December 22, 2023
Tea plantation worker deaths: Karmapa’s message
Following the tragic passing of more than 130 tea plantation workers in India, Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, shares the following message:
Dear dharma friends
I am writing concerning the news that more than 130 people have died, and 200 people are still being treated in hospital, after consuming toxic alcohol in north-eastern India. Nearly all of the victims worked on tea plantations in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Assam.
We must remember, particularly in moments of mourning, that death and life are inseparable. Just as a flower will grow and flourish, so it must wilt and die. Often, we find it hard to accept the inevitability of death. We want to change it, resist it, and this can make things very challenging. This is why, in the end, it is really about accepting it. We must trust that we all have the power, we all have the ability to accept death. We don’t need to pressure ourselves, but instead can take things one step at a time.
Every day, if we are able to accept a little form of death, a little form of the reality of life, then death itself can be experienced as peaceful and meaningful. Just as living is meaningful, so death will become meaningful too.
With prayers and compassion
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa