Nurturing the Embers of Rangzen

 

Last Sunday I was in New York City for the TYC Independence Torch Rally. I am not going to go into details about it as Phayul has already come out with a full report on the event. But it would be absolutely remiss of me if I did not mention the impressive efficiency and creativity with which the program was organized and also the dedication and enthusiasm of the Tibetan citizens of New York and New Jersey who had had turned out for the event in inspiringly large numbers. What made me shake my head with wonder was that these people had been maintaining a continuous protest, every single day since March 10th before the Chinese consulate or the office of the PRC’s UN representative.

I was asked to address the rally at Bryant Park where the New York leg of the independence torch run was concluded. I started my talk with an observation that had crossed my mind earlier, of how since antiquity diverse cultures had used the imagery of the burning flame to represent freedom, and sometimes sacredness. Therefore it was, in a sense, fitting that the Youth Congress should have chosen this symbol to represent and promote our common goal of Tibetan independence.

Tibetans have, in the past, made a similar figurative reference when speaking of another period of Tibetan history that was in some ways as tragic (and heroic) as our own. In the 9th century, just before the breakup of the Tibetan Empire, the Buddhist church was forcefully suppressed by the last Emperor Langdarma, and Buddhism went into a near terminal decline in the following decades. In these bleak years a handful of dedicated scholars and teachers, Rinchen Sangpo, Lekpe Sherap, Drom Tonpa, and the great Indian pandit, Atisa, labored tirelessly to bring about the second or “later transmission” (tempa chidhar) of Buddhism to Tibet.* The royal patron of these scholars, the king of Ngari, Lha Lama Yeshe Od, even gave up his own life to aid in this historic revival of Buddhist learning and culture in Tibet. Yeshe Od had been captured by a neighbouring Muslim king who wanted gold for ransom. Yeshe Od instructed his son to use the gold to bring the dharma to Tibet. He then appears to have gone on a hunger-strike to death. Perhaps the first ever recorded in human history.

Tibetan historians use the expression “nurturing the embers of the dharma” (tempae mero solwa) to describe the lonely but heroic struggle of these few dedicated people to keeping the Buddhist faith alive in Tibet.

In an interview with the Dharamshala newspaper, Tibetan Messenger (bhod kyi bhangchen) last year, I spoke about my self-appointed mission of trying to keep the Rangzen ideal alive in the exile Tibetan community, and of discussing it and defending it, wherever I could, in various forums around the world. In a moment of romantic fancy I somewhat immodestly described my work as “nurturing the embers of Rangzen” (rangzen kyi mero solwa).

The momentous events of March this year demonstrated that I could not have been more mistaken in seeing my task in such a self-absorbed way. People inside Tibet had, in unimaginably lonely and secretive ways, faithfully nurtured the embers of Rangzen for all these many years. In spite of decades of propaganda, political re-education, surveillance by informers, spies, and agents, and (once in a while) brutal interrogation by trained and experienced torturers, they had managed to hide and protect this faith in the deepest recesses of their hearts.

These embers have in a real sense now burst into flame. There can be no doubt about that. The aspirations of the Tibetan people for Rangzen, demonstrated since March 10th this year, were made known openly and courageously in the full knowledge that everyone involved would be subject to the most cruel punishment by the Chinese occupation authorities. All the slogans that were raised by protesters in Lhasa, in Amdo and Kham, everywhere, was for Rangzen, for Tibetan independence, and additionally for the long life and return of the Dalai Lama – the living symbol of Tibetan freedom.

All over Tibet protesters could be seen waving the forbidden national flag of Tibet in the face of the People’s Armed Police and agents of the the Public Security Bureau (gonganju) the State Security Department (guojia anquanbu). A crime for which you could be shot on sight, or executed if arrested. People were not just carrying and waving a flag or two but flags by the dozen, perhaps even a hundred or so in the case of one monastery in Amdo. Now we learn that these flags might have been mass-produced in a factory in Guangdong. The overwhelming presence of these flags inside Tibet and in all the demonstrations and protests world-over, have undoubtedly made the Tibetan national flag one of the best recognized national flags in the world, especially to the citizens of China. And it’s so strikingly unique and unmistakable. Too many national flags look alike. In recent anti-French demonstration in Hebei, Chinese protesters were seen burning Dutch flags by mistake.

Everywhere in the world, journalists, politicians, academics and others were obliged to acknowledge, to some degree or the other, that Tibetan protesters were demanding an independent homeland, and (even if one chose to see that as an unattainable fantasy) that the issue of Tibetan independence was real and that people were dying for it.

Why is it then that certain self-styled experts on Tibet have been spinning the Rangzen Revolution of March 2008 as being about the economy, globalization, immigration, culture, religion, everything except independence? Expect a discussion on this in my next posting.
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* The first period of Buddhism coming to Tibet from the 7th century onward is refered to as the “earlier” transmission (tempa ngadar).

Comments

  1. kalsang | April 30th, 2008 | 10:35 pm

    Thanks Jamyangla for keeping the embers of RANGZEN alive. It is always inspirational and educational to read your writings. I may not always agree with all your views, but know that you are a true patriot for our cause.
    By the way, this whole Patriotic re-education (?brainwashing) thing being imposed on our brothers and sisters in Tibet, is’nt it a form of torture and thus illegal by International Law. Is there a way for us to bring this to the attention of the International Court, and can the Butchers in Beijing be held accountable for their actions.
    I have an idea for you ( I don’t know if you may already be working on it); I propose recording the lives of our older generation, the generation that lived and grew up when Tibet was free, in their own words; We are rapidly losing this generation. I have had a chance to hear the stories of a couple of them and their story is very interesting- the carefree lives they led; their first encounters with the Chinese (they were very polite and came bearing gifts, is a common refrain); How the cataclysmic events of ’59 effected them, the volunteer militias they formed to fight the invaders and their arduous journey over the himalayas and the hardships in India thereafter. We should be able to compile enough material to form a “Peoples’ History of Tibet”. I think you are eminently qualified to head this project. I can start videotaping the elders in our area. When do you want me to start?

  2. Rich | April 30th, 2008 | 11:10 pm

    Jamyang, to follow on with your final words of this article, there’s an extremely bad example in this news reports:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=KfpO97XvaHg

    @15sec: “Ngatso tsantho rangzen go!” -one of the monks

    @28sec: “They screamed ‘we have no human rights’ while insisting they didn’t want Tibetan independence.” -ignorant reporter

    Someone should look into who’s doing the Tibetan-to-English translation for these journalists…

  3. Dava | May 1st, 2008 | 3:37 am

    Have a look at this:
    http://tibeto-logic.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-do-tibetans-want.html
    for comments on Tibetan protest banners. It says there that the letters are hard to make out in the banners of the Labrang protest, which is true. But looking at the video Rich recommends it appears that one says drowa mii tobtang go, “We need human rights.” The monks at Rongwu are explicit about demanding rangwang, which means “independence” every bit as much as rangtsan does. But they also want the return of the Dalai Lama. In fact they put the return of the Dalai Lama on the first line of their banner.
    (Usually people think that criticizing the press coverage of Tibet is something for CCP supporters. But I think Tibet-supporters should also start their own anti-CNN page. What do you think? Maybe we can start a huge lawsuit, too!)

  4. Ngawang | May 1st, 2008 | 9:08 am

    Jamyang la, Tashi Delek,

    I always read you article. They are always a source of something to learn and knowledge to keep our struggle alive and move forward Thank you. Your writings are based on your research, and own work for Rangzen. I know many criticizes you but you need to educate them more and more, because I think this is also a struggle to win the real struggle ‘Free Tibet’ for people like us.

    Jamyang la, I also feel to let you know that you should stay aloof from Lhasang Tsering, though you, him and I, all long for Rangzen. Lhasang, with is stupid and illogic temper has made the ‘Rangzen’ a Joke all the time. He starts to fight with the questioners instead of answering them in an intellectual way. He keeps on telling about ‘killing’ and ‘bombing’ instead of educating the people on how to keep the ‘Rangzen’ flame alive, like you do. I used to admire Lhasang la a lot, but now I don’t. So please, this is not just my wish, but the wishes of many like minded, since we also discuss among ourselves about ‘Rangzen’ all the time.

    Thank you,

  5. dorji | May 1st, 2008 | 11:21 am

    Hello jamyang la,
    I read your articles all the time. I find those very interesting and well written. I always think of how to get more support for tibet. I usually discuss about tibet and its situation inside with my co-workers and friends making them them at least aware of it. I leave the decision up to them. I truly believe that even by just making people aware of tibet and its situation would be very best thing to do. It is important to broaden the network of tibet supporters.
    It was good to see you at twin peaks at san francisco. My bus was leaving that time so i didn’t have an opportunity to talk with you.

    Free Tibet

  6. Tashi Dhondup | May 1st, 2008 | 1:29 pm

    Please check the link below. It is horrifying to know our Tibetan community in exile is like this.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=kfxE6ZgrD6M

    I heard that a couple of years ago, a group of Tibetan beat up a Tibetan family in MN because they didn’t want to take the oath. But i didnt believe that but now, i am starting to believe it and I am going to find out more about it.

    While we are asking for religious freedom from China, we Tibetan are discriminating our own people.What a hypocrisy. I sometimes really think that Tibet is better under China than under Dalai Lama.

    I think i would stay out of so-called Tibetan community. I am dying now Dalai Lama.

  7. Rich | May 1st, 2008 | 8:35 pm

    Dava, look at and listen to this better version of the Labrang video with no annoying commentary from journalists:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=qEWFy7u8Skc

    Just don’t take all the subtitles at face value; listen for yourself and see if you think the monks’ words were transcribed correctly.

    I would also recommend searching youtube for “labrang monks journalists” – there are many more clips from various news sources, and in some of them you can get more views of the banners. There’s also one large, thick Tibetan flag which has words written on the back of it, which the monks give to one of the journalists, probably hoping (s)he will be able to keep it and take the message along. I have no idea what happened to it though but you can make out some of the words in one video.

    I agree too with your comments about criticizing the media. China really usurped this right which should belong to Tibetans; CNN has badly misrepresented Tibetans and even directly copied headlines from CCTV from the very beginning. The few super-idiotic things they did that were “pro-Tibet” like showing police brutality in Nepal and claiming it was in Tibet only served to help China. BBC has been more of a mixed bag, but overall the Western media has been very bad. It’s ‘sympathetic’ to Tibet, but at the same time it’s been patronizing, misrepresentative, and dismissive of all the events that actually matter.

    So yeah, who’s up for making the Tibetan version of anti-CNN?

  8. Tashi Dhondup | May 2nd, 2008 | 6:31 am

    Jamyangla, you didn’t upload my previous comment. I thought you were different. Anyway,I am not a Shugden followers but as a Tibetan, we should definitely solve this problem as soon as possible. otherwise, the issue will get bigger and will hunt us back soon.

  9. Tsutim Senge Y | May 2nd, 2008 | 10:15 am

    Nawang la,

    Its really strange that, sometime we make unintentional mistake knowingly as you did in previous comment.
    You must be knowing who Jamyang Norbu is,he known for author of Sherlocl holmes in the international writing sphere and in Tibetan community Jamnor is man who has depth knowledge about Tibetan issue and he is renowned Tibetan writer.
    For such famous figure, its sheer stupidity to suggest whom to be friend with.

    Gen lhasang tsering and Jamnor are scholar friend since late 70’s and Jamnor can see beyond his ill temper much to respect.,which you terribly fail to vision it.

    So give some more meaningful comment next time Chao!

  10. Pema Thinley | May 2nd, 2008 | 11:04 am

    Hi Ngawang lak,

    I went through your article and gave a good thought about it before penning down this one. Now the situation is such that we all Tibetans should work together to achieve something meaningful. There are people who find TGIE foolish and there are others who undermines person like Lhasang Tsering, not knowing their own selfish motives and irresponsibility.

    And to my very surprise, there are people who go against the words of Dalai Lama, sitting comfortably in their homes and doing nothing more than talking and writing. I find such person dangerous in their motives. They can use their knowledge in a wrong way and in the procees others get influenced by it. It will ultimately degenerate the minds of the younger generation and Tibet will be lost forever. Be aware of such person in our community.

    To me, Dalai Lama is the only person who can lead Tibet through a safe passage and we all should respect, support and work under him. No need to waste our time following others who are not good enough.

  11. Rich | May 2nd, 2008 | 2:38 pm

    People who tell others to shut up and accept oppression are much more “dangerous” than Jamyang or Lhasang will ever be, Pema. HHDL has been an adamant supporter of democracy and of people’s right to express their deep resentment at Chinese rule and their own aspirations:

    “Nobody has the right to tell them to shut up!”

    However, there are many selfish people like yourself and the Orwellianly-named “Solidarity Committee” who hide behind a false image of piety and devotion to HHDL to intimidate and suppress others’ free speech. This has to stop. Thankfully now that the people in Tibet whose voices actually matter have risen up and spoken, the likes of you are quickly becoming irrelevant.

    HHDL also reiterated right after M14 that while is is completely committed to his “Middle Way” approach, the future status of Tibet is ultimately in the hands of the people of Tibet, and that if they choose a different path he cannot stop it. He will however always urge nonviolence in whatever approach is taken.

    So to Pema and like-thinking folks I say this: Step out of the way, stop imposing your own selfish aims for Tibet’s future (aims which will not solve anything for the 6 million people who actually matter), and do what you can to maximize both the effectiveness and the safety of the people rising up in Tibet!

    Long live HHDL! Bod gyal lo!!

  12. Tashi Dhondup | May 2nd, 2008 | 6:55 pm

    They were just begging for understanding of their situation but the Tibet office speak person totally ignoring their request. He was acting like they were lying. When our TGIE also become like Chinese communist government?

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=0sdKnhNK16o

  13. Tashi Dhondup | May 2nd, 2008 | 7:00 pm

    I totally agree with RICH. Tibet actually belongs to Tibetan in Tibet not even the Dalai Lama. We Tibetan in exile are here to support them not to take over their rights.
    Our force should focus on how to get rid of Chinese for the sake of Tibetan in Tibet.

  14. Golok Ambum | May 2nd, 2008 | 7:25 pm

    Tashi Dhondup’la,

    Jamyangla, you didn’t upload my previous comment. I thought you were different.

    Actually it’s me who is responsible for not having ‘uploaded’ your comment at once. Jamyang being busy on thousands of other things, I proposed him, as his webmaster, to also take care of comments approval. This process of allowing comments is not a kind of censorship but only a protection against spam.

    The reason I delayed the authorization is because I wanted to make sure that mixing up Shugden issue was OK with Jamyang, since I feel this could lead to unnecessary attacks (there are many ‘patriots’ looking for any ‘good’ excuses to assault him). I must admit that I forgot to call him then, but obviously Jamyang himself allowed your comment later on. Sincere apologises for that. I’ll try to be more efficient in the future.

  15. Pema Thinley | May 3rd, 2008 | 12:51 am

    Hello Rich,

    I think you have not grab my points fully. Looks like you are one of those aggressive fellow who wants to free Tibet through violent means. In the long run, violence has no place in the freedom struggle of the Tibetan people and it will make the matter more worse. Afterall, we are a buddhist nation and we have to live up to our ideals and ideology.

    And for your information, I am not telling others to shut up or unwind whatever they are doing. But I have the full right to go against those anti social elements who are trying to divide the tibetan people and deviate from the path of non-violence proposed by HHDL. I am not foolish like you to stumble upon each and every path and landing nowhere.

    And remember, Tibetans inside Tibet are with HHDL and we can’t simply leave the things to them. Afterall, we are going back to Tibet as Tibetans.

  16. Rich | May 3rd, 2008 | 2:01 am

    Pema, nice try at character assassination. Accusing pro-independence people of “urging violence”, “dividing Tibetans”, and so on are all tired arguments with no basis in fact. In fact it’s the irrational anti-independence crowd who’s time and time again made death threats against people like Jamyang Norbu.

    With that aside, violence has been part of the Tibetan freedom struggle since day one, and it probably always will be. If you don’t believe this you should go read some history. From Ani Thinley Choedon to the Chushi Gangdruk and Mustang to the decades-long resistence by nomads in Ngaba and Golok, there has always been anti-Chinese violence in occupied Tibet. Does this translate into an argument that violence should be used, that Tibet’s struggle should abandon nonviolence as a tactic or principle, or that Tibetans should wage war? No. These choices are not for either you or me to decide.

    So, are you going back to Tibet? Unless you want to join the return march and cross the border, or obtain Chinese residency or citizenship, or find some other way to go back and work from inside, your claim to moral superiority is just empty and arrogant. People are dying for what they believe in and they have the right to pursue it in any way they see fit. And we have a moral duty to support them in whatever they do rather than passing judgement from the luxury of our computer screens. Nonetheless, I believe the majority of Tibetans will continue to struggle nonviolently, even if doing so comes at great cost to themselves.

  17. Pema Thinley | May 3rd, 2008 | 3:18 am

    Hi Rich la,

    I do agree with you on certain points but remember you are the first one who started it all and I don’t have any regret in my expression of opinion. Of course, there is bound to be some sort of violence every now and then in our struggle for freedom but that doesn’t prove we are diverting from the path of non-violence. As a Tibetan, we should take some responsibility and follow the path of non-violence rather than let it be attitude shown by you. We have choices to make and certainly we have to do so in the larger interest of the Tibetans inside Tibet. We have to shown them the way.

    And regarding your second thoughts, definately I am joining the peach march later on as the Tibetan struggle is not for a day or a year. It will go on and so do I march on to Tibet. My parents are in Tibet and I have to go there.

  18. Pema Thinley | May 3rd, 2008 | 3:47 am

    Hi Rich la,

    I have missed some points before and would like to share with you. As far as I am concerned, I don’t have any ill-feeling against Jamyang Norbu lak or Lhasang Tsering lak. Sometimes, I don’t agree with what others has to say but that is natural. If you really think, there are people who are making death threat against Jamyang Lak, then you have sort out the problem rather than lamenting that such thing exist. Somewhere down the line, somebody has to bear the blame rather than continously harden their stance.

  19. sherap | May 3rd, 2008 | 8:37 am

    First of all, I don’t think Tibetan understand Non-violence at all. Dalai Lama’s version of non-violence is not the same as Gandhi’s or Dr.King’s or.. . Dalai lama’s non-violence is that you don’t stand against violence without violence. But You just beg for help. I guess you can call it Buddhist begging way with a big bowl on one hand.

  20. samten | May 3rd, 2008 | 11:57 am

    Hi sherap lak,

    Your comment doesn’t make so much of sense. Please be logical next time around and do remember to think twice before you jot down something in this blog.

  21. tsering | May 3rd, 2008 | 1:27 pm

    TO Pema Thinlayla
    We are BUddhist nation????? I don’t think so. That was in the past. Not anymore. People can believe in any religion. Religion should not be mixed up with our nation. That is dangerous.

  22. Sherap | May 3rd, 2008 | 1:57 pm

    Samtenlak

    Please stop it. If you don’t understand what I was talking, please do not respond to it. I have a word for you. “IGNORANCE FOSTERS SUPERSTITION”

  23. Rich | May 3rd, 2008 | 2:19 pm

    Pema, thanks for addressing my comments and for responding in a much more civil and respectful way than I did last time. I came away respecting you a lot more for it.

    The one thing I still strongly disagree with is the claim that “We have to shown them the way.” It’s the other way around – they have to show us the way. They are the ones who intimately know the feeling of being under threat every day of their lives. They are the ones who must deal with the Chinese from a position of subjugation on a daily basis and who fully experience the power relationships that entails and the Chinese response to their every action. They are the ones who are well-educated; we are the ones who are ignorant. We can know the stories and fear for our friends or families there, but we cannot experience what they do. They are the ones qualified to determine both the future status of Tibet, and the path to take to get there. We are not. And so I say, they must show us the way. And we must listen.

  24. Hugh | May 3rd, 2008 | 2:28 pm

    People shouldn’t forget that even in a “non-violent” resistance, there is judicious use of violence. You try to be non-violent, but this doesn’t mean lay down and open your veins to every smirking thug who demands your life.

    The people who hold the idea that non-violent struggle means simply holding hands and letting the police arrest you have no concept of what it means to be tortured.

    And it is not immoral to defend yourself with violent means when someone is going to most certainly kill you. The aggressor brings the violence upon themselves.

    It is time people get their heads out of the clouds and stop falling prey to the lies of moral equivalency between victims and attackers.

    Tame the aggressor with love if you can, but if you can’t, you should in clear conscious be willing to tame them with physical force and physical resistance…making their every move to crush you a costly endeavor in terms of their lives and resources.

    People here who trumpet the non-violent line need to go back and study the history of non-violent liberation struggles. They should also study the the very violent liberation struggles.

    Does violence work in every situation? No. Does non-violence work in every situation? No.

    I am tired of the implication that those who rise up violently against their oppressors are just as bad as the oppressor. To even conceive of this idea displays moral decrepitude.

  25. Rich | May 3rd, 2008 | 2:52 pm

    Hugh, Thubten Gyatso (the 13th Dalai Lama) said what you’ve said in a very nice and concise form:

    “Use peaceful means where they are appropriate, but where they are not appropriate, do not hesitate to resort to more forceful means.”

    (sorry, the original in Tibetan seems difficult to find; perhaps Jamyang has it handy)

  26. Rich | May 3rd, 2008 | 3:02 pm

    Samten, Sherap may not have expressed things entirely clearly, but his point is true, that nonviolence means different things to different people. For example in his letter from Burmingham jail, King wrote:

    “Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”

    This belief in creating a crisis stands diametrically opposed to the “Solidarity Committee’s” mission to “stop the crisis”. To me it seems doubtful that HHDL’s beliefs on the nature of nonviolence match up entirely with either of the aforementioned views, but as always the topic remains something of a mystery.

    In any case, Sherap’s post seems worthwhile.

  27. Pema Thinley | May 4th, 2008 | 11:54 am

    Tsering Lak,

    You can say so but things are different in reality. In this world, everything is connected and relevant. You can’t simply separte them. It’s just the figment of mental imagination that you have or the way it is politicise which barred you from seeing it properly.

    To Rich la,

    Don’t wait for something to happen. You are playing a waiting game. As a fellow, who was born in Tibet, I have the right to advise my parents on some important issues. I am showing them the way. You too can do the same thing.

  28. Tsering | May 4th, 2008 | 2:56 pm

    PEMA THINLEY

    YOu are still living in 20 century. If you are thinking restoring Dalai Lama’s authority in Tibet again, then you must be dreaming. All Tibetan are fighting for a new Tibet. Not God king Control Tibet.

  29. Rich | May 4th, 2008 | 11:00 pm

    Pema, please stop turning things around backwards. It’s the people dreaming that China will magically turn benevolent and start negotiating who are “waiting” for something that will never come.

    Change requires action, and each person has their own appropriate role in that action. For some, that role will be marching home. For some, it will be performing service roles such as teaching or establishing healthcare in Tibet. For some, it will be fundraising. For some, it will be inflicting nonviolent but intense cost and mental/social/economic suffering on snotty privileged Chinese kids studying overseas until they accept that Tibet’s demand for independence is something they must address before China can move forward, even if they find it detestable. For some, it may be further acts of destruction against the colonial infrastructure inside Tibet. For some, it may be civil disobedience, refusal to comply with unjust orders even at the threat of death, remaining peaceful but defiant to their last breath. For some, it will be dialogue and networking with the tiny minority of Chinese who have any real respect for Tibet (not the leadership who are presently useless). For some, it may even be war.

    I’m not recommending for or against any particular acts by people inside Tibet because it’s not my right to tell them what they should be doing. If you want to do something along those lines, the best you can do is provide reliable, impartial information to them about China’s responses to actions across Tibet, world opinion, the political and economic barriers to world action, and so forth. But you don’t have any business saying “you should shut up” or “you should protest this way” or “you need to cut rangzen out of your demands” or “you can’t burn Chinese stuff” or “stop the crisis!” And you shouldn’t be giving one-sided information to try to manipulate people along those lines, either.

    Regardless, even if you do insist on such patronizing behavior, people in Tibet are much smarter than the folks who would try to tell them what to do. They are NOT “backwards” and “sanjor” and all that offensive nonsense. I fully trust them to take back the country in our lifetime – something I cannot say of Dharamsala. In the meantime, I’ll keep taking action in every role I can to hasten the process and increase the impact of their work and hope everyone else reading Jamyang’s blog will do so too. We owe our utmost respect and devotion to these brave and amazing people.

  30. Pema Thinley | May 5th, 2008 | 4:15 am

    Tsering Lak,

    Looks like your narrow minded perception of the whole thing is completely letting you down. What more you have gained in this 21st century, may be some materilistic power and then accumulate some negative ideologies, which are far from being sufficient to live as a happy and peaceful human being. You can follow any religion as you like but the sole purpose is to live as a good human being. Remember, Tibet will be much poorer without the Dalai Lama. A new tibet without the god king will not last for long. Ultimately, someone like Gyalwa Karmapa will take over and carry on the great works of Dalai Lama.

    You sit and watch how the things goes…………………………..

  31. Pema Thinley | May 5th, 2008 | 4:21 am

    To Rich la,

    This time you are much better prepared and more civilised. Of course, everybody is doing their bit for our freedom struggle. And please, next time don’t show this sarcastic remarks of yours. I don’t command respect from others. I am confortable with what I am.

  32. Tsering Choedon | May 5th, 2008 | 8:32 am

    It is interesting to see some people, one in particular, speaking with “holier than thou” kind of air.

    There is no need for us Tibetans to put on this “holy”
    “peaceful” act.
    No country in the whole of human history gained independance from non-violant movement alone. Even India went through periods of active violant protests against the British. Gandhi’s non-violance could suceed only because others before him had sowed the seed of India’s independance movement through their blood and life.
    Why should it be any different for Tibet? Who is going to take note of us if we all pretended to be “bodhisatvas” and put on this holy act?
    In his role as a world peace leader, HH has no other option but to preach non-violance. But that does not mean that we the average Tibetans have to stick to that dictum.

    As a matter of fact, I sometimes think that there is a conflict of interest between HH role as a world peace leader and his role as the head of the Tibetan state.
    It is as if HH is sacrificing the cause of Tibet at the expense of being the world peace leader.
    Non-violance alone cannot fetch us our independance, not even “autonomy”. Only when we muster enough courage to stand up against China’s might, can we gain any recognition from our enemy and the bystanders. The events of the past 50 days are vivid examples of this.
    What now needs to be seen is how we can capitalize on the immense media coverage and sympathy that we have gained these past 50+ days.
    Apart from activism, we also need to learn the art of diplomacy and negotiation. As ever in the past, China summoned us to a meeting. The very next day, they villify the very person who’s envoys they met. What kind of diplomacy is that? More importantly, what kind of “kowtow” is that from our side?

  33. Tsering Choedon | May 5th, 2008 | 9:07 am

    I am not a Shugden worshipper, but I have seen the descrimination against Shugden worshippers in my settlement.
    I find it extremely disturbing.
    The way I see it, this was a blunder created by our own government. I think:
    1. Religion is a creation of the human mind.
    2. Likewise, all the gods and dieties and spirits are a creation of our mind, an abstract notion.
    3. How can something as abstract as a sungma (diety) effect the Tibetan cause and Tibet policy in a negative way?
    4. When we have so many other more objective and more pressing issues to take care of, where was the need for our government, especially HHDL, to go and create another problem?
    5. The world will laugh at us to think that when we are fighting a life and death battle for the very existance of our nation, our leader had to create an issue something as non-existant (objectively) as a shugden.
    5. This situation is especially grave given the current situation of Tibet, when it is of paramount importance that we all unite together to fight our common enemy. This is not the time for communal rifts and divisions. And to think that our own government has created this is unbelievable.

    I think the Tibetan government should publicly apoligise to all the shugden worshippers.

  34. Bhuchung | May 5th, 2008 | 10:31 am

    Hi Tashi Dhondup,

    I am one of tibetan who used to think may be the Dalai Lama made mistake by taking a firmed stand against tibetan Shugden practioners. Now seeing yours linked video it really made me believe what he meant the practice is harmful to the tibetan cause. How cheap and means are these practioner? Specially in such critical period every sa lha, yul lha, shi dak, sung ma and spirits of Tibet should be working towards benefits of Tibet. Though I saw most of these protesters are Injis with few tibetan among them. In critical time we have to be very clear where you want to stand, this happen even in the most democratic country of this world.

  35. Bhuchungla | May 5th, 2008 | 5:35 pm

    That is the problem with our leaders. Our leader should resolve this issue asap so that we all can work together toward free Tibet. Dont you get it???? People can believe whatever they want, that is called Religion freedom. Unless this issue is solved, Tibetan cannot be united. For the greater benefit of Tibetan people at most critical moment, religion is not our concern but our country. We all fighting for our country not for Buddha. Those religion mixed politics had gone away.

  36. Lhanzin | May 5th, 2008 | 9:23 pm

    Tsering Choedonla,
    You said it!Thank you for expressing something that
    so many of us feel.Jamyang Norbula is a patriot of such high calibre that not suprisingly he was the only one who openly voiced that the diety issue was divisive.It is something that is tearing us apart from the inside,the last thing we need at this critical period.We must put Tibet first and nothing must distract us from this!

  37. Tsering Choedon | May 5th, 2008 | 9:43 pm

    Buchungla,

    I agree with you.
    I think there is a need to seperate religion and politics.

    One thing that we the average people might be able to do is to spearhead a movement to make our government accountable for politacal blunders that they make in the name of religion.
    As a first step, we should pressure our government to make a public announcement to the effect:
    1. Everone has the right to believe in what ever religion/sect they wish to believe in.
    2. TGIE was wrong in pressuring shugden worshippers to abondon their belief
    3. Make sure that the announcement is heard by each and every Tibetan, especially in the settlements, where the descrimination against Shugden worshippers is most evident.

  38. Rich | May 6th, 2008 | 5:10 am

    It’s frustrating to see this blog getting filled with off-topic subjects like Shugden-worship. To begin with, I respect people’s religious beliefs and whatever choice of deities they may wish to worship. But it seems that in recent years, a number of malicious outsiders – both Chinese and also injis – have exploited certain tenets of Shugden practice to attack the unifying political work which HHDL and other Tibetan leaders across the political and religious spectra have worked so hard for. In particular, the dubious rule that Gelukpa must refrain from all contact with teachers and texts from the older traditions (reportedly under penalty of death) stands to create religious strife and tension and seems to preclude unified political struggle. The Chinese have carefully accentuated this aspect of Shugden practice with the hopes of sowing intolerance, and have also taken advantage of the TGIE’s unstrategic responses to blame the sowing of intolerance on Tibetans. None of this helps anyone’s interests…except the Chinese.

    In my view, the most important thing to remember is that the demands for dignity, basic freedom, a life free of constant fear, and expulsion of a violent hostile foreign military occupation must always come first. In the end, no one benefits from collaborating with the world’s most-criminal nation. As long as those pushing this noble struggle forwards hold in their hearts and live by the ideals of democracy, tolerance, and social justice, respecting and even encouraging the expression of dissenting viewpoints, there will be the necessary political room and process to address other conflicts in a civil manner as they arise.

  39. CHIME | May 7th, 2008 | 12:56 pm

    RICHLAK
    All thoser unrelated blogs are related to Tibet and it’s people.

  40. Pema Thinley | May 8th, 2008 | 4:46 am

    Tsering Choedonlak,

    It seems to me that you are having a good time when others are actively participating in their non-violent struggle for Tibet. Take the examples of Tibetans everywhere, who are voicing their concern for Tibet against the chinese atrocities. You still think the Tibetan people are simply relaxing and doing nothing?

    And then, when it comes to discrimination in your settlement, I think the people over there should realize the harmful effects it has on Tibet’s cause and stop worshipping it. That’s all they have to do. Of course they are people, who are really poor and worship the deity for their financial needs. In this case, my prayer and kindness is with them. Otherwise they have to do away with it to get better treatment.

  41. BODGYALO | May 11th, 2008 | 4:04 pm

    Religion was the cause that we lost our country. If we had more soldiers not monks, if we had more schools not monasteries, if we had more educated people, not aristocrats.

    No more religion mixed politics. NOW, ONLY ONE PERSON CAN BE OUR LEADER WHO CAN UNITE ALL THE TIBETAN POEPLE. THE ONE WHO DOESNT HAVE ANY RELIGION. ONLY HE CAN UNITE TIBETAN WITH DIFFERENT RELIGION AND NON-RELIGION TIBETAN. THEN WE CAN WORK TOWARD FREE TIBET.

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