485Petition to Thai government for H.H. the Dalai Lama to visit Thailand
- Dec 23, 2008
Dear friends of INEB,
International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) is very fortunate to be under the patronage of great Buddhist leaders who devote their lives for happiness and benefit of all sentient beings. They are His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (Vajrayana), Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (Mahayana), Venerable Phra Rajapanyamedhi (Theravada) and Venerable Bhikshuni Chao-Hwei (Mahayana Bhikshuni). In the past INEB was under the patronage of the late Bikkhu Buddhadasa and the late Venerable Maha Ghosananda. The 20th Anniversary of INEB is the right time to welcome our patrons and to receive their blessing in the INEB Conference 2009 and Festival of Peace, the special event to celebrate our anniversary.
As for H.H. the Dalai Lama, he visited Siam thrice. In 1967, His Holiness was granted an audience with H.M. the King Bhumipol and met with the Prime Minister. His Holiness came again in 1972 to visit Suan Mokkh where he discussed Buddhist teachings with Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. Unfortunately, since the Sino-Thai diplomatic relations began in 1975, Thai government had not been in favor of His Holiness visit. Only in 1993, thanks to H.M. the Kings intervention, His Holiness could come to Bangkok to join the other Nobel Peace Laureates in an international campaign for human rights for Burma . It was a 27-hour visit during which His Holiness was accommodated in the same temple where his spiritual brother, the Siam s Supreme Patriarch stayed.
INEB and its sister organizations in Siam have made several attempts in vain to invite His Holiness to Siam again. Despite the Thai governments response that His Holinesss visit will not harm the Sino-Thai relations, the government could not process the visa claiming political reasons in Siam at the time of our request (the coup detat in February 1991 and the dissolution of the House of Parliament in November 2000). M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who was then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Democrat Party-led coalition insisted in 2000 that Thai Government from the Chatchai Choonhavans onward has not expressed disapproval of His Holinesss visit to Siam , the country that claims itself a Buddhist land. M.R. Sukhumbhand himself met Mr. Tashi Wangdi, Tibetan Minister of Religion, and ascertained him of His Holiness visit to Bangkok .
It is fortunate that the Democrat Party is now a government. We would like to see the Democrat government, under leadership of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, fulfill the promise of its deputy foreign minister in the year 2000 regarding the visit of His Holiness. We hope that Mr. Abhisit and the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kasit Piromya, make a bold step and support the invitation of His Holiness to preside over our celebration of the INEBs 20th Anniversary which is the gathering of the Buddhists from many countries and sects in Chiangmai in November 2009.
As for Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa, the co-founder of INEB, he now has to face lèse majesté charges again despite his sincerity to the Thai monarch. We are hopeful that the new Prime Minister would be committed to the H.M. the King Bhumibols opinion given several years ago on the royal birthday that such an allegation do harm to him more harm than good.
We are seeking help from INEB friends and the Buddhists worldwide. If you share our vision that His Holiness the Dalai Lama should chair the conferences and events to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) in Siam, please write to our new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kasit Piromya (E-mail: , , fax no. +662 643 5320, +662 643 5314, and CC. to us at ineboffice@...) to encourage him to approve an entry visa for His Holiness.
Besides, you may like to write to Mr. Kasit to inform him that lèse majesté legal provisions in Siam should no longer be used for political motives as they have been. This charge shall affect the Thai monarchy as well as human rights protection, political justice and democratization process in Siam in a long run.
INEB is hopeful that with your petition to the Thai government via Minister of Foreign Affairs, we would be able to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mr. Sulak Sivaraksa in our Conference in November 2009. Please accept our sincere thanks.
Yours in the Dhamma,
Anne Lapapan Supamanta
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