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Aug 16

Dalai Lama offers olive branch. Is he going to visit China this November?

Written by bianxiangbianqiao on Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 5:25 pm
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According to New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, Dalai Lama no longer insists on the “meaningful autonomy” of Tibet in the one-country-two-systems model. He will accept communist rule in Tibet. According to Kristof it is imperative for the Chinese authorities to reciprocate. He suggests a possibility for Dalai to visit China in November, for the commemoration of the 6th month of the Sichuan Earthquake.

I have a few thoughts (Hutong wisdom) suitable only for my less thoughtful and civilized personal blog.


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127 Responses to “Dalai Lama offers olive branch. Is he going to visit China this November?”

  1. Otto Kerner Says:

    The Dalai Lama is of enormous value of one is interested in actually making peace with the Tibetans. He is of little value if you prefer to deal with them by force. A lot of people, naturally, have no preference between the two in principle and would choose one or the other method for strategic reasons.

    “It is ethically questionable to perpetuate a claim that you know is untrue and fraudulent.” This is the Chinese government’s standard? I don’t think it has anything to do with anything.

  2. 3 cents Says:

    “He suggests a possibility for Dalai to visit China in November, for the commemoration of the 6th month of the Sichuan Earthquake.”

    If I read Kristof’s column correctly, this is a possibility discussed by two sides in their recent round of negotiations (don’t know if it’s true or not, haven’t followed news recently). If it did happen, it will be a significant step forward for both sides, but I will wait and see.

    I personally think Dalai Lama hold weak hands here. Of course, a reconciliation with Dalai Lama would make most Tibetans emotionally satisfied and earn “approvals” from “international community,” maybe even a Nobel Prize. But if not, so what? But for Dalai, a physical returning to Tibet is the first-order mandate to ensure the legitimacy of next Dalai Lama (excuse the poor wording here). Also, I’m interested in how Kristof got that information. Somehow, I can’t imagine Chinese Foreign Ministry pick up the phone and call New York Times. Someone is trying to press his hand here. (As in, “It is in their (President Hu and Prime Minister Wen) hands.” Really?!)

    Interesting development, though. Let’s wait and see.

  3. Otto Kerner Says:

    Actually, I think the Dalai Lama returning to Tibet puts the legitimacy of future Dalai Lamas more at risk. If he remains in exile, his followers in India will select a new Dalai Lama living there and the CCP will have its own Dalai Lama in Lhasa. Almost everyone in Tibet and elsewhere will know which one is the real one and which one is a fake. On the other hand, if the Dalai Lama returns to Tibet, what will prevent the government from interfering in the selection process and in the education of the new Dalai Lama?

  4. wuming Says:

    Isn’t it surreal to discuss which future Dalai Lama would be more legitimate?
    Should the correct question have been which one will be the genuine reincarnation?
    Can you democratically reincarnate some one?
    Does Dalai Lama himself actually believe in this stuff any more?

  5. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Wuming,
    You nailed it.

  6. Otto Kerner Says:

    No, I don’t agree with that at all. For a comparable example, imagine if, when the position is next vacant, the conclave of Roman Catholic cardinals gathers and selects a new Pope. Then, the government of Italy decides that it disagrees and appoints another priest as Pope. In that case, it seems clear to me which one is “really” the Pope, even though I am not a Roman Catholic and I don’t believe that either of these men is really the representative of God on Earth. I am not a Tibetan Buddhist either and I don’t really believe in tülkus.

    The issue is not so much whether someone claiming to be the Dalai Lama is really a reincarnated lama, but whether the Dalai Lama’s followers will really be forced to pretend that some kid is the Dalai Lama when they actually believe it is some other kid.

  7. Leo Says:

    Otto, the pope is elected by the cardinals, Dalai Lama is elected by magic.

  8. wuming Says:

    Since the next reincarnation of Dalai Lama supposed to be “discovered” by the current Penchan Lama, how can a democratically reincarnated Dalai Lama have any religious legitimacy?
    Are you advocating for a “Democratic Theocracy”? Have you checked with TGIE on that?
    Do we have to suspend our incredulity and go along with the charade?
    Isn’t it better just dispense with this charade, and making the institution of Dalai Lama purely political?

  9. MoneyBall Says:

    I think it’s within Dalai Lama’s power to terminate the incarnation pernenantly. If CCP could get him to agree upon that, it’s a good deal.

  10. Allen Says:

    Almost everyone in Tibet and elsewhere will know which one is the real one and which one is a fake.

    The prestige, power, and institution of the DL was created by the Chinese Central gov’t in Beijing some 3-4 centuries ago. Why is the DL fake is the Chinese central gov’t in Beijing want to change/reform it in any way?

  11. 3 cents Says:

    People, people, order here. We’re discussing possible visit of Dalai Lama to China, and its possible implications if it did happen. If someone feel so obliged, she can start a new topic on Lama reincarnation, theocracy, whatever. Let’s not get distracted.

  12. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    3 cents,
    I have to respectfully disagree. Lama reincarnation is the heart of the issue concerning Dalai’s visit to China in particular and his role in Tibet’s future in general. The sole reason that he is in a position to deal with the Chinese authorities is that he had a previous life, and is a living god. From the Chinese perspective this claim is unfounded and therefore he is not in a position to play a role in the political future of Tibet. It is ok he assume the role of a religious leader. But interfering in people’s lives from a supernatural position is unacceptable for any one who cares about human dignity.

    Another issue with the reincarnation thing is that there can be no proof or disproof for it or against. That opens the door all sorts of problems. If Dalai’s reincarnation gives him political authority to deal with the Chinese and demand a role in governing Tibet, then what about the reincarnation of Dr. Li Hongzhi? Who can prove that Li Hongzhi is less holy than Dalai and deserve a smaller role in Chinese politics than His Holiness?

  13. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    By the way Dr. Li Hongzhi is the leader of the spiritual movement Falungong, in case you are unfamiliar with him. His followers call him Master Li (李师傅) but I personally believe he deserves the more advanced degree so I call him Dr. Li Hongzhi.

  14. MutantJedi Says:

    Indeed 3 cents, the path of arguing the rationality of religion isn’t productive.

    I hope that the Dalai Lama can visit China. But it isn’t as simple as that. With the Tibetans willing to face mountains and bullets to see him, if he moved to China, how will the government deal with the people returning to the TAR? … on second thought the whole irrationality of religion makes this situation mind numbingly complex.

  15. MutantJedi Says:

    Oh BXBQ why dredge Li up? If you bind the Dalai and Li together, how can we have a settlement in Tibet? I was thinking that the Dalai was complex enough with his reincarnations and political/religious roles. But throw in Li… Is there a direction that you are going here or is it just to break some eggs?

  16. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    MutantJedi,

    I don’t have a particular direction to go. I just have great difficulty figuring out what is the fundamental difference between Dalai and Li Hongzhi, and Jim Jones. Forgive my ignorance but I think it would be immensely helpful if we had an expert on the history of Tibetan Buddhism/Tantrism to educate us the Lamas’ variegated exotic paths to enlightenment. Have the Chinese authorities forbidden the lamas recruiting underage boys into the temples?

  17. Theo Says:

    Forcing Tibetans to renounce the DL is like trying to force Moslem to renounce Allah. Unless the Communists make a deal with DL, Tibet will be Han problem for a thousand generations.

  18. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Theo,

    “Unless the Communists make a deal with DL, Tibet will be Han problem for a thousand generations.”

    No no no. That lazy Hollywood understanding of Tibet issue is wrong. Tibet is a problem for the Chinese not because of Dalai. It is because of lack of economic opportunities for the Tibetans and perceived inequality.

  19. huaren Says:

    BXBQ,

    Very interesting thoughts and I am in agreement of your views.

    The other thing Kristof recommended was no more migrations. Just curious what you guys take on that.

    1. Does it make sense for Hawaii or Alaska 50 years ago to institute laws prohibiting Whites from moving into those states? Or even for Black to say no Whites allowed in inner cities across America from here forward?

    2. A controversy in California is the European American population complaining about Mexican Americans not learning enough English and integrate.

    I for one believe if you want to put an arbitrary wedge between any two groups of people – even between man and woman – you can. You perpetuate violence between them over a short period of time, then it won’t matter what started it in the first place. The bad blood will go on for generations.

    So, the comments by Theo above scares me. I have no doubt some people on the “Free Tibet” camp think that way.

    Where things are, I think the U.S. and China are strategically intertwined. China is integrating with rest of the world too through WTO, SCO, ASEAN+3, etc.. So, I don’t believe there will be any substantial force (particular nation states) in the forseeable future who would work this wedge.

    Anyways, back to this migration thing, I am curious what peoples thoughts are.

  20. Wukailong Says:

    Dont forget that Tibet, while nominally belonging to China, was never as heavily controlled under the feudal era by the Chinese as it is now. That and the ethnic problems are the basic parts of the equation.

    Lets not bring in Hollywood 🙂

  21. Wukailong Says:

    Also, for several decades there were no economic opportunities for either Han or Tibetans, so it cant just be because of that.

  22. wuming Says:

    I believe that the Chinese government’s solution for the Tibet problem, at least before March riot and ensuing protests in the west, is economic development. The policy is well justified given their success in other parts of China in past 3 decades. It is also consistent with their overall strategy of spreading the development from coastal to inland, from cities to country. If that is still their strategy, then Dalai Lama simply does not figure into this equation.

    I have two questions: First, do you agree that this is the Chinese government’s strategy for solving the Tibet problem? Second, is this a viable strategy?

  23. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    My answer to both questions is “yes”. However, these two questions need to be followed up by a third. ” Why are the Tibetans not benefiting from the economic developments and infrastructure improvements as much as the Chinese migrants. The Chinese authorities must bear part of the responsibility for Tibetans being left behind. The structure of the Tibetan society is also responsible for the Tibetans’ lack of participation in Tibet’s economic development. A large percent of able-bodied males (and females) stay out of useful economic activities; they invest their intellectual and physical talents and resources exclusively in chanting sutras and burning incense. The Tibetan population by and large is inadequately trained in skills necessary for participating in and benefiting from the economic development brought by the Chinese authorities. There is no alternative to bringing in Chinese migrant workers to sustain the development. I do not think the Chinese authorities lazy or slack in promoting modern education in Tibet. Their effort is hindered by Western accusation that they are destroying the Tibetan culture (culture genocide). I think they should disregard these accusations and do what they need to do for the benefit of the Chinese and Tibetans. Afterall, Tibet is a Chinese issue, not a Western one.

  24. Hemulen Says:

    So, the comments by Theo above scares me. I have no doubt some people on the “Free Tibet” camp think that way.

    Depends on how you read it. Hong Kong has immigration control versus the rest of the mainland. As far as I know, the “Free Tibet” camp are asking for no less.

  25. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    “As far as I know, the “Free Tibet” camp are asking for no less.”
    Whatever the Free Tibet camp wants, it is like a bunch of toads dreaming of having a feast of Swan meat. 癞蛤蟆想吃天鹅肉。They can keep asking; eventually they will be served, I guess. We have all been impressed by their power and prestige (wink wink wink).

  26. wuming Says:

    I believe the psychological disposition of an average Tibetan is very different from that of a non-Tibetan Chinese (not just Han.) There are several reasons for that:

    First, for many Tibetans in Tibet, Dalai Lama is a potential savior who can lift them out of their miseries with a snap of his fingers, if only Chinese government let him to come back. Instead of doing the hard work needed to pull themselves up, many Tibetans are still waiting for miracles, in monasteries or not.

    Second, although all Chinese suffered during the GLF and CR, Tibetans view that as suffering under the rule of the outsiders, therefore it is very hard for them to just “move-on” as non-Tibetan Chinese do.

    Third, the exile community provided “greener” grass scenario that just like DL’s savior role, raise the expectations of many Tibetans, so that they are reluctant to take the opportunities development had offered them.

    Therefore I don’t think the pure economic development model translate to the Tibet situation very well. It must be done in conjunction with other policies that take into consideration these differences. It should be open to consider everything, including let DL back and restricting non-Tibetan migration into TAR.

  27. FOARP Says:

    It’s weird seeing people who learned in school to admire those patriots who plotted to restore the Ming dynasty for hundreds of years after they replaced the Qing trying to come up with reasons why people in Tibet still support the Dalai Lama. Tibetans support the DL because he was the last Tibetan to properly rule Tibet, just as the Ming were the last Han dynasty to rule the empire – is this so hard to understand?

  28. FOARP Says:

    I mean ” . . . after they were replaced by the Qing . . . “

  29. wuming Says:

    “It’s weird seeing people who learned in school to admire those patriots ….”

    Not in my case though, I learned in school only Mao defeated Jiang in a revolutionary war after Qing Shihuang united the whole China by defeating Kong Fuzi clique.

  30. Ted Says:

    As MutantJedi stated “the path of arguing the rationality of religion isn’t productive.” I share that opinion wholeheartedly. This is likely to be an opinion agreeable to the roughly 80% of the world with religious beliefs as well as the 20% without.

    So, is the system (government) meant to provide an avenue for one to follow their beliefs or is the system is meant to supplant one’s beliefs?

    If the system is the former then questions arise such as those BXBQ #16 notes (or see the current issue in the U.S. relating to FLDS). In the latter case I would argue that the system itself becomes a religion i.e. “The Cult of Mao.”

    Resolution of the matter is a Chinese issue because the seat of a religion with followers around the world is in China. Whatever the reason, the Dali Lama does have followers and his presence is meaningful to many. At this point it doesn’t matter if the the Dali Lama’s role is manufactured or divine. China plays an important role globally and resolution of the matter is significant.

    I think the U.S. and China come from different directions when addressing the issue of how to integrate various systems of beliefs into one society. So far no government has resolved the issue. It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out.

  31. Otto Kerner Says:

    Well, 3 cents, the comments naturally take on a life of their own. In order to mitigate the diffusion of the topic of the original post, I have responded to a couple of particularly extraneous points by submitting a guest post, titled “The religious politics of reincarnation”. This replies to Allen’s comment #10 and part of wuming’s comment #8.

  32. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Otto Kerner,

    “The religious politics of reincarnation” is a very timely discussion. I am very curious whether atheists and the faithful can talk to each other on this topic without throwing a fit and storming out in frustration.

  33. Otto Kerner Says:

    Wuming, I also wanted to ask you about your questions, “how can a democratically reincarnated Dalai Lama have any religious legitimacy?”; “can you democratically reincarnate some one?”; “are you advocating for a ‘Democratic Theocracy’?” I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re referring to. I don’t think anyone in this thread had brought up democracy prior to that. The original post referred to an article by Nicholas Kristof in which he suggests that the Dalai Lama might return to a Tibet still run by the CCP. I don’t think anybody has been publically advocating a theocracy, but, if they are advocating it in private, then they are not advocating democracy. As for “democratic reincarnation”, assuming that you support separation of church and state (which is, after all, official PRC policy), then democracy has nothing to do with these ecclesiastical issues. Are you referring, perhaps, to the Dalai Lama’s statements a while back that his successor might be elected? As I commented elsewhere at the time, I found those comments hard to understand and I doubt anything will ever come of them.

  34. Otto Kerner Says:

    bxbq, I don’t agree with “The sole reason that he is in a position to deal with the Chinese authorities is that he had a previous life, and is a living god.” I think that the primary reason the Dalai Lama is in a position to negotiate with the Chinese authorities is that he is the leader of a Tibetan political group and is still popular among Tibetans. This is, as FOARP says, because he was the last Tibetan to rule Tibet (or rather, the largest Tibetan state). As I have commented before, if the PRC doesn’t want to deal with the Dalai Lama, they could easily find a new negotiating partner just by holding honest elections in Tibet for a consultative assembly. But, of course, they are unwilling to do that, so, in the absence of a new leadership, the old leadership is the only one.

    The Dalai Lama has repeatedly said that he will give up his political role and have a purely religious one as soon as Tibet becomes autonomous. Now, maybe he doesn’t really mean that, and, if Tibet suddenly became independent by magic, perhaps the Dalai Lama would rule it with an iron fist and his cronies would force the general public back into serfdom. However, since we are talking about political changes that would occur through negotiation with the Chinese government, it would be easy for the government to require him to give up his political role as part of any settlement. In fact, I suppose Beijing would prefer a Tibet ruled by the Dalai Lama rather than a democratic Tibet, although they can’t say that in public. What Kristof is discussing is neither.

  35. MutantJedi Says:

    bianxiangbianqiao #16: The slippery slope eh?

    I agree from a rational perspective each religion is of equal merit – none. However, we are not dealing with rational people. We are dealing with religious people. These are the same people who would take their young children over a mountain pass in the late fall just to see a man who will utter a few words. Insane. If the same sort of thing were to happen in Canada, I would not be surprised if the state removed the children from the parent’s care.

    While intellectually I’m in complete agreement with you, attempts to be rational and blend Li into the mix will only result in a bigger mess.

    huaren #19:

    I’m sorry huaren, I didn’t see Kristof recommend no more migrations in the linked article. Could you provide a link to it please?

    As for the question of migration, I presume you mean non-Tibetan into the TAR. The more the better. Culture is a human adaptation. It adapts. It changes. A culture that can’t change is dead. Yet many would like to put cultures in a bottle for display or preserved as so many pickles in a jar. Culture is not sacred.

    At the same time, sudden changes in culture is difficult for people to endure. Such stresses are not in the interest of social harmony. Migration of non-Tibetan into the TAR will help with prosperity but it needs to be done in a way that does not induce excessive culture shock on the indigenous population.

    bianxiangbianqiao #23:

    “Their effort is hindered by Western accusation that they are destroying the Tibetan culture (culture genocide).” Seriously, I would be surprised if the Chinese approach to governing the TAR would amount to a remix of “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” into “What Would The Western People Do?”

    I agree with the rest of your points. But throwing up a Western Straw Man doesn’t help.

    Part of the charm, if you will, of Tibet are the able bodied men and women chanting sutras and burning incense. It is that charm that brings in a huge amount of money into the region via tourism. Tourism is Tibet’s growth industry. So… let the monks and nuns pray.

    FOARP #27:

    I think I know what you’re saying… but I would have thought the Tibetans deserve better than a theocracy complete with serfs… but perhaps that’s the comforting power of having your god close at hand.

    If the Chinese government’s approach to the TAR is to cure the people of their god addiction, there will be no hope for peace in the region.

    Otto Kerner in #34 said:

    I think that the primary reason the Dalai Lama is in a position to negotiate with the Chinese authorities is that he is the leader of a Tibetan political group and is still popular among Tibetans. This is, as FOARP says, because he was the last Tibetan to rule Tibet (or rather, the largest Tibetan state).

    I agree with Otto but I would not want to loose sight of his religious significance.

    If the Chinese government can work something out with the current Dalai Lama, it will go far to buy peace with the next one.

    But what do I know?

  36. FOARP Says:

    @Mutant Jedi – Obviously the eventual solution is not actually likely to include actual temporal rule by the Dalai Lama – those who say they oppose Tibetan independence on these grounds are not arguing seriously. But you have to ask – who is there who actually does represent the Tibetans in the way that the DL does? The TAR authorities obviously do not, so who then is there to negotiate with other than the DL?

  37. MutantJedi Says:

    Yes FOARP. The DL is the one to talk to.
    Efforts to discredit him based on a discounting of religion fail to understand just how important religion can be to a human being.

  38. wuming Says:

    @otto

    I have read the sentence ” … his followers in India will select a new Dalai Lama living there …” to mean that Tibetans in Dharamsala will elect a Dalai Lama, which would have been a “democratic theocracy”. If I had misunderstood you apologize.

  39. MutantJedi Says:

    If I were King…

    I would dispassionately but firmly grab hold of this olive branch and ensure that the DL is established in Lhasa. I would give him a position of considerable weight in matters regarding culture and religion in the TAR. I would provide him with funding for any reasonable cultural initiative he may imagine. I would give exiled Tibetans amnesty to return to the TAR for a reasonable period of time after his initial return.

    In his remaining years, I would want to establish a reasonable protocol acceptable to him for the discovery of his reincarnation.

    For perhaps 6 months after his return to China, I would bar foreign tourists from the TAR. Or perhaps require from them a large bond against activities that would disrupt social harmony. At the same time, I would encourage Chinese citizens and foreign reporters to visit the TAR. After a period of time, I would promote tourism in the TAR to the world.

    I would work out with the DL methods to properly integrate non-Tibetan migrants into life in the TAR.

    Calls for Tibet Independence would be the DL’s problem. Funding for cultural programs could be reduced in the event of such disruptions to social harmony.

    At the same time, I would have education/retraining programs in both Tibetan and Chinese to enable Tibetan participation in the growing economic prosperity.

  40. wuming Says:

    In my comment #38 above, I mean “… If I had misunderstood you I apologize”

    I don’t know if it was pointed out before on the blog, there are significant number of Tibetan Buddhism followers in China that are not Tibetans. In fact they have contributed large amounts for the restorations of monasteries in Tibet. Outside of the political sphere, Buddhism in general and Tibetan Buddhism is thriving in China, and is by no means discouraged by the government. Therefore there are scenarios that Dalai Lama can come back to Tibet and China in a purely religious role. One such scenario could be making a small area surrounding Potala Palace sovereign domain of the current and future Dalai Lama, a la Vatican.

  41. zhihua Says:

    Will someone please fight for the human rights of the little boys forced to live a life of a living buddha?

  42. Netizen K Says:

    I think the Dalai Lama’s value was downgraded in the recent protests. Either he was behind the protests or wasn’t. If he was, then what he says and does are two different things. If he wasn’t behind protests, then he couldn’t impact the Tibetan protesters anyway. So, the reconcilation between the Dalai Lama and the Central government has no meaning and no real effect.

    A second thing, the Dalai Lama changes his mind all the time. It’s hard to trust it.

  43. FOARP Says:

    @Zhihua – Well, exactly.

  44. Otto Kerner Says:

    wuming, I think I see what you mean. However, when I said, “his followers in Dharamsala will select” I meant the traditional selection process where a small group of lamas would select a child. I was just specifying that this particular group of lamas would be Dalai Lama followers in exile. I was not referring to any kind of democratic selection. As for theocracy, I thought you were referring to the government of Tibet as a whole. The government-in-exile as it stands has a theocrat as “head of state” and an elected “head of government” and so it is a democratic theocracy in that sense, but no one has proposed this structure as a long-term solution for Tibet and I certainly don’t advocate it.

  45. zhihua Says:

    FOARP,

    LOL, you apparently couldn’t read the irony. The free tibet crowd makes a fuss out of the banchan lama selection, crying “human rights violation!”, “abducted banchan lama!”, etc. etc. Why don’t they fight for the human rights of the boys that are forced to live as a living buddha since they are born?

  46. JL Says:

    Some good discussion:
    My comments are:
    1) I like Mutant Jedi’s ‘if I were king’ ideas
    2) Thanks to Wuming for pointing out that there are non-Tibetan followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Buddhism (and other relgions) are growing in China. In the early 20th century, various Chinese governments promoted religious study and cultural exchange between Han and Tibetan China to foster links between the two regions. Han monks learnt Tibetan and were sent on exchange programs in Tibet, and vice verca –se Gray Tuttle’s book Tibetan Buddhists in the Making of Modern China. Religion can serve a similar bridge building role now.
    3) Given point no.2, I think BXBQ’s comment
    “A large percent of able-bodied males (and females) stay out of useful economic activities; they invest their intellectual and physical talents and resources exclusively in chanting sutras and burning incense.”
    is unhelpful.
    You could say the same of anyone with a career in a ‘culture industry’. How is being a game show host more economically productive than being a monk teaching religious knowledge in a monastery? One of the problems with modern Chinese education in Tibet is that it’s often unappealing to Tibetans because it doesn’t incorporate many of the things that are important to them. I wouldn’t say that the chinese authorities in Tibet are lazy either, but they consistently undermine their own efforts by devaluing Tibetan culture, because they, like BXBQ characterise it as a useless impediment to modernity. Han people aren’t happy anymore to see their own fabulous tradition characterised that way, so why should the Tibetans?

  47. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Wuming,

    I think it is impossible to contain Dalai within a purely religious and cultural role if he is transplanted back to Tibet. Dalai Lamas have ruled Tibet in a theocracy for as long as they have existed. The Dalai Lama is not a religious/cultural institution; it carries political functions in its DNA. Tibetan politics is conducted not among political parties and factions, but among religious factions, among the competing lineages, the lamas and lamaseries. Here is an interesting article on the politics of Tibetan religion or religion of Tibetan politics in the 20 century, with another living Buddha escaping to India and his contention with another “reincarnation” as a case study. The tale of two Karmapas http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/EL24Ad02.html

    In summary, in Tibet there is no politics outside of religion and “culture”. If you grant Dalai the responsibility to take care of religion and culture, you reinstall him as the God King again. You think that old dude is stupid?

    As a more basic point, I am firmly against the idea of granting Tibetan lamaseries more “autonomy” or “freedom”, despite the “outcry” over the Chinese authorities’ “interfering” with the religious practices inside the lamaseries, which could be quite esoteric, to put it mildly. The religious practices behind closed doors in the lamaseries MUST be closely supervised by the law enforcement, not just for subversion, splitist and independence movements, but more importantly for protecting vulnerable people (children and adults) from being abused in abhorrent manners. The following info the Independent and National Geographic explains what I mean.

    I was a Tantric Sex Slave for A Tibetan Buddhist Monk.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990210/ai_n14212037

    “In Lhasa, I spoke with 73-year-old Tashi Tsering,who also allowed me to use his real name. He said that at the age of ten he’d been recruited into the Dalai Lama’s dance troupe and chose to become a drombo, or passive sex partner, for a senior monk.”
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2002/04/tibetans/simons-text

  48. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Wuming,

    It is impossible to contain Dalai within a purely religious and cultural role if he is transplanted back to Tibet. Dalai Lamas have ruled Tibet in a theocracy for as long as they have existed. The Dalai Lama is not a religious/cultural institution; it carries political functions in its DNA. Tibetan politics is conducted not among political parties and factions, but among religious factions, among the competing lineages, the lamas and lamaseries. Here is an interesting article on the politics of Tibetan religion or religion of Tibetan politics in the 20 century, with another living Buddha escaping to India and his contention with another “reincarnation” as a case study. The tale of two Karmapas http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/EL24Ad02.html

    In summary, in Tibet there is no politics outside of religion and “culture”. If you grant Dalai the responsibility to take care of religion and culture, you reinstall him as the God King again. You think that old dude is stupid?

    As a more basic point, I am firmly against the idea of granting Tibetan lamaseries more “autonomy”, despite the “outcry” over the Chinese authorities’ “interfering” with the religious practices inside the lamaseries, which could be quite esoteric, to put it mildly. The religious practices behind closed doors in the lamaseries MUST be closely supervised by the law enforcement, not just for subversion and splitist movements, but more importantly for protecting vulnerable people (children and adults) from being abused in abhorrent manners. The following info the Independent and National Geographic explains what I mean.

    I was a Tantric Sex Slave for A Tibetan Buddhist Monk.
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990210/ai_n14212037

    “In Lhasa, I spoke with 73-year-old Tashi Tsering,who also allowed me to use his real name. He said that at the age of ten he’d been recruited into the Dalai Lama’s dance troupe and chose to become a drombo, or passive sex partner, for a senior monk.”
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2002/04/tibetans/simons-text

  49. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    testing. Got a problem posting. Is somebody screening for words like “sex”?

  50. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Maybe it was the links that prevented me from posting successfully, not the word “sex”.

    Wuming,

    I think it is impossible to contain Dalai in a purely religious and cultural role if he is transplanted back to Tibet. Dalai Lamas have ruled Tibet in a theocracy for as long as they have existed. The Dalai Lama is not a religious/cultural institution; it carries political functions in its DNA. Tibetan politics is conducted not among political parties and factions, but among religious factions, among the competing lineages, the lamas and lamaseries. Here is an interesting article on the politics of Tibetan religion or religion of Tibetan politics in the 20 century, with another living Buddha escaping to India and his contention with another “reincarnation” as a case study.
    The tale of two Karmapas
    atimes.com/atimes/China/EL24Ad02.html

    In summary, in Tibet there is no politics outside of religion and “culture”. If you grant Dalai the responsibility to take care of religion and culture, you reinstall him as the God King again. You think that old dude is stupid?

    As a more basic point, I am firmly against the idea of granting Tibetan lamaseries more “autonomy”, despite the “outcry” over the Chinese authorities’ “interfering” with the religious practices inside the lamaseries, which could be quite esoteric, to put it mildly. The religious practices behind closed doors in the lamaseries MUST be closely supervised by the law enforcement, not just for subversion and splitist movements, but more importantly for protecting vulnerable people (children and adults) from being abused in abhorrent manners. The following info the Independent and National Geographic explains what I mean.

    I was a Tantric S*x Slave for A Tibetan Buddhist Monk.
    findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19990210/ai_n14212037

    “In Lhasa, I spoke with 73-year-old Tashi Tsering,who also allowed me to use his real name. He said that at the age of ten he’d been recruited into the Dalai Lama’s dance troupe and chose to become a drombo, or passive sex partner, for a senior monk.”
    ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2002/04/tibetans/simons-text

  51. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    You have to admire Western journalists clever choice of words. How on earth could a 10 year old boy “(choose) to become a drombo, or passive sex partner, for a senior monk”? The National Geographics care for human rights in Tibet with their bleeding heart.

  52. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    JL
    I think BXBQ’s comment “A large percent of able-bodied males (and females) stay out of useful economic activities; they invest their intellectual and physical talents and resources exclusively in chanting sutras and burning incense.” is unhelpful.

    That idea was not my invention. It was expressed by Tibetans, reported in the National Geographic article. I should have included the proper citiation.

    ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2002/04/tibetans/simons-text

  53. FOARP Says:

    @Zhiua – People choose to have their children educated in the way they choose, I find this hard to condemn. But it is easy to condemn a government which seeks to further their policy through the murder or forced imprisonment of children.

  54. Hemulen Says:

    @NetizenK

    Either he was behind the protests or wasn’t. If he was, then what he says and does are two different things. If he wasn’t behind protests, then he couldn’t impact the Tibetan protesters anyway.

    By the way, have you stopped beating your wife?

  55. zhihua Says:

    FOARP,

    Unfortunately you don’t have the option of not becoming a living buddha once you are chosen to be one.

    “But it is easy to condemn a government which seeks to further their policy through the murder or forced imprisonment of children.”

    So you are OK with the former theocratic government of tibet taking a child to live as a living buddha, while you call the Chinese government taking the child, who was trapped in the dalai lama political power play, away to living a non-god life with a secular education “murder or forced imprisonment of children”?

  56. Otto Kerner Says:

    wuming, you ask, “Isn’t it better just dispense with this charade, and making the institution of Dalai Lama purely political?” I don’t want to get into a detailed discussion of theoretical basis of the separation of church and state, but what I’m suggesting is simply separation of church and state the way it is conventionally practiced throughout the world. Religious authorities have often had political in different places in the past, and, when political and religious authority are separated, they lose their political position and keep their religious position. For example, in the middle ages, the Pope, in addition to being head of the Catholic Church, was also the ruler of large parts of Italy. Now, he has been stripped of his political power (people accept the Vatican City as an exception because it covers such a tiny area) and he continues to be simply a religious leader.

    The alternative would be make the Pope a secular office, which would mean taking the Pope away from his religious followers. Likewise, I don’t know how the Dalai Lama can be made a secular office without continuing to suppress the public’s religious beliefs.

    bxbq: “Supervision” is hardly the issue. Monks don’t want to undergo political study sessions, they don’t want to have to sign documents disavowing their religious leaders, and they don’t want party officials interfering in the recognition of somebody’s reincarnation. Can you quote a statement from a monk saying that the government shouldn’t keep an eye on things to prevent child abuse, or is this a complete red herring? Personally, I think it would be simpler just to say that people shouldn’t become monks at all until they are adults, and then investigate crimes against adults once there is some kind of evidence of wrongdoing, rather than beforehand.

  57. MutantJedi Says:

    @bianxiangbianqiao… indeed my reign as king would be troubled. I respectfully abdicate.

    You are right about the autonomy of lamaseries and the need to protect vulnerable people.

    However, in the National Geographic article there are the seeds to change. Be poor and victimized by the lamas or be rich and prosperous. The Tibetan Buddhists themselves will adapt to remain relevant. So, I don’t mind installing him as a god king, within certain parameters, provided the region is also aggressively, within certain parameters, developed.

  58. FOARP Says:

    @Zhihua – For all we know the kid is dead, and most certainly imprisoned – trying to draw equivalence between this and the decision of parents to put their child into a monastery is not valid.

    Look, I am not a Tibetan Buddhist, and I’m guessing you aren’t either, so let’s drop this ‘Tibetan Buddhism is nonsense’ talk – we are not discussing the merits of a religion, but the political future of the Tibetan region.

  59. MutantJedi Says:

    @FOARP 51,
    “People choose to have their children educated in the way they choose, I find this hard to condemn. ” Really?

    Within limits sure but you’re giving a blanket statement that I’m sure I could find a real life example that would make you uncomfortable.

  60. MutantJedi Says:

    The problem with the attempt to remove the religion from the equation is that it is horribly entwined with the politics of the region. Where does the religion end and the politics begin?

    The notion of a Vatican type model seems to have some merit to me. The religious role of the DL isn’t about to magically disappear anytime soon so contain it.

  61. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Otto Kerner

    Like you, I am not an expert of Tibetan Buddhism. I just got interested in it during the discussion in this thread. I am going to educate myself on its doctrines and practices. Despite my ignorance on the subject, I feel I am in a position to criticize your naiveté in proposing “people shouldn’t become monks at all until they are adults, and then investigate crimes against adults once there is some kind of evidence of wrongdoing, rather than beforehand.”

    This is a good solution for child abuse in the Catholic Church, who has a doctrine of opposing perverted sexual activities, especially when children are involved. However, if you read some of the Tibetan “sacred texts” or scriptures, you find detailed description of Tantric sex activities as necessary ways toward enlightenment. In other words, certain uncivilized practices are institutionalized in at least some branches of this religion. The Western activists, politicians, media and even academics are glossing over this issue. One female expert on this religion at a respectable US university gingerly warned the public not to read too much into the “immoral” (her own word) practices described in the “sacred texts” because these descriptions might not be taken “literally”, but only “symbolically”.

    I am collecting information on this topic and hopefully I can report back with a more coherent picture.

  62. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    MutantJedi,

    “So, I don’t mind installing him as a god king, within certain parameters, provided the region is also aggressively, within certain parameters, developed.”

    I agree in theory. However, in practice it would be hard. Tibetan life is engulfed in religion and aspiration for the next life. There will very little room for checks and balances to be installed outside religious institutions.

  63. FOARP Says:

    @Mutantjedi – Indeed, within limits, but it is not my religion, and so long as nothing illegal or wantonly immoral is done there is no reason to intervene – and we are not talking about intervention here anyway, we are not talking about the merits of Tibetan Buddhism, a religion which neither I nor (I presume) you are qualified to speak on. Imagine we were to start criticising a movement like, for example, Solidarity, the Hungarian uprising of 1956, or the South American liberation theology movements on the basis of the wrong-doings of the Catholic Church. Now, the Catholic Church is guilty of everything that Tibetan Buddhism has been accused of and more, but this does not discredit the movements which have grown up around it, the sins of the church do not discredit people like Oscar Romero, nor should are the merits of Tibetan Buddhism really those of Tibetan independence.

  64. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – It seems you need to read the Bible a bit more. In the bible the children of Israel do many immoral thing and are portrayed approvingly, the Bible also supports slavery, feudalism, incest, genocide, sexism, racism and a whole range of other things that people of modern societies condemn. What we can do is make these practices illegal – but are you saying that these practices are central to Tibetan Buddhism? Are you qualified to tell us this? Is it not true that the vast majority of people who practice Tibetan Buddhism do not do these things?

  65. wuming Says:

    @otto

    Indeed I don’t think making the institution of Dalai Lama purely political is realistic or even desirable. Although I am some what interested the idea of making Dalai Lama purely religious, along the line of Pope, per my previous post.

    I agree with your that the way to prevent abuse among the monks is to raised the age of consent of becoming a monk to adulthood. As I understand, this is indeed the government policy and is cited by the critics as an evidence of Chinese government’s prosecution of Tibetan Buddhism.

    The larger point I am trying to make is that the current government is not prosecuting Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, but is trying to suppress the political aspect of it. This is precisely reason why Dalai Lama is viewed so alarmingly in China. He slips between the his dual political and religious roles easy for expediency.

    I don’t in general advocating a strict separation of Church and State, which is a fairy tale anyway. But what I heard from advocates on both sides of this issue, suggests that the Institution of Dalai Lama, which embodies theocracy, can not be separated from Tibetan culture. Destroying this duality, you destroy Tibetan culture. My question for BXBQ, Otto and indeep everybody is: am I characterizing this correctly?

  66. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Wuming
    “…suggests that the Institution of Dalai Lama, which embodies theocracy, can not be separated from Tibetan culture. Destroying this duality, you destroy Tibetan culture. ”

    I think you have articulated an accurate understanding of the Dalai and Tibet situation. The most intractable aspect of the Tibet problem is its religiosity. Religion engulfs not only Tibetan politics, but virtually every aspect of the people’s lives. There is no duality. A Tibetan life seems to be a thoroughly religious life.

    Personally I think Tibet independence from China is the best solution for everybody. The two people are simply too different from each other. However, practically it will be difficult, because there is no way that one can demarcate “Tibet” in a manner that satisfies all parties. Do limit the Tibetan terriroty to the TAR? What do you do about the Tibetan-populated regions in Western Sichuan and Gansu province (which make up a huge proportion of Western China)?

  67. admin Says:

    @bxbq

    Your comments were caught in our spam filter. It’s a price we have to pay for being spam-free. Sorry about that.

  68. MutantJedi Says:

    Indeed. Transforming the discussion into good old fashion christian witch hunt is not helpful. FOARP, where do you see is the balance between the politics and religion. What do you see as a solution to this Gordian Knot?

  69. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    FOAR,

    “It seems you need to read the Bible a bit more…”

    We are not talking about arcane practices of Biblical times. June Campbell’s personal experience of being Kalu Rinpoche’s secret sexual consort was published as recently as 1999. And we are not talking about rouge priests violating the doctrine of their religion. We are talking about lamas sexually using and abusing women and children for the purpose of attaining enlightenment, which is what their religion is all about. Do some research on the pending law suits against renowned lamas in the US and worldwide.

  70. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    admin,
    thanks for the info. I thought so too.

  71. MutantJedi Says:

    If we could just sever the TAR from China that would be one way to cut the Gordian Knot. Strategically, I don’t see that as being an option.

  72. wuming Says:

    @BXBQ

    Yes, it is precisely why the Tibet problem is intractable. Tibetan culture is much closer to the Indian culture than the Chinese culture. Ideally, independence would be the best solution.

    But for geopolitical reasons, this can’t happen. Chinese rulers going back to at least Tang dynasty understand their vulnerability to a potentially hostile Tibet. If they had the technology to do it, they would have conquered Tibet long before Yuan dynasty. Fortunately for the same technological reasons that the threat of Tibet to China was not fatal. Chinese communist happen to be the first Chinese ruler with the need (the thread had become fatal) and technology to fully control Tibet. Relinquishing this control at this stage is out of question. The conflict between Russia and Georgia provides the vivid lesson.

    So after all, Chinese government left with the only relatively human choice, develop Tibet in hope that their dependence on religion weakens. Perhaps with some minor adjustment, this is the best can be done.

  73. JXie Says:

    Here is just my world traveler’s condensed 2 cents.

    For topics involved China, if we divide loosely the world into 3 chunks:

    * The West, i.e. Western Europe (somewhat less so in some countries such as Spain, Italy & Greece), North America, plus partially Japan, Korea, and maybe some newly acquired Eastern European satellites

    * China

    * The rest of the world

    For most topics China gets beat up in media of the West, i.e. human rights, democracy, Sudan, etc., the rest of the world tends to side with China a whole lot more. The West is seen as arrogant, self-serving and often downright disingenuous. For example, in the case of Sudan, China has held the virtually identical viewpoints as South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. That is totally lost in the Western media.

    China is often seen as a hope for finding and creating an alternative development path from the West, by which the rest of the world sees as an inspiration to solve their own sets of real-world problems within their own cultures and histories.

    However, with regard to Tibet, I am sorry but the rest of the world only sees big China beating up small and weak Tibet. China’s often convoluted and seemingly petty narratives on Tibet just don’t pass muster to them.

    If you look beyond the immediate future, the West is in a secular and relative decline, due to a host of reasons such as demographics & improving education in the rest of the world. Being tarnished by the Tibet problem, the brand name China can’t reach its full potential in the rest of the world.

  74. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – For your information, the Bible is still being used to justify things like racism, sexism, genocide and slavery. But anyway – why is the immorality of Tibetan Buddhism an argument against Tibetan independence? The British in India used to justify their rule by quoting a Afghan war lord who said that the day the British left, he and his men would saddle up and there would be a undefiled virgin or unrobbed bank anywhere in northern India – and the ethnic slaughter which followed independence went a long way towards proving him right. The practice of burning widows alive, selling children into slavery, the caste system etc. were all elements of Indian culture which still exist to this day – but are these things arguments against Indian independence? The truth is that the practices of the Lamas seem less distasteful to the ordinary Tibetan than continued domination by the Han.

  75. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    FOARP
    “…why is the immorality of Tibetan Buddhism an argument against Tibetan independence?”

    I have not used Tibetan Buddhism as an argument against Tibetan independence. In fact I think Tibetan independence is great.

    I just want to shine a light on the lamas in general and dalai in particular. Do you think that dala wants his 10 year old dancers back? Do you think Kalu Rinpoche still needs his sexual consorts and “drombo” to achieve enlightenment and save man kind? On the other hand, 10 year old Tashi Tsering was generously given adult-like volition to “choose” to become a passive

    I also want to point out a queer disparity in Western treatment of white and Tibetan victims of Tibetan Tantric practices. June Campbell, who was an adult when she willingly (before she changed her mind) became Rinpoche’s translator and consort, was dubbed a “trantric sex slave” by the Independent, a respectable newspaper from your hometown. On the other hand, National Geographic generously gave 10 year old Tashi Tsering the remarkable power to choose to become was passive sex partner of a senior monk. How could a 10 year old member of dalai lama’s dance troupe have a free choice against a “senior mond” who was probably a living god? Was it just because he was Tibetan? I do not mean to diminish Ms. Campbell’s suffering. They are both victims of terrible crimes. However, there was an age difference between them when the trauma was inflicted upon them. According to Chinese law having sex with anyone younger than 14 constitutes statutory rape.
    I am not arguing against Tibet independence. However as long as Tibet remains part of China those lamas must be supervised.

  76. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    My last response had too many typos. Have to polish it up and add a couple of sentences.

    FOARP

    “…why is the immorality of Tibetan Buddhism an argument against Tibetan independence?”
    I have not used Tibetan Buddhism as an argument against Tibetan independence. In fact I think Tibetan independence is great.

    I just want to shine a light on the lamas in general and dalai in particular. Do you think that dala wants his 10 year old dancers back? Do you think Kalu Rinpoche still needs his sexual consorts and “drombo” to achieve enlightenment and save man kind?

    I also want to point out a queer disparity in Western treatment of white and Tibetan victims of Tibetan Tantric practices. June Campbell, who was an adult when she willingly (before she changed her mind) became Rinpoche’s translator and consort, was dubbed a “trantric sex slave” by the Independent, a respectable newspaper from your hometown. On the other hand, National Geographic generously gave 10 year old Tashi Tsering the remarkable power to “choose to become” was passive sex partner of a senior monk. How could a 10 year old member of dalai lama’s dance troupe have a free choice against a “senior monk” who was probably a living god? Was it just because he was Tibetan? I do not mean to diminish Ms. Campbell’s suffering. They are both victims of terrible crimes. However, there was an age difference between them when the trauma was inflicted upon them. And Western media’s characterization of their experiences deserves attention. Why was Ms. Campbell recognized as a victim, whereas Tashi Tsering was described as a willing participant of a harmless esoteric activity? According to Chinese law having sex with anyone younger than 14 constitutes statutory rape.

    I am not arguing against Tibet independence. However as long as Tibet remains part of China those lamas must be supervised.

  77. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – Isn’t the portrayal of lamaism in China also pretty much a positive one? Once again, I don’t think any of us here believe in Tibetan Buddhism, so what is your point?

  78. zhihua Says:

    FOARP ,
    *************************
    “@Zhihua – For all we know the kid is dead, and most certainly imprisoned – trying to draw equivalence between this and the decision of parents to put their child into a monastery is not valid.

    Look, I am not a Tibetan Buddhist, and I’m guessing you aren’t either, so let’s drop this ‘Tibetan Buddhism is nonsense’ talk – we are not discussing the merits of a religion, but the political future of the Tibetan region.”
    *************************

    A bunch of lamas picking a child to become a living buddha reincarnate is not exactly “the decision of parents to put their child into a monastery”.

    “For all we know the kid is dead, and most certainly imprisoned”
    For what I know he isn’t imprisoned, and most certainly not dead.

    Of course we are not discussing the merits of a religion, per se. However when someone can derive political power from religion, the merits of such religion will be inescapably involved. This isn’t specific to China — all countries in this modern world, except for a few nutcases, have strict separation of churn and state.

    When human rights warriors jump on the “abduction of banchan lama” bandwagon, they should try to be consistent, as keeping a child from living the life of a living buddha isn’t morally inferior to making a child a living buddha.

  79. FOARP Says:

    @Zhihua – They are not ‘keeping him from being etc.’ – if they were the CCP would be able to give evidence of where he is, if not to the public then to the UN, but they have not.

  80. Otto Kerner Says:

    By the way, bxbq, you’re conflating two different issues involving Tibetan Buddhism and sexual misbehaviour. On the one hand, we have cases where children such as Tashi Tsering were molested by warrior monks or by other adults in positions of authority. To the extent that other people turned a blind eye to this and let it happen, that is a very shameful thing, but it has no real religious basis, and so everyone should be able to demand in no uncertain terms that it should never happen again. On the other hand, we have the issue of the sexual partners in certain tantric religious practices, which may or may not ever really happen. These practices always or almost always call for a male practitioner to find a female consort, and generally an adult. This might also result in an abusive relationship, but it is a very different sort of situation.

    As for the National Geographic writer’s wording, I tend to think that this resulted from some sort of editorial error, perhaps simply a typo, perhaps some other sort of mangling of what the author originally intended to say. If the sentence as we see it really is what was intended, then I certanly agree that this writer seems to have a very strange concept of consent.

  81. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Otto Kerner

    “Tashi Tsering were molested by warrior monks or by other adults in positions of authority……but it has no real religious basis….”

    Tashi Tsering was raped repeatedly by different lamas particularly on religious basis.

    Let us read his autobiography and then compare notes.

    The Struggle for Modern Tibet: The Autobiography of Tashi Tsering (Paperback), by Melvyn Goldstein, William Siebenschuh and Tashi Tsering, 2000.

    FOARP

    “I don’t think any of us here believe in Tibetan Buddhism, so what is your point?”

    The point is human rights for the weak and vulnerable, and the true color of dalai in particular and lamas in general.

  82. Karma Says:

    @Otto Kerner,

    I think we can define-redefine / refine-re-refine what the core of teachings of a religion is – until the end of time – for that is the only way religion can stand the test of time.

    If the issue were whether religion should be allowed to exist – those type of arguments would be be helpful and relevant.

    But here – we are talking about having a religion play a determinative role in politics. Religion as a political force has not overall played a constructive role in history. I think we are past the time when religion should be allowed to play a leading role in politics in China.

  83. Otto Kerner Says:

    Actually, bxbq, you are right. I was shooting my mouth off a bit without actually knowing much about Tashi Tsering. Large excerpts of his book are available on google books.

    Nevertheless, this is still not what I would call a “religious basis”; this sort of sexual activity was a bizarre end-run around religious rules which were obviously intended to prevent anything of the sort. It’s worth noting that the people who most commonly participated in it were the sort of so-called monks who had no religious role at all, but solely a political one: the monk-officials and the warrior monks. I cannot defend this sort of arrangement and do not wish to.

  84. zhihua Says:

    Here is the “religious basis”.
    http://www.iivs.de/~iivs01311/SDLE/Contents.htm

  85. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Thanks for the link. Here is a bit of Chinese info about the notion of space walker (空行母), the role that June Campbell assumed in a polyandry arrangement with the lamas.
    http://blog.ifeng.com/article/1013678.html

    I wonder what is the difference between space walker (空行母) and 明妃 (concubine of light?).

  86. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – This is a rather unhealthy obsession you seem to have, if you wish to ban the practice of Tibetan Buddhism then say so, the practices you speak of are illegal in all countries, it is for the authorities of the countries in which these events happened to deal with, if they can be proved that is.

  87. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    FOARP,

    It sounds like that you, Western “human rights” and free Tibet activists and media are desperately hiding something, for someone.

  88. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Here is the reference to June Campbell’s book. She is an accomplished academic and thoughtful scholar. It too her several years to be able to look back to her experience with the lamas, and another half a dozen years for research.

    Campbell, June. (1996). “Traveller in Space: In Search of the Female Identity in Tibetan Buddhism”. George Braziller

    The following book seems to provide useful background knowledge. I am going to read it. If you want to have a meaningful and responsible discussion on Tibet, you have the responsibility to educate yourself on the topic. Hanging freaking banners and wearing creepy t-shirts do not cut the butter.

    Beyer, Stephen (1973). The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet. University of California Press.

  89. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – Yeah, that’s right, I, who have never been to Tibet, never been a member of a pro-Tibet organisation, am not a Buddhist and have no interest in that religion, am engaged in a cover-up for someone, and western media and human rights campaigners are involved too. Have you never heard of Occam’s razor? Here’s a tip: likely explanations should be considered first, and only discarded when disproved. Do you really think that the media are engaged in covering up such stories? Especially when you are using them as your sources?

  90. Hemulen Says:

    @FOARP

    As I have said in the other thread, it is people like BXBQ that creates converts for the pro-Tibet camp.

  91. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Hemulen

    “….it is people like BXBQ that creates converts for the pro-Tibet camp.”

    You are not quite clear in your statement. Who are in the “pro-Tibet camp”? How come I am converting them? Do you mean that upon learning about the plights of June Campbell and Tashi Tsering in the hands of renowned lamas, people would rush to support the lamas, instead of seeking justice for their victims? That is an overly cynical view on human nature.

    Otto Kerner

    “…this is still not what I would call a “religious basis”; this sort of sexual activity was a bizarre end-run around religious rules which were obviously intended to prevent anything of the sort.”

    The “space traveler” practice has been canonized in the Tibetan Buddhism’s Holy Scriptures, and institutionalized in the training/education/cultivation system, i.e., the relation between the Guru/Master and Pupil, which emphasizes the pupil’s complete dependence upon the guru/master for achieving enlightenment, as well as the crucial importance of total secrecy of their “cultivation of enlightenment” (you can’t tell, otherwise you will burn in hell.)

    “It’s worth noting that the people who most commonly participated in it were the sort of so-called monks who had no religious role at all, but solely a political one: the monk-officials and the warrior monks.”

    This argument defies simple logic. Monks are religious figures by definition. Monk officials and warrior monks are central parts of the Tibetan religious establishment, which is one and the same as the political/bureaucratic/military system; the whole system is called a theocracy, with dalai as the God-King.

    A few misnomers are worth pointing out. Lamas are not monks. Tibetan Budahism is hardly Buhahism, it is more precisely labelled Lamaism and primarily based on Tantrism. Look at this gem of an explanation from the Duke University Library Museum.

    “This is Buddhism in its least recognizable appearance, the form most difficult to adapt or reconcile with what are traditionally regarded as the original teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Yet, although Vajrayana is almost synonymous with Tibetan Buddhism, its roots are in India….”

    Here is a very intriguing paragraph.

    “Vajrayana can appear to hold good and evil to be equivalent, but that is a misinterpretation. Moreover, some tantric texts refer to practices (involving foods, physical functions, sexual acts, and even immoral acts) that contravene essential Buddhist teachings…..Because of the risk of misinterpretation of Vajrayana texts and concepts, even when they are understood symbolically, and because of the risk of other misdirections, Vajrayana emphasizes the necessity of having a spiritual guide, a teacher or “guru,” to lead one through the complexities of meaning and practice.”

    Yeah, right. Those tricks are very spiritual and dangerous. Therefore kids and women should not try by themselves. They need the “guidance” of a guru who have been there and done that. What a great spirit of caring for human rights.

    http://dl.lib.brown.edu/BuddhistTempleArt/buddhism2.html

  92. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – Do you not think you are drifting rather far from the topic at hand with all this talk of paedophilia? Why don’t you start a separate thread on it?

  93. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To BXBQ:
    I know nothing about religion, and am happy to keep it that way. Sounds to me, though, that you’re starting to criticize the tenets of Tibetan Buddhism. That’s a slippery slope, wouldn’t you say? To be balanced, you should at least make similar mention of the choir boys of the Boston Archdiocese.

  94. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    FOARP,

    Shining a bright light upon dalai and other lamas is very relevant to the topic of this thread. Can we allow dalai and his lama cronies to set foot upon Chinese territory, especially Sichuan after the earthquake, as Mr. Nicholas Kristof suggested? My answer is no way. Every time I see dalai in TV I get goose skin all over me and have to shower compulsively to recover.

    I would like to start a discussion on drombos and space travelers, lama tantric moral values and human rights. I am collecting materials and it will take a while until I can talk about it intelligently.

  95. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    S. K. Cheung,

    Choir boys and the Boston Archdiocese have nothing to do with dalai lama going back to Tibet to reclaim his theoracy.

  96. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To BXBQ:
    I thought the Chinese position was that the Dalai Lama is free to return, with conditions. Seems your personal view contradicts my understanding of official policy. Your OCD aside, as mentioned in an earlier thread, the respectful reference is the Dalai Lama, even if you prefer to drop the prefix “his holiness”. No need to be disrespectful even if you disagree with him.

  97. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To BXBQ:
    true, but my point is that you’re no longer just criticizing the Dalai Lama, you’re criticizing the entire religion. Maybe not your cup of tea, but there are millions who subscribe to it. Having said that, you’re well within your rights to criticize whatever it is that floats your boat.

  98. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    S. K. Cheung

    “Seems your personal view contradicts my understanding of official policy.”

    I don’t know exactly what the Chinese official policy toward dalai is; they did not ask for my input when they made their policies.

    I am not criticizing the religion. I am educating myself about it and have found some features that goes directly against the claims of dalai and his Western patrons about the, benevolent, wholesome and peaceful nature of his stuff. These features are well documented in social sciences and needs to be taken into consideration when the Tibet issue is considered.

  99. FOARP Says:

    @BXBQ – As much as you would obviously like to talk about such issues, unless you can show that the Dalai Lama was actively involved in them then I don’t see what they have to do with the discussion at hand.

  100. Hemulen Says:

    @BXBQ

    No, you are not actively converting people to Tibetan independence, that’s not what I mean. But you may consider the consequences of trying dig up every piece of crap you can find on Tibetan Buddhism in order to discredit DL: To many people, that just looks like you are kicking on someone already lying on the ground. It is this dismissive attitude that turn people against Chinese rule in Tibet.

  101. FOARP Says:

    @Hermulen – I’m not going to pretend that I know whether what BXBQ is saying is true or not, but let’s say it is. Let’s say that the Dalai Lama and all of his fellow Lamas are just as evil as he says they are – the embarrassing truth is, that even with more than 50 years of total full-spectrum dominance of the Tibetan media and education system, as well as full veto over religious activities, the CCP still has less influence over the minds of the Tibetan people than the Dalai Lama. What does this say about PRC rule in Tibet? I have no great love for the Dalai Lama, I am not a Buddhist and, frankly, I find their story of life unappealing, but I know that he is much more the leader of the Tibetan people than the puppet rulers currently sitting in Lhasa.

    And anyway, if we are going to start bringing in official doctrine, past crimes, immorality etc. into this – why should we stop with the Dalai Lama? Why not examine what each and every one of the Chinese leadership has been up to over the last – I don’t know – 40 years or so? Why not see what each one of them did and did not do during the Cultural Revolution? Why not ask which of them was in the red guards? Who took part in struggle sessions? Who shouted ‘kill’ at an innocent man? Who signed death-warrants for people who were accused of meaningless crimes? What part did they play in the plotting before and after Mao’s death? How many were connected to the gang of four? What about their families? etc. etc. etc. etc.

  102. TommyBahamas Says:

    the embarrassing truth is, that even with more than 50 years of total full-spectrum dominance of the Tibetan media and education system, as well as full veto over religious activities, the CCP still has less influence over the minds of the Tibetan people than the Dalai Lama.

    I’m sorry, Whenever I see the claim of “the truth” I’d naturally expect to read more BS. So, how did you come to know about the mind of Tibetan people?

    A lot of history is just dirty politics cleaned up for the consumption of children and other innocents.

  103. Wukailong Says:

    @FOARP: “And anyway, if we are going to start bringing in official doctrine, past crimes, immorality etc. into this – why should we stop with the Dalai Lama? Why not examine what each and every one of the Chinese leadership has been up to over the last – I don’t know – 40 years or so? Why not see what each one of them did and did not do during the Cultural Revolution?”

    Perhaps also bring up the private lives of Marx, Lenin and Stalin, to prove the horrible impact Marxism has on people’s ethics? 🙂

  104. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP wrote:

    “…that even with more than 50 years of total full-spectrum dominance of the Tibetan media and education system, as well as full veto over religious activities, the CCP still has less influence over the minds of the Tibetan people than the Dalai Lama. What does this say about PRC rule in Tibet?”

    +++++
    Doesn’t say anything because we don’t even know if this “image” presented by the Western media is true. First of all, over whose minds are we talking about? The minds of the exiles? Of the protestors? Of the clergy? Of ordinary people? Half a world away, there are a bunch of Cubans sitting in Miami screaming and yelling every election year in the US. Are they supposed to represent people in Cuba?

    There are not a few ordinary Tibetan homes with a portrait of Mao Zedong next to a portrait of the Panchen Lama, both offered up as gods. With thousands of years of brainwashing lamaism, what does that say about the Dalai Lama? What is it supposed to say? That Maoism and lamas that sit in the CPPCC have more influence over their minds than the Dalai Lama?

    These are unproductive lines of reasoning and you know it.

  105. Wukailong Says:

    @Nimrod: Good points. I saw a very negative documentary about Tibet when I was back for a week in Sweden this summer. What struck me was that many of the problems described (forced sterilization despite given the right to two children, sometimes forced movement to temporary lodging, corruption etc) are endemic to the poor countryside in China as a whole, and not just confined to Tibet.

    While there are problems specific to Tibet, I believe many of these problems are seen through an ethnic lens, and not compared with the rest of the country.

  106. FOARP Says:

    @Tommybahamas – Mainly because those Tibetans who do give interviews to the press say as much, both inside and outside Tibet. In fact the very fact that the Chinese government stays in low-level contact with the Dalai Lama says as much. The communist regimes of eastern Europe felt no need to stay in touch with the various dynasties which ruled over them pre-WWII as they commanded little loyalty in their native countries.

    @Nimrod – That is a silly argument, and you know it. Obviously we are talking about native Tibetans, and the fact that they still offer prayers to their gods proves my point – doesn’t it? I’m sure you’re aware that many (almost all perhaps) would display the Dalai Lama’s picture if they could. Anyway, I said this merely to demonstrate how fruitless it was to try to imply anything about the Dalai Lama’s standing by picking up on what (unless more evidence can be offered) appear to be the sins of a few.

    @Wukailong – Any separatist movement thrives on taking the sins of central government and weaving them into a story of national oppression, it is therefore not surprising that in a region like Tibet separatists see the end of direct rule from Beijing as the solution.

  107. Wukailong Says:

    Dalai Lama’s picture was prohibited some time in the 90s, but was on prominent display before that. My guess is that it is and was more popular than Mao’s picture, although you can sure find that too.

    @FOARP: Good point too.

  108. Hemulen Says:

    @Wukailong

    While there are problems specific to Tibet, I believe many of these problems are seen through an ethnic lens, and not compared with the rest of the country.

    The Tibet problem is a problem of legitimacy and power, and we’d better stay away from comparisons with China Proper. As long as most Tibetans do not regard PRC rule as legitimate, any policy originating in Beijing will be seen as a colonial policy. To say that some of these policies also have force in the rest of the PRC is not going to convince anyone, I’m afraid.

  109. CLC Says:

    As long as most Tibetans do not regard PRC rule as legitimate

    Just curious, how do you know?

  110. Wukailong Says:

    @Hemulen: It might not convince anyone, but it might put into question the idea that Han Chinese have specific oppressive policies towards Tibetans that are worse than the ones towards their own kin. I’m not saying that things are as they should be in Tibet, just that we need to sort out what policies are there for what reason.

    To get back to the original point of the post, I felt much more hopeful after reading Kristof’s article. Like some Tibetans who commented back here before said, the DL is very important to Tibetans in general and that part of the PRC propaganda must stop. Right now it just makes Han Chinese think he’s next to Hitler, and the Tibetans resentful.

  111. FOARP Says:

    @CLC – I don’t know, it may be the fact of three national uprisings in fifty years, the continued flight across the border – little things like these.

  112. CLC Says:

    @FOARP

    So you mean the Dalai Lama is in the minority among Tibetans in regarding PRC’s rule as legitimate?

  113. FOARP Says:

    @CLC – It would not be the most ironic thing in history!

  114. CLC Says:

    @FOARP. If the Dalai Lama’s position is fluid, other Tibetans’ opinions may not be set in stone either.

  115. Wukailong Says:

    Hopefully most people’s opinions are fluid (not just Tibetans’), and you have someone like Deng Xiaoping who can break an impasse by coming up with a solution like like one country, two systems.

  116. BMY Says:

    @hemulen

    “To say that some of these policies also have force in the rest of the PRC is not going to convince anyone, I’m afraid.”

    I think to not see some of these policies also have force in the rest of the PRC that only inflame the ethnic hatred which is not good to anyone. It’s better to see the problem is between CCP and Tibetan(and other ordinary citizens) rather than the problem between Tibetan and Han/Muslim if people really care about the problem. Of course many activists would care less about the bloodshed which is not going to happen on themselves.

  117. FOARP Says:

    @CLC – Which is exactly why compromise is necessary, how can the CCP change people’s minds otherwise?

  118. Hemulen Says:

    @BMY

    It’s better to see the problem is between CCP and Tibetan(and other ordinary citizens) rather than the problem between Tibetan and Han/Muslim if people really care about the problem.

    I couldn’t agree more. That is why the demonstrations in support of the government’s position on Tibet we have seen this year are not particularly helpful to Tibetan-Han reconciliation.

  119. CLC Says:

    That is why the demonstrations in support of the government’s position on Tibet we have seen this year are not particularly helpful to Tibetan-Han reconciliation.

    It is even more distressful to consider the demonstrations were reactions to the sincere reconciliation efforts by those China bashing, shop burning, or torch grabbing people and the PRC government even paid a whooping 50 cents each for those thugs and goons who demonstrated.

  120. starlight Says:

    As a Tibetan, I think both westerners and overseas Chinese are misguided in their obsession with the Dalai Lama. Tibetans can easily find another leader through elections with equal legitimacy when he passes away.

    That leader might even be more skilled politically than the Dalai Lama which spends most of his time talking about World peace, universal values, inter-faith dialogue etc. Furthermore Dalai Lama doesnt speak very well Mandarin.

  121. Heart of The Dragoon Says:

    Great work on creating a constructive area on this sensitive issue. Having read quite a few opinions and views. As a Chinese, I have to say we need to understand and appreciate the standpoint of Tibetans. I think as a first step we need to address the following points.

    1. Accept the Tibetan view of history in the argument that Tibet is not by devine intervention an inalienable part of China. Although the Chinese historical claim to have governed Tibet for centuries has a point, the Tibetan view that it was never a permanent possession of an empire should also be accepted. If we can accommodate each other’s view there is a good chance of co-existence.

    2. Somehow His Holiness must return home. We need to stop demonising His Holiness. He has been mis-interpreted and he means a lot to many Tibetans and by outlawing him we have done something that is very painful for the average Tibetan to bear. We must look at the possibility of allowing him to return and for the Snow Leopard to fly along side the 5 star.

    Tibet is a beautiful place, it is also a very harsh environment for those living there and religion is one of the comforting factors for Tibetans therefore it makes me a bit sad about what has happened.

    It is so unfortunate that because of political grudges and factional fighting that things which look so easy on the surface been made to be so uncomprisable.

    Although, I sound very pro-Tibet from a Chinese, I actually think taking account of all the macro factors, it is better for Tibet to seek genuine autonomy in China. I love China and I love Tibet.

  122. Gao Says:

    In the eyes of dragon only Han Chinese rule China. Rest are useless, dirty, ignorant and no good for nothing type. Hans dominant race correlates German’s supreme race which cause so much bloods in our humanity. Lets try not to repeat same mistake here in China. Hans Chinese should visit to Tibet and hear what ordinary Tibetans in Tibet has to say. Only then we can debate about rest of Tibet issues.

  123. Wahaha Says:

    “In the eyes of dragon only Han Chinese rule China. Rest are useless, dirty, ignorant and no good for nothing type”

    Nonsense. Han people have no problems with ethnic minorities in Yunan province.

    Are you the lawyer who tried to go to Tibet and defended the rioters on 3.14 ?

  124. Karma Says:

    @Gao,

    In the eyes of dragon only Han Chinese rule China. Rest are useless, dirty, ignorant and no good for nothing type.

    At least this Han doesn’t feel that way… And he knows of no Han friend who feels that way.

    Perhaps it’s a nice stereotype to keep for political purposes. But it’s useless for political conciliation nor real politiking.

Trackbacks

  1. The religious politics of reincarnation | Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China
  2. Tibet: A Way Forward? | Fool's Mountain: Blogging for China
  3. Tibet Rights.org : (Letter) Tibet: A Way Forward?

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