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TIBETAN LAMA URGES UNITY, NATIONHOOD BEFORE SELF-IMMOLATING

February 3, 2012

STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2012

Contact: Tenzin Dorjee, +1 707-836-3677
Kate Woznow, +1 917 300 9491

Final Words of Lama Soepa Recorded in Audio Message to Tibetans

New York - An audio recording with the final words of a Tibetan lama who set himself on fire in Tibet on January 8, 2012, in protest of Chinese rule has surfaced from sources in Tibet. Lama Soepa, a spiritual teacher and community leader from Golok in the Kham region of eastern Tibet (Ch: Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province), urges Tibetans to "unite and work together to build a strong and prosperous Tibetan nation…" in an audio message recorded before his final act of protest. His message addresses Tibetans living inside Tibet and in exile, calling for unity and strength amongst all Tibetans and the preservation of language and culture.

"Lama Soepa's deeply moving message is the most definitive and eloquent articulation of the demands of the 17 Tibetans who have self-immolated for the cause of the Tibetan nation," said Tenzin Dorjee, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. "Lama Soepa clearly explains that his motivation in carrying out this act is to ease the suffering of his fellow Tibetans. His words communicate strength, determination, and a sense of hope for a future in which Tibetans will live free from Chinese rule."

"Contrary to Chinese government claims, Tibetans who have set themselves on fire in protest were exemplary community members and even widely respected Tibetan leaders who displayed courage and integrity in their final acts of defiance -- qualities of character far beyond the reach of the Chinese bureaucrats and officials who attempt to demonize them from Beijing," he added.

The complete translation of Lama Soepa's message is included below.

TRANSLATION OF LAMA SOEPA’S AUDIO STATEMENT RECORDED BEFORE HIS SELF-IMMOLATION

To all the six million Tibetans, including those living exile -- I am grateful to Pawo Thupten Ngodup and all other Tibetan heroes, who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet and for the reunification of the Tibetan people; though I am in my forties, until now I have not had the courage like them. But I have tried my best to teach all traditional fields of knowledge to others, including Buddhism.


This is the twenty-first century, and this is the year in which so many Tibetan heroes have died. I am sacrificing my body both to stand in solidarity with them in flesh and blood, and to seek repentance through this highest tantric honor of offering one’s body. This is not to seek personal fame or glory.

I am giving away my body as an offering of light to chase away the darkness, to free all beings from suffering, and to lead them – each of whom has been our mother in the past and yet has been led by ignorance to commit immoral acts – to the Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light. My offering of light is for all living beings, even as insignificant as lice and nits, to dispel their pain and to guide them to the state of enlightenment. I offer this sacrifice as a token of long-life offering to our root guru His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all other spiritual teachers and lamas.

[Lama Soepa recites the prayer of the Mandala Offering]

/The universal ground purified with blessed water spread, / This magnificent continent adorned with the sun and moon. / I offer them with pure realm of the enlightened in mind, / May all sentient beings enjoy this pure land! /  My mind, body, speech, all my possessions and merits, / And this precious Mandala and all other offerings, / I offer all these to the Three Jewels with my fervent prayers, / Compassionately accept these and bless me and all other sentient beings. / I send forth this bejeweled Mandala to you, precious teacher!/

I am taking this action neither for myself nor to fulfill a personal desire nor to earn an honor. I am sacrificing my body with the firm conviction and a pure heart just as the Buddha bravely gave his body to a hungry tigress (to stop her from eating her cubs). All the Tibetan heroes too have sacrificed their lives with similar principles. But in practical terms, their lives may have ended with some sort of anger. Therefore, to guide their souls on the path to enlightenment, I offer prayers that may lead all of them to Buddhahood.

May all spiritual teachers and lamas inside Tibet and in exile live long. Especially, I pray that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will return to Tibet and remain as Tibet’s temporal and spiritual leader.

[Lama Soepa recites the Long-life Prayer for the Dalai Lama.]

/Circled by ramparts of snow-mountains, this sacred realm, / This wellspring of all sustenance and happiness. / Tenzin Gyatso, bodhisattva of compassion. / May his reign endure till the end of existence. / May his great deeds spread across the space. All those who have forms and are formless, / Those who bear hostility towards the Buddha dharma, / May all of them be found and defeated, / By the Three Jewels and the power of truth./


Translation by Bhuchung D. Sonam in Dharamsala, India

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Tenzin Dorjee (Tendor)  བསྟན་རྡོར།
Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet  བོད་རང་བཙན་སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཚོགས་པ།
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