Fight China but don’t give up lives: 17th Karmapa to Tibetans

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Press Release: Karmapa Office

9th November 2011

Since March this year 11 brave Tibetans have set themselves on fire while calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland. These desperate acts, carried out by people with pure motivation, are a cry against the injustice and repression under which they live. The situation is unbearably difficult, but in difficult situations we need greater courage and determination.

Each report of self-immolation from Tibet has filled my heart with pain. 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. Although the situation is difficult, we need to live long and stay strong without losing sight of our long term goals.

As His Holiness the Dalai Lama has said, the Chinese leadership should face up to the real source of these tragic incidents. Such drastic acts have their origin in the desperate circumstances in which Tibetans find themselves living. A ruthless response will only make things worse. Where there is fear, there can be no trust.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has stressed that the use of force is counter-productive; repressive measures can never bring about unity and stability. I agree with him that the Chinese leadership needs seriously to review its policies towards Tibetans and other minorities. I appeal to right-thinking, freedom-loving people throughout the world to join us in deploring the repression unleashed in the monasteries in Tibet, particularly in the Tibetan region of Sichuan. At the same time 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.

Because the Tibetan issue involves truth and justice, people are not afraid to give up their lives, but I request the people of Tibet to preserve their lives and find other, constructive ways to work for the cause of Tibet. It is my heartfelt prayer that the monks and nuns, indeed all the Tibetan people, may live long, free from fear, in peace and happiness.



  • Bob

    Now he says Stop, after he and Dalai Lama get plenty of political coverage out of these self-immolatons.

    Had he said this months ago, it would have saved most of these lives. But he didn’t did he?

    He said instead, over a month ago, when interviewed that it was all right if it was ‘for the people.”Thus encouraging more suicides.

    Some of us remember what he said, and that he didn’t condemn the suicides. He actually encouraged them.

  • Tenzin Loden

    Mr. Bob,
    I am filled with pity for how you received these flow of events. Firstly, if you are familiar with the historical foundation of Tibet, roles of religious leaders like Karmapa has always been minimum. Their role is confined to the spirituality. Secondly, every flow of event is a result of karma that we had accumulated and in this case, we should be talking about the shared karma of the Tibetans. I believe if Karmapa has only spoken now, its the result of our karma. Thirdly, Dalai Lama needs is not hungry for media attentions. Forbes ranks him 51st most powerful person on this earth. If he was so hungry for powers and attentions, why to devolve the political power to a democratic elected leader. Lastly, our memory doesn’t serve a word out of Karmapa encouraging self-immolations. If you are sure of what you wrote, I guess you are doing the dreams.

  • Tenzing

    Mr. Tenzin,

    Well, you must be aware of the fact that KARMAPA and DALAI LAMAS of the past have been involved in politics for a long time back in Tibetan Autonomous Region( erstwhile Tibet). The periods of governance by leaders of different sect is a standing testimony to that fact. And they have been time and again involved in political conflicts within and outside their sect and their country. And your say that roles of Karmapa has always been minimal is WRONG, from the formation of the famous 13th settlements to the ploy to assassinate the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa – doesn’t that imply the vital role Karmapas have been playing?
    Karmapa – the present, his encouragement for a protest against the Chinese but when it came to his own role, he posing beside the PanchenLama( elected by the Chinese)- how would he justify that stand ? He never came clear on that, nor did his administration, or did any blind followers question him.
    Talking about Dalai Lama’s act of abdicating his post- well man you know it very well as well as everyone does- his holiness staying or quitting the job doesn’t lower his influence in the Government in exile – Kalon Tripa is a formal representation – a nominal choice- yet he wouldnt buzz an inch without instructions from his holiness
    And lastly, don’t have this misconception that I could be Bob writting in different name. I am Tenzing frm Sikkim

  • Bob

    “While in the Tibetan exile headquarters of Dharamsala, India recently, I raised the issue of the self-immolating clerics with the Karmapa, the third-most senior monk in the Tibetan Buddhist cosmology. He looked a bit uncomfortable and, as the Indian security agents and Tibetan minders around him leaned in to hear his answer, he switched from Tibetan to Mandarin—a language the entourage around him did not understand. The 26-year-old’s answer surprised me. “Monks take a vow that says they are not allowed to end their lives,” he said in his calm, soft-spoken voice. “But on the other hand, these actions are not for an individual, they are for a people.”

    This above is a quote from an interview with the Karmapa on October 4th with the Times World news.

    He and the Dalai Lama waited another full MONTH before issuing a statement to the Tibetans in China to stop,( knowing full well that these Tibetans see them as LIVING GODS and would do anything they said. He didn’t say “STOP BURNING YOURSELVES UP, NOT until he and Dali Lama got plenty of world political coverage daily, and more monks and nuns set themselves on Fire. In fact, he and Dalai Lama encouraged more self-immolations by referring to them as ‘acts of courage” giving candlelight vigils to honor them. NO DIFFERENT THAN FANATICAL IMAMS honoring suicide bombers. They know EXACTLY what they are saying and not saying and what effect it will have. THese are master politicians, NOT religious figures representing ANyTHING the buddha taught.The use the dharma for political gain, as they have been doing in Tibet for hundreds of years and are now doing , world wide.

  • VajraChitta

    Comments are easy to post my friend! The Buddha, Himself, had many, many detractors that said worse things about Him than you!

    Until you are spiritual head and leader of a people that are continuing to be oppressed in the most brutal way…while the world stands aside and watches…you will NEVER understand the complexity of the situation…both Karmapa and Dalai Lama have countless times said they would actually like more time so they can focus on their own spiritual practice…however, the position that they hold within the Tibetan community/people is such that they must engage skillful means in the best manner possible in these degenerate times…that is why they are SHINING EXPONENTS of Buddha Dharma…A stern warning to you from the realm of Dakinis! Watch your words for they will come back to haunt you! OM….

  • Tenzing

    @VajraChitta ….what are you?? house owner of the Dakinis? hahaha….seems like these days even the divine threats have started coming online hahaha

  • Pasang Norbu

    TO MR.BOB,
    I am not sure what you are trying to propagate. I wont’ be surprise if you happend to be one of these countless chinese online agents under the Chinese govt payroll who distort facts through internet.

    No buddhist will ever appreciate a life sacrifice this manner let alone HH the Dalai Lama and HH Gyalwa Karmapa. His Holiness does not even condone the act of hunger strike. Having said that this desperation moves by the monks and the nuns to draw international community’s attention to Tibetan’s conditions under chinese rule must be considered brave. They are not blowing themselves up in the crowded chinese market to kill chinese. After all, they are buddhists and taken a vow not to harm others!

  • Bob

    Fourteenth century , medieval threats may have enthralled and cowered Tibetans for 100′s of years , they don’t scare people living in the 21st century. they are nothing but an indication of your supertitious, made up religion that has kept people mentally enslaved for centuries. God/King worshipping is what has caused all the suffering for Tibetans, kept them in a feudal mental slavery that they would destroy their own lives for the machinations of power hungry priestly brahmins on goldne thrones determined , at the cost of their own people’s freedom, to stay there forever.

    “Free Tibet from Lamaism and its atavistic primitive beliefs should be the new rallying cry, if the world wants to really help Tibetans.

  • VajraChitta

    Ha…did you know that consciousness is divine and can express itself through what you call ‘online’ – it is not a ‘divine threat’ it is a DIVINE WARNING!

    The ignorance is laid bare for all to see my friends of the comment boxes…whatever words you write here…look above and you will see the vision of HH Karmapa…unaffected….praying for the benefit of ALL sentient beings…even you!

    Now, let us review your vastly primitive view of history…did you know that Karmapa and Dalai Lama belong to different Buddhist monastic orders…and in the past there was actually great bloodshed between the two? Well, yes…just because you don the robes or shave your head does NOT make you a perfected Buddha…however, Karmapa and Dalai Lama are very united and foster a very harmonious relationship between ALL orders…actually, HH Karmapa consider Dalai Lama as a Guru…

    Now let us turn to your speaking of individuals that think the are a God/King…Look no further than the face that is plastered all over China, my friend. Yes, Mao Tse-tung…He is treated as if he is God and everyone worships him in the same way. Actually, all the vile corrupt Chinese Officials in their government behave as if they are God…The founders of the ideology of Communism would spit on this perverted form that exists there in name only…the present regime in China upholds an ideology that has NOTHING to do with true communism. They view the sacred lands of China and its women as objects to be used and abused…just commodities…these vile, corrupt, hypocrites view Tibet in the same way…they have no respect for basic human values…

    What type of police/military interrogation involves sticking electric prods up the vagina of elderly women in the most unsanitary prisons cells? What type of interrogation involves beating innocent people senseless and sticking electric prods up their anus and laugh as they convulse, writhing in pain…This is primitive and utterly degenerate behavior regardless of beliefs…and this is happening as you are reading these words!!!! The day will come with the poor CHINESE people will take up the Tibetan cause and revolt against this corrupt regime!!! The day is coming…and this is no threat…it is a FACT!
    Tibet is already Free!!! China is NOT!!!

  • Tenzing

    @Vajra ..on ur own people haha..yes , when I look up, I see the innocent Tibetan people who have been fooled for centuries by Lamas .Lamas who cannot live without money, lamas who cannot live without comfort.
    People who teach the simple life of Milerapa – but they themselves cant leave the cozy comfort of wealth and richness.
    Mr. Vajrachitta( or rather a chitta with crafty intentions) your heavily loaded heavenly world don’t scare me nor attract me… thousands of so called – Boddhisattvas, yet hundreds of thousands of innocent poor tibetans….these boddhisattvas who get caught smuggling.. these boddhisattvas who bribe politicians.

    MR. VAJRACHITTA ,you see around yourslf, your Rinpoche surrounded by rich and wealthy men and women…what are you??? God for the rich and not for the poor?? SHAME


    and last but not the least let me give you the famous incident of Dudjom Rinpoche being arrested and jailed in Siliguri, falsely accused by the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan Government in Exile of being a Chinese spy. Dudjom Rinpoche was not interested in the Dalai Lama’s desire for a union of all Tibetan traditions. Not only that, even the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorjee was not happy with the unification, then the exile government made several attempts to eliminate his holiness the 16th Karmapa,

    Do you think that CHITTA of yours has an answer to that???

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