Thursday, 22 May 2008

Lesson in Statesmanship from the Dalai Lama!



Recently HH the Dalai Lama in an interview gave a masterly demonstration of statesmanship. 



He gave the Beijing government very positive feedback on their excellent handling of the relief efforts of the earthquake in China. 

As an example, he reproached the Burmese junta for wilfully mishandling the equally severe natural catastrophe in Burma. 


By praising the Beijing leaders and linking their praiseworthy efforts as being a signal of change within China, he also slips in criticism of their handling of the Tibet issue. 

Then he also shows the amount of dissent among the Tibetans about responding to Beijing with peaceful means. This is a cloaked message that when the Dalai Lama is no more, no one may be able to keep these angry young people in check.

By raising the Beijing leaders on a pedestal, he requires them to behave in a more elevated manner. Spiritual Noblesse oblige through mutual recognition and compassion – this is a very different vision from the ‘destroy through violence, those who are different’ policy used by those engaged in armed conflicts in different parts of the world. 



China's Leaders Praise the Dalai Lama

This has never happened. 

The only time praise is connected to the Dalai Lama in a Chinese government statement is e.g. a foreign government leader who gives in to Chinese government pressure and refuses to meet the Dalai Lama. Some examples are: the Australian PM Julia Gillard and the Finnish government in 1996 and 1998.

There have been some allegations that certain interests within the Chinese government have even trained Tibetan women to assassinate the Dalai Lama - praise indeed! HH the Dalai Lama revealed this plot in an interview with the Telegraph UK.


Photo source:


Dalai Lama, Mao Zedong and Communism

I still think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist!


The Dalai Lama says this in his book Beyond Dogma: The Challenge of the Modern World, Souvenir Press, 1996.



Photo source:
"It was only when I went to China in 1954-55 that I actually studied Marxist ideology and learned the history of the Chinese revolution. Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member." 
This is what the Dalai Lama says in a Time magazine interview on October 4th, 1999.

So, there is hope that people can change their opinions and attitudes after reading and understanding. One fine day, we might hear of such change in Chinese leaders.


Everyday Statesmanship Lesson From Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, in a speech, referred to the Southerners as fellow human beings who were in error

An elderly lady chastised him for not calling them irreconcilable enemies that should be destroyed. 
Why madam,” Lincoln replied, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”


The 'One country Two Systems' seems to be working fine in Hong Kong. Among other books, they even sell the Dalai Lama's books at bookshops there. 

So there is hope that a solution can be found for Tibet as well. China is trying so hard to stage a glorious and successful Olympic Games 2008 and success in Tibet would add to China's international prestige.


"We must all live harmoniously with our neighbours. Your happiness depends on it." 

This saying of the Dalai Lama is more true than ever in a globalising world. More and more Chinese people are opening up to the world and accepting diversity and allowing the rest of the world to enjoy the fascinating richness of Chinese culture. 

Many of our Chinese brothers and sisters have truly expanded their horizons to become valuable members of the global community.

Let us hope that a change in the attitude of China's leaders is apparent soon.




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