I've grown sadder and sadder within the past weeks as I have watched the current conflicts between the people of Tibet and the government of China. I have felt helpless and useless. Sure, I could go online and find some organization to donate nominal amount of money to support Tibetan refugees or write letters to our government asking them to urge the Chinese Government to meet with the Dali Lama, but these actions will not alleviate the heart sickness I've been experiencing over the situation.
In case you've been too bombarded by the plethora of other horrifying news headlines (recession, war, etc.) that are continually developing in our 24-hour news cycle, here are a few of links that have helped me to understand the circumstances currently occurring in Tibet:
The cover story of Time Magazine a few weeks ago was 'A Monk's Struggle'. The story focus's on the Dali Lama's non-violent quest to convince the Chinese Government that he is not behind the separatist movement; however, the Chinese government continually viciously accuses him of being the leader. The Dali Lama is on public record as only wanting autonomy and religious freedom for the people of Tibet. Although there are many Tibetans that do want full-fledged independence, the Dali Lama's firm stance is now, and has always been, that he is willing to work with the China's leaders to develop a state-like autonomy for the Tibetan region that does not require the area to become its own nation.
Recently, The Jim Lehrer News Hour featured the story: Deep-rooted Tensions Surface in Tibet Unrest. The story, which you can watch by following the above link, summarizes the current conflicts and then has several experts discuss the possible outcomes. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this discussion is the fact that all of the guests in the discussion agreed that protesting the Olympic Torch as it is carried or boycotting the opening ceremonies of the games will only cause the Chinese government to punish the Tibetan people.
Democracy Now, a liberal daily new show that you can easily podcast at democracynow.org, recently interview noted Tibetan scholar and personal friend of the Dali Lama, Robert Thurman. Listen to the interview from this link. This interview, like the PBS link, does a good job of covering the recent conflicts but also gives Mr. Thurman's personal view of the situation which is very informative due to his close relationship with the Dali Lama.
Finally, the news of today. Today's New York Time's front page story, "Olympic Torch Goes Out, Briefly, in Paris" covers the recent protest in London and Paris. In both places the path of the Olympic Torch has been lined with protesters that feel the honor of the Olympic Games should not be given to a government that is trying to destroyed the ethnic and religious beliefs on a large population in their country. There is no doubt that there will be more protest tomorrow when the torch is scheduled to travel through San Francisco the only U.S. stop on the torch's journey to Beijing.
In conclusion, I have decided that the best action I can take is to meditate consistently each day dedicating my practice to a peaceful resolution for the people of Tibet. I've tried off and on to stick to a meditation routine for the last three or four years, but I have always been willing to skip a session for the flimsiest of excuses. Skipping one day leads to skipping two and then I'm off the Zafu for weeks. Currently, I am 2 weeks strong meditating everyday. My goal is to have an unbroken practice through the Olympic games in August. Perhaps, by creating the space in myself that meditation fosters, I will find a way to be at peace with the dreadful reality that faces one of the most peaceful groups of people alive on the planet today.