August 15, 2010

Dalai Lama acknowledges independence movement growing stronger

dalai lama, tibet independence, dalai lama on twitter

The Dalai Lama has acknowledged that demands for outright independence for Tibet from China are growing stronger. The longer the situation remains unaddressed, he says, the likelier it is this trend will only continue, especially among young Tibetans. Sify News reports:

Answering questions from his Chinese followers on Twitter, which he joined last month, the Dalai Lama said: "There are forces within our community such as the Tibetan Youth Congress who criticize our Middle Way policy and demand complete independence [for Tibet]. It seems their voices are growing stronger [these days]."

The Dalai Lama's nonviolent "middle way" approach calls for a measure of autonomy under a Chinese sovereign umbrella. Although his approach differs, the Dalai Lama is nonetheless sympathetic to impatience on the part of many inside Tibet and among the diaspora:

We cannot blame them for this since our successive efforts to bring about a mutually beneficial solution [to the issue of Tibet] have failed to produce any positive results and, under such a situation, their viewpoint is gaining momentum [in our society].

The Dalai Lama was responding to questions posed to him by Chinese via Twitter. His recent foray into the medium has gained him an audience of well over 600,000 followers, many of them Chinese. It'll be interesting to see how well the Chinese government manages to run interference with the his tweets, but so far, they've had less success than they've had with Yahoo, Google, and, more lately, Apple. From Sify:

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner was submitted 317 questions recently by 1,558 Chinese people through renowned Chinese writer Wang Lixiong. A total of 11,705 Chinese netizens voted for 10 most important questions out of which this was listed as the most important question.

We've seen it in Iran and it seems Tibet is already next.

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China is Manipulating Canada’s First Nations | Intercontinen's picture

[...] Tibetan people still want to eject the colonizers from their homeland and reclaim their rightful independence; where Canadian First Nations have largely accepted the colonizer be it as neighbour, employer or [...]

Namkhah's picture

NKT is protecting the righteous Gelug tradition and its 'virtual' scholars like Rodney and Lineageholder are hard at work in cyberspace. Here is another dolgyal pandit, who ostensibly was named Jang-chub Ozer by former Geshe-la. Now residing in Toronto, he/she is the mind behind a celebrity gossip website:

Gyalpo's picture

Indeed, given that some of our our desperate Uighur brothers and sisters in China last week exploded a bomb in Aksu city Xinjiang, killing 7 and wounding 14. These kind of tactics only underlines the superiority of the consistently non-violent approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, hailed around the planet as the foremost Buddhist teacher by his example. Go ahead and publish defamation websites and books, you are not being threatened with libel lawsuits, its self defeating.

Witiz's picture

In the USA, we celebrate "Independence Day"... a day that commemorates independence from oppression and liberation from those who would seek to keep you from setting your own course and controlling your own destiny.
happy independence day

Bill Esterhaus's picture

The Tibet issue is one thing, but more importantly, may there be world peace.

Gyalpo's picture

Please, Bill, the childish ruse that NKT and WSS are separate entities fools no one–your lucrative cult would lose its charitable status in the UK–they may well lose it for defrauding taxpayers anyway. All the top NKT cultists organised, funded and ran WSS then published numerous pictures of themselves shouting angrily through bullhorns, such vanity!
And the allegation in your book is that HHDL ordered the murder of HH the Sixteenth Karmapa, his colleague and close dharma brother of many years. That is just beyond the pale, demonic some would say, but fitting for hegemonic, chauvinist power trip cult of the evangelist Pobanka and his "dharma" pervert toadies who are almost all dead now.

Bill Esterhaus's picture


To find fault with the Dalai Lama's actions is not anti-Tibetan. The Dalai Lama is just one person. He's not Tibet. It's like saying that finding fault with Barack Obama's actions is anti-American.

The Dalai Lama has caused problems through mixing Dharma and politics, but this does not imply that Tibet or Tibetans are bad or that there is a problem with Tibetan Buddhism as such. All these problems can be traced to one person and their actions, so why exaggerate and claim that Shugden practitioners are anti-Tibetan? This is simply not so. Furthermore, 'A Great Deception' (which is a Western Shugden Society book, not an NKT book) does not say that the Dalai Lama is 'the devil' and 'a murderer', so why are you saying it? I can see you have strong feelings about this issue, but please do not exaggerate and put words in other people's mouths, it just makes the situation far worse. Having a schism in the Sangha is bad enough as it is.

Gyalpo's picture

Excerpt of a review of NKT's "non-political" book:
"This is an anti-Dalai Lama, anti-Tibetan book, full of polytheistic deity worshipping nonsense, which has nothing to do with authentic Buddhism or the real Tibetan situation. The reasoning behind this book is not as its contents suggest, but rather, as revenge against His Holiness from the leader of a schism group, the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT). That so-called leader was defrocked a number of years ago for trying to acquire too much power and lying about a 3-year retreat (when in reality, he was merely recovering from tuberculosis) and is generally regarded as a renegade by mainstream Buddhism.

So, he whips up frenzied demonstrations against His Holiness out of jealousy, using an obscure deity, which supposedly, the Dalai Lama has ordered the murders of its practitioners in the East as the excuse... a disgusting and divisive lie.

NKT followers in the West believe this nonsense as the other blind-faith 5-star reviews of this book indicate. The thing is, they actually believe their leader to be the Third Buddha which of course is indicative of a charlatan at work as all cults have one thing in common: a living god. Therefore, if god tells them the Dalai Lama is 'the devil' and 'a murderer' (as this book literally does), these lemmings believe it. Never mind there are no real facts to support this attempt at character assassination.

I was once a member of NKT and am a recovering cult member. My spirituality was nearly destroyed after nearly being utterly sucked in. In a way the unseemly demonstrations against the Dalai Lama saved me... made it impossible to continue with a group that preaches compassion while at the same time spews so much venom."

Gyalpo's picture

Bill; Why bring it up, indeed–let me count the ways.
Here is a quote from the blurb of WSS produced propaganda tome "A Great Deception:
"the real Dalai Lama; a religious and political dictator, who is responsible for persecuting not only his own people, but millions of people around the World."
That my friend, is an anti-Tibetan statement and furthermore fits the legal definition of hate literature. Note those who order this book-like object from Amazon also buy Tharpa books.

Bill Esterhaus's picture


No one has said anything 'anti-Tibetan'. Shugden practitioners are not against Tibet or Tibetans because many of them are Tibetan themselves, why do you imply that this is so?

Anyway, this page is not about the Shugden controversy, so why are you bringing it up? It's not relevant.

Ron's picture

The Dolgyal Murder Cult:
Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche gave a radio interview about Shugden in Dharamsala, India, stating...

“I could not decide against him [the Dalai Lama] but nor could I stop propitiating Shugden with whom my relationship dates back to previous incarnations. I find myself in an immensely difficult situation. The followers of the Protector would not have listened to me...and no one seems to care about the difficulties I am facing...

I also don't want the people of Chatreng, who have great expectations of me, to be disheartened. But if I continue to propitiate the Protector publicly, I would be compelled to become a sort of head of his worshippers, and this would be an offence to the Dalai Lama from whom I received my Bhikshu ordination, and has always treated me with extraordinary benevolence.

I cannot even hope to keep a low profile as they [the Shugdenpas] would not let me.

I have reason to believe that my return to India may possibly result in internal chaos, attempts on lives and other immoral activities bringing disgrace to His Holiness...

I cannot sleep and I have had health problems. I am worried about thinking what will happen next. It is quite terrifying to think that I might be a cause of disgrace instead of serving the Tibetan people and His Holiness...

Some have told me, 'If you abandon the Protector [Shugden], there is no knowing what will happen. We will not consider you a lama [as guru]. The people of Chatreng are strange, very wild and unruly. We do not know what they may do.'

It is very clear my life might be in danger. So I have decided to leave my Labrang and disrobe, so that none of the Shugden worshippers can ask me to be their leader. I hope that this way I can respect the wishes of the Dalai Lama and still revere the protector, practicing in private and far from everyone. I intend to follow a middle way, neither for nor against Shugden. I appeal to both parties not to contact me."

In my own Labrang I have recently witnessed a kind of factionalism and I have discovered that one person in particular was planning an evil conspiracy. This plan was to murder my assistant, Tharchin, and to implicate His Holiness's government in exile with this odious crime. The conspirator aimed to become chakzoe [manager] of my estate. Tharchin has been very kind to me, more so than my own parents, and has taken care of me since I was three years old. As well as managing the affairs of my Labrang.

With my own ears I heard this person discussing on the telephone a plan to assassinate Tharchin. It is really a matter of great sadness and surprise, especially since the person involved in this ploy has been very close to me as well. If he succeeds in his plan, it would be a cause of great trouble for the Labrang, as well as a cause of disgrace to the Tibetan government and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

These are not lies, but true facts which I want everyone to know. That is why I made this statement."

Ron's picture

Bill: Do you read either Tibetan or Chinese? Please cite the primary sources for your historical theories. Hint: Ghostwritten Tharpa paperbacks don't count., neither does misinformed NKT cult gossip.

Namkhah's picture

Bill: You sem to admire the example of admire Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) who did not 'mix' politics and religion! For much of the war, he maintained a public front of indifference and remained silent while German atrocities were committed. He refused pleas for help on the grounds of neutrality. Don't rock the boat, Adolf will be displeased, shut up and pray!
The Chinese invasion of Tibet was our holocaust, deemed genocide by the International Commission of Jurists. If that makes you uncomfortable, then you may begin to see how offensive your ignorant comments are.

Gyalpo's picture

"As we know, our harmony is important. We Buddhists need to show a good example, we should not argue with each other or criticize each other." Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Why then the politics game then Geshe-la?, despatching your minions by aeroplane out to demonstrate and shout anti-Tibetan slogans? You have lost all respect in our community, former Geshe-la, we are not impressed by your activities, no matter how many deluded dress up monks you make, you are an old liar and fool. But don't take my word for it–visit Phayul and see how people feel about the western NKT cult.

Bill Esterhaus's picture


This article has nothing to do with the NKT, so why have you written your post? It's not good to have such a negative and distorted view of a genuine Buddhist tradition - what you have said is incorrect and distorted and paints a false picture of this organization. For example, Geshe Kelsang has never said that the Dalai Lama is evil and has never encouraged his students to say such things. Spreading this false information is harmful and divisive.

As to the matter of the Dalai Lama, It's generally agreed by everybody that mixing religion and politics is a recipe for disaster. The Dalai Lama's position is ambiguous in that, when he speaks, is he speaking as a politician or as a religious leader? Religion and politics are incompatible so his position is confusing. This is probably why the Chinese government don't trust him, also given the fact that he has engaged in many actions that are incompatible with the spiritual messages he gives in his teachings.

If Tibetans are genuinely interested in independence, I believe they should first separate church and state by making the head of Tibet a secular position. A purely political leader can engage in political negotiations. If this were to happen, the Dalai Lama wouldn't really have a spiritual relevance as each tradition of Buddhism has its own spiritual head, so his position would be unnecessary. The head of the Gelug tradition is the Ganden Tripa. These Lamas are representatives of Je Tsongkhapa who founded the Gelugpa tradition. Now, since the first Dalai Lama, Gendundrub, was the disciple of Je Tsongkhapa, why should the present Dalai Lama hold a higher position in the Gelugpa tradition than the Ganden Tripa who is Je Tsongkhapa's representative? Yet the present Dalai Lama appoints the Ganden Tripa and holds power over him. This is wrong and is one example of why the position of Dalai Lama has assumed a level of importance and influence (because of the politicking of the 5th Dalai Lama) that is completely spiritually inappropriate.

Gyalpo's picture

Dharma and politics should not be mixed?

NKT's public relations smokescreen is known as the Western Shugden Society (WSS). WSS is NKT's front organization to shadow and attack The Dalai Lama around the world. NKT/WSS attempts to portray itself as the modern day version of Robert Lewis Stevenson's 1866 novel, 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories of the Supernatural'.

Through WSS, NKT provides a looking glass into NKT's myopic inner self - dark, angry, paranoid, hateful, dilusional and spiteful. NKT's unique 'religion' contrasts significantly with genuine Buddhist organizations. For example, in contrast to NKT which helps no one other than its corporate cult, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) sponsors many charitible programs, e.g., an eye center, an animal care sanctuary, the Maitreya Project, translating important Buddhist writings from Tibetan to several other languages, and feeding monks at Sera Jey Monastery. NKT despises the FPMT, and attacks the organization and its leaders often on NKT's and other Internet web sites and blogs. The only charity NKT offers us is raising money to develop its corporate mission to denigrate all forms of Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, as degenerate.

NKT cult leader (euphemistically called its spiritual leader), Gyatso, broadly communicated his orders to disparage The Dalai Lama as evil, saying in his April 27 email to his students (even though denying it ever since), "I personally will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama directly. I requested Kelsang Pema and Kelsang Thubchen to do this job for me and they have accepted." Pema (aka Helen Gladwell) has become the face of NKT's mission to derail The Dalai Lama. She is featured on NKT's explosion of youtube videos and in NKT's press interviews about its vitriolic campaign. For its May protest in England, Pema boasts that she organized several busses to deliver NKTites from its spring festival to the protest, 500 breakfasts and 700-800 lunches (money, planning, public relations, monks, nuns and lay devotees that would have been better deployed helping the poor or disabled). Fired NKT Kadam Lucy James has apparently been reassigned to Queen of Mean, directing NKT's attack web sites and blogs from her home in Sarasota, Florida (e.g., NKT's purported truth smear blog,

Bill Esterhaus's picture

There is no possibility of Tibetan Independence because the Chinese don't trust the Dalai Lama.....with good reason.

Dharma and politics should not be mixed.

Ron's picture

Two possibilities the non-political "John Waters" (not his real name, folks) is either a professional Chinese internet troll or a Dolgyal cultist miscreant.
Either way we lose. Oh, that the CIA actually did have something more than a very modest program in the early days, when Mao led China into a disastrous famine with his Great Leap Forward. I expect the CIA spent a lot more on Panama monthly and any number of operations than the help exiled Tibetans received.

Namkhah's picture

John Waters: I guess you are encouraged that Tricycle is running paid NKT cult ads after a long absence. However look no further than your senile guru for dirty politics, tax fraud and cupidity par excellance. I suggest you go to one of three NKT hotels in Europe and meditate on what it means to be insincere.

John Waters's picture

Buddha did not get involved in politics. None of Buddha's teachings are political. They all have to do with controlling the mind. If you don't understand this then you don't understand the basic principles of Buddhism.

Liberation from suffering cannot be found by trying to control the external world. It can only be found by working to control the mind. The Dalai Lama has been barking at the Chinese since 1959 and he has accomplished nothing as a result. 50 years later what has he achieved other than a couple riots and a bunch of angry Tibetans.

If you have done any research on the history of Tibet, that wasn't edited by the Tibetan Government in Exile, then you are aware that Tibet was a feudal theocracy while the Dalai Lama was in power. Even the Dalai Lama himself has acknowledged this. The Free Tibet campaign was initiated by the CIA as a divide and conquer tactic. This is declassified information. Many retired CIA agents talk about this openly.

Sorry folks but the Dalai Lama and the CIA aren't going to lead you to enlightenment. Politicians focus on changing the external world. Buddhists focus on changing the internal world of the mind.

Rebecca's picture

Politics is an important part of every person's life, whether they acknowledge it or not. As the Second Wave feminists of the 1960s and 70s asserted, "the personal is political."

Jgee's picture

The Dalai Lama needs to be political. He is the next Mandella.. re non violence/violence.
This will not go away. As Buddhists we need to remain part of the world as well. Blissful life includes the mundane.. If you were Tibetan or of any other people under a dictator, you would be begging for involvement by your "religious" leaders.

James Shaheen's picture

@ John Waters - Not true, the nausea must be coming from somewhere else!

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John Waters's picture

Tricycle's obsession with the Dalai Lama is kind of nauseating. Why doesn't Tricycle do many articles on Buddhist teachers who are not political? Half of the articles on this blog are about the Dalai Lama.