August 3, 2023
Karmapa’s statement on the Rohingya crisis
Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, releases the following statement concerning the Rohingya crisis.
A full transcript of the message follows.
Whether we are spiritual people or not, whether we are Buddhists or not – it is terrible to witness these human tragedies, these human errors. We feel powerless, and at the same time we feel like we want to take responsibility, get involved, and help alleviate the suffering and solve the problems.
However, it is not as simple as that, because taking responsibility will inevitably lead us to search for some kind of meaning or justification, a search for who is at fault, who is in the right. We will never find an absolute justification or solution. We might come up with explanations, justifications, faults – but they will all be relative perspectives.
Rather than search for a meaning or justification, it is better to dedicate our merits and prayers to those who suffer. As practitioners, we can also train ourselves to try and recognise the harmful consequences of festering afflictive emotions, such as anger.
In life, it is normal to experience misunderstandings and doubtful feelings. When those experiences arise, we must not try to cover them up or suppress them – they are unstoppable. And so when they arise, we should let them rise on their own, and then let them fall on their own.
The more we try to resist emotions and postpone them from rising, the worse they get – they fester. It is this aspect of postponing emotions that causes real anxiety, and as a result one could ruminate more and more, and this then has the potential to transform into something violent.
In this situation people may even use the name of religion, philosophy, science or even race to justify acting on those emotions. Therefore, we must find the courage to let our emotions rise and fall naturally, just as a storm rises and sets on its own. For a storm never acts with an agenda or intention.
So, when emotions arise, we must never act upon them, for then we are caught in the storm. Instead, we can observe them, and let them settle on their own. In this way, we will help prevent any further suffering.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa