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

Dalai Lama Mourns on Facebook for Earthquake Victims

April 23, 2010

April 21, 2010, 8:21 pm
By ROBERT MACKEY, New York Times

A screen shot of the Dalai Lama’s Facebook page on Wednesday.

As my colleague Andrew Jacbos reports from Beijing, China mourned the
victims of last week’s earthquake in western Qinghai Province on
Wednesday. Most of the more than 2,000 victims who were killed were
ethnic Tibetans and the disaster devastated Jiegu, a high-altitude
Tibetan city.

The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of the Tibetans, was unable
to attend any of the ceremonies in the region, but he explained, in a
message on his Facebook page that he met on Sunday with “a group of
students whose parents and relatives live in the earthquake affected
area of Kyigudo at his residence in Dharamsala,” in India.

In a longer message posted on Saturday, under the headline “His Holiness
the Dalai Lama Eager to Visit Earthquake Affected Area,” he wrote:

As I mentioned briefly soon after I heard the news, I was deeply
saddened by the effects of the devastating earthquake in the Yushu
Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Tibetan: Kyigudo) of Qinghai Province
which resulted in the tragic loss of many lives, a great number of
injured and severe loss of property. Because of the physical distance
between us, at present I am unable to comfort those directly affected,
but I would like them to know I am praying for them.

I commend the monastic community, young people and many other
individuals from nearby areas for their good neighbourly support and
assistance to the families of those who have lost everything. May your
exemplary compassion continue to grow. This kind of voluntary work in
the service of others really puts the bodhisattva aspiration into practice.

I also applaud the Chinese authorities for visiting the affected areas,
especially Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who has not only personally
offered comfort to the affected communities, but has also overseen the
relief work. I am very appreciative too that the media have been free to
report on the tragedy and its aftermath. In 2008, when a similar
earthquake struck Sichuan, Chinese central and local government leaders
and auxiliary authorities took great pains to provide relief, allow free
access to the media, as well as clearing the way for international
relief agencies to provide assistance as required. I applauded these
positive moves then and appeal for such ease of access on this occasion too.

The Tibetan community in exile would like to offer whatever support and
assistance it can towards the relief work. We hope to be able to do this
through the proper and appropriate channels as soon as possible.

When Sichuan was rocked by an earthquake two years ago, I wished to
visit the affected areas to pray and comfort the people there, but I was
unable to do so. However, when Taiwan was struck by a typhoon last year,
I was able to visit the affected families and pray with them for those
who had perished in that disaster. In providing some solace to the
people concerned, I was happy to be able to do something useful.

This time the location of the earthquake, Kyigudo (Chinese: Yushu), lies
in Qinghai Province, which happens to be where both the late Panchen
Lama and I were born. To fulfill the wishes of many of the people there,
I am eager to go there myself to offer them comfort.

In conclusion, I appeal to governments, international aid organisations
and other agencies to extend whatever assistance they can to enable the
families of those devastated by this tragedy to rebuild their lives. At
the same time, I also call on the survivors of this catastrophe to
recognise what has happened as the workings of karma and to transform
this adversity into something positive, keeping their hopes up and
meeting setbacks with courage as they struggle to restore what they have
lost. Once again, I pray for those who have lost their lives as well as
for the well being of those who have survived.

In a strange example of his status as both an exiled spiritual leader
and a global celebrity, these somber messages appear on his Facebook
page right alongside video of the Dalai Lama being interviewed by a
Bollywood star, Preity Zinta, during an Indian Premier League cricket
match he attended, and seemed baffled by, on Sunday in his hometown of
Dharamsala.
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