Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Beijin (Reuters) - A Tibetan Buddhist monk burned himself to death on Monday in southwest China calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader condemned by Beijing as a separatist.  The Tibetan Buddhist monk protesting Chinese policies immolated himself publicly in a Tibetan area of Sichuan Province in southwest China on Monday, an outside advocacy group reported. It was the second such act in the area in the past five months and appeared to reflect resistance to increased Chinese repression of loyalty to Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.  The monk’s self-immolation could spark fresh tensions in heavily ethnic Tibetan parts of Sichuan, which neighbors the official Tibet region, following protests in March when a Tibetan monk there also burned himself to death.  The London-based Free Tibet organization said the latest immolation-protest was carried out by a 29-year-old monk, Tsewang Norbu, who was from a monastery in Tawu, about 150 km (93 miles) from where the last immolation happened. 

“Tsewang Norbu drank petrol, sprayed petrol on himself and then set himself on fire,” Free Tibet said in an emailed statement, citing an unnamed witness.  “He was heard calling out: ‘We Tibetan people want freedom’, ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’ and ‘Let the Dalai Lama Return to Tibet’. He is believed to have died at the scene,” the group said.  “I saw a monk lying on the ground and burning, he died right in front of the county government building. Before setting himself on fire, he was distributing leaflets,” a hotel receptionist near the scene told AFP over the phone.  Tensions over the fate of the exiled Dalai Lama and his calls for Tibetan self-determination have continued to dog the region, sometimes flaring into protests.

A 29-year-old Tibetan monk set himself on fire and died of his injuries on Monday in southwest China, months after another self-immolation in the restive area sparked a crackdown by authorities.  Before setting himself on fire he was distributing leaflets right in front of the county government building. He was heard calling out “We Tibetan people want freedom”, “Long live the Dalai Lama”, and “Let the Dalai Lama return to Tibet” before he died.  In the epic Ramayana, we read the story of Bharata who vowed to Rama that if he did not return immediately when the fourteen years had elapsed, he would give up his life by self-immolation.  

Lakshmana spoke this to Rama:  “Ushered by anguish Bharata must be practising ascesis in city with adoration to you.  On forsaking kingdom and pride of becoming the king of Ayodhya as well and varied and various pleasures too, he is in self-denial, and with his food regulated he sleeps on chilly surface of earth.  That lotus-petal eyed one with blue-black complexion, being the noblest he is knower of dharma thus an advocate of truth, and thus intolerant of ignominy, and as a self-restrained one he talks dearly and sweetly, and he is dextrous and an enemy-destroyer, such as he is, that Bharata on forgoing all of his various pleasures he is devoted to you, as you alone are his adorable brother.”  Whith these broodings Lakshmana is quickening Rama’s thinking to take some action to complete his mission in eradicating the demonic atrocities and quickly return to Ayodhya, lest time slips by and Bharata may self-immolate.

Valmiki Ramayana
“Aranya Kanda (in Prose) - Sarga 16”

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