Date: 03/09/06 17:26:55
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Subject: [CASonline] A Blessing, Teacher and Friend of Gods, Men and Animals ---

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                               His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
                                            of Tibet
Fur flies over tiger plight

By Justin Huggler
New Zealand Herald
18 February 2006
TIBET - A rich and unusual smoke has been drifting into the Tibetan skies as
people emerge from their homes and burn animal skins.
Onlookers have gathered to watch as Tibetans burned tiger skins worth as
much as ?000 ($15,500) in the streets.
Many have given up their chubas, traditional robes adorned with tiger skins
that can cost the equivalent of two years' wages for the average Tibetan,
and watched happily as they went up in smoke.
In one town, it is said you can see the smoking remains of tiger skins and
other furs along the roadside.
These scenes are part of a major environmental drive among Tibetans that
could be decisive in whether the tiger survives in the wild, or is driven to
They come after the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader in exile,
called on his people to stop the trade in wild animal skins because, almost
unnoticed by the outside world, Tibet has become the world's leading market
for contraband tiger skins.
Environmentalists now believe the Tibetan skin trade is as influential as
Chinese medicine in driving the demand for tigers.
The market for the skins in Tibet has ravaged the wild tiger population in
India. Environmentalists have warned the tiger is on the verge of extinction
after it emerged last year that large numbers have disappeared from India's
wildlife reserves.
And news has come that tigers are missing from yet another Indian reserve,
this time Buxa, in West Bengal. Some Indian wildlife experts warn there may
be as few as 1200 tigers left in India.
Shops in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, openly display tiger skins, despite the
international ban on the trade, and the fact that it is illegal under
Chinese law.
Environmentalists have proved a direct link between the disappearing tigers
of India and the skins on display in Tibet.
And so the Dalai Lama stepped in. Last month, thousands of Tibetans streamed
into India. Around 7000 were allowed entry by the Chinese authorities but
thousands more went without permission, braving an arduous trek across the
Himalayas in the harshest winter conditions, struggling through Nepal, which
is in the grip of civil war, and then travelling for hundreds of kilometres
to south India.
They were there for the Kalachakra, one of the most important festivals of
the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. Because this year's was the 30th Kalachakra
the present Dalai Lama has presided at, and because it was being held at the
site of the original Kalachakra centuries ago, exceptionally large numbers
of Tibetans made the journey.
The Dalai Lama seized the opportunity to deliver a stark message to the vast
crowds from inside Tibet. Wearing animal skins and furs was against
Buddhism. He said he had been "ashamed" at photos showing Tibetans wearing
robes covered with tiger skins.
"When you go back to your respective places, remember what I said earlier
and never use, sell, or buy wild animals, their products or derivatives," he
told the crowds.
Observers at the festival said they had rarely seen the Dalai Lama so
passionate. His words clearly hit home: many Tibetans who were there said
they would burn their fur-trimmed robes as soon as they returned home.
On January 31, two weeks after the end of the festival, the first report
came of someone burning furs. The movement quickly snowballed, and there
have been incidents of fur burning across the country.
Traditional Tibetan chubas are also lined with leopard, otter and fox fur,
and there have been instances of all of them being burned.
Reports say that over the past two weeks the price of tiger skins and other
furs has dropped drastically.
"It is testimony to the extraordinary influence the Dalai Lama has on
Tibetans in Tibet," says Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for
Tibet. "It shows the importance of his direct communication for Tibetans."
The growing controversy over the skins has provoked intense debate on the
internet chatrooms that have become the main centres of discussion between
Tibetans inside Tibet and those living in exile
"It is disgusting that Tibetans are involved in [this] heinous business,"
wrote one person on "Thanks to all Tibetans inside and
outside Tibet who are working day in day out to increase the awareness on
how sinful it is to use animal skins," wrote another.
The development has been welcomed by conservationists. Debbie Banks from the
Environmental Investigation Agency, the international campaigning
organisation that exposes environmental crime, said: "While it is heartening
to see former consumers cast off and burn their tiger and leopard skins, we
also need to see the Chinese and Indian Governments take action.
"They must invest in professional enforcement and co-operate with each other
to crack down on the criminal networks controlling the trafficking of skins.
This illegal trade is the biggest threat to the survival of India's wild
tigers and if no action is taken, it will mark the end of the tiger."
Judy Mills of the Campaign against Tiger Trafficking called the effort "an
organised response to an organised crime".
Undercover investigations by Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection
Society of India (WSPI) revealed the extent of the tiger skin trade in
Tibet, and her photographs of Tibetans wearing tiger skins shocked many.
"News of the disastrous consequences of the skin trade and His Holiness the
Dalai Lama's condemnation of the use of skins appear to be spreading across
the Tibetan region," she said.
Just 100 years ago, there were 100,000 tigers in the world. Today, the
number left in the wild is between 5000 and 7000, but those figures were
compiled seven years ago from figures supplied by governments which have
since been discredited.
Wildlife organisations now fear the real number may be closer to 3000.
India has the last sizeable population of tigers in the wild, accounting for
more than 60 per cent of the world's tigers.
But the alarm was sounded after it was found last year that tigers were
disappearing from India's forest reserves at an alarming rate. At a wildlife
reserve called Sariska, the authorities were forced to admit that all the
tigers had vanished.
In the controversy that followed, it became clear that tigers were missing
from reserves all over India. Now Buxa tiger reserve can account for only
four of the 27 it is supposed to have.
One of India's most respected tiger experts said the country would be lucky
to have 1200 tigers left. In most cases, the disappearance of the tigers is
the direct result of highly organised poaching.
The underfunded wildlife authority does not have the strength or the
finances to mount effective patrols. In some cases, there have been
allegations that poachers may have bribed wardens to turn a blind eye.
The link between the market for tiger skins in Tibet and poaching in India
first emerged in 2000, after Indian police seized a crate of skins being
smuggled out of the country. Inside, they found the skins had been
identified with Tibetan markings.
The ensuing investigation revealed that the illegal trade in tiger skins is
a highly sophisticated operation. Tibetan merchants travel to India to view
the skins of tigers killed by the poachers. They choose the ones they want
but they do not take the risk of transporting them across the border
The skins are marked to show which merchant they are headed for, and are
transported to Tibet via Nepal, where the lawlessness caused by the civil
war makes it easy for them to slip through.
Last year, a team from WSPI went to Tibet undercover to investigate the
extent of the trade. What they found shocked them. Tiger and leopard skins
were openly on display in Lhasa's Barkhor shopping area. The shopkeepers
openly told the investigators that the skins had come from India.
One tourist who contacted the wildlife organisation spoke of seeing an
entire crate of leopard skins.
Trading in the skins of tigers and other endangered species is illegal under
Chinese law, but there is no enforcement in Tibet.
Environmentalists say the craze for the robes has been driven by a
different, urban section of Tibetan society. Most Tibetans are poor, but in
the cities there is growing wealth, which has fuelled a fashion for the
"This newfound trend has less to do with old customs than with new money,"
said Dawa Tsering, head of WWF China's Tibet programme.
Environmental investigators found it was not only Tibetans who bought the
skins. Chinese people were travelling to Tibet to buy tiger skins to
decorate their homes.
Lhasa is known as the place to get a tiger or leopard skin on the black
market, and the environmentalists were told that Europeans came to the city
to buy skins, even though being caught returning with one to a European
country could result in trouble.
For the Dalai Lama, who has been committed to environmental causes for many
years, and who has lived in India since he fled the Chinese occupation of
Tibet, the photographs of Tibetans wearing the skins proved too much.
He has spoken out against wearing furs before, but at this year's festival
he was direct in his condemnation.
Although it appears that it is the Dalai Lama alone who has the moral
authority to turn Tibetans so dramatically against the animal skins, his
involvement is causing trouble with the Chinese authorities, who continue to
regard the the exiled spiritual leader as a threat, despite his calls in
recent years for rapprochement.
Most of the burnings so far have been spontaneous, but environmentalists
were planning a large organised gathering to burn more. It was not clear
whether the event would go ahead, after the Chinese local authorities called
an urgent meeting on the "Dalai clique".
Tseten Gyal, a Tibetan involved in organising the gathering, has been
questioned by state security agents, despite saying that he is only trying
to protect the environment, and is not involved in political activities.
"The Chinese have spoken of the importance of environmental protection and
that is what the Dalai Lama's message addresses," says Saunders of the
International Campaign for Tibet.
"Although this may be of concern to local authorities, I'm sure the main
Chinese authorities understand that he is expressing the same environmental
concerns they have addressed."


Tibetans burn rare animal pelts, skins




Friday, February 17, 2006


DHARMSALA, India -- Thousands of Tibetans have burned rare animal pelts and

skins in response to a call by the Dalai Lama, their exiled spiritual

leader, to give up products made from endangered animals, Tibetan exiles

said Friday.

 The wearing of coats trimmed with fur from tigers, leopards, otters and

other rare animals recently became stylish in Tibet, prompting warnings from

environmental groups of the damage to wild populations.

The Chinese government reportedly banned the burnings last week and,

according to an Indian animal rights group, arrested nine people for "public

unrest and colluding with the Dalai Lama."

 An estimated $75 million worth of animal skins have been burnt in the

eastern Tibet alone, said Lobsang Choephal, a 35-year-old monk who smuggled

video footage of the burning out of Tibet.

 The footage, shown to the press Friday in Dharmsala, headquarters of the

Tibetan government-in-exile, shows thousands of Tibetans gathered in the

Kirti Monastery in eastern Tibet throwing traditional Tibetan dresses lined

with animal fur into a giant bonfire.

Organizers planned to bring the anti-skins campaign to a climax with a mass

burning at a monastery on Sunday, but authorities issued a ban shortly

before it was to take place, according to TibetInfoNet, a group based in


The Dalai Lama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, fled Tibet amid an

aborted uprising against Chinese rule in 1959 and is routinely accused by

Beijing of being a religious charlatan and separatist bent on gaining

independence for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has said repeatedly that he does not want independence for

Tibet - only more autonomy.

On Friday, 37 Nobel laureates released a joint letter released an open

letter to China's President Hu Jintao urging China to grant autonomy to its

western Tibetan regions, citing Hong Kong as an example of China's "one

country, two systems" approach.

The Wildlife Trust of India, which helped expose the use of endangered skins

in Tibet, said two Chinese and seven Tibetans were arrested for the


"These events are significant for us as they show the world and especially

to China that Tibetans all over listen to the Dalai Lama and are willing to

make sacrifices if he wishes so," said Choephal, the monk who smuggled out

the videos of the burning.


The Israel Democratic Institute Presents Constitution to the Dalai Lama


By Charmaine Millott, Epoch Times, Feb 21, 2006

Tel Aviv, Israel -- Last Friday, at a historical meeting entitled "Reinventing Compassion," the Israel Democratic Institute presented the Dalai Lama with a draft of the new Israeli Democratic Constitution, to which the Dalai Lama contributed to the introduction. The constitution is known as Constitution by Consensus . It is a book that has been coming under fire by a number of Israeli factions.

Professor Arye Carmon, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, opened the meeting speaking of the differences between that need to be accepted and of compromise.

Several prominent Israeli scholars, business people and others were at the meeting that is a historical event for democracy in Israel. Among them were Meir Shamgar, President of the Supreme Court [Emeritus]; Tali Lipkin-Shahak, journalist; Linda Gradstein [NPR]; and Professor Avia Spivak, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel. They posed a number of interesting questions to the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama noted the strength, education and history of the people of the young nation. The country has a lengthy history but as a nation is very young. However, he warned of having expectations when democracy is introduced to the nation as something that will only bring on disappointment. The idea is to accept the problems and deal with them as they arise, as some may not be predicted.

" I believe this should be adopted as the constitution of the nation," the Dalai Lama mentioned with assurance.

Various prominent members of the Israeli community proceeded to ask him a variety of questions ranging from violence, cheap labour, and the economy to the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

With regards to violence the Dalai Lama explained that only with each circumstance should right and wrong be judged, as the larger communities should practice justice. He stated that Buddhists only use violence on rare occasions since peaceful means take precedence. He feels peaceful means are the best for a long-term solution, and the use of violence is only a temporary solution, while we need to focus on our motivation and goal. He stressed that totalitarian regimes often fail because they war with human nature and are the most violent of all regimes.

As the meeting began to focus on the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama mentioned that his institution will continue but will relinquish its power to the Tibetan government once the Chinese release control of Tibet. The reason he provided focused on the concept of religious institutions not being political. Each Tibetan community should elect a government, he suggested, as he talked about the Indian government in 1963, drafted a constitution, while two thirds of the government removed the power of the Dalai Lama.

He turned his focus to the Chinese invasion of Tibet and mentioned, even though, the Chinese government has restricted Tibetan Buddhism, it has flourished and more people practice in China. The Chinese government takes the view that Tibetan Buddhism separates Tibet from China.

He expressed grave concern for Tibetan culture being eroded by the Chinese government that makes Chinese the official language taught in schools and enforces Chinese to be spoken in shops, which are predominately owned by Chinese. As in Mongolia, there are more Chinese in Tibet than the native Tibetans. He expressed this as " cultural genocide."

The meeting turned to focus on terrorism.

"Can you uproot terrorism? I do not think so. Physical elimination is not the answer. There is only one way to uproot terrorism; it must be done through the heart," replied the Dalai Lama.

He reasoned that as one terrorist is killed more people who support them become angry and we create more terrorists for the future. Their hostility has accumulated over many years and is based on jealousy of the western world, which is wrong, the Dalai Lama cited. The solution would be to work hard and become educated to overcome the jealousy.

He felt that pressure might be necessary for Israel to use when dealing with the Hamas government. However, they should wait to see what happens first. He said that most of the population does not want violence and the solution would be to offer a hand to work for non- violence methods.

He inquired," Why does the population agree with the Hamas?"

When talking about the connection of peace and economic cooperation he felt that cooperation must be improved since new circumstances in the economy are important. History has been that the European Union cherished sovereignty. As the world develops to be one community, unified forces are cooperating more with each other. This can be obtained by creating schools where children from all ethnic backgrounds attend school together. Thereby, creating equal schools, communities and environments.

When asked about welfare needs and a free market society he replied, " I am not an economist. I believe that economy, politics, education and health are different activities and need humanity, including military warfare which needs human feeling to be less destructive."

He spoke about true religion as based upon compassion without hatred and that politics would be better without hatred. These are lacking in the modern economy, as there is little concern for employees, customers, society and the ecology, which is being destroyed. The transfer of profits to education can eliminate this problem, according to the Dalai Lama as he went on to mention, the problems with governments are the leader has something wrong in their heart. He felt all governments have their good and bad sides.

His idea regarding happiness and cheap labour was around the loss of a structure or system, which in turn creates a lack of safety, increased crime, frustration and inequality. Again he stressed working hard, and to obtain an education and healthcare system, financed by the wealthy. A wealthy global economy must help the local economies, which will keep the people happy, creating less disruption amongst them. When people are not treated as equal, he cited, there is injustice and the new constitution provides for equal rights.

He talked about a strong nation and cultural heritage are what will bring the people through genocide to prepare for the next leadership. He talked about his trust in the Tibetan nation and Mongolia to do so as the religions are prominent.

He talked about the real meaning of compassion as not pertaining to pity, but as a sense of caring and concern that has no judgement, and is honest with justice, that we extend to everyone which includes the enemy. People always need help and as a Buddhist he must give them help.

He was asked how Hitler affected him and replied by mentioning that affection is the basis of compassion, and we must oppose the wrong doings and help that person. Anyone who feels happy killing people is not normal. So hatred must be dissolved to let forgiveness prevail. Tibetans give the Chinese compassion.

The meeting was ended by a question about a businessman's love for money.

His reply was," It is reasonable to love money. You cannot do anything without money. Without money, just prayer. But if you solely worship money and feel it is only goodness of our life, that is wrong. Money does not buy peace of mind."

The Israel Democratic Institute wished the Dalai Lama luck and thanked him for coming to the meeting.

Dalai lama urges Christians not to convert to Buddhism
By Fran Race
Ekklesia, UK
21 November 2005
The Dalai Lama has urged Christians not to convert to Buddhism.
The controversial words were spoken by the spiritual leader of Tibet and the
leader of the Tibetan Government in Exile at a conference entitled "Ethics
for a New Millennium" in Edinburgh, Scotland this weekend.
Instead, the Dalai Lama urged Western Christians and Muslims embrace the
teachings of compassion and peace that can be found in their own religious
"All major religions carry the same messages. Messages of love, compassion,
forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. I have Muslim
friends, Christian friends. All have these same values."
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet, but has lived in exile for
nearly 50 years since his homeland was invaded by China.
Despite the continued use of violence against his people by the Chinese he
has inspired the hearts and minds of many across the world with his
teachings of non-violence and compassion.
For his tireless work to promote human rights and peace he was awarded a
Nobel Prize in 1989.
As part of his address he urged the USA and Britain to take a "firm stand"
with China regarding democracy, freedom of speech and human rights.
These words come days after British Prime Minister Tony Blair engaged in
discussions with Chinese President Hu Jintao, and at a time when US
President George Bush is in Beijing.
Proposals to increase trade with China has been met with fierce opposition
by both human rights and free Tibet protestors.
Fran Race is a reporter for Ekklesia and a member of All Hallows Anglican
church in Leeds. She can be contacted:
US lawmakers urge Congressional Gold Medal for Dalai Lama (AFP)
WASHINGTON, March 7, 2006 (AFP) -- US House of Representatives lawmakers
have begun a campaign to award the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual
leader, the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the legislature's highest
The medal would be given "in recognition of the Dalai Lama's enduring
and outstanding contributions to peace, nonviolence, human rights and
religious understanding," supporters of the measure said in a letter to
fellow House members.
"The Dalai Lama has labored tirelessly to further highlight the
desperate plight of the Tibetan people, who have been systematically
denied religious and political freedom under Chinese rule of Tibet, as
well as economic and educational opportunities," the March 2nd letter
The Congressional Gold Medal is reserved for the most heroic and
courageous figures -- more often than not those who are also seen as
moral or spiritual leaders.
Past recipients include Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and Nobel
Peace Laureates Elie Wiesel and Nelson Mandela.
"Passage of our legislation will send a strong signal of congressional
support for a negotiated settlement of the Tibetan issue that preserves
Tibetan culture and promotes autonomy for the people of Tibet," the
sponsors of the measure wrote.
Sponsors need to enlist support of at least half of the US
representatives to approve bestowing the honor on the exiled Tibetan
Buddhist leader.
Backers include Representative Tom Lantos, the top Democrat on the House
International Relations Committee.