Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Dalai Lama is not a terrorist

Earlier this month I shared a note to my son about audiobooks by the Dalai Lama to which I have been listening.  I have now completed four and am listening to two of the deeper ones, not written for popular consumption, a second and third time. The voice of an official translator of His Holiness, P. Jeffrey Hopkins, has been my morning companion for many days.  A couple of days ago, I interrupted my audio studies to listen to NPR’s ‘Morning Edition,’ one of my principal news sources.  A report, focusing on Tibet, featured a statement by People’s Republic of China Government officials branding the Dalai Llama, recipient of the 1989 Nobel; Peace prize, as “a terrorist.’  The statement struck me not only as patently false, but inept.

As  anecdote from the book to which I was listening, How to See Yourself as you Really Are. came to mind. To illustrate the importance of not hating, His Holiness recounted a conversation with a monk who had been imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese for 18 years. “What was the greatest challenge you faced during those years of imprisonment” His Holiness asked, and was amazed at the response.  “My greatest fear,” the monk responded, “was that I would cease to love the guards who were my torturers.”

For a summary of the Dalai Llama’s views on the present conflict in Tibet and many other matters, check out his official website at Here is a brief excerpt from a recent statement, given on March 28.

Chinese brothers and sisters, I assure you I have no desire to seek Tibet’s separation. Nor do I have any wish to drive a wedge between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples. On the contrary my commitment has always been to find a genuine solution to the problem of Tibet that ensures the long-term interests of both Chinese and Tibetans. My primary concern, as I have repeated time and again, is to ensure the survival of the Tibetan people’s distinctive culture, language and identity. As a simple monk who strives to live his daily life according to Buddhist precepts, I assure you of the sincerity of my personal motivation.


I have appealed to the leadership of the PRC to clearly understand my position and work to resolve these problems by “seeking truth from facts.” I urge the Chinese leadership to exercise wisdom and to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the Tibetan people. I also appeal to them to make sincere efforts to contribute to the stability and harmony of the PRC and avoid creating rifts between the nationalities. The state media’s portrayal of the recent events in Tibet, using deceit and distorted images, could sow the seeds of racial tension with unpredictable long-term consequences. This is of grave concern to me.  Similarly, despite my repeated support for the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese authorities, with the intention of creating a rift between the Chinese people and myself, the Chinese authorities assert that I am trying to sabotage the games. I am encouraged, however, that several Chinese intellectuals and scholars have also expressed their strong concern about the Chinese leadership’s actions and the potential for adverse long-term consequences, particularly on relations among different nationalities.

The Dalai Lama is NOT a terrorist!

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