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In April last year, I was lucky enough to be granted an audience with H.H. the 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorje. I remember his pure radiance and his calm, assertive energy. He seemed so different from anyone I’d ever met before. I asked him a question based around forgiveness–and even though my memory of his actual words has faded, the message has not.

I was surprised when I found out he is visiting the U.S. Part of me wishes that I was able to fly up to NY, WA or somewhere and see him. Yet, another part is glad I cannot. I have a special memory of the meeting that was held near Dharamsala, in Himachal Pradesh at his “home”. I’ll never forget that meeting and I still have the red cord with the blessing knot tied around my wrist.

For some reading regarding his U.S. visit so far:

The 22-year-old living Buddha seemed joyfully aware to feel no jet lag whatsoever. So far. “Maybe tonight,” he said in English on Thursday. “But not yet.” He had just arrived at a Midtown hotel with his security detail after a 14-hour flight from New Delhi to Newark.

“It is the first time I’ve ever visited the United States, and it’s a bit like a dream,” said His Holiness, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje, one of the most important leaders in Tibetan Buddhism.

Despite his youth, he is revered by followers as a master teacher, and on Thursday he began his whirlwind tour of the United States, an 18-day visit to New York, New Jersey, Boulder, Colo., and Seattle.

Yes, he is that Karmapa: the young master who made headlines across the world at age 14 with his daring escape from China to India across the Himalayas in 1999.

His followers regard him not only as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who died in 1981, but also as the 17th incarnation of the first Karmapa in the 12th century, in an unbroken lineage going back 900 years. They revere him as leader of the Kagyu sect — called the black hat or black crown sect — one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

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[From Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy]

A number of monks of Drepung Monastery in Tibet were detained by the Chinese security officials in and around 12 April 2008 following the monks’ protest against Chinese “Work Team” who paid a visit to the monastery to conduct “Patriotic Education” Campaign, according to confirmed information received from reliable sources by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD).

The “Tibet Autonomous Region” (“TAR” ) authorities sent the “Legal Information Education” “Work Team” as a part of the “patriotic education” campaign to Drepung Monastery in and around 12 April 2008, according to the official mouthpiece, Xinhua, dated 13 April 2008.

According to reliable sources, a new “Work Team” on “Legal and Information Education” arrived in Drepung Monastery to start “Patriotic Education” campaign to the Drepung monks, however, the monks protested in unison against the campaign. Later security forces were called into the monastery by the “Work Team” to control the protesting monks. Number of Tibetan monks were immediately detained and taken away to unknown location by the security forces for interrupting and protesting the campaign. There is no information on the condition and whereabouts of those detainees.

The “Patriotic Education” campaign which was reinvigorated across various monastic institutions in Tibet requires monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and to oppose the ongoing protests in addition to usual political indoctrination sessions. The new ‘work team’ of “legal and information education” was primarily aimed at informing the monastic institution about the legal and other consequences of taking part in political activities as most of recent protests across Tibet were led by the monastic community.

Although, the official Chinese mouthpiece, Xinhua, dated 13 April covered the incident of visit by “Work Team” to Drepung Monastery, however, it suppressed the protest and detention of monks in its report.

All roads leading towards Drepung Monastery were known to have been sealed off with extra deployment of armed police forces. The movements of the monks in the monastery were severely restricted with security personnel curbing access to outside visitors to the monastery including devotees.

The communist government’s leading newspaper called Saturday to “resolutely crush” Tibetan demonstrations against Chinese rule.

The statement came as international criticism against the crackdown on Tibetan protesters swelled.

Monks protest in Dharamsala

Going through the photos coming out of Dharamsala, I intake a breath sharply as I recognize some of the people I met this time last year when I was there. It seems so strange to me now. Only one year later. I feel so USELESS over here. What can I do? It seems so hard to be here and so white.

Faces in the crowd stand out to me. My heart leaps. I remember their kindness and their assuredness that Tibet would once again be home.

So, the Terrible protests and Violence in Tibet continue, and one must ask the question “how does the rest of the world feel?” As I live in the U.S. I must turn to the President of this country. George Bush. Where is he? Is he in India? Is he talking to the Dalai Lama? Is he talking about this issue? No. Instead I find:

“On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the Dalai Lama in India and called on the world to denounce China’s crackdown in Tibet.”

The Speaker of The House. Not the President. Not the Vice President. Not anyone in the Upper Echelon… but the Speaker of the House.

But then, there is no oil in Tibet. Just as there is no oil in Darfur.

Cultural genocide doesn’t matter if there is nothing to be gained in return…

Link to Video of Nancy Pelosi’s Visit to Dharamsala

The Governor in Tibet has denounced protesters as “criminal”….

Image: Associated Press

I say yes. Chinese human rights issues far out weigh any complaint of athletes missing out. Of course, athletes want their five minutes of fame–but what about the Tibetan people who have been fighting for decades? This may be the last chance to save their entire CULTURE!

But who cares, right?

No one listened to the Monks in Burma who are languishing still even now, forgotten after a brief outcry back in October. Now the focus shifts to Tibet, but for how long? Until the games are over? Until the Chinese crack and crush the protests and all goes quiet, again?

I don’t blame the Chinese people, but the government.

They’re doing to the people what they did to those poor diseased cats… out of sight, out of mind.

A prayer for Tibet:

(Image: Christina Cooper-Cummings 2007)

BBC Coverage:


Fires have broken out in the Tibetan city of Lhasa amid reports of rioting, as rare street protests led by Buddhist monks appeared to gather pace.

One eyewitness told the BBC how large groups of people were setting fire to cars and shops and destroying anything of Chinese influence.

The US embassy in Beijing said US citizens had reported hearing gunfire.

Rallies have continued all week in what are thought to be the largest protests against Beijing’s rule in 20 years.

Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, released a statement expressing deep concern, saying the protests were a “manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people”.

The Dalai Lama, who heads Tibet’s government-in-exile in India, called on the Chinese leadership to stop using force and begin dialogue with the Tibetan people.

He also urged Tibetans not to resort to violence.

“As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution. It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule,” the statement said.

Tear gas

The US-based International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said at least one police car had been set on fire on Friday.

ICT spokeswoman Kate Saunders said her group had received reports that the Tromsikhang market in Barkhor Street – a busy commercial neighbourhood – was either on fire or had burnt down.

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Be aware/Stay awake
Practise yoga
Chant and sing
Breathe and smile
Let Go/Forgive/Accept
Cultivate oneself/Enhance competencies
Cultivate contentment
Cultivate flexibility
Cultivate friendship and collaboration
Lighten up
Celebrate and appreciate
Give thanks
Walk softly/Live gently
Be born anew

From Burmese Bloggers w/o Borders:

MAE SOT, Thailand: One of the main organizers of the September protest marches in Myanmar, Ashin Kovida, a 24-year-old Buddhist monk, escaped to Thailand last week by carrying a false identification card, dying his hair blond and wearing a crucifix.

On Thursday, Ashin Kovida offered details of his harrowing escape and insights into what has remained a central question about the September protests: Who organized the orderly lines of saffron-robed monks who marched through Yangon – and how.

Ashin Kovida crossed the border to Thailand illegally and said Thursday that he was planning to request refugee status. He is wanted by Myanmar’s military government, which accuses him of storing explosives in his monastery in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar. The monk called that accusation absurd.

In a six-hour interview in this border town, he painted a picture of a bare-bones organization, a group of 15 monks in their 20s who organized the September demonstrations. He said he had been elected leader of the group and had been inspired by videos of the popular uprisings in Yugoslavia against the government of Slobodan Milosevic. The group received financial help from three well-known Burmese dissidents – an actor, a comedian and a poet – but did not receive any foreign assistance during their protests, Ashin Kovida said.

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