmost importance that Tibetans at all levels must remain alert and quick to react at all times. With regard to the personal security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama especially, the main thing is to faithfully carry out all his wishes, for the entire people of all the Three Provinces of Tibet to unite and work as one oath-bound entity, and it also depends on the collective merits of the Tibetan people, as unequivocally stated in unison by all the protector deities and lamas. In view of this, the entire Tibetan people should make no mistakes about what they have to put into practice. This is the essence of the matter and we take this opportunity to again remind our people about it and thereby again beseech them emphatically.
India has become like a second home to the Tibetans in exile. Over the past more than 53 years, the government of India, the concerned state governments, and the relevant local administrative bodies have extended unimaginable help, patronage, benefits and friendship to the Tibetan people. To both the governments and the people of India we owe unlimited gratitude and we take this great opportunity to express our thanks.
Finally, we offer prayers that His Holiness the Dalai Lama continue to live for a hundred aeons, that all his wishes be fulfilled spontaneously, that the just cause of the Tibetan people be accomplished with urgency.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
6 July 2012
(Note: Incase of any possible discrepancy in meaning, the original Tibetan text should be treated as authoritative.)