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Tibet's Quandary

NKTites urged their comrades to send emails to Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's Global Public Square (GPS), to influence his questions of the 74 year old Dalai Lama for an interview broadcast May 10, 2009 (click here to watch the 17 minute interview).

There was no discussion of Shugden or the protests against the Dalai Lama.

The interview focused on Tibet's struggle the last 50 years since its overthrow by China's Mao Zedung during the 1950s.

The Dalai Lama, realizing that China will not permit independence, has tried to attain Tibetan autonomy within the Chinese empire. Apparently, discussions between the Dalai Lama and China are at an impasse.

The definition of Tibet appears a core hurdle. The Dalai Lama defines Tibet as those areas where the people speak Tibetan and practice a Buddhist culture (a heritage developed from a thousand years of Buddhism that came from India). However, people beyond the traditional Tibetan borders meet this definition, including parts of 4 other provinces of China (Quinhai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu). China sees this definition - a 'greater region of Tibet' - to encompass one quarter of China's territory and an unthinkable autonomous entity.


A sobering dilemma, as would be diminution of Tibet's cultural heritage as an engine for Buddhism.

While the Dalai Lama believes that over 90% of Tibetans are unhappy, China asserts that Tibetans are happy now that the Dalai Lama no longer rules Tibet (a similar position that NKT has, according to which Tibetans are thriving more than they ever have now that the purported dictatorship of the the Dalai Lama lineage is out and communist China is in).

Thus, an autonomous Tibet looks unlikely. The Dalai Lama believes that Chinese hardliners want to make Tibetans a minority population in Tibet, passing onto traditional Tibet a death sentence, a cultural genocide, a hell on earth.

The Dalai Lama had frank assessment of Tibet's future, a state of despair according to Fareed Zakaria.

If no help comes, the Dalai Lama sees Tibet's future as hopeless. Thus, Tibetans, the Tibet Government in Exile and Tibetan monasteries - distraught over the political battle from Shugdenites to undermine the Dalai Lama in concert with the Chinese government - have recoiled strongly against NKT's worldwide attacks on the Dalai Lama.

For example, Sera Je monastery wrote about Kelsang Gyatso and his followers,

"His Holiness The Dalai Lama is the undisputed leader of the six million Tibetans and a world renowned Buddhist leader as well as a respected statesman of great charisma for which he was awarded the prestigious 1989 Nobel Peace Prize among many others. His genuine concern for the welfare of the Tibetan people, the weak and the down trodden and his teachings on compassion to bring about a more humane and harmonious world and his call for the protection of all forms of life on our planet and their habitat in the form of what he termed as ‘Universal Responsibility’ has caught the imagination of the world and is held in great esteem by virtually the whole world irrespective of their religious affiliations or political ideology.

However, it is a measure of profound sorrow that a so called “Geshe” Kelsang Gyatso and his English supporters have embarked upon a ruthless smear campaign to tarnish the International stature of His Holiness The Dalai Lama in the name of alleged “religious persecution”. It is nothing short of blasphemy in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of the six million Tibetans.

Actions speak louder than words and we are under no illusion with whom your sympathies are despite your statements to the contrary. The Tibetans all over the world were deeply distressed by your attempt to portray the Dalai Lama as a “ruthless dictator” an “oppressor of his own people” and smash his International stature so that the Tibetan struggle will be like a rudderless ship tossing helplessly in the sea of international intrigues and treachery. From where did you borrow your vocabulary to malign the Dalai Lama? Are they not straight from the Chinese propaganda dictionary?"

The Dalai Lama said that his model of leadership with the Chinese government hardliners has failed, although China's sanction of either a free or autonomous Tibet is remote at best regardless of the leadership style searching for solution to what could be a catastrophe for the Tibetan people and their thousand year history with its form of Buddhism and its religious state. The Shugdenite interest to replace Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet with Shugdenism enforced by China is a tragic path that would radically alter the course of Buddhism in this world.

The Dalai Lama has no military, no vibrant economy or natural resources to barter and grossly inadequate funding (an annual budget less than $20 million as compared to about $700 billion budget for China). The Dalai Lama operates not from his homeland but from exile in India, home for about 100,000 Tibetans removed from the millions of Tibetans in Tibet. Gatherings in Tibet are not permitted by China. Indeed, the Dalai Lama is no match for China's rule of Tibet. His message of compassion and non-violence, his style of leadership, has no currency with China's government. Buddhism is no match for militaristic totalitarianism. Could anyone win this fight with China? What would it cost to win?

Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama believes that Tibet has a significant contribution for the world - the view that desperation, hatred and anger (i.e., emotion) leads to violence and that living compassion will lead to a more harmonious society. "Violence does not come from the sky...trust and fear cannot go together." (The Dalai Lama)

The Dalai Lama holds hope for help from the Chinese people and from countries around the world (particularly Europe and North America). And, if he should die outside of Tibet, he believes that his reincarnation will be born outside of Tibet and will carry on the mission of the Dalai Lamas the past 400 years to present the world an example of people living compassion instead of violence. (birth of a Dalai Lama outside Tibet has happened once before; the 4th Dalai Lama was born in Mongolia as the grandson of Altan Khan, who had translated/coined the name Dalai Lama for the 3rd Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso)

The Dalai Lama sees the Tibetan spirit inside Tibet as very strong...unless Tibetans become a minority.