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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

For the Record: Tibetan Monks Sealed in Monastery in Sichuan Request Permission to Pray for Chinese Quake Victims

June 12, 2008

Huffington Post
May 19, 2008

elden, a monk living in exile in Dharamsala, India, received a
static-filled call from Tibet at 10:30 at night on May 15th. On the
other end was a Tibetan man from Kirti Monastery in Sichuan, the
province where China's devastating earthquake took tens of thousands of lives.

The man told Selden that the monastic community of Kirti had
requested the Chinese authorities to allow them to perform prayers
for the Chinese people who had suffered in the disaster.

Since March 6th, Kirti monastery has been surrounded by large numbers
of Chinese security forces. The local Tibetan community has not been
allowed access after large public demonstrations -- in which
thousands of the monks participated -- resulted in mass arrests. For
a few days, Kirti became a temporary morgue for fifteen Tibetans who
eye witnesses claim were shot and killed by Chinese police while
protesting non-violently. Scores of other protesters were reported to
have been killed in the ensuing crackdown.

Two weeks later, after photographs of those killed in the protests
were leaked to the outside world, the People's Armed Police and
Public Security Bureau officials stormed the monastery and searched
the rooms. During the raid, they defaced pictures of the Dalai
Lama--an unimaginable offense to Tibetan monks. (Photo courtesy of
the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy.)

It was in this atmosphere that the monks of Kirti made their quiet
request to do prayers for the Chinese quake victims. Since March, the
monks of Kirti have not been allowed to conduct their usual Buddhist
rituals, but on May 15th, they received special permission to make an
exception. The monks began the day with a prayer offering ceremony
and collected cash donations from among their members. They also
wrote letters of condolences to the bereaved families.

The monks of Kirti monastery, located in Ngapa county in Amdo, also
conveyed the following message to the Chinese people:

"To all the compassionate ones and to all those who are working for
others, wherever they are on the entire planet, and to all the
compassionate beings born from a mother, and to all the venerable
monks who give life meaning. To all the developed countries in the
world, and all the notable centers of learning, and to those who
respect the law of cause and effect (karma) and religious faiths, I
have a message to you from the bottom of my heart.

At 2:28 PM on May 12th, 2008, there was an earthquake in China,
affecting Sichuan province and other areas, and resulting in tens of
thousands of lives lost, with many others badly injured or bereaved.
Some people trapped under the rubble cried over their mobile phones.
It is still unknown whether some of those who were trapped are dead
or alive. In Lunga County, all the roads were damaged so that it was
impossible for vehicles to pass through, and the only way to travel
was by airplane or helicopter. Seeing such widescale destruction, I
strongly request permission to help with whatever is needed and to do
whatever is helpful to those who are in need.

I request permission to work hard to allow the dead to pass without
fear, to have no suffering in their next life, and to be reborn in
lands which are peaceful and prosperous. And for all the ones who are
left behind to be relieved from their sadness, and for those who are
injured to be relieved from their pain and any other unpleasant
conditions so that they may be able to experience a happy life once again.

As Lama Tsong Khapa [a highly renowned 14th century Tibetan master]
said, "To all the people who insult me, and speak to others about my
shameful deeds, may I, without hatred, forgive them and speak to them
only in a positive way."

I request to perform religious ceremonies, if there is a way. If not,
then I request to merely say mantras such as OM MANI PADME HUNG, etc.
[the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion] for the most beneficial
effect for the needy and for those who have passed away.

How is it possible to enjoy complete freedom and a good climate? How
can we be prosperous and bring renewed happiness to our lives? How
can we avoid diseases, wars, drought, and other natural disasters?
All the scholars and world leaders should discuss these things
thoroughly. The religious figures of the world should all pray hard.

This message is from 3,000 monks at Ngaba Kirti Monastery in South
Amdo on May 15th, 2008, with the hope that it be received graciously
by all the knowledgeable bodies outside [Tibet]. It has been recorded
as read on the telephone. On the day this message was sent, special
religious ceremonies were performed to help allieviate the
destruction wrought by the earthquake."

Below is what the local Tibetans of Amdo Ngaba said about the above statement:

1. Buddhism means helping others without discrimination. As we are
followers of the Buddha, no matter what kinds of situations we may
face, we never transgress this teaching. We are doing the same thing this time.

2. Since March 10th, in all places covering the three main regions of
Tibet, Tibetans protested against the Chinese authorities. The
Chinese Communist Party sent in personnel in an organized fashion,
and marked every Tibetan, especially monks, as criminals. Bloody
killings and beatings that were completely inhuman took place--too
much for our hearts to hear about, and too much for our eyes to
witness. Innocent Tibetans were labeled as criminals in the minds of
the Chinese, with whom we have shared thousands of years of history
as neighbors. As a result of these negative views, Tibetans,
especially monks, are treated more like enemies by ordinary Chinese
people. But from our side, we are making it clear that we are not
protesting against ordinary Chinese people but against the policies
of the Chinese government towards Tibet.

3. Everyone can see that no matter what happens with the Tibetan
issue, Tibetans and Chinese have to live side by side as neighbors.
We are seriously stating our hope for the improvement of the
relationship between both peoples.

That improved relationship may presently seem out of reach, but it's
sentiments like these that could bring it closer.

Rebecca Novick is a writer and Executive Producer of The Tibet
Connection radio program. She is currently based in Dharamsala, India.
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