Matter is an actual substance that has properties such as mass or weight, and occupies space. Matter has other attributes like motion, size, shape, and a form by which it may be recognized. Matter makes up all visible objects in the universe, and it can be neither created nor destroyed. There is no such agreement about the term ‘Spirit’.
In my view, man will not be able to define his purpose in life if there is a separation of matter and spirit. Man is a physical being with matter and form. To define the goals, or values of human life, man must understand what it is to be a substance and what it is to exist. If matter and spirit are separated, and if there is no unity between matter and spirit, human life would be simply impossible. The word or term ‘Spirit’ is associated with characteristics such as immutable, immortal, immovable, imperishable, indestructible, immaterial, eternal, and unchanging, or constant nature of a substance which withstands the influence of time.
If God is uncreated and is eternal, Spirit is a natural extension of God’s nature and shares the same attributes. To recognize the spiritual potential of a substance, we have to understand the nature of matter.
TIBETAN BUDDHISM AND THE LIVING TIBETAN SPIRITS OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
In the beginning, I submit to all of my readers that this conversation is not about the principles of Tibetan Buddhism. I ask my readers to know that I am not speaking about Tibetan traditional belief in reincarnation. In Tibetan Buddhism, a “TULKU” is a particularly high-ranking Lama who can choose the manner of his (or her) rebirth or reincarnation. I have no personal knowledge of rebirth or reincarnation of any high-ranking Lama including the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. This conversation is not about reincarnation or rebirth.
I am sharing my personal experience, my association, and my contact with non-clergy members among Tibetan exiles, the laity, the peasants, and other ordinary folks of Tibet. The Tibetan Spirits that I know are not supernatural beings and they do not claim to possess any kind of supernatural powers. I am exclusively speaking on behalf of ‘The Living Tibetan Spirits’ that inhabit my consciousness. I would like to carefully define each term that I may use in this conversation to avoid confusion and misrepresentation of facts or information that pertain to Tibetan Identity and Tibetan Culture. It must be clearly noted that traditional Tibetan Buddhism supports the concept of “ANATMA” and proclaims the non-existence of the human soul or spirit. Having studied, Human Anatomy, and Human Physiology, I would like to share my understanding of the human soul and spirit. I would not be surprised if a majority of Tibetan Buddhists reject my views about the human soul and spirit.
WHAT IS SPIRIT? WHAT IS THE LIVING SPIRIT?
I use the term ‘soul’ to refer to the animating, vital, Life Principle found in all living things. The term ‘spirit’ is often used to refer to the intelligent, or immaterial part of a man as distinguished from the human body, and mind. The traditional Indian belief systems may describe the ‘spirit’ as the immaterial reality that is imperceptible to the organs of sense perception. I describe consciousness as the fundamental characteristic of all living things and I describe consciousness as a spiritual function; a function that requires the operation of the soul, and spirit. I claim that consciousness is the absolute nature of living things or living objects. Consciousness is the natural principle by which a living thing knows and experiences its external and internal environment. Being conscious means recognizing the existence, the fact of something. Consciousness is the biological characteristic which is the evidence of a living thing knowing the fact of its own existence; it knows as to where it exists and knows as to how it is existing. A dead, or non-living thing has no consciousness and the dead object has no awareness of the world in which it may be found. I cannot describe soul and spirit as entities that may exist independently of living matter. Hence, I would like to suggest that soul, and spirit is known because of its association with a living person. I have no personal experience of a disembodied spirit. I am intentionally using the term, ‘The Living Spirits’ as I am not aware of the existence of ‘Dead Spirits’. Spiritism or Spiritualism is a belief that natural, living objects have indwelling spirits. When used as an adjective, the term ‘spiritual’ means, relating to or concerned with the spirit or soul. This term is often used to describe human relationships. The term ‘spiritual’ in the context of human relationships describes the nature of a relationship, a partnership, an association, a connection, or bonding between two or more living people based upon thoughts, or feelings of sympathy, and understanding.
THE LIVING TIBETAN SPIRITS OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
I was granted Short Service Regular Commission to serve in the Indian Army Medical Corps during 1969 and joined the Service on July 26, 1970, in the rank of Lieutenant. On completion of basic military training at Lucknow and professional training at Military Hospital, Ambala, I was posted to Headquarters Establishment Number. 22, C/O 56 APO (Vikas Regiment) which is formally known as Special Frontier Force. This organization is primarily concerned about operating across the legitimate border between India and Tibet as established by the McMahon Treaty and the Simla Agreement of 1914 and its purpose is that of ending the military occupation of Tibet by the People’s Republic of China. This organization was conceived by the 35th U.S. President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy during 1962. President Kennedy pursued the U.S. Foreign Policy that was initiated by the 33rd U.S. President, Harry S Truman (1949-1952). President Truman founded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or ‘NATO’ on 04 April 1949. NATO is a multinational defense plan to defend Europe in response to tensions with the Soviet Union (USSR). The Truman Doctrine of 1947 was formulated to protect Greece and Turkey from Communist domination. The 34th U.S. President, Dwight David Eisenhower (1953-1961), and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles continued Truman administration’s policy of containing Communism.
Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957 was designed to protect the Middle East from Communist aggression. At that time, the U.S. administration and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) started playing an increasing role to defend the Tibetan interests and provided training and equipment to the Tibetan freedom fighters to resist the military occupation of Tibet by the People’s Liberation Army of Communist China.
During October 1962, after a massive, and brutal attack on India’s Himalayan Frontier, India recognized the military threat posed by Communist China. India needed urgent foreign assistance as it had faced critical shortages in its defense preparedness. Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who embraced the policy of political neutralism accepted the US military assistance while India officially continued its adherence to the Non-Alignment Policy. Similarly, Tibetan Exile Leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama continued Tibet’s policy of political isolationism, and agreed to participate in a military alliance or pact with the United States and India to respond to the military threat and military occupation of Tibet by Communist China without publicly disclosing the military agreement and cooperation between these three nations. The Cold War Era of secret diplomacy made it easy to give birth to a secretive military organization called Special Frontier Force where the identity of the Employer remains concealed. The Government of India and Tibetan Government-in-Exile have administered the oaths of secrecy to all of their participating members of Special Frontier Force. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency provided the necessary military instructors to train the personnel in the use of U.S. military equipment and stores. The U.S. Congress makes the budgetary provision to provide the funds to this organization which primarily uses U.S. military equipment. However, the Officers and the men who serve in this military establishment are not mercenaries who may join the battle to provide some exclusive benefit to a foreign government or Agency. The men and the Unit are motivated to perform their duties to defend their rights and their own territory. The United States participates in the operational activities of Special Frontier Force to collect intelligence about Communist China’s military preparedness.
Special Frontier Force launched a difficult military operation called Operation Eagle to initiate the Liberation of Bangladesh in the Chittagong Hill Tracts during 1971.
I witnessed the loss of the lives of some young Tibetan soldiers during this battle. Since I have a spiritual relationship with the men of my Unit, I was not a simple witness to the fact of their death. Without any recognizable sense perception, my consciousness has given a home to the Tibetan Spirits. At that time, I had no particular mental awareness of this fact. We returned to India during January 1972 on completion of our Bangladesh operations.
We returned from Bangladesh with a sense of pride for our successful execution of the military campaign. I served in Special Frontier Force until December 1974 and lost contact with the men of my Unit. The events of 1971-72 got buried in my memory. In January 1984, I left India with my family to begin our lives away from the country of our origin. In practical terms, I began my life as an exile and I had no direct contact with my Indian relatives or Tibetan exiles who continue to live in India.
THE JOY OF EMPTINESS – THE DISCOVERY OF THE LIVING TIBETAN SPIRITS:
I arrived in Ann Arbor, Michigan with my family during July 1986 and started leading a life of voluntary simplicity. I maintain very minimal indirect contacts with my relatives who live in India. Apart from the fact of physical separation, there is mental separation from all the events and experiences that shaped my life in India before I left the country. While I live in Ann Arbor, it came as a big surprise to me when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited Ann Arbor to speak at a function organized by The University of Michigan. He explained the concept of finding “JOY” in Emptiness or the emptying of the mind in which the mind has been emptied of all particular objects and images. Emptiness is created by casting aside the attachment to everyday things and worries. While I practiced the emptying of my mind, I recognized that I cannot remove the desire for Freedom in the Land of Tibet. On careful introspection, I discovered that this desire is attached to The Living Tibetan Spirits who inhabit my consciousness. I have no personal attachment to the Land of Tibet. I have no personal attachment to the Tibetan Identity. I have no personal attachment to Tibetan Culture. I have no personal attachment to Tibetan Buddhism. I believe in God as the Creator of man, this world, and the universe. But, I find myself attached to this desire that seeks Freedom in the Land of Tibet. I can remove all my desires and break my attachment to impermanent things or thoughts. This desire for Tibetan Freedom is not a thought that I have imagined in my mind. This concern for Tibetan Freedom is evidence for the existence of The Living Tibetan Spirits in my consciousness. There are two aspects of consciousness that are registered by a living individual; 1. Consciousness is a state of knowing or awareness of what goes on around an individual, and 2. Consciousness is a state of knowing or awareness of what goes on within the individual. In my Consciousness, there is the existence of Freedom in Tibet. In the world that I am conscious and aware of today, there is no Freedom in Tibet. So, I have decided to fight the sense of fear and darkness that has enveloped my mind and tell the people around that I demand Freedom in Tibet. I want to give a sense of “JOY” to The Living Tibetan Spirits. I want to share these photo images that have captured the moments of pride and victory in War. These photo images were illegally obtained by the Enemy. This Enemy Agent who took these photo images killed himself for his act of betrayal. However, The Living Tibetan Spirits recognize a moment of glory in their sacrifice. They were not alive on June 03, 1972 and could not personally witness the event shown in these photo images. The Living Tibetan Spirits can easily identify all the objects shown in these images and are pleased by viewing these images. The Enemy unintentionally served a purpose while he engaged in acts of espionage. I am not surprised. At Special Frontier Force, we as an organization have always accepted the challenge and are willing to meet the Enemy on the battlefield.
THE FUTURE OF FREEDOM IN TIBET:
In conclusion, I suggest that without effort and struggle, there can be no real upward movement in our lives, or in the lives of people, or in the history of a Nation. The people of Tibet need to struggle to realize the hope of regaining their natural Freedom. The darkness of military occupation has enveloped the Land of Tibet. When the oppressor intends to be unjust, he would use any excuse and he will always find a pretext for his tyranny. It is useless for the innocent to try reasoning to get justice from a tyrant. Let us all join and work together to Fight the Battle of Right against Might.