March 19, 2012

Day 27 without Food.

Day 26.

From left to right in the photo:

Yeshi Tenzing (turned 39 on March 15th during the fast), H.E. 11th Shingza Rinpoche Tenzin Choekyi, 32, and Dorjee Gyalpo (the eldest at 59). Dorjee Gyalpo was urged to go to the hospital. His children came to visit him while we meditated.

“I am not here to go to the hospital, I am here to demand the UN to douse the burning human flames inside Tibet and we will not move an inch until UN answers us.” ~ Hunger Striker Mr. Dorjee Gyalpo in response to our doctor suggesting he visit the hospital on Day 26.

This is not sensationalism.

Wait, what’s going on outside the U.N. on First Avenue and 43rd Street? Who is Richard Gere, known Buddhist, talking to all bundled up in sleeping bags, hats, gloves surrounded by prayer flags?

Over a week ago, I caught wind of this, and then that’s all I heard until a fellow Sangha [community] mate, Angela Russo, started posting on FB that three men are on an indefinite fast until the United Nations steps up to China and meets their cries.

Please let it be known that I am not a journalist and I am putting together this article largely inspired by Angela Russo and her actions on behalf of the Tibetan Youth Congress. Having been to the U.N. site three times, and sat in meditation with Sangha mates and solo, I am moved to write something about what is happening at the UN. I want to get this story out there in a hurry.

On Day 22, when we were there, the word was that the hunger strike was going to end soon. Why we were told this, I don’t know. I am not an insider, but I am guessing the Tibetan Youth Congress, who represent these three men, heard the U.N. was having words with the powers that be in China.

Tibetan Youth Congress is appealing to the United Nations to immediately:

1. Send a fact-finding delegation to assess the critical situation in Tibet.

2. Pressure China to stop the undeclared martial law in Tibet.

3. Pressure China to allow international media to investigate and report on the ongoing atrocities in Tibet.

4. Pressure China to release all political prisoners, including Gedun Choekyi Nyima and Tulku Tenzin Delek.

5. Pressure China to stop so-called “patriotic re-education” campaign in Tibet.

We also appeal world leaders and governments to intervene and engage directly with the Chinese leadership to stop the ongoing genocide in Tibet.

Friends are asking, what can I do?

If you are not able to be there in person, you can support this mission by visiting Tibetan Youth Congress website.

You can also send a message to the U.S. Senate here.

You can write about it, meditate for peace, send prayers and metta to all beings, reach out to media, tell your friends and spread the word. This is happening!

Three Tibetan men have been on a hunger strike since February 22, 2012. The word is that they arrive at the U.N. at 8:30 a.m., and leave at 6:30 p.m. They are staying at a location in Queens.

Who is fasting? 

photo credit Angela Russo

From left to right in the photo (courtesy of International Campaign For Tibet website):

“Gyalpo was born on March 5th, 1953 in the Kyidong Pang-Shing region of Tibet. He escaped to Nepal in 1960. In 1965 he moved to India. He served as an Executive member of the Regional TYC in Mainpat in 1978. He came to the U.S. in 1992 as part of the U.S. Tibetan Resettlement Project, and currently lives in Minnesota.

He found inspiration to participate in this campaign in a 1992 speech by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibetans migrating to the United States when he said they are “the representatives of six million Tibetans.”

H.E. 11th Shingza Rinpoche Tenzin Choekyi Gyaltsen was born on January 15, 1980 in the Bongtag area of Tsongon, Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama recognized him as the reincarnation of the 10th Shingza Rinpoche when he was 13 years old, and he joined Ragya monastery in Golok, Tibet. Rinpoche fled into exile in 1997 and joined Sera monastery in South India.

In 2008, he took part in the “March to Tibet,” organized by five Tibetan NGOs. Thereafter, he led “Return to Tibet,” a clandestine mission of 60 monk activists to Tibet. He received a Geshe Degree in Buddhist philosophy in 2011. He founded the annual Tibetan National Poetry Recitation contest to create interest and pride in Tibetan language among young Tibetans. He is a staunch advocate for Tibet’s independence as well as a freelance writer who has authored two books in Tibetan—Lewang Marpo and Gerchod. Rinpoche is also the founder and editor of www.wokar.net, which is widely popular inside Tibet among Tibetan writers and scholars.

Yeshi Tenzing was born on March 15, 1973 in exile. He served as President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress in Herbertpur for two consecutive terms (2004-2007 and 2007-2010). He has been an active member of Tibetan Youth Congress and has participated in many of its campaigns in India.”

photo credit Angela Russo

His Eminence the 11th Shingza Rinpoche reading the autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 22 of fast. photo credit Angela Russo

The mood at the site is peaceful, but I did feel like I was attending a funeral. I practiced Tonglen, a meditation practice where we connect with the suffering of others and the suffering all around. This practice helps us deal with our fears of suffering and awakens the compassion that is inherent in all of us.

I’m not sure that these men would still have their strength and be alive if a media circus was there covering on a daily basis. The energy of peaceful abiding and intention of those surrounding them is for their cause, not sensationalism. Quiet and peaceful existence is what their lives are about. They are Buddhists and quietly protesting for the benefit of all beings.

I do hope that the fast ends today and that they are able to regain their health and strength. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the acts of immolation by monks, nuns and laymen. Immolation is not an act of peace, but sacrifice to be heard.

If you are in the New Jersey/New York area please join us in solidarity with Tibet to walk and sit starting at 4:30 p.m.



Editor: Brianna Bemel


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