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Please, let Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche have peace in his retirement

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(TibetanReview.net, Sep29’23)

The Tibetan Parliament in Exile session that ended in Dharamshala on Sep 28 after sitting for just three days has proved to be no different from the earlier ones – divided irreconcilably, mincing no words in giving the severest of hurt to others, and not yielding an inch from one’s avowed stubborn stand. What disheartens the people most is the fact that the monk MPs are spearheading the saber rattling that has come to characterise our Parliament sessions. In our host country India, even sworn political opponents like the Congress and the BJP are not seen stooping so low in trying to put the other side down. They can, if they want; they have their own country. They have the fifth largest economy in the world. Theirs is also the 4th largest army in the world.

We, on the other hand, are aware of the sad, desperate situation of our country. Besides, our situation is getting worse each passing year. The mass emigration of Tibetans from their exile homes in India and Nepal will definitely affect the stability of the CTA if this westward trend continues. Our Parliament is becoming more dysfunctional, and, worst of all, it is throwing a spanner in the work of the Administration. It is preventing the required number of Kalons from getting appointed. As more time passes without the vacant Kalon positions getting filled, people feel helplessly forced to wonder if there is a calculated plot afoot to destabilise our exile society. And, the Judiciary branch of the Administration is as good as non-existent. Have we embraced democracy to undo ourselves in the end? As China grows stronger and stronger, our Parliament is bent on making us weaker. This is very, very unfortunate.

Now the Parliament is beginning to be used to malign Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche. One MP so arrogantly accuses Rinpoche of driving a wedge between groups of people. What can be farther from truth than this wild finger pointing! The MP’s suggestion is that if Prof. Rinpoche had given an interpretation of that Charter Article in favour of the removal of all the three Justices at one go, he would be a saint. But because his interpretation is seen as hampering what the monk MPs had wished to achieve, he is denigrated. Where is the honesty, truthfulness, uprightness and equanimity that we expect, at least, from the monks? Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche has given his interpretation of that Charter article as he understood it as a member of the Charter drafting committee and as a former Speaker. Many other people have also given their own interpretations.

Prof. Rinpoche’s service to the people of Tibet is immeasurable. He deserves a restful and peaceful retirement. Do not disturb him from the marvellous spiritual services he is providing. There is a rush of monastic institutions, organizations both in India and outside and academic institutions of all levels to invite him to give teachings. Please, understand he has no time to waste to respond to wild accusations.

After defaming the Nechung oracle and now Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche openly and loudly in the Parliament in full glare of the world, we wonder who will be next. Just as MPs think they have the unbridled democratic right to speak their mind, so do all others in our democratic society including, of course, Prof. Rinpoche.

Before China hijacks Tibet to the moon, we need to set our Parliament house in order so that our brethren inside Tibet can continue to look with hope to Dharamshala.

— Norbu Tsering
Toronto, Canada
Former Lecturer at Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Leh; Principal at TCV, Ladakh

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