By Tenzin Lekdhen
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 21: The late Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari’s memoir titled “The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy: Memoirs of a Lifetime in Pursuit of a Reunited Tibet” is scheduled for release in the coming fall. The book published by Columbia University Press chronicles Gyari Rinpoche’s role as the Dalai Lama’s special envoy and chief negotiator with China over the status of Tibet.
The former Kalon, Minister of Information and International Relations, with his unique experience and knowledge informed by that experience, in the book, reportedly, offers what he sees as realisable recommendations for resuming the Tibetan-Chinese dialogue to achieve a bilateral agreement.
“Gyari recounts his work conducting formal dialogue with the Chinese leadership from 2002 to 2012, as well as his efforts during the many years of quiet diplomacy preceding these historic negotiations,” the book’s summary reads, “He details the fits and starts of the parties’ relationship, addressing successes as well as failures and highlighting misperceptions, missteps, and missed opportunities by both sides.”
The book, available for pre-order on Amazon and other sites, is scheduled to be released on the 7th of October and 18th of October for hardcovers and ebooks respectively. The book, although not yet released, is trending 2nd in the niche category of “New Releases in Tibetan Buddhism” on Amazon. Kunga Tashi, former Secretary of CTA (བོད་མིའི་སྒྲིག་འཛུགས་ཀྱི་དྲུང་ཆེ་ཟུར་པ), tweeted that a Tibetan translation of Gyari Rinpoche’s book is said to be in the works.
The Sino-Tibetan dialogues, attempts at reaching a mutually agreeable common ground with the People’s Republic of China over the status of Tibet and Tibetans, have been historically sporadic; several series of formal discussions that took place between the two sides have been stricken with irregular intervals of stalemates. The last formal dialogue between the two ended in 2010 after 9 rounds of official talks led by the late special envoy Gyari Rinpoche.
Lodi Gyari, in a 2009 statement published on Phayul, described the effort put into the dialogue process as rather one-sided, writing, “So far, it has been all our initiatives that have been the basis of any perceptible positive side to the dialogue process. It was at our initiative that contact was re-established and continued since 2002. Every time it has been our initiative that has started the process for the rounds of discussions.”
He also added, rather hopefully, that it seemed to him that “the Chinese leadership is as desirous as our side in continuing a discussion, which we hope will ultimately lead to a mutually satisfactory negotiated solution to the Tibetan issue.”
He and Kelsang Gyaltsen, on June 4, 2012, resigned as representatives of the Dalai Lama for official dialogues with the government of China. They cited their frustration with the handling of regions where self-immolations occurred and by the lack of positive response from the Chinese government.
The United States Senate, on 13 September, commended Lodi Gyari and his contributions “as Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and in promoting the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Tibetan people” by passing the S.Res.557 resolution.
Kasur Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari passed away on 28 October 2018 in San Francisco from liver cancer at the age of 69.