Today, to the chairman, the members of the parliament, the ministers of the administration who have just taken their oaths and the secretaries of departments who have assembled here, I wish to convey my auspicious wishes with the words “Tashi Delek” to all of you: to the deputies of the 12th Assembly of the Tibetan People’s Deputies and also to the old and new ministers of the administration who have assembled here.
From one point of view, our situation is that of the people separated from our own country who have wandered to a foreign country under the name of refugees. Especially, the conditions in our own country are very difficult. There is the danger of total destruction of one of the oldest historical civilisations on earth, its uniquely profound religion and culture which is not only of benefit to us Tibetans, but has the potential of benefiting the neighbouring countries also. Generally speaking, ours is a race and culture which has the potential to benefit the whole of humankind. As the Chinese government was recently engaged in many ruthless actions inside Tibet, it seems somewhat inappropriate that we should exchange here auspicious greetings with the words “Tashi Delek”.
However, from another viewpoint, even under these difficult circumstances, the courage of the Tibetans has not diminished. It is not a question of power but of truth. We believe that the truth will finally be victorious. Moreover, we are continuing in our efforts and presently have come to a stage when our courage and ability to carry on the struggle is increasing from year to year. Our activities have to bedeveloped further. Along with that, there are also many internal and external conditions which have presently arisen.
As for the external conditions, on this earth there are many who are interested in the Tibetan problem. The Tibetan cause is based on truth, and Tibet was a sovereign power which was overcome by an invasion. The fact that the Tibetans are really struggling for freedom relying on the path of non-violence is considered as an exemplary model in this world. Therefore, the number of those who are taking interest in our plight and support us is growing.
As for the internal conditions of Tibetans, there are many youths who have matured enough and there are others who have acquired a modern education to some extent. Since there have been more occasions for observing the conditions here and abroad, more experience has been gained. It is certain that the potential of the Tibetans to accomplishthings has improved. Therefore, from the point of both external and internal conditions there exists much hope for us. In order to manifest our determination and courage, we have established a Parliament-in-exile and an exile administration here in a free country. Moreover, since they are becoming more effective from year to year, there is in fact justification in conveying auspicious greetings with the words “Tashi Delek”.
Therefore, to some extent we are in a position of estimating the seriousness of the occasion. As I have repeatedly pointed out prior to1959 and 1960, the Tibetan cause was not something on which one could place one’s hopes. Even many friends said that was the end of Tibet. These days significant changes are taking place. The situation has improved to such an extent that it can be said that there is every hope due to these changes. Therefore, I request you all to be absolutely careful about what was said the other day when the two chairmen took their oaths. Many of the new members of the parliament are young. Also there are many women. While we are sincerely struggling for our cause, our conduct being based on love and compassion, it is gratifying to note that one after another new generations are continually replacing the old ones. This gives me hope and satisfaction.
From the positive viewpoint, as I have been saying, we are nearing the solution of our cause. There is still no change in my hope that in about two-three years there will certainly be a change. As for the seriousness of the situation in Tibet, I see it like it says in a proverb: “The flame of the butter lamp about to extinguish is the brightest.” The situation there is going from bad to worse. I have no doubt in the soundness of realising our hopes.
Secondly, on the negative side, even though our struggling is taking a long time, it is not for the sake of the Dalai Lama. It is not also a question of the old government connected with the Dalai Lama. It is for the general cause of Tibet as a whole. If it were for the benefit of one generation, or a small group of individuals, there would certainly be the danger that its supporters and those taking interest in it would vanish and a change would take place. However, even if one generation is passing away, it is necessary that our struggle should be continued by the new generation.
The photographs of the successive Kalons (ministers) over the past 37 years are displayed near the gate of the Kashag (Cabinet Ministry), and the photographs of the parliament members are being exhibited at the entrance of this building. By looking at them, it can be seen that one generation is giving way to another. However, the activities related to our struggle are growing more and more powerful, instead of becoming weaker. That is really great.
The first thing, while bringing up our youth during the past 30 years, we took particular care and interest in their education. We tried our best and made efforts in this direction in spite of the difficulties faced in the almost overwhelming task. As a result our accomplishments are becoming visible. Therefore, the representatives of the new generation have taken up the challenge and are clearly showing signs of making tremendous efforts towards the success of our true cause. I like that very much. I thank you for this. Today there is nothing more to say on this point.
On the basis of experience gained up to now, it is essential to further develop our basic democratic system, even though we have become temporary exiles and are staying in another country. Even if theTibetans in Tibet and in exile were able to reunite in the future, our actual main objective will be to proceed in accordance with a free democratic system. This is also in accordance with the Buddhist teachings. It is difficult that the whole world would agree with something or that there would not arise any discussions relating to acertain matter. Anyway, the democratic system seems the best. What is important is, when we speak about the benefit to a country, it means the benefit to its people. In fact it will prove really beneficial only when those serving the common cause act in the interest of the people and are interested in them. We are definitely persistingin proceeding along the democratic path. Therefore, we have the parliament and the administration with its separate departments.
As for the general cause of Tibet and especially, the fact that we have become refugees and the situation has become serious, basically the fundamental cause of Tibet and the goal to be achieved are the same even if there are differences regarding various responsibilities of the parliament and the various departments of the administration. I consider it important that we all become united in our efforts and sincerely work together for achieving our basic cause. We all have basically a common cause in our minds even while being assigned to different departments. When comparing the general and specific, it is sometimes possible that the specific would appear as more important. Therefore, in short, when we say: “Our work did not succeed due to the administration,” it is placing the general in focus, and by doing so precious time will be lost. But time won’t wait. It will be a great loss, if we waste our time in such activities. Therefore, it is very important that we co-operate with each other in our efforts.
Everybody has been assigned specified responsibilities for examining various matters, especially to remove them if there are any faults: On the one hand our Tibetan character is such that we consider it important to avoid unpleasant and harsh words. Although that custom is good, yet when we are discussing some matter thoroughly from all angles, if we show a superficial and pretentious attitude, while feeling uncomfortable because we have not spoken out clearly, that is no good either. It does not do any good not to express our viewpoint in order to maintain good behaviour. Therefore, for the sake of the common cause, we should not hesitate to remove any wrongs. In essence, one would be motivated by the thought of common good and the intention should be to benefit the cause. Even if it becomes necessary to criticise in order to correct faults, the criticism should be carried out with sincere intentions and there should be no ill-feelings or intentions to harm the cause. If one hesitates to do so and keeps dilly-dallying, time will be wasted. Normally we have been able to clarify most of the matters between ourselves. It is important that we continue to do so.
The improvement of good qualities and removing the wrongs is for the general benefit and not for cleaning up of various departments or for blaming others. If that happens, it would be very unfortunate. It is important that everybody while co-operating with each other, should consider those matters which are of real significance.
Some of the members of the parliament are permanently staying here, but most of you are residing in your own areas and share the responsibilities and concern here while the parliament is in session. Not only that, when you are staying in your respective areas you should continue to work day and night with that concern which you had when the parliament was in session. You will then be able to relate honestly, either during the parliament assemblies, or to the related officers or to the Kashag whatever opinions the people of your area have, like for instance those cases in which it appears that officers have accepted bribes or where it seems that some officials have not properly discharged their responsibilities.
You have to discuss directly and honestly, without any bias, with the concerned persons, the mistakes they may have committed in the past. As for carrying out further improvements you, as a representative of a certain area, not leaving that task to the welfare officers of the settlements, should openly express your views on practical matters and faults and whatever suggestions you have either during the parliament session or discussed them directly with the concerned officials. In brief, if you are engaged in your work in a responsible manner, be it during the parliament session or while staying in various localities, it is essential that you should be able to provide explanations that “the situation is like this or it is not like that” when the basic ideas and actions of the Tibetan administration are not understood by the public, or when some person cause unrest and spread baseless exaggerated rumours in the society. I am referring mainly to the members of the parliament but these observations are equally applicable to the Kashag and the administration.
These days there are a large number of people in the world who are taking interest in us and showing sympathetic concern. Particularly in Europe, the public opinion for the Tibetan problem is gaining force. We Tibetans also have strong ties with them. A large number of people are taking interest in and supporting the Tibetan cause in Europe, and alsoin America. Estimating them as our potential, it is very good. When those people taking interest in and wishing to understand the Tibetan situation ask, “What kind of help do you need,” it hardly seems necessary to say that “We need this” or “Please consider this.” I think that we are not able to make proper use of the occasion. Probably the information about the actual position provided to them is not sufficient. Therefore, when such an occasion arises when they take so much interest and ask “We wish to help you. What do you need?,” in my opinion we should be able to provide them with more constructive answers and not simply thank them. Sometimes, it is difficult but it is necessary to pay special attention to this aspect in spite of difficulties. I think our creative capacity needs to be improved.
As we are gaining experience from year to year the democratic way of functioning of our parliament is improving. Still, our basic conduct and view remain the same. We have a potential and the confidence tobenefit the world. It is possible I myself may be apprising my own opinion on the higher side, and it is likely that we may be overvaluing our own religion and culture. Anyway, many impartial people can see the viewpoint and good conduct of Buddhism as something which can certainly benefit mankind and the environment. The policies of the officials of the administration in their respective areas, and the parliament, do possess this basic view and good conduct. Our way of thinking is influenced by the heritage we have inherited from our ancestors and which has been handed down to us over generations. It has its own uniqueness which has not been borrowed from outside.
To sum up, as far as the parliament and the administration are concerned, when there are occasional difficulties it is not proper to think that it will be sufficient only to overcome them. Together with that, we should think creatively on a wider perspective and in accordance with that prepare plans for implementing our ideas. I think it will be good if this could be accomplished. This is what I wished to say today. There remains nothing else to say.
As it was discussed previously, our cause is well-founded and true in essence. Recognising its nature, we are carrying on our struggle on the strength of the power of truth. Therefore, it is important that we carry on our struggle on the basis of truth alone. Each individual must have complete faith in the truthfulness of the cause. My best wishes toeverybody.
Note: His Holiness the Dalai Lama delivered the above speech extempore in Tibetan. This English translation is not issued by the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and any comparison, therefore, should not be made with the one in Tibetan. This is only for information of the visitors who can’t read Tibetan. In case of doubts, consider the original speech in Tibetan.