The Stone Hearted Mother Revealed by Solomon-Profiles of the consecutive self-immolation incidents in Tibet (Part 2)

Published:2013/1/30    13:50

(By the True Heart News interviewing team in Taipei)In recent years, self-immolation incidents of the Tibetans who hold blind faith in His Holiness the Dalai Lama add up to a death toll of at least 47 people, with no signs of ending. According to the Broadcasting Corporation of China’s radio news report, five Tibetans set themselves on fire within one single week August 6 to 13. If we exclude the weekend, this means one incident per day. Despite this alarming statistic, people seem to have become disinterested in these incidents of self-immolation which have occurred frequently in the last twenty years. There appears to be some kind of external force that instigates them. This year, as an attempt to grab the attention of Western countries and force the Chinese government to make concessions to the Dalai Lama's political demands, the instigators stepped up their efforts and self-immolations occurred every day within a week. So far the payoff for their efforts has obviously not been as good as the Dalai Lama’s group has hoped; even the media mouthpieces of Taiwan’s two major political parties KMT and DDP, only blandly brushed over these suicidal events in their reports.

Chairman Zhang Gongpu of The True Enlightenment Education Foundation remarks that the development so far indicates, there has been no loss of control by the object of protest, the Chinese government, nor in the social order of Tibet, but rather, the Dalai Lama and his government-in-exile have responded in a cold-blooded manner as their plans have failed to generate the outcome they anticipated. In light of the self-immolation incidents, the media point out that people still remember the Dalai Lama’s comment that “violence, even violence against the self, creates more violence” after Thupten Ngodup set himself on fire following Tibetan refugees’ hunger strike in New Delhi, India, in 1998. This time, however, Dalai has repeatedly shunned the issue when his compatriots in Tibet one after one torched themselves in protest. Not only so, he has been fanning the flames from aboard, as if he were desperate to "create more violence." Chairman Zhang questions why the Dalai Lama has taken on an entirely different set of values and standards for the same act by a different group at a different time? Is it because one can hold double standards even on such universal values as respecting human life and protecting human rights when one is pursuing his own political agenda?

Chairman Zhang then brings up the “Three Carts” parable in The Lotus Sutra, which many people are familiar with, to further his point. This parable tells the story of a wealthy elder who sees his young sons playing inside totally unaware of a disastrous fire that is about to engulf their house. The sons are playing and enjoying themselves without any fear or intention to flee. In order to save them, the wealthy elder entices them with goat-drawn carts, deer-drawn carts, and big white oxen-drawn carts to get them out of the burning house.

At the end, he even offers all his wealth to them. Chairman Zhang says this parable exemplifies how a wise and respectable elder of a family should treat his family. Unfortunately, while the Dalai Lama has amassed countless wealth, assets and temples, and is receiving endless financial support from around the world, he chose to sit on the sideline and watch his fellow Tibetans being engulfed by fire, one after another. Not only has he not tried to dissuade them from continuing such extreme behavior, he even commended them as “brave warriors.” Treating these innocent lives as chess pieces in his political scheme, Dalai has revealed his heartlessness and has flagrantly insulted and disgraced the Noble Peace prize he received.

Chairman Zhang continues that there is a Taiwanese idiom that says: “Others’ children will not die (as there are too many of them),” which satirize how some people treat the lives of others with apathy. Dalai Lama’s indifference toward the premature deaths of Tibetans is a perfect illustration of the essence of this idiom. What makes it hard to understand about his attitude though, is the fact that he is regarded worldwide as the epitome of compassion.

In sharp comparison with Dalai’s heartless comments, local Tibetan government promptly put out the fires, rescued the self-immolators and rushed them to hospitals, as well as strived to maintain social stability; even most of the monks and local residents have severely condemned the acts of self-immolation because committing suicide is a violation of basic Buddhist precepts. Meanwhile Dalai and his political religious regime have been playing up these tragedies and, for their own political gains, heralding the victims as heroes. To them, the lives of these Tibetans are dispensable and they are reluctant to bring an end to the suicides. Chairman Zhang quotes a passage from Kings of the Old Testament:

“Two women stood before the king and argued for a son. Both of them claimed to be the mother of a child. King Solomon said, ‘Bring me a sword.’ He then gave an order: ‘Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other. The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, ‘Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!’ But the other said, ‘Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!’ Then King Solomon gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

The mother in this account would rather separate from her own beloved child in order to keep him alive because she “could not bear to see him die.” Chairman Zhang laments that in the case of the Dalai Lama, he has allowed his followers to revere him as the embodiment of the all compassionate and merciful Bodhisattva Avalokitêśvara, how then could he turn a blind eye to the horrific deaths of his “children,” especially when the death toll now has hit several dozens and is still counting? How could the earthly embodiment of compassion behave so callously like the ruthless shrew in this story of the Old Testament?

On 13 July, 2012, The Times, a report by Leo Lewis contained the following comment: “But as the self-immolation toll has steadily risen, every tragic pillar of human flame seems to cry out for the Dalai Lama to define exactly what is going on.” Yet, the Dalai Lama has been busy pointing fingers at others and said that “China should stop pretending that nothing was wrong and conduct ‘thorough research’ on what was prompting people to die in protest.”

Don’t these statements of His Holiness point to the fact that he is using these incidents of self-immolation to push forward his political agenda? Isn’t it clear that Dalai is the one who is actually stirring up the unrest behind the scenes given that the Dalai’s own fraudulent clan gains the most out of the immolations? Interestingly, when the Dalai Lama conveniently shifts away his responsibility for the self-immolations in the above statements, he seemed to have forgotten how he has always proclaimed his sovereignty and control over Tibet. Moreover, he has not bothered to understand the psychological factors that drove those Tibetans and lamas to immolate themselves - was it completely voluntary or was it out of unspeakable reasons that left them with no other choice? Given that it was Dalai’s name they were shouting out when the self-immolators dousing themselves with gasoline and setting themselves ablaze. Is the Dalai Lama not to blame for the backstage manipulator of these tragedies?

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar, in his article on CNN’ Belief Blog, argued: “If the Dalai Lama were to speak out unequivocally against these deaths, they would surely stop.” Another article from Nicholas Pierce of the Daily Reveille also bluntly remarked, “If the Dalai Lama were to denounce the immolations, this tragedy would just end overnight.” Yet, the Dalai Lama’s comment is nothing but confounding: “I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong. So the best thing is to remain neutral.” With regard to the neutral stance Dalai has expressed, which actually hints of his approval towards the immolations, Prothero compares it to “the way believers both prompt violence and justify it in the name of some higher good,” and poignantly wrote: “so in a very real sense, their blood is on his hands. But the bad karma the Dalai Lama is accruing here extends far beyond Tibet and these particular protesters. Such outright criticism regarding how the Dalai Lama has handled the Tibetan immolation incidents is piercing and penetrating!(Reported by the Interviewing Team)

Editor’s Note:

This article is an English version of the Chinese edition published on

November 14, 2012.

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