Dalai Lama praises Taiwan for preserving Chinese culture


(By Associated Press)

NEW DELHI (Taiwan News) - Tibetan Buddhist leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, has praised Taiwan for preserving Chinese culture. He felt China needed another cultural revolution based on compassion and not on hatred and anger as was the case with the one led by Mao Zedong.

Addressing devotees at the Tawang monastery, considered one of the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism, he said Beijing’s bid to name his successor to undermine the Tibetans cause was “nonsense”.

He said that it’s up to his followers to decide whether the office of the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader exists in the future.

"As early as 1969, I had said the Tibetan people will decide if this very institution of Dalai Lama should continue or not. If this institution is no longer relevant, it should stop,” the 82-year-old Dalai Lama said.

“Nobody knows who or where the next Dalai Lama will be born or come from. Some indication (about his reincarnation) might come at the time of my death, but now there is no such indication,” he said, not ruling out the possibility of the next Dalai Lama being a woman.

Beijing had years ago confined the Dalai Lama-nominated Panchen Lama and projected its own Panchen Lama. The communist regime in China now wants to have its own Dalai Lama. Panchen Lama is a monk ranked immediately below the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama said there have been discussions that the Chinese government should finalise his successor. 

“That I say is nonsense. In the past, Chinese emperors did have involvement in the reincarnation of some lamas but they were disciples of certain Tibetan lamas,” he said.

China’s interest in the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation, the Tibetan leader felt, was illogical unless it first recognises the reincarnation of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

On whether his visit to Tawang, a place Beijing claims as its own, will affect India-China ties, he said: “We will have to wait and see. But it is normal for China to give political colour to my spiritual visits.”

But his visit to Arunachal Pradesh, he felt, should not have angered China because “the whole world knows I am not seeking independence of Tibet”. He added: “I wish Chinese officials accompany me during my visits to find out if I am doing or saying anything against them.”

The Dalai Lama wondered why despite his middle-path the Chinese government continued to call him a separatist and show a negative attitude.

“Tibet has had very good relations with China for thousands of years. I have no issues with One China policy ensuring economic benefit to Tibet provided we have the right to preserve our culture and language,” he said.

The way forward is to solve the 60-year-old problem (Tibetan crisis) which exists whether China admits or not. A solution could bring stability to the region, he said.

Sitting in Tawang, closest to his homeland, the spiritual leader said he wished to visit Taktser, the village in Amdo region of Tibet where he was born. “Almost 99% of Tibetans and many Chinese Buddhists want me to go…”

The Dalai Lama said the Chinese people were being fed wrong information about him, and they realise this when they meet him in other countries. “The Chinese people have every right to know the reality, but totalitarianism had done a great damage,” he said.

Jose Kalathil is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He may be contacted at kalathil.jose@gmail.com