March 3, 2009
   Posted in Press Releases
Published By Tashi
Message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Tibetan People on the Occasion ofthe Earth-Ox Tibetan New Year

On the occasion
of the Earth-Ox New Year of the 17th Rabjung cycle in the Tibetan Royal
Year 2136, I would like to greet all Tibetans, both inside and outside
of Tibet. I pray that there be peace and prosperity, and that our just
cause may see gradual resolution.Although there is no old or
new phase in the continuous cycle of planetary movements, which results
in the days, nights, months and years, there is a tradition throughout
the world to observe the beginning of a new year upon the completion of
the previous one. Likewise, in the snow land of Tibet, we have the
tradition to observe the New Year in the first lunar month with
elaborate celebrations incorporating both spiritual and temporal
elements. However, last year in Tibet we witnessed hundreds of Tibetans
losing their lives, and several thousands facing detention and torture,
in response to the widespread display by Tibetans all over Tibet of
their discontentment with the Chinese authorities’ policies.Therefore,
since they faced immense difficulties and sufferings, the occasion of
this New Year is certainly not a period when we can have the usual
celebrations and gaiety. I admire the determined move by Tibetans,
inside and outside of Tibet, not to indulge in celebratory activities
during this New Year. Instead, everyone should utilize this period in
abandoning non-virtuous acts and engaging in positive actions, thereby
cultivating virtuous merits so that all those who sacrificed their
lives for the cause of Tibet, including those who lost their lives in
the tragic events of the past year, may have quick realization of
Buddhahood through successive rebirth in higher realms. The dedication
should also go to those currently undergoing suffering so that they may
immediately be able to enjoy the happiness of freedom. Through such an
accumulation of collective merits we should all strive for an early
solution to the just cause of Tibet.Just as we had suspected,
the strike-hard campaign has been re-launched in Tibet and there is a
heavy presence of armed security and military forces in most of the
cities all over Tibet. In all the places those who dare to come out
even with a slight hint of their aspirations have to face torture and
detention. In particular, special restrictions have been imposed in the
monasteries, patriotic re-education has been launched, and restrictions
have been imposed on the visit of foreign tourists. Provocative orders
have been passed for special celebrations of the Tibetan New Year.
Looking at all these developments it becomes clear that the intention
and aim behind them are to subject the Tibetan people to such a level
of cruelty and harassment that they will not be able to tolerate and
thus be forced to remonstrate. When this happens the authorities can
then indulge in unprecedented and unimaginable forceful clampdown.
Therefore, I would like to make a strong appeal to the Tibetan people
to exercise patience and not to give in to these provocations so that
the precious lives of many Tibetans are not wasted, and they do not
have to undergo torture and suffering.It goes without saying
how much admiration I have for the enthusiasm, determination, and
sacrifice of the Tibetans in Tibet. However, it is difficult to achieve
a meaningful outcome by sacrificing lives. Above all, the path of
non-violence is our irrevocable commitment and it is important that
there be no departure at all from this path.Once again, I pray
that the Tibetan people are freed from oppression and torture, and
enjoy the happiness of freedom. May all sentient beings enjoy happiness
at all times.

The Dalai Lama

February 25, 2009(corresponding to first day of the first month in the Earth Ox Tibetan Year) (Translated from the Tibetan original)

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