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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Losar Message to the Tibetans

February 25, 2009

On the occasion of the Earth-Ox New Year of the 17th Rabjung cycle in
the Tibetan Royal Year 2136, I would like to greet all Tibetans, both
inside and outside of Tibet. I pray that there be peace and prosperity,
and that our just cause may see gradual resolution.

Although there is no old or new phase in the continuous cycle of
planetary movements, which results in the days, nights, months and
years, there is a tradition throughout the world to observe the
beginning of a new year upon the completion of the previous one.
Likewise, in the snow land of Tibet, we have the tradition to observe
the New Year in the first lunar month with elaborate celebrations
incorporating both spiritual and temporal elements. However, last year
in Tibet we witnessed hundreds of Tibetans losing their lives, and
several thousands facing detention and torture, in response to the
widespread display by Tibetans all over Tibet of their discontentment
with the Chinese authorities' policies.

Therefore, since they faced immense difficulties and sufferings, the
occasion of this New Year is certainly not a period when we can have the
usual celebrations and gaiety. I admire the determined move by Tibetans,
inside and outside of Tibet, not to indulge in celebratory activities
during this New Year. Instead, everyone should utilize this period in
abandoning non-virtuous acts and engaging in positive actions, thereby
cultivating virtuous merits so that all those who sacrificed their lives
for the cause of Tibet, including those who lost their lives in the
tragic events of the past year, may have quick realization of Buddhahood
through successive rebirth in higher realms. The dedication should also
go to those currently undergoing suffering so that they may immediately
be able to enjoy the happiness of freedom. Through such an accumulation
of collective merits we should all strive for an early solution to the
just cause of Tibet.

Just as we had suspected, the strike-hard campaign has been re-launched
in Tibet and there is a heavy presence of armed security and military
forces in most of the cities all over Tibet. In all the places those who
dare to come out even with a slight hint of their aspirations have to
face torture and detention. In particular, special restrictions have
been imposed in the monasteries, patriotic re-education has been
launched, and restrictions have been imposed on the visit of foreign
tourists. Provocative orders have been passed for special celebrations
of the Tibetan New Year. Looking at all these developments it becomes
clear that the intention and aim behind them are to subject the Tibetan
people to such a level of cruelty and harassment that they will not be
able to tolerate and thus be forced to remonstrate. When this happens
the authorities can then indulge in unprecedented and unimaginable
forceful clampdown. Therefore, I would like to make a strong appeal to
the Tibetan people to exercise patience and not to give in to these
provocations so that the precious lives of many Tibetans are not wasted,
and they do not have to undergo torture and suffering.

It goes without saying how much admiration I have for the enthusiasm,
determination, and sacrifice of the Tibetans in Tibet. However, it is
difficult to achieve a meaningful outcome by sacrificing lives. Above
all, the path of non violence is our irrevocable commitment and it is
important that there be no departure at all from this path.

Once again, I pray that the Tibetan people are freed from oppression and
torture, and enjoy the happiness of freedom. May all sentient beings
enjoy happiness at all times.

The Dalai Lama

February 25, 2009 (corresponding to the first day of the first month in
the Earth Ox Tibetan Year)
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