A Tibetan Buddhist leader is in Tulsa trying to raise awareness of religious persecution. He is a Tibetan Lama, who serves as an envoy for the Dalai Lama. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports the man is also trying to raise money for a monastery that would help preserve a religion and culture that is under extreme pressure from the Chinese government.
Khen Rinpoches' accent is hard to understand, but his message is clear. Rinpoches heads a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India and is in America as a representative of the Dalai Lama.
His monastery has 300 monks, who were forced to move from Tibet because Buddhism isn't tolerated by the Chinese government which has control of the country.
"The Dalai Lama visit, the world moves, that makes the Chinese nervous," said Khen Rinpoches.
Rinpoches says the Dalai Lama makes China's communist government nervous and the crackdowns, which only recently have been photographed, threaten to destroy what's left of Tibetan Buddhism inside Tibet.
"In our country we don't have any freedom, any choice, to take care of our tradition and culture and religion," said Khen Rinpoches.
The protests by monks and their supporters in Tibet come as the Olympics is bringing new attention to China and it's record on human rights.
Buddhist leaders like Rinpoches hope the world will pay attention to the persecution, and then urge America's leaders to pressure China to change.
They believe the cultural and spiritual heritage of Tibet is in jeopardy unless the world reacts.
"Americans are very important for us. Americans are considered world leaders," said Khen Rinpoches.
Rinpoches will be in Tulsa through next week and has a series of talks and receptions scheduled.
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