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Tibet-Parliament-Speaker-Khenpo-Sonam-Tenphel-2017-Leh-Ladakh-IndiaDharamshala — The statement by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile extended a long and touching birthday message concerning His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday, emphasizing both the historical lineage and contemporary sacrifices (in this lifetime) that the Tibetan spiritual leader has made for both Tibetans and the wider world.

“Prevailed upon by a feeling of affection and closeness towards all sentient beings in general and especially towards the spiritual subjects of the Snowland of Tibet lying exposed in a state of vulnerableness, His Holiness the Dalai Lama took a deliberate decision to enter the realm of the samsara and so on the 5th day of the 5th month in the Wood-Hog Year of the 16th Tibetan Royal Sexantry, which corresponded to the 6th of July 1935, took birth at Tagtser Village in Domey Kumbum as a son to father Choekyong Tsering and Mother Dekyi Tsering. The birth was accompanied by the appearances of numerous and wondrous positive harbingers.

"And on this occasion today, which marks His Holiness the Dalai Lama attaining 82 years of age in accordance with the universal calendar, I offer my greetings to him, holding over my head the dust of his feet in a show of resolute body, speech and mind faith. The gratitude we owe to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for having thus far not assumed even a semblance of a minuscule amount of adverse impairment to his underlying bodily, speech and mind wellbeing and for the fact that he has been unwavering in consistently maintaining them in the prime of their state of purposiveness, is such that even a fraction of it could never be repaid even if we were to seek to do it by trying to make offerings of the wealth of the Three Thousand World Realms across a period of many great aeons”.

Following this, the statement emphasized the responsibilities of His Holiness’ Tibetan followers both in exile and within Tibet:

“All Tibetans living in countries across the world mark today as the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with feelings of joy, faith, and optimism. By it they memorialize the gratitude they owe to His Holiness for his deeds which have universal values and benefits. It is also a day for them to reaffirm their solemn pledge to make part of their daily practice His Holiness’s counsel and guidance on the do’s and don’ts of proper conduct in life to the best possible extent of their capacity. This then is the underlying purpose of marking the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.

The statement also spared a moment to reflect on the relationship between one of His Holiness’ most recent, and historic, Kalachakra teachings and his current health:

“In January 2017, after he concluded his Kalachakra teachings at the most sacred Buddhist site of Bodh Gaya, the occasion being the ceremony for the long-life offering made by the Central Tibetan Administration, His Holiness the Dalai Lama very graciously reiterated his resolve to live to be more than one hundred years old. This is a gesture of especially great cause for gratitude to us Tibetan people.

"Likewise, after undergoing his annual medical checkup recently at the Mayo Clinic in the US state of Minnesota, His Holiness the Dalai Lama revealed that he had no trace of ailment on any vital organ of his body and that he was in great health. This came to the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile as a source of great reassurance, and it calmed any sense of anxiety that any among them might otherwise have had. It is extremely important, however, that all of us of the Land of Snows should, on our part, fully devote ourselves to virtuous, merit-accumulating deeds. And we should especially be mindful that all Tibetans – whether they be laypeople or belonging to any religiously ordained order – fully commit to heart all of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s instructions and carry them out in a real sense in our day-to-day conduct”.

The second part of the statement primarily addressed growing concerns around China’s persistent reluctance to engage the Tibetan issue as well as the expansion of Chinese political and economic influence via the current One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative:

“It is a matter of concern that even today there is no indication of any positive change in the policy of the government of China towards the issue of Tibet. In fact, its controls and restrictions on the movement of the Tibetan people in every part of Tibet have been increasing. Besides it is implementing in Tibet a policy of colonialism. This means that even over minor matters, Tibetans are being subjected to limitless beating by the Chinese police. The Tibetan people are being looked down on and bullied by the Chinese. … [I]t is important that the Tibetan people both in Tibet and in exile persevere more than ever before with the aim to realize the aspirations voiced by those Tibetans.

"Recently, as a part of its international initiative towards what it called the pursuit of a common global economic development, the government of China organized in capital Beijing a major two-day meeting called Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation beginning May 14, 2017. Prominent public figures from many countries took part in that forum. And it was suggested that the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative would be implemented in a total of 65 countries.

"It was also explained that through the projects under the OBOR initiative, opportunities would be created to benefit some 60 percent of the global population on account of the Chinese government-backed funding for the building of large numbers of new projects such as railroads, highways, ports, and industrial parks. It was further explained that under the OBOR initiative, plans were underway for the trade routes in the Southeast Asian countries to be routed through Tibet with building of new railroads and so on. It is beyond doubt that such kinds of projects will lead to catastrophic damage to the natural environment of Tibet. Given this grim reality, we urge the international community to raise objections and exert pressure on China against the implementation of these kinds of risky projects”.

In conclusion the statement noted the following:

“It has now been 58 years since the Tibetan people first arrived in exile and later spread out to live as refugees in India and numerous other foreign countries. It is especially heartening that both the people and government of India have extended to the Tibetan people extensive help and friendly support. With a sense of having a remembrance of gratitude for all these gestures at all times, we also take this opportunity to once again express our immense gratitude to both the people and government of India. Likewise, we also take the opportunity offered by this particularly auspicious day to express our thanks to the people in governments and non-governmental sectors in the international community who have extended help and cooperation to the Tibetan people and the Tibetan cause.

Finally to conclude this speech, we offer prayers that His Holiness the Dalai Lama may continue to live for a hundred aeons, that all his wishes may be seen fulfilled with spontaneity, and that the just cause of the Tibetan people may be seen accomplished in all speediness”.

View the full version of the statement by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile here.

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