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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai Lama blesses Scots scholars’ history of Tibet

September 5, 2007

The Herald Sep 03, 2007

More than six centuries of Tibet's often turbulent history is to be examined by Scots academics.

The 10-year research project at St Andrews University is thought to be the biggest historical project yet undertaken into the subject and has the blessing of the Dalai Lama.

Led by Professor Mario Aguilar, of the school of divinity, it will explore the close relationship between politics and religion in Tibet between 1391, era of the first Dalai Lama, and modern times. The research will take

Professor Aguilar in 2009 to the headquarters of the 14th Dalai Lama - an honorary graduate of St Andrews - at Dharamsala, India.

The project will include the study of ancient Tibetan Buddhist texts, Jesuit narratives of missions to Tibet and collections of lectures, writings and speeches by the Dalai Lama.

The professor said: "Our aim is to provide a series which will comprise arguments by several previous studies that deal with single periods of Tibetan history during the 20th century and to provide a more complete

series of scholarly work accessible to historians, political scientists and scholars of religion."

He added: "The brief period of complete independence by Tibet from China (1931-1950) was marked by the finding of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1935, the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama - a very significant

moment . . . in the history of religion in Tibet after the Dalai Lama's self-exile in India of 1959.

"Since then China has annexed Tibet as an autonomous region of China and has even restored some of the Tibetan monasteries destroyed in their hundreds within the period of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

"The question that remains unanswered for the future is how Tibetans are going to manage religion and politics within a Tibetan Buddhist practice that incorporates past histories and a Tibetan region that remains part

of contemporary China.

"This research project aims at covering the historical ground as to help answer such a question that will arise with the ageing of the 14th Dalai Lama and his future reincarnation."

Aat the New York film festival yesterday, actor Richard Gere, a devout Buddhist, said a boycott of the Beijing Olympics could help to put pressure on China to end human rights abuses in Tibet.

Gere, chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, said the 2008 Beijing Olympics were a good opportunity to encourage China to end rights abuse and allow the region to decide

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