Letter to the U.N. regarding Burma

Here is the latest from Burma:

Sep 27, 2007
Yesterday the Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, asked President Reoch to write on his behalf to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressing his concern at the threats of violence and attacks on unarmed Buddhist monks and civilians in Burma (Myanmar) who are peacefully demonstrating in their country. News from that country indicates that the monastics have come under attack, leading to serious injuries and possible fatalities.

The Sakyong would like members of the Shambhala community to know that in his view it would be appropriate for prayers and practices to be offered in a spirit of encouraging a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Burma (Myanmar). It would also be appropriate for individuals to join in vigils, meditations, petitions or other non-violent manifestations aimed at generating international protection for the sangha in Burma (Myanmar). He requests that this be done in a spirit, not of taking sides, but of acting in line with the impartial aspiration for peace expressed in his appeal to the United Nations, which follows.

His Excellency
Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General
The United Nations
New York

26 September 2007

Your Excellency,

I have the honour to address you on behalf of The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage -­ an ancient tradition whose aspiration is to create enlightened society on earth. The royal seat of Shambhala is held by a successive line of Sakyongs (literally “Earth Protectors”) devoted to the protection, well-being and spiritual care of our world.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, together with the global community of Buddhist practitioners, has followed with deepening concern the events unfolding in Myanmar (Burma). This concern is shared by people of all faiths around the world, and by more and more governments. The threat and use of violence against unarmed monastics and civilians in that country has led the Security Council of the United Nations to focus its attention on these worsening developments. Already there are reports of violent attacks that have resulted in serious injuries and possible fatalities.

At the same time, we understand that the sangha of monks in Myanmar (Burma) has maintained its deep commitment to non-violence. Monastics have urged the civilian population not to resort to violence if provoked. They have repeatedly stated that, as followers of the Buddhist path, they are determined to address the deep social issues in their country using peaceful means.

It is imperative, not only for the well-being and stability of that nation, but also for the world as a whole, that the international community make every effort to restrain the forces of violence and take all appropriate measures to uphold the internationally recognized rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and the exercise of human conscience.

In making this appeal, the Sakyong wishes to make clear that the issue facing humanity is not a question of taking sides in a country’s internal dispute. It is a question of how we, as people everywhere, learn to resolve our differences and disputes. We stand at a crossroads in history: we can either choose the nightmare of violence or take upon ourselves the challenge of peace. It is vital that the world’s primary international forum, the United Nations, give a clear signal that the way forward for humanity and our planet must be the choice of peace.

The Sakyong prays, as the leader of a global Buddhist community, that the wisdom and compassion that are inherent in all humanity, will enable you, as the foremost peacekeeper of the world, to guide the community of nations towards a patient, just, and sane resolution of the current crisis.

In the hope that we may walk together on the path that leads to the cessation of all suffering, I remain yours, sincerely and respectfully,

Richard Reoch
President of Shambhala
(This announcement was from the Shambhala News Service)

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