Dharamsala protests over Lhasa execution

by John Whalen-Bridge, The B uddhist Channel, Nov 5, 2009

Dharamsala, India -- Several protests were organized in Dharamsala on the third week of October, 2009 as anger simmered over the execution of four Tibetan activists in Lhasa.

The activists were involved iin the March 2008 protests, and the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC) - there are 83 brances in the world, about fifty of which are in India - organized the protest.

On the way to Thekchen Choling, the temple of HH Dalai Lama, a group of activists led by Mr Sonam Dorje, President of the RTYC, were having an all day meditation-and-fast.  The prayed for the four dead and asked that people sign the petition, make donations, pray for a good result, and contact their leaders to ask for help.

Later in the evening the same group organized a peaceful candlelight vigil through McLeod Ganj, the area of Dharamsala in which Tibetans, local Indians, and Euro- and Indian tourists interact among restaurants, religious artifact shops, and so forth.

The marchers sang the following prayer:

  Chunchup samchok rinpoche/
  Ma kyi pa nam kyi kyiur chik, kyi pa nyui am pur ma pa ye/
  Kung ne kung tu pal ver shok.

This prayer means, basically:

  Compassion is the most precious quality/
  May those who don't have the seed of compassion receive it/
  And may those who already have it prevail in the shaping of

This short song reflects the teachings in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in explaining the deeper meanings of the Four Noble Truths and so forth, insisted that we must not give into hatred - but that we certainly should not resign ourselves to injustice. 

Protest can involve the wish for compassion and need not entail submission to hatred. In essence, this is Engaged Buddhism, and the discipline of such an effort needs to be regarded carefully.

Mr Jampa Monlam, Vice-Chairman of the Tibetans for Human Rights and Democracy group spoke next.  He is a former political prisoner who suffered torture, and he spoke of the need to pay attention to such upleasant matters, to research and document such matters so that people will weigh their responsibilities correctly.

The Joint Secretary of the RTYC Mr. Tenzin Norsang then spoke about the need for Tibetans in exile to take more responsibility. He insisted that torture and executions would not make the Tibetan people give up, and that the Chinese government leaders (as opposed to the ordinary people) should know this. 

Miss Tenzin Dickyi, VP of RTYC/Dharamsala, read the press release in English, which included the following

  1.  No more executions of Tibetan political prisoners.
  2.  Release of current political prisoners.
  3. President Obama, as the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, must take on the responsibility of addressing human rights issues directly when he meets with Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao.

Mr. Sonam Dorje then thanked all the participants and reminded the crowd that they, as exiles, were free to speak and were therefore the genuine ambassadors to the world of the Tibetan people in Tibet.

Tibetan Buddhism contains the message of joy and compassion, and the Tibetan people in places like India must protect and extend these teachings.