Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Subcommittee Hearing on Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis

At the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., a Subcommittee hearing on "Burma in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis: Death, Displacement, and Humanitarian Aid" is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2008 (see details below). It is an OPEN hearing and the public is invited.






Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-AS), Chairman

May 13, 2008


You are respectfully requested to attend the following OPEN hearing of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, to be held in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building:

DATE: Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TIME: 10:00 a.m.

SUBJECT: Burma in the Aftermath of Cyclone Nargis: Death, Displacement, and Humanitarian Aid

The Honorable Scot Marciel
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Mr. Greg Gottlieb
Deputy Assistant Administrator
Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance
U.S. Agency for International Development

Panel II
Mr. Joel Charny
Vice President for Policy
Refugees International

Mr. Jeremy Woodrum
U.S. Campaign for Burma

NOTE: Witnesses may be added.

By Direction of the Chairman

The Committee on Foreign Affairs seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202/225-5021 at least four business days in advance of the event, whenever practicable. Questions with regard to special accommodations in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats and assistive listening devices) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Impact of Cyclone Nargis

On one hand, Buddhist Relief debated over the posting of some of the photos below. Please be WARNED that they can be very GRAPHIC and DISTURBING. On the other hand, the world needs to know the impact of Cyclone Nargis, and more importantly, the disturbingly indifferent response from the Burmese government.

(Courtesy of of Bogalay village May 8)

(Photo: anonymous source)

(Photo: anonymous source)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Caretaker Vow

(Photo courtesy of Wired Blog Network).

On the occasion of Earth Day, Buddhist Relief wishes to share The Caretaker Vow from KPC's Spiritual Director Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. Although it was composed 22 years ago, it is still as relevant if not more so, in 2008.

The Caretaker Vow

We the Caretakers of the Earth, dedicate ourselves to the liberation and salvation of all sentient beings.

We vow to work for the liberation of planet earth from the clutches of suffering, poverty, famine and death. We vow to return in whatever form necessary, under whatever necessary conditions, so that all earth creatures can be liberated from the ravages of cyclic existence.

We vow to work for world peace. We vow to work for the raising of all nations of earth into a state of union and ultimately into the blessed state of supreme wisdom, the wisdom that is beyond all description.

We vow to work toward a great Universal Quickening of mind and heart, leading all beings to a state of clarity, a state in which Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, is enthroned within all hearts and within the planetary heart.

We vow to offer as food and drink to all sentient beings the clear, sweet Dharma so that they may feast and be satisfied at last. We offer our bodies, our speech, and our minds to be filled like bowls with Dharma that in our joy we will spill over into the waiting hearts of all our brethren. May their suffering cease forever.

To all the blessed Tathagatas, to all the root Lamas, to all the Sangha, to all the caretakers, grant us the strength to continue, the clarity to overcome self-cherishing, the determination to return forever until we are the last, and finally, the grace to find our way home.

May the Dharma take root in the West, on the Earth, and in hearts of all sentient beings. So be it.

(This was composed and witnessed by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo on August 31, 1986).

Friday, April 11, 2008

One World One Dream - Is it what it seems?

(Photo: Getty Images)

Buddhist Relief selected the following quotes and links from recent news, for your review and contemplation:

From an Opinion piece in The Economist:

“Were shooting oneself in the foot an Olympic event, China would surely be well placed for a gold. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay, taking the flame around the world before the games begin in August, was always a risk. Of course the flame would draw protests like moths. But the suppression of riots and protests in Tibet has ensured the torch’s progress has graduated from minor diplomatic embarrassment to full-scale public-relations disaster.

An exercise intended to flaunt the new, outward-looking and confident China has displayed its dark side: nervous, repressive, prickly and stubborn. That stubbornness may rule out the obvious remedy: calling the whole farce off before someone is badly hurt.

As for its proposed procession through Tibet in June, it is hard to imagine a more provocative or insensitive gesture.

What has the relay to do with sport? It is not some timeworn practice integral to the games. Rather, the idea of a relay from Greece to the Olympic venue was revived by the Nazis for the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which is hardly a precedent China wants to advertise.”

From an article in The Economist:

“The torch was guarded not just by the police but by a phalanx of Chinese men in blue-and-white tracksuits. Their jurisdiction was hazy, but their demeanor unmistakable. As Lord Coe, chairman of the committee organizing the 2012 London Olympics, was heard to say, they were “thugs”. Their presence outraged even those who could not find Tibet on a map.”

From the article "Turned Off by Torch Guards", in the Washington Post (about the Chinese men in blue-and-white tracksuits):

“With their steely demeanor and strong-arm tactics, they have become a symbol of what is going wrong for Chinese authorities who had hoped to make the 2008 Beijing Games a worldwide celebration of China’s friendly new face.”

Courtesy of The International Campaign for Tibet, an ethnic Chinese expresses his feelings on the crisis in Tibet. The following is an English translation of his blog posting published by the China Digital Times. The blog post was signed as written by "a student from the Central University of Nationalities":

First Time I Feel Ashamed to be Han, and Lucky to Not Be a Party Member

I've wanted to write something for a while in the wake of the latest developments in Tibetan regions. But after seeing press reports by media outlets from home and abroad, I don't know whom to believe in. I lost my judgment. I tried to start writing, but then couldn't continue because my feelings are too complex. This afternoon, I talked to a colleague again about this issue and the conversation escalated into a fight. The colleague finally used a very "Chinese Communist" style to stop me from "venting angry words." Faced with irrationality, I zipped my mouth. I've worked with a variety of people, but I didn't imagine that there are people who have been brainwashed so much, and I started to realize this issue isn't a small matter!

The key is, a lot of Han and some ethnic Tibetans with vested interests have become blind to the blue sky, white clouds, green mountains and water. Amidst the long history and mystical culture of Tibet, their brains are only thinking about how to commercialize these things. They don't know that many aspects of the Tibetan way of life, religion and custom, culture and values are gradually being dismantled. Neither do they know that the dignity of Tibetans is shedding tears, and many Tibetans are struggling"

Looking at Tibet, I sometimes feel ashamed to be a Han. Since first coming to Tibet in 2006 I often think about these issues: What on earth does Tibet need, how should it develop and who does it need to lead that development? I have no power to resist anything, nor do I have the intention to resist, after all our motherland is slowly making progress and our party is gradually inching toward democracy. As an ethnic university graduate and a Han who now works in the Tibetan region, these topics have surrounded me every day of my working life.

In a civilized world in the 21st Century, when something incredible happens in a certain area but many people around us (including Tibetans) yell out about a crackdown and mass killing, should we seriously reflect on ourselves: Why?

Read more here or here.

To participate in ongoing protests in the DC area, check the Capital Area Tibetan Association's website here.

Tell IOC no torch in Tibet: (this will take only a few minutes of your time).

"By this effort may all sentient beings be free of suffering"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Prayers for Peace in Tibet

Please join New York Area Religious Leaders in an Interfaith “PRAYERS FOR PEACE IN TIBET” this Sunday, April 6. The following information was released by The Tibet Fund.

Religious leaders from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths will offer prayers for those who have died and those who suffer as tensions escalate inside of Tibet. The evening will include a peaceful call to action against the Chinese Government's severe response to recent demonstrations in Tibet and throughout the world.

WHERE: The Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, at West End Avenue and West 86th Street in Manhattan. (Subway directions: Take the Broadway-7th Avenue Local (1) train to 86th Street and walk one block to West End Avenue. The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew will be to the right.)

WHEN: Sunday, April 6th from 6:00 - 8:00pm

After decades of harsh repression, the Tibetan people are now an ill-treated minority in their own land. Human rights abuses against Tibetan and other ethnic minorities in China have escalated as the Chinese Government seeks to eliminate the risk of protests for human rights, both before and during, this summer’s Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Following decades of oppressive policies, which include patriotic education campaigns and required denouncements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan people’s long-simmering resentment and frustration has spontaneously erupted into protests in Lhasa and other ethnically Tibetan areas.

Since March 10, it is estimated that Chinese Security forces have killed at least 140 Tibetans. House-to-house searches are now being conducted and over 1200 Tibetans have been arrested. The situation in Tibet remains tense with the presence of thousands of Chinese armed forces.

“PRAYERS FOR PEACE IN TIBET” is free and open to all. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Co-sponsors include the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, Congregation of B'nai Jeshurun, Jewel Heart, The Interfaith Center of New York, The Temple of Understanding, Buddhist Council of New York, The Gere Foundation, New York Open Center and the Tibet Fund.

For further information please contact Rinchen Dharlo, President of The Tibet Fund, at dharlo(at)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stand with the monks

(Lhasa monks speaking to foreign journalists on March 27th)

Vigil for Peace and Human Rights in Tibet

You are invited to stand up with Tibet’s monks — and with DC’s Tibetan community and Friends of Tibet from Virginia and Maryland — this weekend and continuing through Monday, March 31st.

Tibetan monks from the Drepung monastery in India will be here in Washington, DC to do what their brothers in Tibet cannot do — stand up freely for human rights in Tibet, for freedom of speech and freedom of religion in their homeland — and for the very survival of Tibet.

Along with hundreds of other Tibetans, many monks from Tibet’s Drepung Monastery arrested during the peaceful march of 400 monks from Drepung to Lhasa on March 10th are still missing and unaccounted for.

Join the Drepung monks for prayers and their Vigil for Peace and Human Rights in Tibet on Saturday, and Sunday at the Chinese embassy in DC’s Kalorama area to let China know that the world is watching them. Make your voice heard by standing with them and Tibetans from all over the east coast on Monday, March 31, in Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Every voice counts — Tibet needs your support today more than ever!

Vigil for Peace and Human Rights in Tibet
Saturday: Chinese embassy 3-5pm
Sunday: Chinese embassy, 3-5pm
Monday: White House, 12:30-2pm

IMPORTANT: Please check the website of the Capital Area Tibetan Association in advance for the latest information on times and locations.