Statement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the Twenty-Third Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day

Today on the 23rd anniversary of 10th March, and at a time when the truth of our cause is becoming ever clearer, I send, along with my appreciation, greetings to the Tibetan people, in and outside Tibet.

In any society, the distinction, between truth and falsehood, benefit and harm, is ultimately revealed by time and history. Similarly, the actual history of these last twenty-three years has done a big summing up of whatever was the truth and whatever was false in the issue of Tibet. Without resorting to untruth and lies, without fabricating non-existing accomplishments or belittling past achievements and erasing their traces, it is important to apply the reasonable method of “seeking truth from facts” in analysing and learning lessons derived from a calm and objective study of the roots of right and wrong as they have been revealed and are being revealed by actual history.

At this moment, questions of the old and the new social system, religion, deferring ideologies and systems spring to the mind of many Tibetans, in and outside Tibet. As I have mentioned many times before on this question the Tibetans will have to keep pace with the progressive changes that are occurring in the twentieth century world and move towards democratic revolution. The old social system will never be resurrected. The teachings of the Buddha, as contained in the Tripitikas (the three baskets) and three Higher Trainings, are beneficial to society since they are based on sound reason and actual experience. These we must preserve and promote. However, the livelihood of lamas and monks and the admiration of the monastic establishment must be of necessity change with the changing times. Like the fact that all the waters and rivers of different lands and climes have their ultimate meeting point in the ocean, so too the different viewpoints on society, the variety of economic theories and the means of their attainment, must benefit, and they do certainly benefit, mankind itself. There is no point in indulging in dissension-creating discussions on differing ideologies. The fact that no positive result has accrued from attempting to convert all men of different temperaments and likings into one common ideology and mode of behaviour can clearly be seen from the contemporary history of both the East and West. If a few, without caring the least for the basic welfare of people and the larger interest of mankind, continue to give order, beat and kill, and yet label this atrocious behaviour as ‘revolutionary', they are only fooling themselves. This behaviour is both shortsighted and parrot like. A recent issue of Red Flag journal has criticised a few persons who, far from serving the people and looking after their welfare, literally sit on people's heads and do whatever comes to their mind. Persons who adopt such behaviour are not needed in any society and they certainly do not belong to the ranks of those thinking human beings who work for the benefit of themselves as well as that of others.

In the last two or three years the situation in Tibet has undergone some slight change. Because of this a number of people, comparing this to past suffering, feel content with the present liberalisation and hope that a good result, will come about soon. On the other, a number of other people feel that the present liberalisation policy is a new attempt to fool the Tibetans and that in the end the Tibetan people will not be given equal rights to freedom. The Tibetans should neither suffer such inflated hopes nor ingrained suspicion. They should not be impatient and hold hasty views. The issue of Tibet is the issue of people whose history goes back thousands of years and whose religious and cultural heritage is rich. It is also an issue, which is deeply linked with the changes in the international political scene. Consequently, the issue of Tibet should inevitably undergo a proper, satisfactory and decisive change since the present situation will remain as it is. As such all Tibetans must continue to struggle broadmindedly, peaceably and truthfully, for both the short and long term happiness, interests and rights of our people. This struggle must continue right to the end.

The Dalai Lama
March 10, 1982