The Dalai Lama’s Secrets: A Precarious Relationship with China

Tibet has not been a sovereign state for over 50 years now. However, not many people know that the first 10 years of Chinese Communist rule in Tibet was actually characterized by peaceful co-existence with the 14th Dalai Lama.

During that period, the 14th Dalai Lama had an important post in the Chinese Communist Party. He was elected in 1954 as the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. In fact, Mao Zedong himself personally reassured the Dalai Lama that there would be no drastic reforms in Tibet for the next 6 years so that Tibetan identity could be preserved.

In 1956, the Dalai Lama was elected as the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). That same year, he traveled to India for the 2,500th anniversary of Buddha’s passing and enlightenment. Two of his older brothers persuaded the Dalai Lama not to return to Tibet and instead, campaign for independence.

Nevertheless, the aristocrats and those in power in Tibet were anxious to protect their privileges, so they started to instigate revolt. In 1956, a rebellion took place in Lithang and spread like wildfire across the province of Kham. It reverberated throughout Tibet, finally arriving in Lhasa in 1959. Thus began the chain of events that led to the eventual harrowing escape of the Dalai Lama and his people into exile in India and neighboring countries.

Now that the Dalai Lama and his people are in exile, the negotiations between the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Tibetan governing body in exile, and the Chinese government has reached a stalemate. No nation on earth recognizes the CTA as an official governing authority and although the Dalai Lama initially sought independence, he has abandoned this stance and is now just seeking self-autonomy with Chinese rule instead.

However, the Chinese are not convinced and it’s no surprise. Besides the (not so secret) affiliations they have with the CIA and the American, the CTA has been actively and fervently promoting a religious ban on the Buddhist protector deity, Dorje Shugden. This ban has split Tibetan society to its core especially amongst the Tibetan monastic institutions and communities. The ban requires monks to swear against this practice; those who refuse to are expelled and ostracized from Tibetan society, denied any welfare or basic civic privileges.

Practitioners of Dorje Shugden are not allowed to take up any positions within Tibetan institutions and refused travel documents. All this and a lot more discrimination and denial of basic human rights have come about just because of an archaic religious ban. Further, the CTA launch accusations against Dorje Shugden practitioners, claiming that they are spies or agents of China, or being funded by the Chinese. As many of these accusations are untrue, this would only create further conflict with the Chinese. Also, in the first place, China is generally atheist so they would definitely not approve of any of its provinces placing so much emphasis on a religious issue like this.

Maintaining the ban would allow the Chinese more reasons to justify the claim that the Tibetans are unfit to rule the Tibetan Autonomous Region themselves. With such petty disagreements over something as simple as a single religious practice, any attempts to negotiate with the Chinese on the grounds of self-autonomy would not be taken seriously. Therefore, it is actually not in the best interest of the Tibetan cause that CTA maintains the ban on Dorje Shugden. By perpetuating the ban, they only create further animosity between themselves and the Chinese, making autonomy a greater and further impossibility.

 

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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