His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to a group of Chinese and Tibetan students at the Marquette hotel in Minnesota, March 1, 2014/photo: Tenzin Phuntsok
Minneapolis, March 1: The Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has urged the Chinese leadership to think widely while praising Mao Zedong as a great revolutionary.
“I knew Mao very well. He was a great revolutionary. He trusted me a lot. He even told me that religion is opium,” said the Tibetan leader Dalai Lama during an interactive session with a group of Chinese students at his hotel. “The Chinese revolutionary leader later got himself corrupted by his own power,” added the Tibetan leader, sending the audience into laughter.
The 1989 Nobel peace laureate applauded the incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping as “being very courageous” in tackling corruption in the communist country.
The Dalai Lama reaffirmed his commitment to the middle way approach in resolving the Tibet issue saying Tibetans are willing to live under the Chinese government through a genuine autonomy. He reiterated that the Tibetans were not seeking independence or separation from China. “We very much admire Chinese people, long history, cultured people, hard working,” said the 78 year old Tibetan leader who devolved all his political power to an elected leadership in 2011 and took complete retirement from politics. “Even during seventh century, the Tibetan king admired Han people very much, so he even took a queen from China,” said the Tibetan leader jokingly.
“Everybody loves Chinese food, isn’t it? So similarly, everybody should be able to have a pleasant feeling of China, not fear,” he said, urging the Beijing government to lift the censorship and hardline policies.
On asked his view about the self immolation protests in Tibet, the Dalai Lama said he had already expressed his doubts if the ongoing Tibetan self immolations would bring any good result.
“Firstly, I am very sad and secondly, I doubt such dramatic actions will be helpful or not,” he said.
“I repeated this again in Japan when I met with a group of international reporters. This is very sensitive political question. I am already retired. Whatever I say (Chinese) hardliners always manipulate, so I better remain silent.”
The Tibetan leader urged the students to learn more about the realities themselves by listening to all sides of the story. “Don’t believe what the government says. You have two eyes, two ears. So you must use you both eyes and ears,” added the Dalai Lama.
Dalai Lama speaking at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum/March 1, 2014/Photo:Augsburg College
Earlier today, the Tibetan leader spoke on the topic, “crossing boundaries to create common ground,” at the 26th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum anniversary organized by Nobel Peace Prize Forum and Augsburg college here. He lauded his adopted home for more than fifty years, India, for its constitution. “India is the mother of many religions: theological religions and non-theological religions, and many more but all stay together peacefully because modern Indian constitution is a secular based one,” said the Tibetan leader to around 2500 people.
After addressing the gathering, the Dalai Lama took a chain of questions from the audience as well as from outside through Google Plus. One of the questions came from Minneapolis’ Mayor Betsy Hodges who asked the Tibetan leader’s view about politicians. The Dalai Lama said, “Many people say politics is dirty but it is not dirty from the beginning. It is made dirty by the politicians.”
The Tibetan spiritual leader will preside over the Tibetan New Year celebrations or Losar
at Augsburg college, his first outside India in 55 years of his exile life . Submitted by Tendar Tsering in Minneapolis