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The Truthful Statement of the Old Tibetan Rakra Tethong

Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013
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The last published writing by Rakra Rimpoche was an article that he wrote on 13th of May 2012, less than two month before his death. It was published by Tibet Timeson August 2, 2012. The initial translation was by Karma Gyatso Zurkhang and was edited by Professor Elliot Sperling.

On page 6 of issue 552 of the Tibet Times, dated April 20, 2012, former Kalon-tripa Samdong Rimpoche in an interview on the Middle Way Policy, is quoted in his responses as saying “From the beginning of time until 1951, although Tibet was situated in the midst of powerful nations such as India, China, Russia, and Mongolia, there is no history of Tibet ever being fully ruled by any such powerful nation.” and “The Middle Way Policy can encourage democratization in China”.

When the Tibet Times reporter asked for Samdong Rimpoche’s views on the agitation occasioned by the display of Communist China’s flag alongside the national flag of Tibet by Tseten Dorjee, his mother and sister, Samdhong Rinpoche responded, ”When thus confronted, if we desecrate the revered symbol of a people; or if we burn and trample the Chinese national flag, this is not acceptable as a moral act.”

Such may be the response of a holy man, but doesn’t the carrying of our own national flag, symbolizing both religion and politics, alongside the flag of Communist China, whose national anthem describes it as being “the blood-red color of the many martyrs” indicate a lack of the most minimal respect for the highest values of the Tibetan people? Alternatively, shouldn’t the exile-government have been consulted?

“For my part, I had no objections. As I see it, his contextual thinking had been very thorough,” Rimpoche said, truly using honorific terminology.

Nonetheless, there’s no need for any of those contextual phrases when there are surely five or six different concrete terms in the Tibetan language that are relevant. With so many volumes of Kangyur and Tengyur from India having been translated into Tibetan, claiming a paucity of terms can really not be an excuse.

When asked whether or not the Middle Way Policy was influencing democratization in China, Samdhong Rinpoche replied. “Ask any Chinese, and 90% will say that Tibet’s separation from China is wrong. The majority of Chinese will say that China and Tibet must remain together.”

Yet previously Rimpoche said, “From the beginning of time until 1951, there is no history of Tibet ever being fully ruled by any such powerful nation.” He then said “Tibet was situated in Central Asia as the essence of a great power, much feared by all. He also quoted Drogon Choegyal Phagpa as saying “there were never any circumstances under which neighboring states ruled Tibet,” and so on. And yet while making such statements, Samdong Rimpoche stated: “I have so far met only one person who said that Tibet should separate from China and become independent.”

On that point, at this very moment, a number of Tibetans, some as young as 17 and 18, male and female, both from Dhotoe (Kham) and Dhome (Amdo), have sacrificed and are continuing to sacrifice their lives unflinchingly for the independence of their country. Pertinently, Jetsun Jampa Gompo wrote “When you lay down your life for the Dharma (choe), it is a pure marker of no turning back.”

And even if such statements don’t induce one to offer solace, is it still not a sin to demoralize selfless Tibetans?

As for how the necessity for my offering a truthful statement arose, it is said that His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama recognized the Tethong son, Rigzin Namgyal, as the reincarnation of Kham Pashoe Rakra, and sealed it by hand.  Thus, being now one among those from Dhotoe I speak for them. And I would say that the ultimate issue is this: to proclaim, at the start of a ceremonial speech, that from the beginning of time Tibet was a powerful, free and independent nation, and then to conclude by saying that China and Tibet have no choice but to remain together just as husbands and wives should not divorce; does this not do damage to the vows we have taken about democracy?


The Old Tibetan, Rakra Tethong

May 13, 2012.

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