Speech of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on the Occasion of Celebrations Marking the 81st Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Today marks the 6th day of July in 1935, which corresponded to the 5th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan Wood-Hog Year, when His Holiness the Dalai Lama took birth at Tagtser Village in the Kumbum area of Domey as foretold in unmistakably discernible terms by enlightened deities and Lamas alike, with his actual birth being indicated by wondrously miraculous appearances of numerous auspicious omens. This joyous occasion is the fruition of the accumulated merits of the sentient beings of the snowland of Tibet on the one hand and compassion-driven prior prayers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the other hand, who is the designated deity of Tibet Chenresig, the supreme embodiment of compassion in human bodily manifestation among the pantheons of bodhisattvas, the spiritual lord of The Three Realms, a champion of global peace, the master on this earth of all the teachings of the Buddha, the patron-protector of all Tibetans, and the unexceptionable leader of Tibet. This is a grand occasion celebrating his 81st birthday according to the universal calendar year system and his 82nd birthday according to the Tibetan calendar system. On this happy occasion we remember him with infinite fondness for his kindness and the limitless amounts of gratitude we owe to him. With offering of prostrations, we on behalf of all Tibetans in Tibet and in exile, offer our greetings and felicitations to His Holiness with feelings of joy, faith, and contentment.

It bears no mentioning that by reincarnating in unimaginable range of births as kings, ministers, scholars, yogis, and so on, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has guided infinite numbers of devotees to the noble path of becoming exalted and enlightened beings, with those who follow him in his all-pervasive, timeless noble deeds being extant across all The Three Realms of existence. The instituting by His Holiness the Great Fifth Dalai Lama of the system of governance which combined both the temporal and spiritual aspects ensured that under the comfort of a common administrative canopy, the happiness and well-being of all sentient beings of the Snowland of Tibet was ensured. In particular, His Holiness the Great Fourteenth Dalai Lama took birth to assume command at a time when the humanity in general lived in a degenerate period and the religiously imbued Tibet, in particular, was plunged in such critical situation as today. Endowed with all the symbols of a noble being in his perfect physical attributes, His Holiness became an accomplished bearer of all knowledge in both the general and specialized fields, including in the aspects of hearing, thinking and contemplating, and in the aspects of teaching, debating, and composing, becoming the apex ornament in Buddhist learning in the Snowland of Tibet.

In 1949, communist China began its invasion of Tibet from its eastern borders, as a result, the political situation in the country became highly precarious. The country was plunged into a situation of emergency and insurmountable difficulty. Such being the criticality of the situation, the deities and subjects of Tibet, without any exception, acted as one, making a spontaneous appeal to His Holiness the Dalai Lama with utmost earnestness. Accordingly, despite being only sixteen years of age at that time, he assumed his position as the temporal head and spiritual leader of the religiously and politically governed Snowland of Tibet. He then at once set up a Reform Bureau as a separate office in an effort to transform the prevailing political and administrative system in Tibet in all their aspects into one based on democracy and liberty. He thereby initiated a process to enable the citizens of Tibet to carry on their lives in an atmosphere of freedom. Unfortunately, however, because the invading army of communist China took control of the whole of the Snowland of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama had no option but to leave his homeland in 1959 and seek political asylum in neighbouring India. Immediately after setting foot on Indian soil, His Holiness met with leaders of the government of India at the various different levels and requested their help. These led to the establishment for the first time of a Central Tibetan Administration in exile in order to look after the well being of the many tens of thousands of Tibetans who had arrived in exile in his footsteps with a great sense of caring. In this milieu, religious centres were set up without any sectarian bias and wherein the followers of the four great schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the followers of the Bon religion could carry on their own traditions in their own places of practice, worship, and study. Likewise, settlements, schools, handicraft centres, places of business, and so on were set up in keeping with the perceived requirements under different circumstances. They all flourish today with stellar vibrancy owing to the nobility of purpose and kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

With regard to the Middle Way Policy for resolving the issue of Tibet, which is mutually beneficial to China and Tibet alike, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has, since 1974, held discussions on successive occasions with the speakers and deputy speakers of the Tibetan parliament in Exile, the Kalons, the officials of the Central Tibetan Administration, and delegates representing the Tibetan public. In 1979, Deng Xiaoping, the leader of communist-ruled China at that time, put forward the condition that anything except independence could be discussed and resolved. And on 18 September 1997, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile unanimously passed a resolution to adopt the Middle Way Policy for the resolution of the issue of Tibet. This has become a policy of the Central Tibetan Administration and has been repeatedly reaffirmed as such. The policy has also received support from the international community, both from collective bodies and at individual levels, including from many governments. Besides, and in particular, a truly great number of intellectuals and others in China extend support for it with gladness and this remains a continuously growing trend. Developments such as these are results of adhering with fundamental importance to the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama whose practical approach to resolving the issue of Tibet is based on the reality of the current situation.

In order especially to transform the political system of Tibet into one that is based on the noble democratic way, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1960 newly established a Tibetan parliament in Exile with its members being elected by the people. In 2011, out of exceptional concern and keeping solely in view the immediate as well as long term fundamental interests of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama devolved all the political and administrative powers held over the past nearly 400 years by the Ganden Phodang to the leaders directly elected by the Tibetan people. Throughout the above period, His Holiness the Dalai Lama strived to, and succeeded in, transforming the Central Tibetan Administration into a modern democratic setup which is both outstanding and stable. The above are but some examples of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s outstanding accomplishments in boundless fields both spiritual and political. There is no way we the entire people of Tibet can ever repay His Holiness for the gratitude we owe to him.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has received hundreds of globally famous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Likewise, he has also undertaken – as he continues to – numerous trips for noble and admirable causes to a number of countries. In this respect, he has, for the benefit of the sentient beings across the world in general and for the sake of Tibet and the Tibetan people in particular, set for himself three main commitments: That as a human being, he undertakes to promote human values; that as a practitioner of the Buddhist religion, he undertakes to promote harmony and friendship among the followers of the different religions in this world; and that as a Tibetan in general and especially as someone who is greatly looked up to and trusted by all Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile, he undertakes to work for the fundamental cause of Tibet and to act as a free spokesperson for the Tibetans suffering repression under alien domination in their homeland. He has hence become an outstanding symbol of admiration by all for acting true to his noble commitments of universal concern in this world.

Another highly admirable deed of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been his initiation of a hitherto non-existent interaction between Buddhism and modern science in an era when the strength of the influence of science has become unavoidable in this world. As a result of his taking of initiatives to organize on successive occasions discussions based on indepth research in their respective fields, unbiased scientists who are experts in their fields have taken to undertake indepth research in Buddhist science. And they have concluded that in order to ensure a happy society in this world, the main requirement is for one to be warm-hearted within. And they have come to understand that Buddhism, or, rather, Buddhist science can help accomplish the realization of such a society. On this basis, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s deeds of immense benefit have been aimed at transforming this world into a peaceful and compassionate one.

Recently, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited cities in five states of the United States of America, during which he carried forward his noble mission of promoting peace, love and compassion, and universal responsibility in this world. In particular, while visiting the capital Washington, DC, His Holiness was honoured and praised while meeting with top congressional leaders and other lawmakers, as well as other prominent leaders both in the government and in the opposition. In the Congress, a call was issued emphasizing the importance of supporting the struggle of the Tibetan people if their religion and culture, language and script and so on were to be protected. Through actions such as these, the Tibetan issue received strong and meaningful support. In particular, on 15 June 2016, despite strong objections and pressure from the government of China issued through various channels of communication, President Barack Obama of the United States of America and His Holiness the Dalai Lama met in the White House. And in that meeting the United States president expressed respect, praise and admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s efforts to promote compassion. The two leaders discussed the situation in Tibet and on Tibetan religion, culture, and human rights of the Tibetan people. The president, in his turn, expressed support for the middle way policy and called for the resumption of dialogue between the government of China and representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a message directed at Beijing. This was a result of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s perseverance in continued efforts to achieve the just cause of Tibet. In view of this fact, we take this opportunity to express limitless thanks and gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on behalf of all Tibetans in Tibet and in exile.

Also, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has continued to show great concern about the environmental situation across the world in general and especially on the situation in Tibet. In this connection, it is understood that the environmental situation in Tibet has a direct effect on the well being of the situation in neighbouring India as well as across the whole of the Asian continent, particularly in China. For many thousands of years, Tibetans in Tibet had nurtured their country’s environment to protect it from harms in keeping with their tradition, custom, and culture. However, ever since it was invaded and occupied by communist China, the whole of Tibet’s environment has suffered devastating and irreparable destruction to limitless extents and this situation continues today. Recently, the local Tibetans in Domey Sangchu Dzong staged a series of protests against mining activities being carried out at a sacred site called Gong-Ngon Lari located in Amchok Township. The government of China responded by sending a large number of army troops to the mining site to carry out a violent suppression of the protestors, resulting in many of the protesting Tibetans getting serious injuries. Some of them had to be rushed to hospital in urgent efforts to try to save them from life-threatening injuries. Also recently, the government of the so-called Tsolho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province had, in an action smacking of ethnic discrimination, issued a dictatorial order, banning the local Tibetans from pitching tents along a stretch of the Qinghai Lake which they were using to cater to visiting tourists for their livelihood. Army troops and police forces were sent in to carry out indiscriminate beating of the Tibetan people, resulting in serious injuries. Likewise, when local Tibetans learnt that Chinese businesspeople had been setting traps to catch antelopes in a forested mountain area at a place called Dege Menshoe, they at once complained to the local government authorities. However, the officials did absolutely nothing. In fact, the government of China has been cracking down violently on Tibetans who campaign to protect the environment, or who engage in activities to preserve the Tibetan culture, or who involve themselves in similar kinds of other initiatives by subjecting them to arbitrary arrest or detention. It was in keeping with this situation that on 25th June, the Chinese police took away without any clear reason the prominent Tibetan film director and writer Mr. Pema Tseden from the Xining airport and subjected him to detention and beating. It resulted in Pema Tseden being required to be taken to hospital for treatment because of the seriousness of his physical conditions. To sum up, for all the numerous kinds of projects the government of China carries out in Tibet in the name of development, the end result invariably remains that there is inevitable devastating destruction of the environment which has effects not only across the world in general but also especially across Southeast Asia and, in particular, in Tibet whose territory and human inhabitants and natural resources suffer. It is therefore of utmost importance that everyone pay sufficient attention to this critical situation and we reiterate our appeal to this end accordingly on this occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday.

During the course of the recently concluded elections for Sikyong and Members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, there has been a fair amount of internal bickering rooted in parochial concerns which were not in keeping with the ethics of being Tibetan. However, the Sikyong and parliamentary elections are now behind us and everyone gets on with his and her duties. The Tibetan public also carries on its concerned cooperative role in keeping with the requirements of the democratic principles. Tibetans at the grassroots level have united as one like a single pointed chisel. And because this fact had become manifest, His Holiness the Dalai Lama told the Tibetans living in California state of the USA during his recent meeting with them that all the discordant issues which cropped up during the recently concluded Tibetan general elections had now completely subsided, like the sky being cleared of all tarnish and the earth of all dust. He assured them that they could all now afford to be at ease. Receiving this comforting assurance has filled our hearts with infinite joy. At the same time, we deem it important that all Tibetans vouch to henceforth continue to adhere without any cause for degeneration to their ethics of Tibetanness and preserve their unity and on that basis move forward with confidence and in accordance with the great wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama without any let-down and violation of this oath. In this period of such critical situation for Tibet, it is of the essence of the matter that all Tibetans strongly adhere to this requirement and we reiterate our appeal to everyone to bear in mind the importance of appreciating the need for it.

It has now been more than 57 years since Tibetans who fled their homeland sought refuge in foreign countries, including especially India. In particular, India has been like a second home to us. Governments both at the centre and the states, as well as people across India have all provided us wide-ranging help, protection, and fraternal friendship. In appreciation at all times of the rendering of these help, we take the opportunity provided by this festive occasion to express our thanks and gratitude to the government and people of India and, likewise, also to the governments, political leaders, the Tibet Support Groups community, and the individual supporters across the world.

Finally, we pray that His Holiness the Dalai Lama live for a hundred aeons, that all his desires may be seen fulfilled spontaneously, and that the just cause of Tibet may be definitely achieved.


Tibetan Parliament in Exile



6 July 2016