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Comments

Marrijane

It's most timely that today I received the Dalai Lama January Newsletter here in Australia and so I have copied below the text of the transcript of the Dalai Lamas comments on this very issue.
Marrijane

His Holiness the Dalai Lama - January 2011 Friends Newsletter

This month saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama take part in his first ever video conference discussion, in which he responded to questions from three prominent Chinese intellectuals.
The conversation was with China-based civil rights activist Teng Biao, human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong and the interactive session was arranged by noted Chinese writer Wang Lixong.

Questions were put forward to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Chinese people from various cities in Mainland China and as part of our continuing Conversation with His Holiness, we would like to share a section of this conversation with you this month.
Question: Your Holiness, are you losing control over the behaviour of a few Tibetans in exile? What do you think if that happens and how are you going to work on this?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: There are over 150,000 Tibetans living in exile, out of which perhaps 99 percent share common concern and sincerity on the issue of Tibet. Of course, there will be difference of opinions and it should exist since here we are following the path of democracy. I tell my people that they have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought, and they should express themselves freely. So there will be different opinions. Take the example of the Tibetan Youth Congress. They struggle for independence and criticize our Middle-Way policy. During my occasional meetings with them, I tell them 'the Chinese government expects that I should arrest some of you', but we cannot do such things here in a free country and I would never do such a thing.
Question: My question to you, my teacher, is the struggle of non-violence and truth (non- cooperation) effective in confronting communist China? If yes, in what ways the Tibetan people are benefited by non-violence and truth?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: I always tell the same thing to Tibetans. And I want to mention here that even though our consistent stand of middle-way policy based on the foundation of non-violence has not yielded tangible result through dialogue with the Chinese government, it has helped us in getting strong support from the Chinese intellectuals, students and those who are interested in and aware of the reality. This is the result of my efforts.
It is difficult to deal with the Chinese government, but I think despite our inability to maintain extensive contacts with the Chinese intellectuals and public, our stand will win their support and it will continue to grow. It was some months after the Tiananmen event, I met some Chinese friends at Harvard University as I happened to be at that time in the US. After I explained to them our position, they said the entire Chinese people would support the stand of the Dalai Lama if they know about it.
Question: Your Holiness, please explain how reforming the system of reincarnating lamas is permissible? Does such a reform contravene the Buddha's teachings?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: From the outset, I want to ask the questioner to read a little of the Buddha's teachings as contained in Kagyur (teachings of the Buddha) and Tengyur (Commentaries by Buddhist masters). The custom of recognizing reincarnate lamas did not develop in India. Similarly, the tradition of reincarnation of lamas did not develop in many Buddhist countries such as Thailand, Burma and China. There is a system of recognizing someone as a reincarnation of an enlightened being, but the system of recognizing someone as Tulku or Lama does not exist. In Tibet, the first ever reincarnation was recognized after a little child who clearly remembered his past life and which was proved to be true. Later on, this system slowly and gradually nearly became a class structure in society. Because of this I have made it well known that there is a difference between Tulku and Lama. A Lama need not be a Tulku and a Tulku need not be a Lama or one could be both Lama and Tulku. The one who is qualified as a result of one's own study and practice is known as Lama. A Tulku, even without such a standard of education, enjoys status in society in the name of the former Lama. And there are many who lack the Lama's qualification and even bring disgrace. So I used to say since some forty years ago that there needs to be some system to regulate the recognition of Tulku. Otherwise it is not good to have many unqualified ones.
I consider my interest in the system of reincarnation as a service to the Buddha's teachings. In the case of the Dalai Lama's reincarnation, the four hundred year old tradition of the Dalai Lama as both spiritual and temporal leader ended with the direct election of political leadership by the Tibetans in exile in 2001. In 1969, I made it well known in my official statement that whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not would be decided by the Tibetan people. In future, to decide whether to have the Dalai Lama's reincarnation and if there is a need, it is not necessary to always follow the past precedence but we can act in accordance with the given circumstances. This conforms to the teachings of the Buddha and do not go against them. When I explain about the possibility of reincarnation of Lamas in general and that of the Dalai Lama in particular, some Tibetans from inside Tibet and as well as Chinese friends wonder if this is in line with our religious tradition.
Question: At present there are a lot of people in China who have a deep-seated anger and animosity to you. What do you have to say to them?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: At one point the Dalai Lama was called a demon. On a few occasions I was asked what I thought on the Dalai Lama being called a demon and I told them in good humour, "I am a demon. I have horns on my head".
This is understandable since the Chinese people have access only to one-sided and distorted information. For example during the Olympic torch relay, I especially requested the concerned people that the Olympic Games were a matter of pride for the 1.3 billion Chinese people and that we must never create any problem. Moreover, even before the right of hosting the Olympic Games was awarded to China, when I was visiting the US capital city of Washington, D.C., some journalists asked me about my viewpoint. I told them that China being the most populous country with a rich cultural heritage and history was worthy of hosting the Games. This is a factual account.
But still the Chinese government greatly publicized that we were creating obstacles for the Olympic Games. Because of such propaganda, the Chinese people are not aware of the entire situation and thus we cannot blame them.
While on the other side, there are many people around the world who respect me.
Therefore, I want to urge my Chinese brothers and sisters to examine the minute details and thoroughly research the information you receive from all sources. When I meet Chinese students, I tell them that being in a free country they should fully utilize both eyes and ears.
Wang Lixiong: We have virtually seen the Dalai Lama, just that, as Your Holiness said we could not smell each other. Using the Internet in the 21st century, we consider this opportunity of interacting with Your Holiness as of fundamental importance. Thus, if interactions like these are deemed constructive for Sino-Tibetan relations and understanding each other further, then in the future I think and I hope that many Chinese scholars and concerned people will take part. Tashi Delek.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Very good. If it is convenient for you, I am always available and fully prepared to interact using modern technology and clear the doubts of Chinese friends. I always say, "Han zang da tuan jie" (Friendly relations between Chinese and Tibetans).
If we get the opportunity of frequently holding similar meetings and interactions, it will help build genuine trust and understanding amongst us. We will not be able to build trust by standing far apart. The clearer we discuss our issues the more trust we will gain in each other. If there is trust then there will be cordial relations and with cordial relations, even if there is a problem, we can solve it.
Can you see my face clearly? Can see my grey eyebrows?
See you later. Tashi Delek. Thank You.

caliban

Controlling reincarnation? What will they think of next! That is plain old silly to me.

Catherine

This is what they are doing now with the Catholic Church -- persecuting the real Catholic Church in China - the bishops, priests, and laity that are loyal to Rome -- and appointing their own bishops to the state-sanctioned version of the catholic church that they, themselves, have set up...
They obviously view authentic religion as a real threat.

Beth in San Diego

It matters not what China does in this respect as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama will occur with our without their sanction. He or she may pop up anywhere. But, their deception should be acknowledged and denounced. I see the Chinese government much like the Borg, they wish to assimilate all cultures and by doing so, obliterate the same.

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