months edition of Conscious Community. As I said in the last issue,
Conscious Evolution is about bettering not only ourselves, but also the world
around us. In recent months, there have been many debates on the World Community
forum about various topics in international relations. To further our knowledge
on some of these different topics, I have asked fellow forum members to
contribute their research and writing. This month Sucheta, AKA EagleOverTheSea,
has contributed a special World Community article about the Tibetan-Chinese
conflict in Tibet.
When the Dalai
Lama was asked which view of the world he would choose - an optimistic view
or a pessimistic view, he chose the former without hesitation. One of the
reasons for his optimism was that he sensed that the concept of humanity
as one is much stronger nowadays than it once was. You know its a new
feeling that seldom existed in the past. The other was the barbarian,
the one who was different.
For this concept
of humanity as one to develop, it is important to get to know
more about our fellow humans all around the world. To learn how their lives,
beliefs, and problems are similar to ours and also to learn what unique lessons
their way of life may have for us. To put a human face on the
other. It is with this aim in mind that we plan to feature a
different culture, belief system, or issue every month in the Conscious Community
section, so that we can truly be a Conscious Community.
off with a quote by the Dalai Lama, what better place to be featured in the
first article than Tibet?
Tibet, the Land
of Snows, is located in the centre of the Asian continent and bordered by
the Himalayas on three sides. Spread over the highest plateau on Earth, it
has earned the nickname, Rooftop of the World. Surrounded by
India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and China, Tibet has been a land frozen in time.
Nomads still roam the plateau from winter to summer camps and subsist on
their yak herds.
Religion has always
played a very important role in the Tibetan lifestyle. Tibet was originally
dominated by the local Bon religion. But with the introduction of Buddhism
from India, Tibet developed its own brand of Buddhism with a mix of Bon beliefs
and Indian Buddhist texts and a long tradition of Lamas. The Potala palace
in Lhasa was built by the Fifth Dalai Lama to act as the government seat
and a religious center. A theocracy existed until the Chinese invasion in
is an intertwining of political conquests and religion. The origins of Tibetan
culture may date back to the Yarlung Valley Dynasty which was responsible
not only for unifying central Tibet, but also for extending its influence
as far as Northern Pakistan, India, Nepal and parts of China. Alliances through
marriage formed with Nepal and China are said to have given Buddhism royal
patronage and thus facilitated the emergence of Buddhism as a major influence
in Tibetan life. Eventually China recovered the territories that it had lost
to Tibet and there was virtually no contact between the two for over three
A major turning
point in Tibets history came with the invasions by the Mongols who
had captured much of central Asia and China. It is said that Mongol troops
carried back accounts of the spiritual eminence of the Tibetan Lama to Godan
Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. This led to the formation of a unique
relationship between the Mongols and the Tibetans, whereby the Tibetan Lama
became the spiritual leader of the Mongols and the Mongols in turn provided
protection to the Tibetans from other invaders. This also made the Lama the
temporal Sovereign of Tibet.
With the disintegration
of the Mongol empire, Tibet and China acquired the status of independent
nations, and relations between them remained at the level of regular exchanges
of diplomatic courtesies.
relationship with the Mongols continued to deepen with the emergence of the
Gelugpa order of monks. The Mongols conferred the title of Dalai (Ocean of
Wisdom) on the third Gelugpa Lama and the tradition has continued to date,
the current Dalai Lama being the 14th Lama in the Gelugpa
Meanwhile the Manchu
Qing dynasty emerged in China. In 1705, invading Mongol forces killed the
Tibetan regent. They captured the 6th Dalai Lama with the intention
of handing him over to the Chinese Emperor, but the Dalai Lama died en route.
The Mongol prince Lhabzang Khan appointed a new Dalai Lama of his choice.
The Tibetans and the Mongol tribes who considered the Dalai Lama their spiritual
leader resented this move.
Lhabzang Khan was
eventually killed by the Dzungar Mongols who also deposed the Dalai Lama.
But the Seventh Dalai Lama chosen by the Tibetans was under Chinese
protection and the Chinese emperor sent him to Lhasa along with
Chinese troops, who drove out the Mongols. The emperor declared Tibet a
protectorate of China. Even though the Chinese appointed a king, temporal
authority reverted to the Dalai Lama. The only Chinese military intervention
after that took place during a Gurkha invasion from Nepal. In 1903, an
Anglo-Tibetan accord was signed, which implied that Tibet was a sovereign
power with the right to make treaties of its own. Due to Manchu objections,
a second accord was signed which recognized Chinese suzerainty over
of this accord, the Manchus attacked Tibet. However, a revolution at home
overthrew the Qing dynasty and the Tibetans followed suit, causing the Manchu
forces to return home. Thus resulted in a 30-year period of freedom from
However, the picture
changed drastically with the Communist takeover in China. A year later, Chinese
troops invaded Tibet and crushed their weaker army. The Chinese stated their
aim was to liberate Tibet from feudal rule. Tibetan appeals to the U.N .proved
ineffective. The Tibetans had only two choices: comply with the Chinese or
face further aggression.
In 1959 on the
occasion of the Tibetan New Year, the Dalai Lama received an invitation to
attend a dance performance at the Chinese military base. The Tibetans suspected
an attempt to kidnap their beloved spiritual leader and a large number of
citizens formed a human chain around the Norbulingka, the summer palace of
the Dalai Lama, swearing to protect him with their life. There was large-scale
revolt against the Chinese. The Dalai Lamas efforts at conciliation
proved futile. In a last bid to prevent bloodshed ,the Dalai Lama offered
himself to the Chinese, but the Chinese responded with mortar shells. This
left the Dalai Lama with only one choice - escape to India.
yet, as a fight between the Chinese and Tibetans left between 10,000 to 15,000
Tibetans dead. When the Chinese realised that the Dalai Lama had escaped,
they seized control of all the passes between India and Tibet and abolished
the Tibetan government.
What followed was
a total revamping of Tibetan society in accordance with Marxist principles.
Educated and aristocratic people were forced into menial labour and
struggle sessions, called Thamzing, which sometimes resulted
in death. Feudal exploiters were treated with cruelty. Monks
vowed to celibacy were expected to maintain a more secular lifestyle, which
included marriage. The Chinese even tampered with the farming practices,
instructing Tibetan farmers to grow wheat and rice instead of the staple
barley, despite protests that Tibetan conditions were unsuitable for cultivation
of these crops. Predictably, this resulted in mass starvation and the death
of an estimated 70,000 Tibetans. Countless cultural and religious monuments
were destroyed and religious freedom curtailed. Uprisings were brutally
By the time of
the demise of Mao Zedong, the Chinese were finding it more and more difficult
to maintain order on the plateau, and so the government softened its policies
by calling for the revival of Tibetan customs. It even extended an invitation
to the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet. A fact-finding mission sent to Tibet
by the Dalai Lama, however, reported a grim picture of Tibet: a death toll
of 1.2 million, the pillaging and destruction of 6,254 monasteries and nunneries,
the absorption of two-thirds of Tibet into China, 100,000 Tibetans in labor
camps and extensive deforestation.
In the 1980s, Tibetans
enjoyed limited religious freedom, and monasteries that had survived destruction
reopened. However, this did not imply any change in the Chinese attitude
towards religion, and Tibetans exercised their religious freedom at great
risk. Meanwhile talks with the Dalai Lama had fallen through and the Chinese
decided they didnt want the Dalai Lama back in Tibet.
A new policy of
Han immigration to modernize the plateau emerged. Attractive
salaries and interest-free loans were made available to Chinese willing to
immigrate. In 1984 alone more than 100,000 Han Chinese took advantage of
the incentives and immigrated to Tibet. However, Tibetans complain that it
is only the Chinese immigrants who have benefited from the fruits of
modernization. It has done very little for the Tibetan people other than
exploitation of their natural resources. They also fear that at this rate
the Chinese may someday outnumber them on their own land. Also, an increasing
number of Tibetans are forced to learn Chinese to survive in
modernized Tibet and this has put the local Tibetan language
under threat of extinction. China, however, officially denies any such policy
with regard to tourism gave the West a first-hand glimpse of what was happening
in Tibet. This, combined with the Dalai Lamas tireless efforts to make
the world aware of conditions in Tibet, managed to acquire a lot of sympathy
from the Western world. However, this did not translate into any concrete
action other than an official condemnation by the United States of the Chinese
occupation of Tibet.
In 1987 the Dalai
Lama proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan for the restoration of peace and human
rights in Tibet. The plan called for:
of the whole of Tibet into a zone of Ahimsa, a demilitarized zone of peace
of Chinas population transfer policy, which threatened the very existence
of the Tibetans as a people.
for the Tibetan peoples fundamental human rights and democratic
of and protection of Tibets natural environment and abandonment of
Chinas use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping
of nuclear waste.
of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between
the Tibetan and Chinese people.
The Dalai Lama
later elaborated on the fifth point, suggesting a framework of negotiations.
This involved making Tibet fully self-governing under a democratically elected
government. China could maintain responsibility for the overall foreign policy
of Tibet and, until such time as the Tibetan zone of Ahimsa is set up, following
a regional conference on peace, China would also be permitted to maintain
a restricted number of troops in Tibet for defensive purposes only. This
plan was rejected by China.
Even though the
Tibetans have managed to win back some degree of religious freedom, Tibetan
monks and nuns are still eyed with suspicion and are imprisoned at the mere
suspicion of support to the struggle for independence. Monks and nuns who
managed to make it out of prison have reported chilling accounts of atrocities
including electric shocks from cattle prods and rape.
Although a lot
of efforts have been made to curb the worst excesses of the Chinese
administration, and a comparatively softened line on minorities has improved
conditions for many Tibetans, basic problems remain. Protests and government
crackdowns continue to this day. The Chinese government has remained firm
on its stand regarding Tibet as a province of China and is no closer to reaching
an agreement of any kind with the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama
continues to be vocal in the Tibetan struggle for independence in some form.
He has abandoned any hope of nationhood, but continues to strive for a system
of Tibetan cultural, religious and linguistic autonomy within the Chinese
state. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for advocating a policy of nonviolent
protest and he has continued efforts to reach some kind of peaceful settlement.
However, many Tibetans are beginning to lose patience with the slow progress
made, and the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile operating
from Dharamsala, India, has warned of violence if the issue is not resolved
before the death of the current Dalai Lama.
It has taken half
a century for the world community to wake up to the situation in Tibet. How
much longer before Tibetans can go back to leading the normal life that we
all know and take for granted?
We shall hopefully
have a World Community article each month from now on. If you have a topic
that you would like to contribute or an article that you would like to write
for us, it will be welcomed, provided it takes a look at all sides of an
issue. Just send me (enchantress299) a PM or e-mail us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Your ideas are
Now, Id like
to inform you all about the Meditation / Prayer Circle that Rachel, Terri,
Sucheta, Greg and many, many others have started. If you would like to
participate, the Meditation / Prayer Circle takes place every Friday whenever
you have the time to sit down and clear your mind. If youve never tried
meditating or prayer, and you would like to, now would be the perfect time
to start! You may direct your meditation or prayer toward whatever you so
desire, but often there is a weekly theme set for those who want to join
in the group focus. There is no set time limit, nor any set purpose you
must meditate on. If you would like to find more information on this,
refer to the
thread on the Star Chat forum.
Again this month,
we have dedications of white light and love from the people in and who influence
our community, but I have also searched the forums for those threads filled
with people who are wishing someone white light and love. So this month,
Light and Love for...
Mom, Lisas Husband, and Little Toks.
- All her friends
on the forums wish to send white light and love to Silk_Route (Sonia), whom
we all hope finds a way to get the help she needs in a precarious situation.
I urge you all
to send in your requests for white light and love if you truly find yourself
or someone else needing it. I also think that I would like to start a Birthday
Wishes section for those of you who would like to send birthday wishes. And
on that note, I really would like YOUR input. Do you like what were
doing? Do you hate what were doing? Either way, this newsletter is
for YOU, the readers, and this community columnist wants to hear from our
If you completely
disagree with whats been said by any of us in the Conscious Community
column, IM me (enchantress299) or e-mail us at
email@example.com. If you have
different information on something and want that side of the issue expressed,
tell us. If you have your own article that you think would benefit everyone,
TELL US! I cant express enough how much we need your input to make
this a helpful and informative section for EVERYONE. A well-rounded viewpoint
is needed to make a good community. I do know a lot of people in the forums,
but I will also be the first one to admit that I don't know everyone! There
are a plethora of viewpoints out there that I havent even begun to
grasp. So please, if you disagree or if you have something worth mentioning,
get that information to us. I promise that it wont be overlooked. If
some of you are doing interesting charity work that helps to benefit others
and you dont mind talking about your experiences, IM me or e-mail me.
Please help me to make this column more helpful, informative, and more in
tune with what you want to hear about.
I leave you all
with a resounding "Happy Holidays! I hope that, even if you do
not celebrate any sort of winter holiday, you all find yourselves grateful
and happy for the lives you live, and for the people that fill the rooms
of your heart. If you are fortunate enough to do so, please spread some of
that happiness to others. A little goes a long way, and in the grand scheme
of things, if we all do our part, perhaps, in the words of Linda Goodman,
we can make mountains fly. Funny thing though, mountains sometimes
are not nearly so difficult to move as anger, sadness, desperation and fear.
I would hope that, were you to run into any of those things, you would be
strong enough to stand up to them. If you find them in others, I hope that
you would also be strong enough to still spread compassion and love to those
who cant seem to escape the great weight of worldly cares.
Have a great month
everyone! Have a little fun, and dont forget to breathe!