Today, the 7th day of the 5th month in the Water-Tiger Tibetan Royal Year 2149, which falls in the 17th Tibetan Royal Sexantry, and which corresponds to the 6th day of July 2022, is a momentous day of utmost auspiciousness. This day marks the birth in 1935 of His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama; the ultimate refuge without equal of all sentient beings that include the beings in the heavenly realms; the master of the entire corpus of Buddhist teachings extant on this earth; the destined deity of all sentient beings of the Snow land of Tibet in whichever part of the plateau region they may have scattered to flower; the miracle emanation of the lotus-holding, most exalted bodhisattva in the form of a Buddhist monk who is in full perseverance to observe His sacred vows as such; the spiritual lord of the three world realms; a great champion of peace in this world; and the unsurpassable leader and guiding light of the entire people of Tibet. With a prior offering of prostrations to His Holiness on this most auspicious occasion of His birthday, I on behalf of the collective of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile offer Him my congratulatory greetings with heartfelt feelings of devotion, reverence, and gratification.
It was for the sake of all sentient beings in general, but especially on account of the connections of karma and aspiration with the devotees in the Snow land of Tibet that His Holiness turned His focus on this world to make His appearance in it. It was thus that His Holiness was born on the 6th day of July 1935 in the Royal Wood-Hog Year at Taktser as a son to His father Choekyong Tsering and mother Dekyi Tsering in the Domey region of Tibet. And as it was prophesied in divine forecasts of unmistakable clarity, wondrous miracle appearances of irrefutable proofs which were devoid of any room for any doubt as to their authenticity led to the recognition of His appearance on this earth. Since He thus made His visually liberating high appearance with sun-like qualities of radiance at that time, His Holiness has now reached the age of 88 by the traditional Tibetan calendar system, and 87 years of age by the universal calendar system. It is therefore a birthday of exceptional auspiciousness of a hundred-thousand-fold magnitude joyousness that we are marking today. And it is a day on which people across all corners of the world busy themselves by engaging in merit-accumulating activities. Such then is the day on which I on behalf of all Tibetans in Tibet and in exile offer most ardent prayers of supplication as well as express the wish that His Holiness may stay on forever in His unchanging state of the ever-excellent one abiding in the mode of reality and thereby offer refuge and protection to the sentient beings whose numbers defy estimation, extending to them comrade at arms support and being a great source of illumination to them, with the reach of the benefits of His noble deeds encompassing the entire globe.
It was owing to the instructions and prophesies of the deities and lamas born of the power of the kindness of the preceding Dalai Lama that the current reincarnation could be discovered and recognised with unmistakable certainty. Following it, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was escorted from His birthplace of Domey Taktser to Tibet’s capital Lhasa in 1939. On the 14th of January 1940, in the Iron-Dragon Year, the coronation of His Holiness was carried out, which saw Him ushered to the high golden throne that symbolically rested on the support of the fearless snow lion image. The sway of the banner of auspiciousness of that event fluttered in all the ten directions. And His Holiness devoted Himself wholeheartedly to the study of the Buddhist texts and the life stories of its great masters. It was thus that in 1959, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama earned His Geshe Lharampa degree. Meanwhile, from the year 1949 onwards, the armed forces of the communist Chinese government began its campaign of the invasion of Tibet from the east, and the pursuant situation posed an ever worsening, dire political threat to the territorial vessel and the human and natural contents of the Tibetan nationhood. The development compelled the deities and humans alike of the Snow land of Tibet to jointly plead with Him to assume His role as the temporal and spiritual leader of Tibet, which He very graciously acceded to on the 17th of November in 1950 even though He was only 16 years old at that time. And He devoted Himself to the task of making efforts to achieve a state of friendly coexistence between the two countries of Tibet and China. Along with it, His Holiness especially set up a reform commission for the purpose of transforming the political system of the Tibetan nation. Under this programme, a number of reform measures were carried out for the progress and wellbeing of the Tibetan society, including by means of exempting the poorest of the Tibetan subjects from having to repay their old debts. However, while His Holiness busied Himself in this noble endeavour, the occupying Chinese forces side raised objections and created obstacles of every kind to the success of His efforts. And this was not all. In particular, the government of China also ignored and trampled on the provisions of the so-called 17-Point Agreement signed between the two sides even though it was imposed by the China itself on the Tibetan side under duress. Because of these and other worsening developments, His Holiness found Himself to be left with no options but to leave for exile in the holy land of India in the year 1959.
Immediately after His success in reaching Indian soil, His Holiness plunged Himself into the task of regaining the freedom of His homeland. For this purpose, He established a new mode of the functioning of Tibetan government in exile and, along with it, newly set up Tibetan schools, settlements, religious centres and so forth with the immediate noble objective of rehabilitating the Tibetan people living in exile in a programme of great source of gratitude. He also undertook efforts to achieve a settlement of friendly coexistence between Tibet and China by means of a non-violent, mutually beneficial middle way approach. His Holiness especially initiated the development of a Tibetan political system which would be fully democratic in nature. For this purpose, He newly established a Tibetan parliament in exile in the year 1960. This was followed, in 1961, by His launch of the outline of a democratic constitution of Tibet. Later in 1963, His Holiness proclaimed a detailed democratic constitution of a future, free Tibet. Then in the year 1991, He made the Tibetan parliament in exile a functioning law making body. And this was the basis on which the 11th Tibetan parliament in exile passed the Charter of Tibetans in Exile which His Holiness the Dalai Lama duly assented to on the 28th of June in 1991. It was thus that His Holiness the Dalai Lama transformed the Tibetan government in exile at that time and the Central Tibetan administration of today into a fully democratic set up governed by the rule of law. In the year 2001, in keeping with the directive issued by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Kalon Tripa of the Central Tibetan Administration was directly elected by the Tibetan people. This was a major, defining development in the trend towards full democratisation of the exile Tibetan political system. But even more than that, showing an utmost concern for the immediate as well as long-term interests of the Tibetan people and on the basis of His keen awareness of the situation in the three time-realms, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2011 brought an end to the nearly four hundred years old government system of Tibet in a historic move by making an irrevocable transfer to the leaders elected by the Tibetan people the entirety of the political and administrative powers of the great Gaden Phodrang government. As a result, the political and administrative set up of the Tibetans in exile has been functioning in full mode of the excellence of the democratic system since then.
The results of the unexcelled noble deeds in fields both spiritual and temporal of His Holiness the Dalai Lama over the past several decades has been bursting from their depths all across the world. This has made Him a truly meaningful source of worldly benefits and wellbeing to this world. It won Him the hearts and minds of many unbiased peoples across the globe and flowers of accolades continue to be showered on him. In particular, government bodies and non-governmental entities from countries across the world, especially in Europe and the United States of America, honoured Him with great many awards that included the highest-level recognitions such as the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Congressional Gold medal of the United States of America in 2007, and the John Templeton Prize of the United Kingdom in 2012.
Just recently, the 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet, organised by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, was held in the United States capital Washington, DC on June 22 and 23, 2022. The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations of the upper chamber of the United Sates Congress helped to facilitate the holding of the event’s inaugural program in the Dirkesen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. And it was presided over by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the United States Congress. And in her remarks on numerous aspects of the issues on the agenda, Pelosi made clear how the government of the United States of America would continue to extend support on the issue of Tibet. Likewise, the occasion saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama address the inaugural event in an online video address. These remarks and addresses remain outstandingly admirable as well as invaluable in their highlighting of and expressions of support for the issue of Tibet. Apart from those from the United States itself, people who personally travelled to participate in the event included members of the parliament of 28 countries, as well as experts both Tibetans and others, activists from various ethnic groups across the world, and so forth, with the total number of such participants exceeding 100. Besides, there were other members of parliaments who took part in the event by means of online video presence. All the participants in the convention itself were fervent in their display of support for the issue of Tibet. The convention was able to reach consensus on two vital documents: a Washington Declaration and a Washington Action Plan on the issue of Tibet. Also, the convention saw a revival of the International Network of Parliamentarians for Tibet (INPaT). As is clear to all of us, whatever success we achieve in any endeavour, the final outcome always bears the radiance of the blessing of the kindness of and gratitude owed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And so it was with the recent holding of the 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet and its successful conclusion. It was undoubtedly the result of many years of hard work carried out by His Holiness that support for holding the convention was received from the ever trustworthy and well known supporter of Tibet and the Tibetan people such as the United States House of Representatives Speaker Ms. Nancy Pelosi, as well as from many members of the United States Congress. These were the reasons why the historically significant 8th World Parliamentarians’ Convention on Tibet could be held with outstanding success in the United States capital Washington, DC.
In Tibet, the communist Chinese government has been relentless in pursuing the objective of obliterating the traditional religions, culture, language and so forth since these are what define the civilisational identity of the homeland of the Tibetan people.The brutal implications of the implementation of policies designed to carry out this heinous objective has been that the Tibetan people remain deprived not only of any freedom in carrying out their day to day routines, including when it comes to the freedom of movement within their own homeland, but also the most fundamental of their human rights and freedoms. Such is the state of affair in which the Tibetan people still continue to remain subjected to unimaginably brutal degrees of persecution and torture, so that their situation only keeps deteriorating. In particular, the situation in Tibet today is such that Tibetan writers, intellectuals, and others who exercise their rights to preserve their people’s ethnic identity and fundamental human rights in the course of carrying out initiatives for the teaching, use and promotion of the Tibetan religious and cultural knowledge are being persecuted by the Chinese government on trumped-up charges of trying to split the country. The spate of arrests, detentions, and judicial persecutions of such Tibetan intellectuals and activists remain relentless to this day. The extent to which the tyranny of the communist Chinese government remains unbearable to the Tibetan people could be gauged from the fact that since the year 2009 till today, more than hundred and fifty men and women, lay and monastic, young and old Tibetans have been driven to carry out self-immolations in protest against the Communist China’s brutality. I call upon the Chinese leaders that it is high time that they must bring positive changes to their hard line policies on Tibet, by carefully studying and understanding the civilised practices by the peace and justice loving countries and the prevailing ethos of the 21st century that we live in today.
Today, people across the world, especially fraternal Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet and peace loving peoples of the other parts of the globe are observing the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with a feeling of joy, faith, and gratification as a means to remember with gratitude and a feeling of indebtedness. His Holiness’s proclaimed four commitments of universal concern rooted in compassion and His globally signification everyday deeds. It is only to be expected that to reinforce our vows to engage in practices designed to mould ourselves into a Tibetan people immersed in the values of ethical integrity and compassion would be our core purpose of observing the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I accordingly make an emphatic appeal to allTibetans to keep this in mind at all times in their daily routines and conducts.
Speaking about the culture of Tibet and Tibetan people, we owe immense debts of gratitude to both the people and government of India. Likewise, to all the governments and the government leaders and the peoples of the world, particularly the United States of America and the European Countries, and other organisations and individuals across the globe who have been extending support on the issue of Tibet, I take the opportunity provided by this very auspicious occasion to covey our great feeling of gratitude and indebtedness on behalf of the entire Tibetan people.
In conclusion, I express heartfelt prayers of wishes that His Holiness the Dalai Lama may continue to live on this earth with us for a hundred eons, that all His wishes may be seen fulfilled with spontaneity, and that the just cause of Tibet may be seen fulfilled so that the sunshine of the joyous occasion of the reunion of the Tibetan people in Tibet and those living in exile may be realised with all speediness and certainty.
By the Tibetan Parliament in Exile
6 July 2022
* In case of any discrepancy between this English translation and its Tibetan original, the latter should be considered as authoritative and final for all purposes.