Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank You India, Thank You Sikkim


An email received from a friend in UK makes an important point. 
The Tibetans in exile are rightly grateful to the Central and States governments which welcomed and supported them for the past fifty years. India also gave them the freedom to practice their religion and preserve their culture.

A beautiful song has been written by the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (lyrics Thubten Jinpa) for the occasion.  

Greetings to you.
I have read your article Sun Shines in Tawang. It is good news indeed when Delhi has stayed firm when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Arunachal Pradesh .
I  always appreciate  how you bring the accurate details of  history into the present as you know.
I heard about the festival in Sikkim as the Rinpoche I am in contact with, gave the  " thank you speech "  for the Tibetan people and the ministers who were present.
And for this reason  I thought it was a pity that in your article you did not mention the objective of this festival was to thank Sikkim for all its help to enable the Tibetans to continue to flourish.
This  is  a moment of gratitude for fifty years of what would have been homelessness and deprivation as we witnessed with boat people of Vietnam arriving on foreign shores..
Rarely across the world, ( can you remember any other instances )  do we hear any people expressing gratitude for providing a home when faced with exile. I believe  it is a marvellous example of  what we all can learn to do so much better,  to give thanks for those who provide anything that can help anyone.
So many articles celebrate the resilience of the Tibetan people and HH the Dalai Lama in the face of  Chinese exile,  yet this is one moment when humility and appreciation to the host country is provided as an offering to illustrate the value of what has continued to thrive with the help of others.
This, from what I understand,  was the overarchining motivation for the festival of Tibetan culture in Sikkim,  to celebrate the thankfulness  to  those who enabled the culture to survive.
For without this kindness of the host country,  the living Tibetan culture, as we have come to know, might have perished.
There is a time and place for everything and I believe it is important part of history to report that moment when  the Tibetan People  say "Thank you" from the bottom of their hearts.  The Chinese can hardly get angry with India and Sikkim for accepting a "thank you" for the Tibetans.  This is one way maybe the  Chinese  learn the  lessons of vipasana and equanimity from real Buddhist teachers.

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