(By the True Heart News interviewing team in Taipei) In response to the myths addressed in Mr. Donghua’s article that “Dalai is a renowned religious leader in the world and a supreme spiritual mentor,” the Tibet Religious Foundation of H.H. the Dalai Lama brought up the spates of Tibetan self-immolations in recent years in its “second argument” and pleaded for “a worldwide joint investigation effort to reveal their causes.”
Zhang Gongpu, Chairman of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation, says that the self-immolations of Tibetans are indeed tragic events, particularly because of their recurring nature. He totally agrees that investigation should illuminate their causes and determine if someone was working the ropes behind the scenes to ferment these tragedies. Only then can we put an end to them. Nonetheless, an investigation would be an internal affair of the country in which these incidents occurred. Given that no neighboring countries were involved in these cases, what is there to warrant international mediation or investigation? The Chairman indicates that the Dalai Lama is obviously trying to inflate and complicate these events such that they can be used to advance his political agenda.
In actuality, signs of instigation or even manipulation have been spotted with regard to the Tibetan self-immolation incidents that have been occurring inexplicably in successive waves. The investigation conducted by Chinese authorities from 2011 to 2012 linked many of these incidents directly or indirectly to the Geer Deng Temple in Aba County. The abbot of Geer Deng Temple, Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin, had worked in Dalai’s exile-government in his early years and later sneaked back to Tibet. Lobsang Tenzin has the track record of stirring up monks and secular believers to engage in radical riots. He even remarked once that he gets excited when he sees the blaze.
In many of the self-immolation incidents that took place near the Geer Deng Temple, the Geer Deng Temple tipped off the Geer Deng Monastery abroad or the Dalai Lama group in exile about the impending incident in advance. Photos and videos of the self-immolation scenes spread out swiftly through this channel, the edited versions of which were used in media campaigns wherein the self-immolators were portrayed as “heroes of martyrdom.” Grand dharma prayer sessions were held in memory of the victims that were reputed to be able to expiate their sins of this life and bring benefits to their future ones. In this manner, these extreme acts have been sensationalized and blown, out of proportion, to a point that they got out of control.
The Truth behind Tibetan self-immolation: Life plunges into misery and suffering under the manipulation of the Dalai group
In 2011, several Tibetan youths self-immolated themselves. Some of these young self-immolators were ones who did not join the vandalizing riots launched by lamas and were consequently ostracized and others were despised for loafing around and breaking laws. Whichever group they fell into, they may not have committed themselves to the act of self-immolation completely out of their own will. Some of them actually screamed for help at one point after they had set themselves ablaze, yet the lamas forced away the civilians who tried to save them. All those fortunate enough to survive the self-immolation showed tremendous appreciation to their rescuer and regretted deeply their impulsiveness. What this means is that these tragedies were not inevitable - they could have been prevented and promptly arrested. If not for the fact that people looked on with indifference or even deliberately egged them on, these self-immolation incidents would certainly not have escalated to its present extent and continued to spring back up from time to time.
Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor, wrote in his blog article that “If the Dalai Lama were to speak out unequivocally against these deaths, they would surely stop.” Nicholas Pierce, an American writer, put it even more bluntly that “If the Dalai Lama condemned the act of self-immolation, which is almost guaranteed to end overnight this behavior...” Yet the comment of the Dalai Lama was baffling: "I do not want to say it is wrong to cause some kind of impression. Therefore it is best to remain neutral." While here he declared a neutral stance, on various other occasions the Dalai Lama has highly praised these radical acts. Even the Tibet Religious Foundation of H.H the Dalai Lama itself has parroted him by saying that from a Buddhist perspective, such behavior is deemed as religious martyrdom and is very honorable. In other words, the heartless Dalai group is using their compatriots’ charred bodies to “blackmail” their way into political negotiation.
The truth behind self-immolation: Life plunges into misery and suffering under the manipulation of the Dalai group
In his article, Prothero drew an oblique parallel between Dalai’s reaction to the self-immolation and “…the way believers both prompt violence and justify it in the name of some higher good,” and sternly decried that “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.” Prothero’s criticism toward Dalai’s role in the Tibetan self-immolations is penetrating and dead on. Chairman Zhang rebukes the rebuttal for the way it painted Dalai as a victim in spite of his hidden intentions and questions if it is trying to mask all the treacheries behind an underdog image.
The rebuttal’s third counterargument to clear up Dalai Lama’s image was that “The Dalai Lama has retired from politics since 2011 and has handed all his political authorities to the publicly elected Tibetan government-in-exile.” However, immediately after this statement it went off at a tangent into the authentication issue of the 10th and 11th Panchen Lamas and threw out a bunch of groundless back talk. It is impossible to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the rebuttal when it chooses such discursive way of reasoning. Chairman Zhang notes that this is a typical trick of the Dalai Lama: they start off with an empty argument that works as a pretext for them to turn a debate into a cleverly disguised platform to promote their political views. Yet, this kind of sneaky tricks can only get a scornful laugh from knowledgeable readers.
Chairman Zhang remarks that Dalai's so-called "retirement" was a meaningless farce. For years Dalai had signaled his retirement time and again in various manners, all of which turned out to be just another episode of "crying wolf." His retirement rhetoric was a tool he used to gauge his international popularity as well as consolidate his power as his underlings and people begged him to stay on. When this self-directed play had gone too old and for too long, he had no choice but followed through his own script and stepped down. What is in this for the rebuttal to brag about? After all, Dalai is still the dharma king of Tibetan so-called Buddhism, not to mention that the real power has never left his clutches. Though the puppet government-in-exile has put on a show of "democratic election" to cater to the Western taste for democracy, nothing has changed at its core.
As for Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, "the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama" certified by the Dalai Lama, he was not recognized because Dalai’s certification was simply illegitimate. It was illegitimate because Dalai overstepped his power when he handpicked the Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the Panchen Lama. Since the Qing Dynasty, the selection of Dalai and Panchen Lamas must go through the legalized procedure of the "golden urn lot-drawing." This method was proposed by the Qing Emperor Qianlong and was written into the 29-Article Royal Decree for Better Governing in Tibet. The purpose of this certification procedure is to select the heir of each living Buddha by drawing lots from a golden vase and it has been faithfully followed till this day. As for the incumbent 14th Dalai Lama, he was exempted from this official procedure because Wu Zhongxin, then chairman of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs who were to preside over the “golden urn lot-drawing” ceremony, decided to bypass it in order to ensure a smooth transition in light of the political situation in Tibet at the time. That being said, Dalai’s title was still conferred by the Chinese government. As for the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama, his selection adhered strictly to the "golden urn lot-drawing" method.
Raising the issue of Panchen Lama out of the blue, actually reflects Dalai’s anxiety after his announcement of “retirement" from the political scene, Chairman Zhang says. As age is catching up with him and as he sees that China is not caving in to his demands, a feeling of insecurity is creeping up on Dalai as all he has now is his "Dalai Lama" status, the last trump card he holds onto for his self-importance. It must be understood that not only the Panchen Lama certified by Dalai was invalid, even Dalai himself was "certified" by the Chinese government. Furthermore, while Dalai concurred with China's endorsement of Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the "Karmapa" of the Kagyu Sect, the Kagyu Sect has internally enthroned "Trinley Thaye Dorje" as its Karmapa, indicating the order of the highest Dharma King, the Dalai Lama, is now effete and that most Tibetan exiles do not recognize his certification. It was either that or this defiance was yet another of Dalai’s plot to brew internal division among Tibetans. Recently, Trinley Thaye Dorje publicly opposed the self-immolations of Tibetans and lamas, which was a big slap on Dalai’s face as he has been playing dumb and deaf on this issue all along. Perhaps, these blatant disregards might wake Dalai up from his dream of regaining his rule as Tibet’s local despot. In any case, who can be sure of the workings of the reincarnation and know which person will come out on top in the future? Nothing is predictable and certain - what happened to the 11th Panchen Lama is a vivid example.
The last image-polishing “argument” the rebuttal gave was that the Dalai Lama told the Kuomintang (KMT party), “I am not against the Communist Party” when he visited Taiwan. In reply, Lien Chan, the then KMT chairman said, “I am anti-Communist.” What point was the rebuttal trying to make citing this exchange between guest and host (leader of the ruling party) many years ago? If it was meant to testify Dalai’s “nonpolitical” attitude, it backfired. Dalai’s slippery political stance over the years, speaks loud and clear to the fact that he is a typical flip-flopping politician. And let’s not forget Dalai’s close ties with Nazi war criminals and Shoko Asahara, the master mind of the sarin gas attack in Japan’s subway. Should we take that particular “remark” of Dalai’s at face value? Do those acquaintances then aver his support for the acts of these people?
Why did Dalai make this out of the blue and unasked-for “remark” during his Taiwan visit? Conceivably, he just created an opportunity to put up a political smoke screen. In light of his unrelenting and audacious “troublemaking” in international affairs, if he is not anti-Communist, then what is he - anti-Han, anti-Chinese, or anti-China? Actually, from a religious perspective, his statement is self-defeating. Given his slippery-ness, he was either trying to use this dishonest “remark” as a faithless gesture of goodwill, or trying to embarrass the host with a sensitive topic.
Chairman Zhang says that the rebuttal’s irrelevant mentioning of Mr. Lien Chan only went to show the writer’s insolence and Dalai’s rudeness. If we must speak of Mr. Lien Chan, he deserves tremendous credit for his prescience and vision regarding the future of the cross-straits relationship. The ice-breaking trip he took to Mainland in 2005 marks the legacy he leaves for cross-strait development. It was a grave mission that Mr. Lien committed himself to for national ties and mutual benefit of people on both sides of the straits as well as the transmission and advancement of Chinese culture as a whole. He successfully broke the stalemate between Taiwan and China and laid down the ground work for the prospect of a peacefully integrated Great China. His work has boosted the stability of the cross-strait relationship and is indeed a distinguished political achievement.
While Mr. Lien accomplished his undertaking without spurring any defying sentiments and violence (not to say self-immolations of the populace), Dalai has been fanning the flames of insurgency the whole time despite his claim that he is not anti-Communist. Mr. Lien’s immediate response of “I am anti-Communist” was a forthright statement of his stance, which left Dalai with no chance to stir things up and sent the message that he was not on the same boat as Dalai. Mr. Lien’s anti-communist stance was out of his political philosophy and Taiwan’s national policy of the time. He had to adopt a tactful strategy that preserves the country and avoids the spiteful attitude of “it’s either you or me, or we both go down together - no coexistence.” As an astute politician with compassion and vision, Mr. Lien later on tried to lead Taiwan and China to a path of coexistence and common prosperity. In contrast, Dalai’s self-serving deeds seem even more petty and vulgar.
At the end, the rebuttal states, “In a mere seven days since 26 Nov 2012, three articles - one by a professor, one by an assistant professor, one as an editorial - have been published in the China Times and Want Daily that discuss the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan issue from three different angles! It seems that from now on the reports of Taiwanese Media should be interpreted differently!” Chairman Zhang says the above statements can be understood in two ways. First, these articles or discourses would prompt the public to reexamine the myths that have long shrouded the issues about Dalai and author may be forecasting that he or she will patch up Dalai’s soiled image with far-stretched arguments replete with lies and irony, in an effort to evoke outright skepticism about any media reports. By telling the truth, the rebuttal dug its own grave, Chairman Zhang says.
Besides, the rebuttal seemed totally unaware that Taiwan has upheld the freedom of speech and emphasized balanced, multi-variant reportage for years. In comparison, Dalai’s regime is still under one-man rule: all opinions have to be in line with Dalai’s thoughts and ideologies and no dissents are tolerated. In that case, what qualifies the rebuttal’s writers to peddle this glib talk about a democratic Tibet? (Reported by the Interviewing Team)20130428
This article is an English version of the Chinese edition published on
February 25, 2013.