Author Topic: ‘I strongly wish self-immolations would stop soon’ - Karmapa Thaye Dorje  (Read 7119 times)


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Now, the Karmapa (Thaye Dorje) has come out and openly condemns self-immolation, why hasn't the Dalai Lama and CTA?

Lalita Panicker, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 11, 2012

Self-immolation for the cause of Tibet has claimed 28 lives in November alone. The total number of deaths since this trend began is 90. But not all Tibetan spiritual leaders agree with this method of protest.  In a nation-wide exclusive interview with the Hindustan Times, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, head of the Karma Kagya lineage of Tibetan Buddhism said the escalating number of self-immolations was a cause of great concern to him.

“This is definitely not a practice of Buddhism. I strongly wish this would soon stop. The practice of Buddhist dharma is our greatest inheritance as Tibetans. This enjoins upon us to preserve the human existence. It is through this ... that we are able to achieve liberation.”
He said the Buddha himself had said that we must sustain this body and have a clear conscience. Self-immolation not only harms oneself but also creates confusion in the minds of others. “The human existence is like a temple. We have to look at non-violent methods... One needs to calm one’s mind, when there are negative emotions, the mind becomes heated leading to violent actions.”

Karmapa said he has very little knowledge or interest in politics be it that of India or China and feels that true devotion to Buddhist practices with its compassion and wisdom will show everyone a way out of their dilemmas.

When asked if he feels a sense of regret that the Dalai Lama does not recognise him as a reincarnation of the Karmapa Lama — he supports Ugyen Trinley Dorje who lives in Dharamshala — he said he had immense respect for the Dalai Lama’s scholarship of Buddhism.

When asked whether there was a conflict of interest between him and the other Karmapa, he said there were some issues, but said that his primary concern today was the practice of self-immolation and this is what he was most concerned about.

You can read the interview below:

There have been 90 self-immolations so far by Tibets protesting for the cause of freeing Tibet from Chinese rule. In November alone, there were 28 deaths. What is your view on this?
 As a Tibetan born in Tibet, this escalation in self-immolations is a cause of concern for me. We Tibetans are known for our spirituality, for our practice of compassion and wisdom, our practice of Buddhist dharma. This is our greatest inheritance. I am shocked that Tibetans are taking such actions. I strongly feel this should stop, this is definitely not a practice of Buddhism.
Why do you think more and more people are taking to this method of protest?
I would say that we take these drastic measures when our mind if heated by emotions. We lose touch with our spiritual inheritance. We need to calm the mind so that we can tackle these situations.
What form of protest do you advocate?
Again, I have to speak from a spiritual perspective. We need to fall back on our spiritual practices. When we feel unclear and confused we must try to apply our spirituality to this and try and work out meaningful ways.
How can you draw attention to the cause this way?
When the mind is clear, when the tools we apply are transparent, we can achieve what we want. We need to fall back on our Tibetan way of life to bring clarity and happiness. If we can do, this we can achieve anything we want.
Does it bother you that the Dalai Lama does not recognise you as an authentic incarnation?
As a Tibetan born in Tibet, I have the highest respect for the Dalai Lama. He is a learned scholar of Buddhist philosophy, he is a learned scholar in general.
Why are you so vehement about how wrong self-immolations are?
In the experience of Buddhist dharma, we are taught to preserve the human existence. Through this existence, we are able to achieve wondrous things, achieve liberation. The Buddha himself said that we must sustain this body and maintain a clear conscience. Self-immolations not only harm oneself but also create confusion in the minds of others. We need to remind ourselves where we come from. We need to remember our philosophy. Non-violence cannot evolve from such drastic methods. The human existence is like a temple, as long as we remain in human existence, we must develop this physical being.

"Karmapa Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje during an interview with Hindustan Times. (HT Photo/Jasjeet Plaha)
The Tibetan prime minister in exile has also while not endorsing self-immolation said that it is the sacred duty of every Tibetan to support self-immolations for the cause. What do you feel about this?
 I am sure he has every right intention. But my life is one of spirituality. Tibetans are known for their spirituality and compassion howsoever mundane these may be, howsoever limited. Because of our following Buddhism, we have come this far in understanding and peace. At the moment, the general awareness of self-immolations is very strong. My voice might be just one raised against this. As a fellow Tibetan, it is my duty to offer my thoughts and perspective on this.
You have been in India for a long time, what has been your experience?
I have enjoyed wonderful hospitality here. I have the freedom to practice my spirituality which is for me the greatest freedom.
Do you think the new dispensation in China will change things for the better in Tibet or not?
 I have very little knowledge or interest in politics. I am a spiritual practitioner.
People treat you as a living god, how do you deal with this?
Life itself is impermanent, one may experience different ways of life. I try to follow my practice to the best of my ability, but yes, it is very challenging. When the mind gets heated, it is best to apply spiritual practices.
Has there been a conflict of interest between you and the other Karmapa?
There have been issues, but my primary concern at the moment is self-immolation. I cannot picture any life besides spirituality.
You were only one and half years old when you declared that you were the Karmapa. Do you have any recollections of that time?
 I have recollections, yes. It is a part of our spirituality. We have memories of rebirths, reincarnations. Through meditation, one can recall past lives. Unfortunately, we are sometimes too busy to meditate and remember past lives.
Do you ever have doubts about your mission, yourself?
Yes, there are doubts, anxieties, fears, it is all part of this world. We cannot give in to doubt, if we do then we may take drastic steps. It is important to focus as much as possible on the positive to balance oneself.
Is Buddhism according to you a religion or a philosophy?
There are many different perspectives. There is a ritualistic aspect to Buddhism. But it is also a way of life. We need to bring about an understanding of the meaning of one’s life, what benefit one can bring about. We need to simplify things, focus on what is important. We must know our priorities, we must help others and keep our mind and body away from disturbing actions and emotions.
"I am shocked that Tibetans are taking such actions. I strongly feel this (self-immolations) should stop, this is definitely not a practice of Buddhism," said Karmapa Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje in an interview to Hindustan Times. (HT Photo/Jasjeet Plaha)
 You have spoken about the three poisons, greed, ignorance and anger. How do you overcome these?
Through spirituality. Through meditation. One sees things clearer this way. Like still water, without ripples, without bubbles. We need to be calm to analyse things. It is important to understand ethics. We need to apply this when it comes to issues like self-immolation.
Does the belief in reincarnation reduce the fear of death?
This is a temporary solution. We have to reach a state of consciousness where we know no fear. We should have no fear whether or not there is a rebirth. If it helps to believe in rebirth to reduce fear, it is fine. We have to believe however that we will reach that state of no fear at all.
What is your message today to the Chinese, Indians, Tibetans?
We have to have kind thoughts and positive actions. We have to continue on the path of virtue.
Do you think Tibet will ever be free?
It depends on how we apply our spiritual inheritance, we need to adopt kind means, not drastic means.
What do you do in your spare time?
I don’t have much spare time. But I try to keep up with entertainment and the news so I can connect better with my fellow spiritual practitioners.


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And on a similar note, China says:

Self-immolations won't help Dalai Lama: Chinese daily

Beijing: The Dalai Lama and his supporters are doomed to fail in their attempt to attain Tibetan independence by stoking self-immolations, Chinese newspaper People's Daily said Tuesday.
Instigating self-immolations in China's ethnic Tibetan areas was "among the latest tactics that the Dalai clique has taken in recent years to achieve their political purposes", the article said.
Since fleeing China in 1959, the Dalai Lama and his followers "have masterminded a series of seriously violent incidents, including the March 14 riots in Lhasa in 2008", it said.
"All of them are aimed at 'Tibet independence'," the article noted.

"Soon after self-immolations occur, the Dalai clique repeatedly demands 'peace talks' to be held between China's central authorities and the self-declared 'Tibetan government-in-exile' for 'solving Tibet-related issues', China's state-run news agency Xinhua said.
Leaders of the "Tibetan government-in-exile" in Dharamsala in India's Himachal Pradesh have also publicly voiced "hopes" that self-immolations in China's ethnic Tibetan areas will lead to turmoil similar to the 2011 riots in the Arab world, it said.

The article in People's Daily followed "some Western media" in pointing out that self-immolations of Tibetans have already became a means for the Dalai Lama and the "Tibetan government-in-exile" to pressure China for political interests.
"But China's unity, strength and rising international status will never be shaken by these inhumane acts", it said.
"Whatever means they take, the Dalai Lama and his followers can't change the general situation of Tibet's development and stability, nor their doomed chances of splitting Tibet from China," the author said.
According to the Tibetan government-in-exile, a total of 92 self-immolation cases have taken place since 2009. Over 20 cases took place in November this year.


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Just to recollect that the other Karmapa Urgyen Trinley has already condemned self-immolation last year, so by now both Karmapas have voiced out against self-immolations, only the Dalai Lama/CTA are still keeping quiet.

Karmapa urges Tibetan monks to stop self-immolation

The Guardian, Thursday 10 November 2011

The Karmapa, one of the most senior religious figures from Tibet, has urged Tibetans in China to end a spate of self-immolations and find other ways to challenge Beijing's policies.
Eleven monks, former monks and nuns have set fire to themselves in Sichuan, south-west China this year.

Many see the 25-year-old Karmapa as a possible successor to the Dalai Lama as the spiritual leader of exiled Tibetans. Both men have expressed deep sorrow at the deaths and blamed Chinese policies for the self-immolations.
But the elder man also accused China of "cultural genocide" and has not appealed to Tibetans to halt such acts.
The Karmapa praised the bravery and "pure motivation" of those involved, saying each case had filled his heart with pain.

"These desperate acts … are a cry against the injustice and repression under which they live," he said.
But he added: "I request the people of Tibet to preserve their lives and find other, constructive ways to work for the cause of Tibet."

"The situation is unbearably difficult, but in difficult situations we need greater courage and determination."
Drawing on both his religion and the wider challenges facing Tibetans he added: "Most of those who have died have been very young. They had a long future ahead of them, an opportunity to contribute in ways that they have now foregone. In Buddhist teaching life is precious. To achieve anything worthwhile we need to preserve our lives. We Tibetans are few in number, so every Tibetan life is of value to the cause of Tibet."
Until two years ago – when a monk died after setting fire to himself in Aba county, where most of the cases have occurred – the practice was unknown among clerics.

But since the start of a security clampdown provoked by the second case, in March this year, there has been a series of such immolations.
The Karmapa said that, like the Dalai Lama, he believed that the real source of the problem lay in the "desperate circumstances" facing Tibetans and that using force was counterproductive.

"Repressive measures can never bring about unity and stability," he said.
"I appeal to the Chinese leaders to heed Tibetans' legitimate demands and to enter into meaningful dialogue with them instead of brutally trying to achieve their silence."

Aba – and in particular its largest monastery, Kirti – remains under heavy security.
Exile sources in Dharamsala said two monks were arrested in the monastery in the last week and taken away for unknown reasons. The numbers have already dwindled from 2,500 monks at the start of the year to a few hundred, with many reportedly detained or sent home.
The sources also alleged that 200 officials were now based in the monastery, monitoring life there and interfering with day-to-day religious practices.

They said officials had renewed efforts to enforce rules that all under-18s must attend the government school, threatening families with fines of 3000 yuan per child – a large sum relative to local incomes – if their children had become monks or were studying at monastery schools.
Police and government officials in Aba said they knew nothing of the detentions or other restrictions.

The Chinese government has said Tibetans are free to practise their faith and accused the Dalai Lama of "terrorism in disguise" because he has led prayers for those who have set fire to themselves.
A foreign ministry official said last month that the spiritual leader was inciting further cases by glorifying those who had self-immolated. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to split Tibet from China, while he says he seeks meaningful autonomy.
Separately, the Associated Press reported that a man in Tibetan monks' robes set fire to himself in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thursday in protest at Chinese policies.


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A very interesting view on the current situation of self-immolation:

Self-immolations crisis: who is to blame for the stalemate?
Phayul[Tuesday, November 13, 2012 09:38]
By Christophe Besuchet

Although the number of self-immolations is rising at an exponential and very disturbing rate in Tibet, the crisis is gradually reaching a stalemate. With no change in the horizon and less attention being paid by foreign media and governments, more and more people outside Tibet are expressing doubts about the effectiveness of such protests and wondering whether precious lives are not being sacrificed in vain.

But it would be a tremendous error if the success of such acts of defiance against China’s might were measured uniquely by the amount of attention received abroad. It would suggest that the domestic impact has no value and that demonstrations, such as the one in Rebkong after the self-immolation of Tamdrin Tso, involving several thousands of students, are meaningless. As the cousin of 21-year-old Lobsang Jamyang, who set himself on fire on 14 January 2012 in Amdo Ngaba, recently said, it is inside Tibet that the value of these actions is to be measured:

“It seems that our protests and specially the news of self-immolations fell on deaf ears but it is not true that Tibetan protests have gone unheard or unnoticed. (…) The impact of the Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet was beyond measure.”[1]

Self-immolations could arguably be considered a failure if we think that they are primarily for foreign consumption. However, many elements tend to prove that this interpretation is painfully reductive: the eyes of the Tibetans inside Tibet may not be turned to Washington or Brussels, and it may well be that the response from the exiled Tibetan leadership responsible for the deadly stalemate and directly influences the growing number — or any reduction — of self-immolations.

I am convinced that the failure to make good use of the current crisis is the result of two factors: (1) an incorrect assessment of self-immolators' objectives; and (2) a far too cautious reaction from the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. For most Tibetans abroad and their supporters, the general perception is that people in occupied Tibet set themselves on fire to urge the international community to speak out and condemn the ongoing repression in Tibet. This line of thinking, unsurprisingly, leads commentators to wonder why the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi succeeded in bringing down the Tunisian regime whereas over seventy self-immolations in Tibet have not affected the world.

And it is precisely by raising the case of 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi that the reply can be found: his self-immolation (only the first of many during the Arab Spring) did not in any way prompt foreign governments to support the Tunisian Revolution — the regime was an ally of most European capitals — but it captured the discontent and frustration of Tunisians, who left their fears behind and took to the streets to bravely stand up to their leaders. Tunisia is not alone: wherever self-immolations have taken place in this world, they primarily influenced the concerned masses, not foreign governments. Expecting world leaders to be moved and to act exclusively on the basis of the gruesome sacrifice of a large number of Tibetans is pure wishful thinking; as long as the stakes are not seriously raised by Tibetans abroad, no international intervention, nor even UN resolution, can be expected.

But wondering why self-immolations in Tibet do not affect the world is also misreading self-immolators’ messages. Apart from Gudrub, the 43-year-old writer who set himself on fire in Nakchu on 4 October 2012 and who wrote “Just world, uphold the truth“[2], none of the self-immolators in occupied Tibet called, directly or indirectly, for foreign support — at least as far as we know. Since 1987, calls to the United Nations or to visiting diplomats have regularly been made from Tibet. This is not something unheard of. But this time, no one mentioned outside help. All the messages we are aware of are pleas for national unity. Their authors appeal to their compatriots to stand as proud Tibetans and work for the freedom of Tibet. These are calls to oppose and act against China’s tyranny, not to beg for foreign support.

The second factor accountable for the current stalemate — and by far the most important — is the extremely cautious attitude adopted by Dharamshala. The reaction of a government ought to be proportional to the magnitude of a specific national crisis or disaster. Considering the extreme methods of protest used in Tibet and the harsh response by the Chinese regime, caution and defensiveness can hardly be appropriate. Nevertheless, flying in the face of basic common sense, Sangay’s government ordered the status quo on the Middle Way Approach to be maintained, a status quo that is alarming and, by any standard, criminal.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Dharamshala has operated as if it were unaware of the true scope and domestic impact of the self-immolations. It conveniently pays little attention to calls for independence and obstinately persists in pursuing a policy that has failed to bring any result since its adoption more that thirty years ago. In this regard, it is highly ironical that Sangay’s government vows “to fulfill aspirations of Tibetans inside Tibet" while it actually tries by every means to negotiate an autonomy that visibly nobody wants. So much for the changes promised on the campaign trail.

Even more absurd is that Dharamshala has not even tried to take advantage of the self-immolations crisis to review its strategy and raise the stakes with Beijing. If not on such an occasion as this, when will its policy be adjusted? Along the same lines as in 2008, when the attention of the entire world was turned towards China and the Olympics, and protests had erupted all over occupied Tibet – or more recently when the Dalai Lama’s special envoys resigned – the Tibetan Government-in-Exile has miserably failed to display the kind of leadership required in such circumstances. The time is ripe for change, but the Tibetan leadership persists in advocating reconciliation and, despite all evidence to the contrary, refuses to acknowledge that Beijing will not negotiate until it is forced to do so by some serious challenges.

Unfortunately, Dharamshala’s stubbornness has a cost, and everything indicates that maintaining the status quo seems to have a significant influence on self-immolations. The graph below displays, in a cumulative way, a timeline of self-immolations since August 2011. For the purpose of this article, and to see whether there was any correlation, major events were plotted on the timeline.

Although it is highly imprudent and unreliable to jump to conclusions from so little data, some striking parallels can be observed. Four major periods with no immolations (highlighted in blue on the graph) are noticeable since the beginning of the crisis: three of them lasted more than a month, the other lasted twenty-four days. Interestingly, these respites do not seem to be fortuitous: each can be linked to a particular event.

The first respite was from 11 November 2011 to 5 January 2012: in fifty-six days, only one self-immolation took place. It began two days after the Karmapa urged an end to immolations[3], an appeal that was soon followed by the Dalai Lama voicing doubts about these sacrifices on BBC[4]. This respite also started just after two self-immolations were carried out abroad. It is not clear whether the appeals from the two religious leaders or the protests abroad had any influence, but no one set him or herself on fire in Tibet for the next eight weeks. (However, this autumn, the second appeal by the Karmapa had no effect on protests.) This period ended while the Kalachakra initiation was being given in Bodhgaya. Immolations resumed the day after Lobsang Sangay announced that Tibetans were “ready for negotiations anywhere, anytime”[5], with four cases in only nine days.

The second respite, much shorter, occurred between January and February 2012 and lasted for only twenty-four days. No major event seems to have prompted it, but it ended brutally the day the Global Vigil for Tibet was launched, on 8 February.

The third and fourth respites could very accurately be linked to the Second Special Meeting called in Dharamshala to "discuss ways to deal with the present crisis in Tibet". The first of these two respites began on 20 April, three days after the meeting was officially announced[6]. It ended the highest peak of self-immolations ever seen in Tibet: twenty-one cases in seventy-two days, and it lasted for thirty-seven days without a single immolation attempt. For unidentified reasons, self-immolations resumed during the Saga Dawa celebrations, on 27 May, although at a slower pace than previously. By the time the fourth respite occurred, ninety-three days later, sixteen Tibetans had set themselves on fire.

The occurrence of the last respite is even more troubling. It stops with the conclusion of the special meeting, one day after more than four hundred Tibetans from twenty-six countries had appealed, in vain, to Tibetans inside Tibet not to take “drastic actions”[7]. It seemed as if self-immolation protests had finally ceased towards the end of August, in anticipation of the outcome of the meeting, and then, as soon as it was clear that no policy shift was in store, they started again with even more intensity. In the month following the meeting, blatantly ignoring the call from the delegates, twelve self-immolations occurred in Tibet. Looking at the events of the last few days nothing seems to presage any decrease in the number of protests.

In a nutshell, if this graph is to be believed, spikes in the number of self-immolations and periods of respite are directly influenced by the initiatives or lack of guidance from the exiled leadership. The more Dharamshala is prudent, the more self-immolations there are. No other events originally plotted on the graph showed any correlation with the timeline of protests, be it religious festivals, Lobsang Sangay's visits abroad, parliament sessions, or foreign visitors in China (former US president Carter in December 2011). Viewed from any perspective, every immolation seems to be a direct response — or a loud signal, depending on your point of view — to the Tibetan leadership.

What are we to conclude from all this? If appeals to stop self-immolations are ignored, if the primary objective of their authors is not about calling out to the international community and if, as the above chart tends to indicate, they reject the status quo as an option, the solution to the problem can only be found in a radical shift in Dharamshala’s strategy. Adding more casualties to the list of China’s wrongdoings and knocking at the door of foreign governments is definitely not enough. Nor is the “how-many-more-sacrifices-before-the-world-will act” attitude serving any purpose. When the “national drum” is being beaten loudly in Tibet, when “prime ministers” are called “kings” and when an “autonomous region” is called a “nation”, the time has come to change the rules of the game. The time has come for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile to declare the Middle Way Approach “no longer valid”, as the Dalai Lama did in 1992, and to resume active lobbying for the restoration of Tibetan independence.

I am still convinced, every bit as much as I was ten months ago when I wrote my first piece on this tragic crisis[8], that a change of policy from Dharamshala is the key to putting an end to self-immolations. As far as I can see, the eyes of the self-immolators are turned towards Dharamshala, and not in the direction of Beijing, Washington or Brussels. When these men and women set themselves on fire, they are sending a signal to what they consider and value as their legitimate government. This signal is a call for action, a call for unity. And I am confident that they are patiently looking not for signs of sympathy or prayers, but for clear directions and leadership. The spike of immolations that happened right after the Second Special Meeting should serve as a lesson, and remind everyone that the time for passivity is over. As Gudrub wrote in justification of self-immolation protests, “Since China is uninterested in the well-being of the Tibetan people, we are sharpening our nonviolent movement”. Can’t Dharamshala do the same?

Christophe Besuchet is an art director and a long-time activist in Tibet's independence movement. He is currently the Vice President of Switzerland's Rangzen Alliance.

Article submitted by the author.

The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.


[1] Gyaltsen, "My cousin brother who set self on fire too had a dream like you and me", Tibet Telegraph, 29 August 2012

[2] Pawo Gudrup, "Sound of National Drum Beaten by Lives", 4 Oct 2012, #TsampaRevolution's facebook page

[3] "Senior exiled Tibetan urges end to immolations", Reuters, 9 November 2011.

[4] "Dalai Lama questions wisdom of self-immolations", BBC, 18 November 2011.

[5] Tendar Tsering, "'We are ready for negotiations,' says Kalon Tripa". Phayul, 5 January 2012

[6] “Dharamsala to Host 2nd Special Meeting of Tibetans”, 16 April 2012,

[7] "Plea to Stop Burnings Ignored", Radio Free Asia, 29 September 2012

[8] Christophe Besuchet, "Beacons of resistance, not desperate acts", 28 January 2012.


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Thank you Namdrol for four very insightful and hard-hitting posts.

On the first, I am very impressed with the way the Karmapa Thaye Dorje has come out to speak about issues that the CTA has pretty much danced around, if not got the wrong end of the stick. His answers come across as sincere and very precise and I especially like how he clearly stands against the loss of lives and encourages Tibetans not to lose their spirituality during this difficult period. Thaye Dorje is not without his own set of problems and he faces an uncertain future but very clearly his interest is on the welfare of the people and not so much in personal gains through political maneuvering. 

The Karmapa Thaye Dorje said: "I have the freedom to practice my spirituality which is for me the greatest freedom" and whether intended on not, the Karmapa's opinion also an indication of his stance on religious bans such as the ban on Dorje Shugden. He seems to be of the opinion that whether the Tibetan Cause is achieved or not depends on how Tibetans "apply their spiritual inheritance". To me this is a tremendous statement of faith in the Buddha's teachings which when we come to think of it, is the most powerful weapon that Tibetans can yield.

The Karmapa speaking out against the unnecessary loss of lives and his careful examination of what needs to be done to solve the plight of the Tibetans is what we find sorely absent from the CTA all these years. And linking the substance contained in all four posts again we see what the CTA has failed to, or refused to see all this time. If the CTA were to read public and largely independent opinions about how the CTA have carried themselves in the face of problems in the home front and abroad, then surely they have to realize by now that there is a serious need to change and correct their own opinion, policies and approach to these issues.

I agree with the analysis of Christophe Besuchet who states with no uncertainty that unless the self sacrifices of so many Tibetans lead to a reunification of the Tibetan people and a review by the CTA of their own policies, then all the self immolators died for nothing. The call of the self immolators are for the CTA to unite the people and take action rather than sit in their comfort zones doing nothing much other than criticizing China. The CTA has to assume their share of responsibility in returning Tibetans to their motherland instead of laying the blame on China. And now that the Sikyong and the CTA are fully vested with the authority to decide proper measures to be taken, they should no longer procrastinate and there is no longer any excuse for them to.

It looks like outsiders are not the only people to see how miserably the CTA has failed its own people. It seems to me that Tibetans realize that as well but in the absence of a proper forum to voice their frustration without been seen as disloyal to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Cause, they have taken to self immolation.



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In a nutshell, if this graph is to be believed, spikes in the number of self-immolations and periods of respite are directly influenced by the initiatives or lack of guidance from the exiled leadership. The more Dharamshala is prudent, the more self-immolations there are. No other events originally plotted on the graph showed any correlation with the timeline of protests, be it religious festivals, Lobsang Sangay's visits abroad, parliament sessions, or foreign visitors in China (former US president Carter in December 2011). Viewed from any perspective, every immolation seems to be a direct response — or a loud signal, depending on your point of view — to the Tibetan leadership.

I wonder if the people are regretting their choice of Sangay as PM. This NEWS states the obvious truth and the failed self proclaimed govt - CTA is becoming more and more redundant... what are they doing??? If they are not doing anything in aid of anything then why even bother having an exile govt that is stagnant and is of no use for the people?

Perhaps the slogan should read "CTA we need you to ACT" ??? This is quite embarrassing.

It's true no country in history has ever had so many self-immolation protest without any REACTION from anyone... even their own Govt is ignoring it hu?! 


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I was just thinking that the only problem is the Tibetans will not listen to This Karmapa because he is not the one officiated by the Dalai lama.

In My eye's Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje has always been very venerable and worthy of respect. :)


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While the Karmapa and the rest of the Buddhist world speaks out against the self immolations, the Dalai Lama has chosen to passively encourage it by building a statue of the first self immolator in Dharamsala and holding prayer sessions for the self immolators. Here's an interesting article I found, that documents HHDL's response to the self immolations as compared to the Karmapa's

Dalai Lama speaks of dilemma on spreading self-immolations

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civil unrest
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EXCLUSIVE In his most detailed comments yet on the protests, which have brought fresh security restrictions across many Tibetan areas in recent months, the Dalai Lama, in an interview with The Hindu, described the self-immolations as "a very, very delicate political issue."

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said it is best for him “to remain neutral” on the issue of more than 40 Tibetans setting themselves on fire in the Tibetan areas of China over the past year, amid allegations by Beijing of a plot and concerns among some Tibetans about the spreading protests.

In his most detailed comments yet on the protests, which have brought fresh security restrictions across many Tibetan areas in recent months, the Dalai Lama, in an interview with The Hindu, described the self-immolations as “a very, very delicate political issue.”

“Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me,” he said. “If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their… life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong.”

In an appeal, some Tibetan writers and poets have called for the self-immolations to stop, arguing that Tibetans needed “to cherish life regardless of the magnitude of oppression.”

The Dalai Lama said that for him, “the best thing is to remain neutral.” He called on the Chinese government to “carry thorough research” and “not pretend that nothing is wrong” with its policies.

In a wide-ranging interview in his residence in this hill station on July 6, the day the Tibetan community here grandly celebrated the widely revered exiled leader’s 77th birthday with prayers and songs, the Dalai Lama spoke of the new challenges being faced by the Tibetan movement.

The Dalai Lama, who relinquished his political role last year, said he had expressed to younger Tibetans who were calling for independence and a more radical approach that his “Middle Way” of seeking meaningful autonomy, within the framework of the Chinese Constitution, was “the only realistic way” to address the Tibetan question.

He said he would address the issue of his succession when he turns 90, but cautioned China against “trying to take responsibility for the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation.” “If the Dalai Lama becomes 100 per cent pro-Chinese, then Tibetans will not respect the Dalai Lama.”

He said he perceived “a more realistic position” adopted by the Indian government than in the past on the Tibetan issue, as evinced by its decision to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang, in Arunachal Pradesh, in 2009, despite strong Chinese protests.

Gabby Potter

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I too pray that self-immolations would stop soon. Killing ourselves doesn't change anything, the ban is still there, people are still suffering. So please do not have that kind of thinking that if you ''sacrificed'' yourself for the Dharma, the ban will be lifted soon or the people would have religious freedom, because neither one of these will happen. It's better that we keep ourselves healthy and mentally strong so that we can continue to lift the ban, because this is what proves that we have strong determination and samaya. Remember, death doesn't solve anything.