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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

Interview: Dalai Lama speaks to EuroNews

August 29, 2008
August 21, 2008

The voyage to France of Tenzin Gyatso, better known as the Dalai
Lama, has drawn plenty of comment, good and bad. Loved or loathed, at
73, the Nobel Peace Prize winner likes to present himself as a simple
Buddhist monk. But he has become a global celebrity. Before heading
back to India, his home in exile for 50 years, the Dalai Lama spoke
to euronews, and explained some of his views on life.

Dalai Lama: Tibet is something mysterious. Someone from that land is
a curiosity. And, perhaps because of the explosion of information,
more and more people are showing an interest in some of my ideas. My
main sort of message, or idea, is naturally every human being has a
right to a happy life and a happy family. Yet generally, in order to
achieve that, we simply pay attention to money, to material values.
We don't pay adequate attention to our inner values. Another thing is
the harmony among different religious traditions. Some Christian
friends describe me as a good Christian. We have a common experience,
a common practice in spite of a different philosophy. And then,
perhaps some people say to me they love my smile!

euronews: The Olympic Games are coming to an end, nations are
celebrating their champions. Meanwhile, you say Tibet is still
enduring a new cultural revolution. What is the situation now as we
speak in Tibet?

Dalai Lama: Basically, things are very tense. A lot of army, a lot of
security personnel everywhere. And everywhere in the Tibetan
community, according to reports, officials are starting the
construction of military barracks. That means the military presence
will now be permanent. That indicates the aggressive policy will continue.

euronews: Do you plan any changes in your approach, in the middle way
approach, or any concessions to the Chinese, who don't trust you when
you say you don't want indpendence? Who do not recognise your
government-in-exile, who do not recognise the Tibetan flag, the
anthem? Are there any sacrifices, any concessions you would be ready to make?

Dalai Lama: Because it is in our interest, we are fully-committed to
remaining in the People's Republic of China. Because Tibet is a
materially-backward, landlocked coutnry with a small population,
therefore it is in our interest to remain within the People's
Republic of China. In the meantime, we have our own language, and
with that a sophisticated cultural heritage and and a particularly
rich Buddhist tradition. It is not only the six million Tibetan
people concerned, but also a large number of people in that part of
the world who share the same Buddhist culture. The best way of
preserving a culture, and also of taking maximum care for the
environment, is that, except in foreign affairs and defence, the
education and economy and of course religious matters, all this
should be handled by Tibetans themselves. So, autonomy. Actually, the
Chinese constitution provides all Tibetan ethnic groups with the
status of autonomy. And also, according to the Chinese white paper on
rights for minorities, on paper, the points mentioned are very good.
But they are not implemented!

euronews: There are divisions amongst the Buddhist community and the
Tibetan Buddhists. Some of the younger generation, for instance,
disagree with the middle way, and are getting impatient. Do you fear
more violence?

Dalai Lama: I don't think! Even the youth organisation, the Tibetan
youth organisation, as far as the non-violent principle is concerned,
they fully support that. Then, regarding independence, the other
political stance, right from the beginning they want complete
independence. We are fully-committed to democracy. So, different
voices, different views, different ideas are most welcome.

euronews: The American President, George Bush, in Europe Angela
Merkel and Gordon Brown, they have all met you this year. But you
will not meet President Sarkozy who is also the current President of
the European Commission, but M Bernard Kouchner and Mme Carla
Bruni-Sarkozy are seeing you. Are show business personalities more
useful to Tibet than political leaders?

Dalai Lama: For publicity perhaps! But of course, the French
government, the President and also the Foreign Minister right from
the beginning, immediately after the 10th March crisis, they
publically expressed their concern.

euronews: What do you expect from world leaders?

Dalai Lama: China is the most populous nation and a very important
nation. So good relations with that nation are very, very important.
Meantime, China should be brought into the mainstream of world
democracy. Democracy, the rule of law, openness, free information,
free media, these are very important, And, of course, human rights
and religious freedom, these are universal values. And in these
principles, all concerned people or governments should stand firm.

euronews: And when political leaders such as, again, the French
President, go to the Olympic Games' opening ceremony, sell two
nuclear reactors to China, and do not meet you, do you think that
helps democracy?

Dalai Lama: You have to judge!

euronews: You have suggested in your meetings this week that maybe
the European Union headquarters should go to a place like Poland, or
that Russia should join NATO and its headquarters should be in
Moscow. Do you have a problem with Brussels?

Dalai Lama: No! No, no, no! I'm one of the admirers of the European
Union. I always praise that. My point is that the European Union
spirit must extend. And now, unfortunately, although the Soviet Union
has changed in the Russian Federation it seems the old thinking, all
sort of old tendencies or habits are now returning! It is not good!
So the great nation of Russia must be brought into the world and
European community. And in order to reduce distance and fear, NATO
should move to Moscow! And Russia be welcomed by the member states.
Then fear will go! That's my reason. Not at all that I am angry with
Brussels. No! Never!

euronews: Compassion is central in your philosphy. Can it apply to
every situation in the world? Can it apply where terrorism is
concerned for instance?

Dalai Lama: Oh yes! Compassion means towards the person, not the
action. Now, for example, terrorism. When a terrorist as a person is
concerned, we should show our concern, our compassion. They are also
human beings. If we keep compassion towards them, there is real
possibility of change. Because of their behaviour. If we keep hatred
towards them, that means increasing terrorists. Today, one bin Laden;
next ten bin Ladens. After that, a hundred bin Ladens is possible.
So, in order to stop that, compassion is the only force. But only as
far as you keep compassion to this wrong-doer. As far as their
actions are concerned, we have to oppose.

euronews: People speculate and wonder about your succession. You talk
about retirement quite often, but you are full of energy. So, what
would really make you retire?

Dalai Lama: My main commitments, two commitments, are the promotion
of human values, and promotion of religious harmony. Then, the third
commitment is about the Tibetan struggle. So, when the Tibetan
struggle is concerned, it is the people's struggle. As long as I
remain, I have to make a contribution. I have to help serve them. But
the real responsibility must be carried by people themselves. So the
Lama's rule is now outdated. In case the Tibetan people feel this
institution is no longer relevant, OK if that feeling comes, then the
Dalai Lama institution will cease. I would prefer that! Because the
14th Dalai Lama is not the best Dalai Lama. But of course, he is not
the worst Dalai Lama! He's quite popular! So, if at that stage, the
Dalai Lama institution ceases, then this Dalai Lama will cease or go
with grace. It's much better! Another re-incarnation can eventually
become a disgrace, that is the worst!

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