All year I've heard anti-China protests and seen pictures of the Olympic rings as handcuffs underlined with "Free Tibet." But all of this dissent has been from us, from Americans.
Yesterday I had the good fortune of seeing Professor Samdhong Rinpoche speak here. He holds the highest political title of Tibet as Prime Minister of Tibet in Exile, as I mentioned previously. He has worked alongisde the Dalai Lama for over 50 years.
His speech's effect on me was that of a pebble dropped in a still pond. His limited English required him to speak directly and succinctly. He did not dwell on abstract philosophy but rather practical application of Buddhist teaching in world issues ranging from war and terrorism to environmentalism and the Olympic games.
To condense an already compact speech,his main idea was that we need to start with introspection. We have to fulfill our own ideals before we go forcing them on other. We need to recycle our waste before we try to clean up the oceans. We need to communicate peacefully before we try to stop war miles away. We need to eliminate the fear that every crowded place and airplane is grounds for a terrorist strike.
In reference to China and the Olympics he said that the Tibetan people do not hate the Chinese or communism. They don't mind being ruled by China as long as the policies are fair and not intrusive.
“We have no ill-feeling for the Chinese people,” Rinpoche stated. “In spite of terrible conditions, the strength of truth and compassion are with us. We support the Olympic Games hosted by Beijing … [and] wish all goes successfully.”
He concluded with a Buddhist chant that held the crowd in a contemplative rapture.