This Saturday marks the beginning of Losar, which is the Tibetan New Year. It is usually celebrated by several weeks of festivals and prayers. In the west, it’s been condensed to more or less one day, with most westerners and Tibetans in the west celebrating it this year on Saturday, March 5, 2011.
For the 2nd year in a row, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has requested Tibetans not to celebrate Losar in a gesture to honor those in Tibet not celeberating Losar, after China’s crackdown in 2008.
What started as an annual observance of the Tibetan Uprising Day in 2008, ended up in rioting, burning, looting, and killing by March 14. Reportedly, 18 Tibetans were shot dead.
Events leading up to Losar included China trying to prevent HH Dalai Lama from meeting US president Obama earlier this year. The meeting went through anyway despite strong objections from the Chinese government.
I remember one time on retreat at a Vietnamese Monastery, Khensur Rinpoche Jampa Tegchock was talking about the political situation in regards to Tibet and China. He noticed that some of us were disintereted, so afterwards, he said that he mentioned it because he thought we were all Buddhists and we should be concerned about other people.
I think he got his point across pretty well.