March 10, 2011

Dalai Lama steps down from position as Tibet's political leader

Today, on the 52nd anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, the Dalai Lama announced that he was formally relinquishing his role as political leader of the Tibetan exile government. The announcement, delivered in Dharamshala, India, has been understood as a move to strengthen the democratic structure of the Tibetan political movement as a new generation of Tibetan leaders emerges. From The New York Times:

For years, the Tibetan spiritual leader has spoken of his desire to cede political authority, or “retire” as he sometimes put it. But in Thursday’s speech, the Dalai Lama made it official, announcing that he would propose the change during the session of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile that begins next week in Dharamsala, India.

“My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility,” he said, according to a prepared text of his speech. “It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run.”

Analysts who study Tibet said the announcement does not mean the Dalai Lama would cease to be recognized as the overall leader of the Tibetan cause. He is regarded as the lone figure capable of uniting and mobilizing Tibetans inside and outside of China. But the analysts said that by formally giving up political power, the Dalai Lama, who is 75, is trying to deepen the authority and credibility of the Tibetan movement’s democratic government, which is based in Dharamsala. Later this month, Tibetan exiles are expected to elect a new prime minister.

In his remarks the Dalai Lama noted that he has long stressed the necessity of a freely elected Tibetan leader and thanked all of his longtime supporters. From today's speech:

As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect. During the forthcoming eleventh session of the fourteenth Tibetan Parliament in Exile, which begins on 14th March, I will formally propose that the necessary amendments be made to the Charter for Tibetans in Exile, reflecting my decision to devolve my formal authority to the elected leader.


Since I made my intention clear I have received repeated and earnest requests both from within Tibet and outside, to continue to provide political leadership. My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened. Tibetans have placed such faith and trust in me that as one among them I am committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet. I trust that gradually people will come to understand my intention, will support my decision and accordingly let it take effect.


I would like to take this opportunity to remember the kindness of the leaders of various nations that cherish justice, members of parliaments, intellectuals and Tibet Support Groups, who have been steadfast in their support for the Tibetan people. In particular, we will always remember the kindness and consistent support of the people and Government of India and State Governments for generously helping Tibetans preserve and promote their religion and culture and ensuring the welfare of Tibetans in exile. To all of them I offer my heartfelt gratitude.

Read the whole announcement here.

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Dolgyal's picture

Dolgyal cultists comment on HHDL's decision to retire from political role:

"Kelsang Jamkar (anglo-Montrealer who works for Shar Ganden Monastery on FaceBook)

"maybe he could do everyone a favor and retire completely. Perhaps a nice condo in Beverly Hills."

(deleted comment)" I always thought the Dalai Lama looked Jewish, maybe he should retire in Miami."

Kelsang Jamkar: "yes, Denis but there is much more money in beverly hills and he's closer to hollywood"
10 March at 19:08 "

lindageisel's picture

Great age, great wisdom.
Are the Tibeten people up to the task? What support will they get? What is the position of the Chinese governent?

Anreal's picture

Wow this is so interesting, because aren't those the people who supposedly were responsible for assassinating an important monk? Maybe you can give some insight on the matter ... I read about it in a book entitled 'Holder of the white lotus - the Lives of the Dalai Lamas'.

Dolgyal's picture

Dear Anreal: In addition, the two suspects remain the most wanted men in Himachal Pradesh, as there are of course no statute of limitations on murder charges.
Here is an extract from the Sternstunde (Swiss television) transcript of an interview conducted with Mr. Prithvi Raj, SP Kangra on the triple murder at Dharamsala:

Prithvi Raj (PR), Chief Police of Kangra District:
We have identified two of the murderers, and we have clear indications that the murderers are directly linked to the Shugden association and directly connecting these murderers with the case. But so far we have not been able to arrest them. One is called Tenzin Chozin, the other is called Lobsang Chodrak. Before the murder, the principal (Geshe Lobsang Gyatso, one of the victims) received threatening letters from the Shugden association.

PR: First of all, on the location where the murders took place, we found a letter, written by the Shugden association and signed by Chime Tsering, who is the president (secretary) of Dorje Shugden Charitable Trust. This letter is the threatening letter to the monk Lobsang Gyatso, and it proofs the direct connection of murderers with Shugden. This is one of the links. Then these murderers were living in Majnu-ka-tilla in Delhi, another evidence that they maintained contact with the Shugden Centre.

This made our label on the case file: linking these two murderers with Chime Tsering. Because on the day on which Lobsang Gyatso returned from Singapore, he spent the night in Delhi. On the next day, when he was coming to Dharamsala, he was followed by these murderers. At Ambala they somehow had a car breakdown. They then called to Delhi. They dialed the number of the president (secretary) of the Shugden association, at the number of Mr. Chime Tsering. They talked to him, and we have word traced that call.

PR: On the basis of some evidence we have found in Kalsura, in the district of Mandi, some pictures, which show the president (secretary) of the Shugden association along with the murderers. This is another evidence that links the murderers with the Dorje Shugden association. We from the police are convinced that these murderers were engaged to assassinate the principal of the Dialectic School, Lobsang Gyatso.

Dolgyal's picture

Dear Anreal: Here is snipett from an item from the Sunday Times dated June 22, 2007
"Interpol on Trail of Buddhist Killers
Indian police have accused Lobsang Chodak and Tenzin Chozin of stabbing Lobsang Gyatso, a close aide of the Dalai Lama and head of the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, and two of his students on February 4, 1997, in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala.

They were killed in ritualistic murders in which as many as five men are believed to have taken turns to stab the prominent 70-year-old academic, who was an outspoken critic of the Dorje Shugden sect.

The suspects had arrived only days before from China, following a path well worn by Tibetan faithful eager for a glimpse of their exiled god-king at his home in Dharmsala. The murders, only 200 yards from the Dalai Lama’s private residence, prompted an immediate tightening of security around him."

chenma's picture

When the Dalai Lama steps down from political office, then the his ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners should be lifted.
The Dalai Lama first announced an official ban on Dorje Shugden practice in 1996 to the Tibet in exile monasteries. He intensified this ban in 2008 and has since required all Tibetans worldwide (including Tibetan refugees in free countries) to sign a personal declaration forsaking Dorje Shugden practice, and promising not to associate in any way – spiritually, materially, financially, socially – with anyone who does not make this promise. Once this oath is taken publicly, an identity card is issued to allow basic privileges. Monks, nuns, men, women and children who refuse the oath have been expelled from schools and monasteries (900 monks were expelled in 2008 alone), lost their government jobs, are forbidden to enter certain stores, cannot get travel papers, and risk assault to their home, person or loved ones.
I would like to request the Dalai Lama, please lift this ban and give everyone, especially the Tibetan people, religious and personal freedom. If you do this then you will be a real spiritual leader. We can see many examples around the world how mixing religion and politics does not work.
I think it is very wise of the Dalai Lama to end his political career so he can focus on the spiritual. That is wonderful!

Dolgyal's picture

Many allegations but no evidence has been presented by 'kchenma', semingly a western expert with no knowledge of Asian languages living many thousands of kilometres away. Has it ever occurred to you 'kchenma' that you have been deceived, it has been very lucrative for Shar Ganden and Pomra to play up the victim angle, many crores of rupees have poured in from China and misguided westerners like yourself. Why did the Chinese ambassador in Delhi and his wife visit the Dolgyal colleges escorted by the S-----n Society? This is a documented fact. Another fact: Gangchen and the self annointed Kundeling openly take massive funding from mainland China and Taiwan, No one impeded the breakaway S-----n faction from buying building lavish new buildings adjacent to Tibetan settlements in the last few years. In south India, (where I lived fo several years, have uncles and aunts and other relatives) I heard of one S-----n worshipping family enriched so much by 'donations', their son went mad from drug binges and committed suicide.
What Tibetan government jobs do you suppose there are to lose?
No travel documents are issued by the tiny refugee government in any case that is alsomisleading. And as for a 'ban' –if they are allowed to build their own monasteries and Trijang Choktrul and any one else worldwide who wants to is allowed to practice this gyalpo spirit without any interference, its not really a ban is it? But subsidize the errant practice, we will not–that is entirely fair. Condone tactics of murder by the cult, we will certainly not, that is fair also.

chenma's picture

I find all your assumptions about who I am and what I know interesting. Why is it that people on your 'side' of the issue always respond with personal attacks and condescending remarks? It is not helpful in this discussion.

Dolgyal's picture

What side would that be? I don't see either sides or edges, 'kchenma'
Its ironic the WSS/NKT cultists, who publish attack websites and racist anti-Tibetan disinformation campaign 24/7 always claim to be attacked, meanwhile constructing a fictive 'historical' narrative of the Tibetan leaders as Nazis, muslims, communists, fling any kind of mud they can imagine when actually it is your own self created shrine of Mara you need to prostrate to. Why is it not a personal attack when you slander us?

Dolgyal's picture

excerpt from the Song of the Elixir of Immortality:
A Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
by Yongdzin Ling Rinpoche and Yongdzin Trijang Rinpoche

"By the force of our heartfelt requests, made with fervent yearning
and respect in this way,
To you supreme sources of non-misleading safe direction,
May Ngawang Lozang Tenzin Gyatso, the sole guardian for the wandering beings
of the Land of Snows, ourselves and others,
Plagued by the insufferable torments and pains of these degenerate times,
Remain for hundreds of eons permanently stable, unwaveringly seated
On the throne of the indestructible, imperishable vajra essence,
With his three hidden factors (of vajra body, speech and mind)
never declining, never altering, and never setting like the sun."