His Holiness brings message of hope and confidence to Japan’s tsunami survivors

SENDAI, Japan: Praising the Japanese people’s spirit and strength to recover in the face of immense suffering and destruction, His Holiness the Dalai Lama encouraged victims of the devastating natural disaster which hit Japan in 2011 to look to future with optimism and determination.

A Society for Prayers – 2014 invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to give emotional support and zest for living for people in Sendai, one of worst regions during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Before addressing the gathering on “Finding Wisdom and Confidence in the Face of Terrible Loss”, His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined Shinto priests for a special prayer service for the disaster victims.

“I am really happy to meet you once again in this time of tragedy and honoured to take part in many Shinto traditional prayer services. I want to especially express my solidarity with those of you who have suffered immense loss during the tragedy,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama told a packed auditorium.

His Holiness advised them not to remain disheartened and hopeless because doing so will not reduce the suffering. “It is important to develop self-confidence to transform tragedy into self-determination and optimism to build a better future,” His Holiness the Dalai Lama said.

His Holiness reiterated that Japan and Germany serve an example of resilience in the face of immense tragedy. “These two nations suffered immense suffering and destruction during the second world war, but showed great determination to rebuild a very stable and strong nation from the ashes of war destruction.”

“All these were achieved through self-confidence, transforming the tragedy into determination and will power based on optimism to rebuild a better future,” he added.

His Holiness further said: “It is a matter of great sadness that many people lost their loved ones in the natural disaster. But remaining worried and sad would not end your suffering. It will instead bring more suffering upon yourself and sadness to the departed souls.”

“In spite of the tragedy, if you work hard with determination and optimism to lead a more truthful, honest and compassionate life, then the departed souls of your loved ones would be very happy. So think that way,” he added.

To inspire them to look forward with hope and courage, His Holiness recounted his own life story and the upheavals that he and the Tibetan people have undergone.

“I lost my freedom at the age of 16 and lost my country at 24. We Tibetans have faced problems and challenges in exile for the last past more than 55 years. But we never gave up hope and determination.  At the initial stage of our exile life, many Tibetans complaint to me that the jungle that the Indian government provided us for rehabilitation are inhospitable and they might die of the extreme hot climate. To beat the heat, I advised them to work at night and rest at day time to prepare the base for the settlement. After one year, I visited the settlement and told them that they were not dead. I visited that settlement in January this year and it has become a very successful and thriving one. So everything depends on how our mind reacts and will power when faced with difficulties in life. Always look in a more holistic way during such time.”

His Holiness also responded to numerous questions from the audience.

Ms Kawakami Hiroko, head of the organising committee, said: “It is our earnest hope that, through this kind of prayer and, especially, through the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, those who are suffering may regain strength, optimism and confidence.”

Tomorrow, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will visit Seifu Gaken Boys High School and give a talk to students on “What one would hope for the young people to do”.

Top EU official calls for China-Tibet talks

DHARAMSHALA: A top official of the European Union has reiterated call for dialogue to resolve the issue of Tibet as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Sunday in Belgium on his first day.

Mr Henri Malosse, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, also stressed the importance of raising the issue of human rights in China during Xi Jinping’s visit.

“President Xi Jinping paid a visit yesterday to the pandas in Belgium, but there is something much more important – human rights in China – who suffer from lack of basic human rights,” said Malosse while addressing a demonstration for human rights in China in Brussels on Monday. Representatives of the Uyghur and Tibetan communities as well as Chinese activists took part in the event. Many Tibetans took the initiative to shave their hair as a sign protest against Chinese oppression in Tibet.

Mr Malosse once again emphasised on dialogue concerning Tibet.

During his visit to the Tibetan community in Dharamshala in India in March, he expressed strong support for Middle Way Approach to resolve the Tibet issue through dialogue between the Chinese government and the Tibetan leadership.

“The Tibet question is universal”, said Mr Henri Malosse in his address at the Tibetan National Uprising Day in Dharamshala on 10 March. “It is a question of liberty, democracy and solidarity, which are the values at the foundation of the European Union. As such, Europe has these values as a legacy and must defend them everywhere they are in danger in order to find a sustainable solution. Thus, support must be brought to the Middle Way Approach of Tibetans – Umaylam – and to the dialogue with China. It is the same approach that claims for a European involvement in the recent events in Crimea, not by following the other actors such as Russians or Americans, but by being more coherent and imposing dialogue between all the stakeholders,” he said.

“It is Europe’s duty to direct efforts towards setting up dialogue between the Tibetan people and the People’s Republic of China without pre-conditions. I thus firmly believe that civil society – in Tibet, China and Europe – has the potential to facilitate a peaceful way out of the crisis, as it has demonstrated in other conflicts in the past,” he said.

Human Rights Watch documents repression of Tibetans in Nepal

DHARAMSHALA: Human Rights Watch today released a 100-page report titled ‘Under China’s Shadow: Mistreatment of Tibetans in Nepal’ outlining the increasing restrictions imposed on Tibetans in Nepal as a result of strong pressure from China.

“The situation for the Tibetan refugee community in Nepal has markedly deteriorated since China’s violent crackdown on protests in Tibet in 2008,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, in a press release issued today to mark the launch of the report.

Human Rights Watch urged the Nepal government to uphold its legal obligation towards Tibetans, under the terms of the “Gentleman’s Agreement” signed between the government of Nepal and the office of the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Under the terms of the agreement,  Nepal guarantees Tibetans who reach its territory safe passage to India, where they can obtain refugee status. International law prohibits Nepal from forcibly repatriating Tibetan refugees because they would be at risk of torture or persecution in China.

“As a result of a massive security presence in Tibetan areas of China and increased cooperation between Nepalese and Chinese security forces in recent years, China has been able to stem the flow of Tibetan refugees escaping to Nepal. In 2013, fewer than 200 Tibetans were recorded as having fled China, as compared to a pre-2008 annual average of more than 2,000,” he said.

The consequences of Nepal’s hardening stance are being felt across the Tibetan community. Nepal continues to deny at least half the Tibetans in Nepal proper identity documents, making Tibetans more vulnerable to increased surveillance, monitoring, and abuse by police or the criminal justice system, regardless of whether they are politically active. It is harder for Tibetans to obtain documentation that would allow them to go to school, seek employment, run businesses, travel abroad, or engage in other activities, the report said.

“Nepal continues to deny thousands of Tibetans, most of them born in Nepal, any legal existence by refusing to issue them any form of official identification,” said Adams. “This fuels a pattern of marginalization and abuse of the Tibetan community at large.” He called on Nepal government to take specific measures to guarantee the basic rights of Tibetans in the country, including providing all eligible Tibetans with refugee identification certificates and strictly upholding international law prohibiting deportation of Tibetan refugees.

The report explains that Tibetan refugee communities in Nepal are now facing a de facto ban on political protests, sharp restrictions on public activities promoting Tibetan culture and religion, and routine abuses by Nepali security forces.

Click here to read the full report

His Holiness the Dalai Lama interacts with Indian students on ethics and compassion

New Delhi, India, 22 March 2014 – On a bright spring morning today in the Indian capital His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with almost 260 students as well as 40 teachers and principals from13 Delhi schools including the Step by Step School, Mount Abu School, Salwan Public School, Springdales School – Daula Kuan, Springdales School – Pusa Road, India Habitat Learning Centre, Bal Bharati School – Rohini, Bal Bharati School -  Pitampura, Aman Biradari Homes, Vasant Valley School, G. D. Goenka School, Pathways International School, and Bluebells International School. The theme of the discussion was Ethics and Compassion for Young Minds and the event began with a young woman graciously welcoming and introducing His Holiness and a young man offering him a symbolic white scarf. His Holiness responded:

“I am very happy to be here to meet you young people, young brothers and sisters. The world belongs to humanity. As a result of human intelligence we have made a lot of progress, and yet human beings can also be a source of trouble. War, for example, which is nothing more than legalised violence, is something only human beings engage in. During excessive wars in the 20th century some historians say up to 200 million people were killed, including many innocent people, women, children and the aged among them. Nuclear weapons were used. In Hiroshima I met survivors of those attacks and heard of their terrible experiences, something that should never be repeated.”

He said that people of his age belong to a century that is now gone, but will look forward to what the new generation can achieve. This is why His Holiness is keen to meet young people, because while the past is past and cannot be changed, the future remains open like space in which there is still room to move. He said that young people like those before him have the opportunity to create a more peaceful world, a world built on compassion rather than fear. He advised that if they acted honestly, truthfully and transparently they would win trust and friendship.  Read the rest

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to address Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla

DHARAMSHALA: His Holiness the Dalai Lama today left for a two-day visit to Shimla, the capital of northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, from 18-19 March.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will address the convocation of Himachal Pradesh University on the morning of 19 March. Top Indian government officials, including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Governor Urmila Singh, will be present on the occasion. It may be recalled that, when Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay visited the Himachal Pradesh University last November, Vice-Chancellor Prof. A. D. N. Bajpai requested him to facilitate a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the university.

His Holiness will also visit Jonang monastery and inaugurate a temple at Dorje Drak monastery on 18 March. He will give a teaching at the Central School for Tibetans on the same day.

His Holiness will leave Shimla for New Delhi, where he will give a talk on ‘Success, Ethics and Happiness’ at Lady Shri Ram College for Women on 20 March.