Free Tibet, Save Tibet, Become Educated on the Issues
Imagine having one of the most loving and compassionate people in the world as your leader and prime focal point. Someone who is both diplomatic and spiritual. Someone who laughs at how outdated war is and smiles at how powerful love is. Someone who neither is afraid to tell someone that they are wrong nor afraid to admit one's own errors. Someone who would rather rule with open arms rather than an iron fist. Now imagine that this leader is utterly powerless in his own country and photographed images of him are the equivalent of a prison sentence. This is a reality today and not the product of the imagination.
According to Confucianism (A Chinese spiritual philosophy born from the sage and scholar Confucius) the ideal government must first stem from a wise and compassionate leader.
However, what would Confucius say if the sage is perfectly fit but physically unable to rule his own kingdom? Like most Americans and westerners, I literally had no idea just how grave the situation was and is. I have seen the "Free Tibet" flags and heard about the violence and protests, but I was blinded from the eerie white knuckle truth that is a reality to millions of Tibetans everyday.
There is a saying in Tibet: "If there is no solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it." In regards to the current and ongoing situation in Tibet my heart is united with the former of the two, but my mind worries-not for my own safety (A sense of freedom that for much of my life I have taken deeply for granted) but for the sovereignty and rich cultural heritage of the millions of Tibetans who are both living in Tibet under Chinese rule and in exile.
In 1950 H.H The XIV Dalai Lama became the spiritual leader of Tibet and in 1959 escaped to Dharamsala, India to evade brutal oppression of the Chinese. He has yet to step back into the arms of his motherland since his escape. During that time and continuing into the present, the Chinese have destroyed over 6,000 monasteries and slaughtered over 1,000,000 Tibetans in the name of what is ominously referred to as the "Cultural Revolution." In addition, mass sterilizations, barbarous tortures and a daily wave of over 1,000 Chinese immigrants contribute to a steady "Cultural Genocide" of Tibet. To make matters worse, The Panchan Lama who is the second most powerful leader behind H.H is currently held captive by the Chinese and has been missing since 1995. At the age of 5 he has been reported missing, thus making the Panchan Lama the youngest political prisoner in the world. He is an important figure because he functions as the next leader of Tibet after the death of H.H and assists in finding the future reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. The Panchan Lama is now missing crucial training time to help prepare for his duties. If he is not released before the death of H.H, the 17th Karmapa (Gyalwang Karmapa or the 17th Karmapa is a great enlightened teacher who is the embodiment of all the activities of the Buddhas.) could assume leadership and break thousands of years of unbroken lineage and tradition. (The Dalai Lama is referred to as the "Sun," the Panchan Lama as the "Moon" and the Karmapa as the "Stars.")
The list goes on. Hundreds of missing and wrongly accused persons, the destruction of precious natural resources and the refusal to recognize H.H are all sour ingredients that are brewing in a big pot of Chinese mystery meat. This is a mystery to the world. As countless unread letters to the United Nations collect cobwebs in the stacks, the Chinese continually feed the world with lies of positive economic development and growth.
After watching documentaries, reading, talking with the Tibetan people and assimilating myself to the culture in Dharamsala, I have come to know and gain a far better understanding than before I had arrived. While staying in Dharamsala, India I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to volunteer at LHA and teach Tibetan refugees photography and computer. This was extremely rewarding because I was able to gain a much deeper understanding and appreciate what they have endured and gone through to get to where they are today. Although I was at first timid to bring up such sensitive subjects, I learned through talking far more than what any museum or book could offer. Judging by their character, I would never have guessed that a majority of the students risked their lives trekking over 18 days across the Himalayas with little food to live a better life in India.
Rather than seeing a dark despairing sadness, I saw hope, compassion and a level of ambition which I have yet to come across during my travels. Learning multiple languages and trades is quite common amongst the younger generation and the unrelenting desire to learn about the world is a trait that I am constantly trying to embody and model. However, the daily reminder of not being allowed to live in one's own country freely is always evident. As one student boldly states: "Being Tibetan is like being an addict. You have your ups and downs."
I know the rest of the world is suffering. Everyone experiences suffering to a degree. This is the most fundamental truth of Buddhism. To further expand on this subject, the Buddha states that there is suffering, it has a cause, cessation is possible and it is possible by following a prescribed method. This is referred as "The Four Noble Truths." Without going into a verbose discourse on Buddhist philosophy, the driving theme of the method to end suffering is compassion and love. Whether or not you are a Buddhist, you would have to agree that these are positive qualities that are worth acquiring and embodying. If we were truly loving and compassionate we would not have conflict in Tibet nor around the world.
All spiritual scriptures regard study as an important activity in acquiring more knowledge and awareness of the self. Therefore as human beings we must educate ourselves in the reality of Tibet. Modern maps do not even list Tibet as a country so we must first recognize that despite the events over the last 50 years, Tibet has existed as a sovereign nation for thousands of years. Secondly, we must spread this awareness around the world by using word of mouth and the media to create a much greater awareness. Thirdly and most importantly, we must put our words into action. Without action nothing will ever get accomplished. Self-effort is key and in order to change the world we must first change ourselves.
Comment, Share and Become AWARE!
http://www.dalailama.com/ : H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
http://www.kagyuoffice.org/karmapa.html : HIS HOLINESS THE 17TH GYALWANG KARMAPA
HTTP://WWW.LHASOCIALWORK.ORG/ LHA SOCIAL WORK
Ian Moore is a graduate of Penn State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English. Moore also holds certifications in creative writing and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). He has taught English in Busan South Korea, Bangkok Thailand and in the United States. He has published work for the Transitions Abroad website, eHow.com and several other online publications.
Moore loves to write about categories that deal with spirituality, politics and travel.
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