By: Kay Beswick
In the last week, a rather interesting document has been circulating on social media. It is touted to be the transcript of an audience that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had with former speakers, ministers and leaders of the Tibetan government on April 25, 2016. We were able to get a rough translation of this transcript to share with you all here.
As you can see, His Holiness recounts in some detail the difficulties he faces with different aspects of the Tibetan community. This extends from a lack of cooperation amongst the leadership, all the way down to a lack of cooperation amongst the Tibetan community themselves who refuse to take the Dalai Lama’s advice.
The question must be asked then, has it always been this way? Have the leadership and the people always been so stubborn, and the Dalai Lama’s disappointment is therefore nothing new? Or is this a recent development due to repeated disappointments the community has suffered as a result of mismanagement and misleadership by the Tibetan government in exile? We are not sure which one is better and which thought disturbs us more – knowing the Dalai Lama has always had such a difficult time leading his people, or knowing that the Tibetan leadership have driven their people to such a point where they no longer listen to anyone’s advice, not even the Dalai Lama.
Interestingly, His Holiness did not list people’s refusal to give up Dorje Shugden practice as one of his disappointments. This omission is significant considering the amount of time, effort and resources that has been spent in enforcing the ban. Instead of talking about Dorje Shugden, His Holiness chose to use far less significant examples, for example people’s refusal to delegate ploughing duties to their Indian neighbors. Could this glaring omission indicate a thawing in his approach towards Dorje Shugden practitioners? We here at DorjeShugden.com certainly hope so.
The author of this document is currently unknown as the person wishes to remain anonymous. As a result, questions have been raised over the authenticity of this document and whether the conversation it claims to record really took place. Whether or not the transcript is genuine, we could not help but feel sympathy for the Dalai Lama as we read it. It gave a little glimpse into the difficulties His Holiness has to contend with. The transcript also offers a glimpse into the level of awareness that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has for the goings-on in his community. The Dalai Lama is fully aware of everything, including that people have been abusing his name for their own purposes. Their refusal to listen to him, their willingness to exploit his name for their own gain, is this how the Tibetan community shows their gratitude towards someone who has in general been very kind to them for the last 60 years?
Even if this transcript were later discovered to be less than genuine, the fact remains that someone had the mind to generate a transcript like this. Obviously there are various aspects of Tibetan society that troubles them enough to compose a transcript like this. Or perhaps the author really did hear His Holiness express his disappointment in the current situation of the Tibetan people. Otherwise, how dare they fake a transcript of things they purport the Dalai Lama to have said? Such a thing would be unthinkable, especially since it involves His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the king and leader of an entire people.
Origins notwithstanding, please read this transcript carefully and let us know your thoughts below. We hope it will shed some light for you into the workings of the Central Tibetan Administration where even their leader and god has now taken the unprecedented step of criticizing them.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Addressing a Group of Former Ministers and Speakers
The Original Transcript
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[ ] = indicates information or a phrase that has been added for clarity or context
You’re all from the generation where I’m the head. Now I think that generation has almost finished. I read each and every application and request that you put in front of me. I am very happy and glad to know you all gathered and discussed. Now, action is important. Meanwhile, how were the elections for the Kalon? [referring to the recent Sikyong elections featuring Lobsang Sangye and Penpa Tsering as candidates] This year’s elections, there were so many problems like in the American elections, for example the candidates insulting each other. The previous years’ elections between Lobsang Sangye, Tenzin Namgyal, Tashi Wangdu, there weren’t this many problems even though there were three candidates.
Lobsang Sangye graduated from Harvard University in the US. During his time there, he got a modern education. At first he was good to everyone. I had great hope that Lobsang Sangye was a good candidate. Nowadays he [is] used to tell lies and boasting. I have always told everyone that you should have good manners and never boast of your position. Simple living, I thinking type.
See the members of parliament I’ve given to them [meaning see what has happened to them]. I am sad because people near to me are biased. Now I feel like there is no worth [in living]. One of the Chamdopas was the American donjo [representative of the Dalai Lama, referring to Kaydor Aukatsang]. He used my name and supported Lobsang Sangye, to promote to get votes for him. See, Lobsang Sangye and Penpa Tsering’s party gathering their supporters [as though in a battle array]. From Amdo side, this type of thing, I never hear it happening.
Few days ago I have a meeting with Indian CID [the intelligence wing of the Indian police]. They told me that Tibetan elections have become like Indian politicians’ elections. That is true. I told the CID that many, many years ago, we were students of the masters of Nalanda but now we are students of Indian politicians. What to do?
I have been talking to all people to have good manners but people closest to me are doing opposite of this. The result of this is they are destroying Dharma (tenshi) from the top1. Even I told them many times, if there is no advantage, then what to do? If those closest to me don’t listen to me then what is the point of living? But on the other hand, foreigners listen to me and put it into practice. Some like that, in India also, what I have told, they pay more attention. By looking at them I think it has benefited [meaning for the Dalai Lama to remain]. I think if like this, it won’t be correct if I don’t stay.
During opening ceremony of Men Tsee Khang, while I was attending it, I saw Sikyong Lobsang Sangye and our other leaders sitting in front of everyone else. The young Health Minister was also there. During the ceremony, at the time, I saw the leaders sitting at the front. Suddenly I remembered something a high lama with clairvoyance told me many years ago. That at the front of the public, sometimes people sitting there and they are not related to Dharma [meaning inside, they have no refuge]. They said they want to meet with me and Kukey Yiktsang also received letter from them. What’s the point of an empty apology since they always do the opposite of what I say?
There’s a reason for me to be angry. It’s not like a small child not getting sweets so he is angry. If they are really sorry [meaning if they understand why he is angry] then discuss, come up with a plan, do it and come back in six months and show something. No matter how many times I say this, there is no change so what’s the benefit? (Dalai Lama folds his hands) I have asked so many times, there is nothing left to do but plead with them (Dalai Lama makes a thumbs-up gesture of pleading known as “kutchi kutchi”). Nobody is paying attention to this matter. I was so disappointed.
A person called Dondhup Lhadar said the Dalai Lama cleared [meaning destroyed] Tibetan government. Jamyang Norbu said that the Dalai Lama in 60 years has worked so hard to unite Tibetans then in the end he cleared Tibetan government. When I heard that I was very sad and disappointed. How did I clear it? How?
Today in Delhi, when Xi Jing Ping [is there], Dhondrup Lhadar protest and see what he said. Independence is everyone’s right but we need to see the real situation. In Parliament some have been talking about rangzen. Few years ago, they had special meeting. During the meeting they had four points: rangzen, umaylam2, rangta rangcho (self-autonomy). At the time, I said they should do what the public wants. The German Ambassador said, “In today’s meeting you haven’t changed the umaylam way. If you had a meeting on rangzen, then hard for you to visit Germany.” Indian government said same thing before.
A few days ago, during the offering of tenshug [long life ceremony] by some of the society…what was the name of the lama? Oh, Sog Shabdrung. What he said, he is not connected with Dorje Shugden. He will only focus and practice umaylam. By hearing that I said I am very happy. I said very thank you. If I had to say honestly, I am not saying umaylam is only for my purpose. Actually, umaylam is not cunning and not for my benefit. The current situation of Tibet is very critical. I thought that nothing is better than umaylam. For now, China government is ignoring. So that’s why we are unable to put that umaylam into practice. I am very glad that someone has been supporting policy of umaylam. In Tibet, the senior people are talking about umaylam more and more [like they are interested]. Recently there was a big meeting. At that time, a person from Chamdo, Jampa Phuntsok, was very outspoken [about umaylam].
Same like that, Yangling Dorje spoke like this too, also giving support. Via umaylam, if I can visit Tibet then the talk about umaylam being not true will be cleared away. Isn’t this true? If that can’t happen then they will think umaylam can’t be [or is not] successful. That will be true for them.
In the Tibetan language, referring to the Tibetan government བོད་གཞུང་། (bod gzhung) Gaden Phodrang as གཞུང་། (gzhung), the word is not appropriate. For example, gompa gzhung, dratsang gzhung – the English word ‘government’, the Tibetan word gzhung does not accurately reflect the English meaning. I didn’t change the Tibetan government because I felt sad or disappointed, but because I felt pity for the Tibetan people.
Recently, the Gaden Tripa and many Gelug abbots came to visit me with sincerity. I was very glad and I also told them at that time we are very losing and it is necessary to take precautions. I am hoping that one day, someone from Zangkara (ཟང་ཀར་ར) becomes a Gaden Tripa. Therefore I arranged [for him to be] the Gyume lama umze. He’s a very good scholar. I’m so sad he has liver cancer and now he’s going to have a liver transplant. Study for 20-30 years then this problem so what to do? No option. If this type of thing happens, then it is a very big loss to the monastery. In the settlements, not many people take precautions over their health so now, so many people are lost. There are many high quality hospitals but inside, no doctors. I have asked before to send quality doctors from Bangalore to the settlements. If they don’t get permission from high authorities, they cannot go to settlements. Maybe I think that the high authorities are not going to order. Even I have told this during the ceremony.
In the settlements there is a small community who do ploughing. I have said before to the settlement and that community that for this activity, they can ask their Indian neighbors to do. Also this would benefit them. Even after I told them, no one was taking action and doing this. The ploughing community, even where they keep their straw, it’s not complete / permanent and it’s just a tent. No improvement.
A few days ago, in Gaden Phodrang, every year they do tordru [also known as torgya]. At that time, the Gadong Oracle and Tseringma Oracle attended. Tenma came in a spontaneous trance. Then Nechung Oracle came and suddenly took spontaneous trance also. The deities then said they need to take trance again in front of me. “It’s not okay,” I said, “What I am thinking, you already know. Whatever people can do, they are not doing. If you can do, you just do it. If you want to say something, go and tell them [the citizens]. I can help you to connect with them.” Actually the Tibetan leaders have been requesting to the deities during trance that during the handover period of the government, to thank the deities for their support and also request for future support. During the trance, whatever prophecy was given, you [the people in front of the Dalai Lama at the audience] also know.
Even if I stay for another 10 years then I will be 90. I have a feeling I can do something during these 10 years. During these years, something can happen. Until then, we need to work hard on this thing. After that, I will be old and not much can be done because I won’t have enough time. Until we die, we need to think about other people. I have told this to Gelugpas also. Take a field for example. If you have an empty field, you can plant anything you want.
I met the Sera Je abbot for a moment and I was very happy that he has a good connection with the Indian universities. It’s very good. We must push hard to have good connection with the Indian universities. If we can do this, then our Nalanda lineage will be priceless.
What you have been thinking and the discussion you have done, this is very good. You need to finalize it. Must do what you discussed and have result and don’t just keep thinking, it’s good without doing anything. It’s like the proverb “grass covering the puddle”. Thank you. Ya (folds his hands). Now we take group photo for memory.
1 For example, if the abbot of a monastery does not uphold the vinaya, everyone below him will follow in his lead and as a result, the Dharma will be destroyed through his bad example
2 Rangzen is full independence. This was the Dalai Lama’s former position regarding the Tibetan cause, before he began to advocate for umaylam, or the Middle Way Approach referring to meaningful autonomy. Stalwarts of the rangzen approach are accused of being anti-Dalai Lama for their refusal to give up their dreams of Tibetan independence