The Universal Process

FORTY YEARS AFTER the Chinese occupation of Tibet,

the world is still ignorant of what has happened, ignorant of

the extent of the terror, destruction, and systematic genocide

that the Tibetan people have endured and are still enduring.

Over 1 million people out of a population of 6 million have

died at the hands of the Chinese; Tibet's vast forests, as indispensable

as those of the Amazon to the ecology of the world,

have been cut down; its wildlife has been almost totally massacred;

its plateaus and rivers have been polluted with nuclear

waste; the vast majority of its six-and-a-half thousand monasteries

lie gutted or destroyed; the Tibetan people face extinction,

and the glory of their own culture in their homeland has

been almost entirely obliterated.

From the very beginning of the Chinese occupation of Tibet

in the 1950s, many terrible atrocities were committed. Spiritual

masters, monks, and nuns were the first targets, because the

Chinese Communists wanted above all to break the spirit of

the people by wiping out all traces of religious life. Many,

many stories have reached me over the years of extraordinary

and moving deaths, in the worst possible circumstances, that

witnessed and paid final tribute to the splendor of the truth

the Chinese were desperate to destroy.

In the part of Tibet I come from, the province of Kham,

there was an old khenpo, or abbot, who had spent many years

in retreat in the mountains. The Chinese announced that they

were going to "punish" him, which everyone knew meant torture

and death, and sent a detachment of soldiers to his hermitage

to arrest him. The khenpo was elderly and unable to

walk, and the Chinese found him an old and mangy horse for

his last journey. They sat him on the horse, tied him to it, and

led the horse down the path from his hermitage to the army

camp. The khenpo began to sing. The Chinese could not


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