A Gangchenpa’s Dream
In 1959, due to the unbearable, violent, earth-shaking invasion of Tibet by Communist China; His Holiness the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans were forced into exile. At that time Tibetans only knew the earth and the sky, and yet the previous generation tried their best to fulfill the vision of His Holiness and kept alive their dreams of returning to a free Tibet.
My late father kept to a few basic practices when he went on official trips to Delhi as a senior CTA official. He would stay at the Bureau where lodging was free for CTA staff and then board the DTC public bus to his meetings. However, he would disembark and complete the final 1-2 kms in a taxi as he wanted to arrive at the meeting on an equal footing with officials he was meeting. The men and women of my father’s generation were large characters. They carried a fearless and unflagging spirit.
I dream of reawakening the spirit and dedication of patriots such as my late father and those of his generation who gave their blood and sweat to the Tibetan freedom struggle.I dream of a Tibetan movement where the motivation is pure and the purpose clear; where we are united as Tibetans and tribal affiliations are secondary; where we awaken from apathy into a heightened passionate state; where we give more and take less; where we propel others up and not knock people down; where we put the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama into practice; and where we harness the collective energy and resources to regain our freedom, rights and dignity.
This dream is not impossible. Yes, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a powerful and ruthless adversary. And yes, most governments and institutions have adopted a flawed and losing policy of appeasement towards the CCP. But history is littered with the ruin of fallen powers. I believe that the biggest deterrent today to realizing our dream is not China’s strength as much as it is the current debility within us and the deficit in our imagination. I believe we are stronger than we think and have a potent reserve of strength that we can tap into.
Our Buddhist faith teaches us that in order to end suffering and affect external change we must first transform ourselves. We are the proud inheritors of one of the most elegant and spiritually rich civilizations in human history. We have in Kundun a precious gem. We have it in us to confront our internal deficiencies and realize our dream.
Photo Credit: www.dalailama.com
What then are the three key transformations that we can make together?
Transformation of the Tibetan freedom struggle, the CTA, and the Tibetan education in exile. The current model is a legacy of the past which worked amazingly well for its time, but we are now in a different era. We must hold on to the things that continue to serve us, and reorient the rest to meet the new challenges and opportunities. The freedom struggle should be steered away from the abyss of a frozen conflict by creating more pain points and incentives for the CCP leadership to address the Tibet issue. The CTA must become a transnational entity that is dynamic, forward looking and which strengthens the bond between all Tibetans. The education system cries out for necessary reforms and the focus should be on quality. We must provide our children with the two strong wings we promised them or else they will not soar.
I have a plan and the commitment to get us closer to our dream. While this will require more than five years, we can begin the journey together and build on the work of those who came before us. If we work together as members of ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE and ONE STRUGGLE then no obstacles and no forces are big enough to prevent us from realizing the dream of a free Tibet.