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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

An Interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

October 24, 2007

By The Emory Wheel
10/21/2007


The Dalai Lama: Let's start!

Andrea Jones, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: I'm Andrea Jones, I'm
with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a newspaper in Atlanta. I
wanted to ask you, I know you've talked about the blending of modern
science and Buddhist tradition. Can you describe what you think are
the biggest benefits in the monks learning modern science will be and
have been at this point?

DL: Hmm. As I mentioned in there, in our study, there are all Indian
non-Buddhist traditions we study. Not necessarily for our practices.
We study these things. Now in modern time, it is very important to
learn the different traditions which were available in India at that
time, like Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and so on. Plus Western
philosophy and modern science. And then Buddhist science, this is
where I make a distinction — Buddhism and Buddhist science. So,
Buddhist science, there are description about physical world,
particles, so it is very, very interesting, make combination. So that
way, very much enriched Buddhist concepts about these external things.
So now scientists, through modern science, Buddhist information about
different levels of mind and different kinds of mind and also
different emotions. That also, you see, helps enrich modern science
about mind.

Chris Megerian, The Emory Wheel: Your role as Dalai Lama has been very
unique from all previous Dalai Lamas in your political nature. I was
wondering how you saw the role of the Dalai Lama evolving in future
generations.

DL: Future generations? Nobody knows. *laughs*

CM: Do you think it will remains as political a role as it has been recently?

DL: No, no, no. As early as 1969, I publicly made statement to whether
the very institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not for the
Tibetan people. Some people, you see, get the impression that the
Dalai Lama institution is so important for Tibetan nation or Tibetan
Buddhism. It's wrong. Some occasions the Dalai Lama institution very
strong. Some occasions, the Dalai Lama institution, it has ceased. But
Tibetan spirituality, Buddhism, Tibetan nation will remain. So for my
own case, 'til my death, I am fully committed to promotion of human
value and promotion of religious harmony. After me, after my death, my
responsibility now finished. *laughter*

So as a Buddhist, I believe, you see, the next sort of rebirth. I
don't know where rebirth comes, whether this planet, or some other
planet more peaceful. More happier. *laughs* Next question.

Paige Parvin, Emory Magazine: You've spoken a great deal about
happiness on this visit. Do you believe that most people are happy,
and why or why not?

DL: Most people? I think human life is basically a mixture, so pain,
pleasure. But then average, difficult to say. I think I prefer to say
the majority of the human being are relatively happy. Otherwise, the
majority of people would commit suicide. We usually see surprise for
the high rate of suicide. We're surprised. That means we don't want
that. So we see those people who did suicide, we see, quite foolish!
Better alive.

So I think average person, I think is happy. But my point is, physical
wellbeing, physical comfort, also important. However, it is wrong to
look for happiness only in the terms of physical condition with
material facility. That is wrong, I think. Material facility is very
important, we need physical wellbeing, also important. But that's not
sufficient. We must take a more serious look at what our inner mental
peace. There, our own mental attitude is very, very important factor.
So, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation. Now these mental factor
are very, very important factor for peace of mind.

Kim Urquhart, Emory Report: Yesterday we learned how depression can be
treated through meditation. I wondered, do Tibetan monks ever
experience depression, and how do they deal with it?

DL: As I mentioned yesterday, even one scholar, a monk, passed through
some depressions.

KU: How do you deal with it?

DL: As I mentioned, there are different causes of depression. The
cultivation of the view of holistic picture. That is the problem you
face. If you look at that problem, only at that problem, only
localized, then you make more frustration. Seeing that problem,
looking at that problem, then, in meantime look at it from a wider
perspective, and that problem not much significance. So the holistic
view is very important.

The other thing is, the important thing is that nobody wants
suffering. So why? Then you see many problem, man-made problem. Or
woman-made problem. *laughter* So you see, our own creation, nobody
want trouble, problem. Our approach is to address these things
unrealistically. Unrealistic methods bring disaster, even though your
intentions are very possible, and you make every effort. But the very
method become unrealistic. And as a result, disaster. So, the holistic
view, the holistic attitude, is the only way to know reality.

Susan McMillan, The Emory Wheel: At some point during the struggle for
Tibetan independence, Tibetans have used violence to try to attain
their political goals. Looking back on that portion, how do you view
that portion of the struggle and the use of violence?

DL: Now, violence brings more suffering. More destruction. Not
physical violence, but strong voice against voice. The ruler in 1989,
in Tiananmen. China's own people, tens of thousands of students
involved. But then crushed, by tanks. So in that case, ten thousand,
easily crushed. So, in 1956, until early 1960s, crushed by Chinese
forces in Tibet. So, one Chinese military person, we received a
Chinese paper, in it, it stated between March 1959 and September 1960,
the number of people who were killed through military action, in
surrounding area, 87,000. So, the open clash with Chinese forces
started early 1956. And it remained until 1962, 1963.

In some places, more dense populations. So we roughly estimate, a half
million Tibetans killed. And more than half million death through
starvation. And that took place during 1958, 1959. So, all together,
we believe, more than one million Tibetans perished. So, no use using
violence.

Also, you see, we are not seeking independence. We want general
autonomy within People's Republic of China. That is also to our
advantage. Tibet is a very poor country. Spiritually very advanced,
but advanced spirituality will not fill our stomachs. Entire Tibet
cannot live in cave. So we need some good shelter, we need material
facility, and easier communication. For this, certainly, we want to
modernize Tibet. For these reasons, to live in People's Republic
China, we get greater benefit for material aspect. Meantime, we should
have meaningful autonomy, so that our unique cultural heritage and
rich Buddhist tradition and also delicate environment can project
effectively. So, Tibetan culture remains alive. Tibetan Buddhism
remains alive.

Next question?

CM: In your life, what single moment has brought you the greatest happiness?

DL: Greatest happiness? Many occasions. One I remember, the next day
of my escape from Tibet. So, local time, 10 p.m., I left, disguised as
a soldier with a rifle. So, the more I walked, that rifle became
heavier, heavier, heavier. *laughs* So, that night, really, full of
fear. Because on the road, the other side of the river, just over
there, was a Chinese military garrison. So although it was completely
dark, we were not using flashlights, still the hooves, the horses
still made noise. So, if they notice, very easily, we would be shot.
So next morning, next day, when we passed one hill, one mountain, we
felt safe. Real liberation! Chinese called that the day there was
liberation brought to Tibet. But that day, brought more tight control.
So therefore, liberation from that tight control, is real liberation.
So, that was one moment that was a happy one.

In the next one week, we already got Chinese bombardment. Thousands of
people killed. The blood was flowing everywhere. The Chinese media
never mentioned anything about that. Always silence.

AJ: Were you surprised by the Chinese, their reaction to your visit here?

DL: No, no not surprised. This always happens! It's quite logical. You
see, they consider me a devil. So, the devil is very bad. And the
supporters of the devil, even worse! *laughs* So you Americans, these
students, also supporters of devil, so you are also bad!

Thank you! I really appreciate this. Group picture?

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