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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Kerry O'Brien's exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama

June 14, 2008

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 12/06/2008
Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Tibet's spiritual leader spoke with Kerry O'Brien earlier today.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: For decades now, Tibet's spiritual leader
the Dalai Lama has waged a sustained campaign maintaining global
pressure on China to relax its iron fist on Tibet and grant a genuine
autonomy within the People's Republic.

But rarely has the Dalai Lama been in the headlines more than since
the sometimes violent demonstrations that began in Tibet on March 10
this year and raged on and off for two weeks.

In the inevitable Chinese crackdown, an unknown number of Tibetans
were killed. The Chinese acknowledge 21 deaths; demonstrators say it
was more than 200.

It's now history that the protests spread, dogging the journey of the
Olympic torch through Europe, America and Australia on its way to
China for the Beijing Olympics. The Dalai Lama, of course, has always
preached non-violence, but a growing number of young Tibetans are
obviously frustrated by China's intransigence on their calls for full
autonomy. The Dalai Lama is in Australia - not, he says, to play
politics, but to teach his Buddhist philosophy.

I spoke with him in Sydney earlier today.

Your Holiness, you have described what is going on in Tibet as
cultural genocide. How severe? How rapid a genocide in your terms?

DALAI LAMA, TIBETAN SPIRITUAL LEADER: My expression, like this:
whether intentionally, or unintentionally, some kind of cultural
genocide is taking place. Word genocide qualified right from the
beginning. The reason, in fact, is the administration in autonomous
area and also outside of the mission of Tibet, Chinese officials put
a lot of restrictions - Tibetans study. And last year, or, I think
two years ago, I met with some Tibetan student who came from mainland
China from Tibet, and study in America. Some of them, see, can not
speak Tibetan, only Chinese. So, since they are majority of the
population, the minority Tibetan in their daily life, they have to
use Chinese language rather than Tibetan. So, these are
unintentionally some kind of - all elements of the situation, the
Tibetan culture, heritage, including language - degenerate.

KERRY O'BRIEN: It must concern you, if that continues for
uninterrupted long enough, then Tibetan culture disappears, or
becomes very weak?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, yes. Would die.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You've argued Tibet's case to the world and to China
for decades now. Do you think the fact that younger Tibetan
protesters have become more militant this year - the fact that they
have - reflects some frustration at the failure of your leadership
and your dialogue to force change in Tibet?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, it is true now a growing sort of feeling of
frustration now growing among Tibetan is understandable. So, the
criticism towards my stand also increasing. Sometimes they won't
listen to my suggestions or my advice. But, of course, I respect -
you see, they are utilising freedom of speech, freedom of heart. I'm
always telling them I have no authority to say, "Shut up". It is up to you.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you have a moral authority?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, yes. Even those people, I think they love me, they
respect me, but in certain views, they have different. But as far as
violence and non-violence is concerned, I think generally Tibetan,
you see, including youth organisation, generally they support, they
agree, non-violent principle. But some individual, one or two -
that's a different question.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You have urged Tibetans not to demonstrate against the
Olympic torch, but do you sympathise with those who see the torch
route through Tibet itself as a provocation?

DALAI LAMA: Our citizens do not seeking separation and then,
moreover, the Olympic Games. I think, over a billion Chinese brother,
sisters really feel proud of it. Therefore, we must respect. So, in
the past, many occasions I appeal, including Tibetan, should not
disturb that sort of ceremony, or even torch. For example, after
incidents in London and Paris because of the disturbances, so I
particularly, specifically appeal to Tibetan community in San
Francisco, don't make disturbances. I appeal. So, in visit in area of
Tibet, I personally feel may not much disturbances. It's better. Not much use.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Do you think that China's long-term strategy is simply
to wait you out. That you are the most effective focus of resistance
on Tibet? That if they simply wait you out in the expectation that
you're gone, that you will be gone one day, and at that point what is
left of Tibetan resistance will fade away?

DALAI LAMA: There are two opinions since early '80s - there are two
opinions even among the Chinese. One opinion, yes, Dalai Lama as a
troublemaker. So, after he gone, he pass away, the thing's
automatically solved. That's one opinion. Another opinion is better
while that troublemaker remains there, you can deal.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Not quite like dealing with the devil?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, devil, with horn. One say, "That demon, gone." Then
nobody can truly represent or in other words, I think I'm popular
among Tibetan. I'm, I think, I don't know. I think if I say Tibetan,
I think generally, listen. Majority, certainly majority of them
listen. Therefore, while such person alive, it is better to find solution.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I assume that even the Dalai Lama acknowledges human
frailty. What negative emotion do you personally have the most trouble with?

DALAI LAMA: Anger - sometimes.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is that right? How do you deal with it? What makes you angry?

DALAI LAMA: If you ask some silly questions again and again, then I
may lose my temper.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But you haven't lost your temper today?

DALAI LAMA: Yes. One time in New York, in America. One New York Times
- what do you call?

DALAI LAMA'S ASSISTANT: Columnist.

DALAI LAMA: Columnist. One lady asked me, "What is your, sort of,
legacy after me?" And I told, "I'm Buddhist practitioner. I cannot
think about my name after me". So, important is while I alive I
should do something useful for other. Then she again that same
question. Then I answer same way. Then, third time - then I lost my temper.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So, how do you deal with anger?

DALAI LAMA: But I think the basic mental attitude, I think, through
training. If you're basic mind calm, then anger come, go, comes and
go. Not remain.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And that's the important thing?

DALAI LAMA: Yeah, that's important.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Not hanging onto your anger.

DALAI LAMA: No, no. Within minute, it go. Now, for example, after 10
March, a lot of anxiety, a lot of sadness and also feeling of
helplessness. So, intelligence level, a lot of disturbances. But
things, you see, on deeper mind, I think through years, years
training of mind, so senses are quite calm. So, these disturbances on
intelligence level may not disturb much deeper level. So, at least,
in spite of the many, sort of, worry, I think one indication, since
last, now, more than two months, 10 March, when I give some sort of
lecture on Buddhism, my mind not that much clear. I think that's I
think as disturbances in my intelligence level. But, you see, these
disturbances never destroy my sleep. So that, I think, at a deeper
level, still calm mind. I feel like that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And on that note, we'll have to end the interview. But
thank you very much for talking with us today. Thank you.

DALAI LAMA: Thank you, thank you.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Some well-timed advice from the Dalai Lama on anger
management and finding the inner peace.
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