Taipei - Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is confident that he can return to Tibet in this lifetime, and believes he will be reborn many times after his death, according to a book published Friday. In The Oldest Laughter in the Himalaya
, written by Taiwan film producer Liao Wen-yu, the Dalai Lama said that when the situation in China has changed and its leaders become more open-minded, he will be able to return to Tibet, the homeland that he had to flee in 1959.
Liao wrote the book while shooting a documentary on the Dalai Lama to record his exile and his fight for the freedom of Tibetans.
The film, which has the same name as the book, is to be released on January 3. Liao has invited the Dalai Lama, 74, to attend the premiere.
"I am always ready to visit Taiwan, but it depends on many factors, including the (attitude of the) Taiwan government," he said.
The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan three times since 1997, each time triggering strong protests from China which criticizes the Dalai Lama as a "splittist" bent on separating Tibet from China.
In his interview with Liao, the Dalai Lama recalled the pain of being forced to flee as Chinese troops invaded Tibet, and how grateful he now feels about his exile.
"The exile gave me the opportunity to learn. I was able to meet people of different religions from all parts of the world, and learn about other faiths from them. This has been very helpful to me," he said.
"If I had not left Tibet, today I would still be locked up in the Potala Palace and be narrow-minded," he said.
The Dalai Lama said he does not hate the Chinese Communists, because of the sufferings of Tibetans is their karma. But he said the Chinese Communists are creating their own karma if they continue to oppress Tibetans.
To wipe out the influence of the Dalai Lama, Chinese scholars have hinted that after the Dalai Lama has died, China would find his next incarnation in China.
The Dalai Lama said he was not too concerned about, as it was "up to the Tibetan people to decide if there is the need to preserve the system of the Dalai Lama."
But as a Buddhist, he believes he will be reborn many times until his soul has been purified and has reached nirvana.
In the interviews, the Dalai Lama expressed admiration for China's culture, history, economic achievements and recent political reforms.
He called on Tibetans and Chinese to reconcile and live in harmony, which he said would be his key message if he were allowed to return to Tibet.
"Without harmony, there cannot be development or happiness. I will also stress forgiveness, because both Tibetans and Chinese need to learn to forgive," he said.