|Tibetan Buddhist Worshipper (Photo: Associated Press)|
|H.H. The Dalai Lama (Photo Associated Press)|
I find it tragic that in the 21st century a Tibetan monk in China can be beaten then
imprisoned indefinitely for simply possessing an image of the Dalai Lama
The start of Losar this year as been marked by sorrow, and observed in a much more solemn manner, as celebrations were cancelled in mourning for the Tibetan monks and nuns who have set themselves on fire (self-immolated) in recent months. They were protesting against the continued illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet and the appalling breaches of Tibetan human rights at the hands of their Chinese-occupiers, and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, from exile. Thus the exiled Dalai Lama led Tsedhor, the official prayer ceremony, from the rooftop of the Tsuglha Khang temple at McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, he reflected quietly and paid tribute to all the Tibetans who have sacrificed their freedom and their lives in protest against Chinese policies in Tibet. After the religious ceremony, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile began a day-long solidarity hunger strike for the victims of Chinese police and self immolation protests.
|H.H. The Dalai Lama presides over Tsedhor |
Tsuglha Khang, Dharamsala (Photo: OHHDL)
|The roof of the Johkang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet|
On my return from my first visit I decided I had to help Tibetans in whatever way I could, and became a supporting member of Free Tibet, The Tibet Society and the Tibet Relief Fund. I've also raised money for the International Campaign for Tibet, and have been supporting Tibetan children living in exile in India through education for several years. I currently support 9 children of all ages, and eagerly look forward to their beautiful heartwarming letters containing news, drawings and school reports.
|Tibetan Prayer Flags are known as Lung Ta, literally "Wind Horses". |
Tibetans believe the wind will carry the prayers throughout the universe
to promote peace, good will and compassion
and many thousands of Tibetan lives were lost. Since then, Tibetans have become second class citizens, discriminated against and marginalized in their own country, their identity, unique culture and language threatened with extinction. Tibetans have no basic human rights, are not allowed to travel outside of China, and are squeezed out of the economy, the education system and even their own religious institutions. Children are now only taught Chinese in school in an attempt to eliminate Tibetan culture. Aspiring young monks have to apply to the Chinese government, who invariably ignore their requests in order to limit the influence of Tibetan Buddhism.
|The Spiritual home of H.H. The Dalai Lama - the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet |
Image © Sacred Sites
|The banned Tibetan Flag|