Young, S. (2000). Women changing Tibet, activism changing women. In E.B. Findly (Ed.), Women’s Buddhism, Buddhism’s women (pp. 229-242). Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publication.
When studying Buddhism in modern society, one cannot deny the importance of the Dalai Lama. For centuries, the incarnations of the Dalai Lama ruled over the people of Tibet both spiritually and politically. However it wasn’t until the last century that the popularity of the Dalai Lama made its way to western society. This essay will focus on the 14th and most recent Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Since the late 1300’s essentially the same reincarnated figure has been controlling, teaching, and leading the Tibetan Buddhism religion and government (Gale). The Dalai Lama is thought to be the reincarnated spiritual and political icon presiding over the land of Tibet for over 14 lifetimes. His Holiness’ obligation to the Buddhist people and birthright is described as, “a teacher whose wisdom is as deep as the ocean” (Ganeri 28). For centuries the Dalai Lama has been one of the world’s most influential leaders and teachers, passing along his wisdoms to disciples all over the globe.
Before any of these questions can be answered though, one must first know the origin of the conflicts between the two regions as well as the history of the Free Tibetan Movement. As said above, Tibet used to be a place that not many people knew about. This made it much easier for the Chinese government to come in and take control of the people and the land without much protest from the outside world. In fact even if other countries, like bordering India, had known, not much would have been done. This is because no nation had ever recognized Tibet as an independent country. Rather, it was the events that followed which caused the uproar. According to defected citizens of Tibet that traveled to India and then dispersed throughout the world, the Chinese started a form of spiritual cleansing. Monks and spiritual leaders that would not follow their ground rules were detained, captured or killed. The lama's of the Tibetan people were either taken as political prisoners or exiled. However, there are also those that said that some of this never happened.
Peacock, John. The Tibetan way of Life, death and rebirth', Duncan Baird Publishers, 2003, London.
If I had to ask the Dalai Lama one question concerning the behalf of his exiled government and the status of his people, I know exactly what it would be. How can you preach non-violence and compassion while watching your people in Tibet suffer such inhumane punishments for simply having national and spiritual pride? As an established political and spiritual leader of any given nation, the first and foremost obligation of this office is to maintain and uphold the well-being and overall safety of the peoples of that nation. The Dalai Lama has traditionally held the position of spiritual and political leader within the Tibetan culture, and continues to do so in the exiled Tibetan government since the occupation of Tibetan lands by the communist forces of China. Contrary to the actions of most other nations in this same position, Tibet has decided to take a non-violent approach to defending their country under the instruction of their beloved leader. While some attempts at liberation from the Chinese occupation have been organized and ended up in failure, little resistance has stood in the way of the Chinese government concerning their seizure of Tibet as part of the “motherland of China.” I found it hard to believe that the actions of the Tibetan people under the Dalai Lama’s influence are the right steps towards regaining freedom and independence for their nation, but the more I explore this topic, the more I realize the genius and beauty behind the method. In the following pages, I will explore the ways in which the Dalai Lama has approached the goal of independence from China for his country. Further, I will discuss the reasoning and mindset of...
In Tibet one might use the words “religion” and “culture” almost as synonyms, especially for the arts—literature, drama, painting, and sculpture. Not only were they inspired by religion, but religion was their very raison d’être (Pal 18).
The Chinese have repeatedly tortured, imprisoned, and murdered Tibetans all for what they claim is national unity. While the oppression of the Tibetan people began in the 1950’s with the invasion of China, it continues just as strongly today. From religious oppression and unfair trials to the torture of nuns and monks, the Chinese abuse even the most reverent aspects of Tibetan culture. Political prisoners, whether they are monks, nuns or lay people, are tortured with utter disregard for human rights. Chinese laws have also been established to eradicate the Tibetan people entirely. Women often must endure forced abortions and sterilization due to Chinese birth policies. Through all of these crimes against humanity, China repeatedly commits acts of genocide as established by the United Nations.
Bodeen, Christopher. “Prosperity Isn’t Universal in Tibet Towns”. Associated Press News Service, August 25, 2003. (November 13, 2003).
Sha, Li. "Contribution of "Abolishment of Serf System" in Tibet to Human Rights Campaign - In Memory of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Democratic Reform in Tibet." ProQuest. Canadian Center of Science and Education, n.d. Web. 25 Oct 2013.
1 Geoff Childs Tibetan Diary From Birth to Death and Beyond in a Himalayan Valley of Nepal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004) 41.
Rinpoche, Samdhong. Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World: Tibetan Buddhism in Today’s World; forward by 14th Dalai Lama. (Tibet: World Wisdom, 2006), 264.
(27) Canada Tibet Committee. “World Tibet Network News.” 1 Jan 2003. www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/2003/1/1_3.html (6 March 2003).