In memory of the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting, I wrote this article:
Please keep the victims and their families in your prayers.
Tickets for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s speaking engagements in the U.S. have sold out very quickly, often within minutes or hours of when they went on sale. Clearly, Americans are interested in His Holiness’ teachings on love and compassion.
It is truly wonderful that Americans have abundant opportunities to see His Holiness. In contrast, Tibetans in Tibet are burning themselves to death. Tibetans can be imprisoned for owning a small photo of His Holiness and, of course, they cannot receive teachings from him in Tibet.
While Tibetan Buddhist groups seem to be popping up on every street corner in the US, interest in the Buddhist community about the preservation of Tibet’s culture and religious freedom does not seem to be increasing. I recently attended several pro Tibet events in Washington D.C., and there were very few non-Tibetans.
China definitely pays attention to who attends these events. Chinese spies estimate the size of the crowds. Rumor has it that being photographed at a protest gets your name on the black list for travel to Tibet. A suspicious Chinese individual was spotted at an event with the Gaden monks that was sponsored by the Guhyasamaja Center.
Over 50 TIbetans have self immolated since February 2009. Imagine that out of desperation, you burn yourself to death, and no one cares. Mainstream media has paid little attention to the burnings. Similarly, the American Buddhist community has paid little attention to the burnings.
As Buddhists who are followers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, it is our responsibility and moral obligation to do all we can to help stop the cultural genocide in Tibet, to protect the Tibetan people, and to preserve the Buddha’s teachings for everyone to share.
This is putting the teachings into practice. After all, we want a Fifteenth Dalai Lama, don’t we?
Lend a hand:
Here’s the link to my article in the Washington Post On Faith section with some thoughts about what it means to be an engaged Buddhist in the 21st century. Or really, what does it mean to be Buddhist? Can you call yourself Buddhist if you are not out there serving your community?
Please feel free to share your comments.
Here’s the link to an article that I wrote with help from Venerable Tenzin Lhamo: Elephant Walk tests the Buddhist principles of a trained mind and inner peace. The Post published it the day after Ringling Brothers paraded six elephants and 24 horses through the streets of D.C. at night.
Actually, the article is primarily about meditation and mind training.
See the related articles and join the discussion. If you look closely at the photos, you can see the bull hooks:
Lama Soepa Rinpoche recorded a statement that in many ways encapsulates all of the Buddha’s teachings and explains why he took his own life. His voice is calm and matter of fact. The silence that follows the end of the recording is chilling. A short excerpt:
I am giving away my body as an offering of light to chase away the darkness, to free all beings from suffering, and to lead them – each of whom has been our mother in the past and yet has been led by ignorance to commit immoral acts – to the Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light. My offering of light is for all living beings, even as insignificant as lice and nits, to dispel their pain and to guide them to the state of enlightenment. I offer this sacrifice as a token of long-life offering to our root guru His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all other spiritual teachers and lamas….(prayers)… I am taking this action neither for myself nor to fulfill a personal desire nor to earn an honor. I am sacrificing my body with the firm conviction and a pure heart just as the Buddha bravely gave his body to a hungry tigress (to stop her from eating her cubs).
Link to the full English translation of his teaching and the audio recording on the Students for a Free Tibet website. Please do what you can to stop the killing in Tibet: support Senate Resolution 356 affirming US support for Tibet.