The High Road to Sovereignty

By Rinchen Dharlo, John Bacher, Ursula Franklin, Peter Timmermann

The Dalai Lama was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, forty years after the Chinese invasion of Tibet. To this day the Dalai Lama continues his non violent resistance to Chinese rule. The following are excerpts from speeches at the Forum on Non-Violent Social Action on Dalai Lama Day at Toronto's Zen Buddhist Temple.

Rinchen Dharlo, head of the Office of Tibet and His Holiness the Dalai Lama's representative:

"In 1949 China invaded and occupied Tibet. His Holiness, The Dalai Lama tried for ten years to work out a peaceful solution with the Chinese in order to prevent further violence and bloodshed. However by 1959, increasing Chinese repression resulted in an outburst of nationalist Tibetan sentiments which culminated in the March 10, 1959 Tibetan national uprising. His Holiness, The Dalai Lama was forced to flee into exile and some hundred thousand Tibetans were able to escape... We were beset with so many problems, yet the Tibetan people are very fortunate to have a leader like His Holiness, the Dalai Lama who literally takes care of every Tibetan refugee, establishing schools for the children and settlements for the adults...

In awarding the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize to his Holiness, The Dalai Lama, the Nobel committee stated that it wished to emphasize the fact that in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet the Dalai Lama consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based on tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."

John Bacher, historian and associate editor of Peace Magazine.

"Critics of a philosophy of non violence have continuously raised the spectre of its ineffectuality against determined despots such as Hitler and Stalin...In Tibet however, we have seen a principled campaign for cultural survival using non violent strategies, under the hardest of conditions. Despite the most brutal mass executions and tortures, the Buddhist opposition to the occupation of Tibet has not been lured to the temptations of violence and hatred. Such vital evidence of the Tibetans' remarkable resistance in continuing their spiritually-based way of life based on reverence for the earth, in the face of the cruellest efforts at intimidation and indoctrination, shows how the weapons-based civilizations of today may perish in the pattern of abolished evils such as slavery. "

Prof. Ursula Franklin, University of Toronto, Officer of the Order of Canada, member of the Voice of Women.

"I am thankful that the honour fell upon him...the great teacher of that spiritual strength...Buddhism...tells not only those who belong to the community, but also tells everyone else in this world, that what matters is not necessarily what we do, what matters is how we do it. The western world has been very resistant to calls to pay spiritual attention to means rather than ends."

Peter Timmerman, Research Associate in Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto.

"For environmentalists, the question of relationship between ourselves and the earth has now become fundamental, partly because our current estrangement from the earth is clearly an example of a failed relationship."

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1991

Peace Magazine Sep-Oct 1991, page 17. Some rights reserved.

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