guardian.co.uk recently ran an interview and analysis piece by Norma Levine about Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s current situation. He makes his most straightforward so far about not playing a political role in the government-in-exile in the future, rightly pointing out that there is a already a procedure in place in their constitution to choose a regent for the Dalai Lama. Levine writes compellingly about the restrictions the Karmapa faces living in India. Some questions were raised in the comments about the reliability of the translation of what the Karmapa said and about the accuracy of the conclusions Levine reaches, but this article is definitely thought-provoking.
Archive for the 'Dalai Lama' Category
Granted, this basically confirms what we already knew or suspected: that “Chinese operatives hacked into Google, the computers of US officials, and the online communications of the Dalai Lama“. One wonders what if anything the Dalai Lama would have been discussing by e-mail that would be an important secret.
Barry Sautman’s recent column in South China Morning Post is hard to stomach. Sautman is one of the most notable Western academic defenders of Chinese policies in Tibet. This is a fine thing, since he tends to make rational arguments in favor of his opinions. Even if we don’t agree with his conclusions, his arguments give us an opportunity to reflect more deeply on our own opinions and so see the world more clearly. Obviously, that doesn’t put him above critique, which is richly deserved in the case of his new article, “The Tibetan Impasse”, a response to an earlier article by Lodi Gyari. Sautman’s basic thesis, as stated in his first paragraph, is that, “Three decades of ‘negotiations about negotiations’ between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and Beijing have not made progress because, although exile leaders claim they are not separatists, they continue with assertions and actions that belie that claim.” Thus, he places blame squarely on the shoulders of the Tibetans. Continue reading ‘Are the Tibetans to blame for the failure of negotiatons?’
I’ve been reading Arjia Rinpoche‘s book, Surviving the Dragon, recently. I highly recommend it, both the overall sweep of history that he witnessed and for various minor observations he makes about Tibetan Buddhism, life in Amdo in the early 1950s, etc. Early on, he makes an interesting comment about hierarchy:
Continue reading ‘The hierarchy of Tibetan Buddhism’
Writing at Asia Times Online, Peter Lee has a new piece (“China sees US as hedge for Taiwan, Tibet“) which gives a useful and interesting summary of some upcoming issues in the Tibetan political scene, as well as some other topics related to Sino-American politics. I do want to take issue with one turn of phrase he uses — this may seem like a minor point, but I feel that it is important to clarify: discussing the inevitable question of what sort of political conflict will develop between the Chinese government and the Tibetans when it comes time to find the next Dalai Lama, Lee writes, “The new governor of the Tibetan Autonomous Region declared that designation of the next Dalai Lama would strictly adhere to the state-controlled model dating to the Qing Dynasty: selection by lot from a golden urn under government supervision”.
As we find ourselves again at the anniversary of the 1959 Lhasa uprising, it seems natural to wonder about what the future holds for Tibet. As far as any significant political breakthroughs, the situation for the foreseeable future remains quite bleak. There is no evidence that the current Chinese government has any interest in any kind of compromise, and no reason to believe that the next generation will, either. There might be a leadership struggle in Beijing in 2012, but, as far as Tibet is concerned, it is likely to be between bad and worse, or, perhaps, between two equally bad elements. Unless the power struggle is so destructive as to radically reduce the PRC’s ability to exercise power (which would necessarily also introduce a dangerous tendency toward chaos), it is very unlikely that it will result directly in a more conciliatory approach. Another change of leadership would be expected in 2022, and by then it’s hypothetically possible that a healthy liberalising trend would emerge, but that is a long way off.
The ICT reports on an interesting, if temporary and idiosyncratic, development in rural Dhrango County in Kham (near Nyarong; outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region): at the time of the Dalai Lama’s birthday a couple months ago, instead of preventing the public from celebrating, local officials actively promoted the celebrations. They apparently handed out photographs of the Dalai Lama and, according to one source, they even “gave a speech in praise of the Dalai Lama”! It’s not unprecedented for CCP officials in rural areas to organise religious festivals, such as, for instance, a festival honoring a local god or King Gesar, etc.; but a living political figure is something different, and the Dalai Lama is normally considered radioactive in Chinese politics.
Happy 74th birthday and wishes of long life to Tendzin Gyatso, HH the 14th Dalai Lama. AFP reports that he hopes to live to be at least 100.
That was the sentiment expressed by the Dalai Lama in a recent speech, as reported by the Independent. As Andrew Buncombe describes it:
In a speech that underscored the pressures he has had to bear during his life serving as both a spiritual and political leader, the Dalai Lama has said there is no need for his successor to perform the two roles.
Now, the Charter of the Tibetans in Exile, which is basically the constitution of the government-in-exile, specifies that the Dalai Lama is the chief executive. This is not a figurehead position, since it is given broad executive powers and a veto over legislation. So, we’re talking about amending the Charter to remove the Dalai Lama’s powers? It seems like that would be politically difficult to do if the incumbent Dalai Lama doesn’t suggest it explicitly. So, is that what he is suggesting?
Continue reading ‘“My job is too big for one man”’
By Jigme Duntak
While attending the July Tenshug teachings in Madison, I was surprised to see that each day a group of Shugden practitioners were holding a protest outside of the arena where the teachings were being held. The group was primarily made up of non-Tibetans practitioners and monks, but a few Tibetans were protesting alongside them as well. Some of the slogans being shouted were things like ‘Dalai Lama Give – Religious Freedom, Dalai Lama – Stop Lying, etc…’
I had already read into the issue previously, seen a few videos, and read the Dalai Lama’s reply and stance on the issue which he reiterated during the teachings when a question about the issue came up, so I had a basic understanding of what they were protesting about.
The Shugden protesters were handing out pamphlets and small booklets explaining their cause to the few who would take them, so I went and got myself a copy of both and learned from the pamphlet that the protest was organized by the “Western Shugden Society“.