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<-Back to WTN Archives Interview with Dalai Lama in Trentino
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Sunday, July 1, 2001

2. Interview with Dalai Lama in Trentino

[Please note that the following article is translated from Italian into
English by Annamaria Iacapraro]

Source: "Alto Adige", Trentino newspaper since 1945

The Dalai Lama is with the anti-G8 but rejects violence.
Autonomy, the Pope, Chiara Lubich: =93I feel empathy with the Trentino
inhabitants, people of the mountain=94

The visit in Trentino

TRENTO. The Dalai Lama remarks the fairness of the anti-G8 protest when
the leaders of industrialized nations may not consider under-developed
countries=92 problems, provided it is a non-violent one. He addressed in
his speech yesterday, during his first day of visit (in the picture he
is shown with the pupils from Bieno School).

He is meeting the Bishop Bressan at =93Campana dei caduti=94 (The Heores
Bell) in Rovereto, today, followed by a ceremony for the award =93Alpine
Solidarity=94 and a meeting at the University.

TRENTO. The XIVth Dalai Lama captured Trentino=92s people yesterday with
his disarming yet serene smile and youthful looks during the first of a
two-days=92 visits.

Politicians received him as a head of State but he also encountered
common people.

He admitted not to personally know Chiara Lubich, the founder of the
Focolarini; to be =93envious=94 of our autonomy and to believe in each
people practicing their own religion.
He did not express any criticism of the =93Seattle people=94.

On his arrival in Trentino, he asked the President of the Province and
his vice to show him the main features characterizing their autonomy.
To obtain autonomy for Tibet he has been fighting for the last thirty

What about the current situation?

=93We did our best, but it is not easy to deal with China, not even at a
talking level. I have been presented as a liar in a reserved document by
the Communist Party found by the Tibetan
Government in exile last year. They wanted to convince the public that I
lied about the situation of our people. Excuse me, that is ridiculous.
To Chinese, Western people are gullible. Would I have tricked everybody,
including President Dellai and his vice, Mr Pinter, for such a long
time? Rather I am =93envious=94 of your autonomy and your freedom. And
keeping this small golden bell offered by the Province in my hands, I
keep my country in mind. But I
also keep our repression in mind. Our nation has very ancient origins
dating back to at least 4000 years ago. Our independence, before the
Chinese invasion, aimed also at safeguarding the equilibrium in that
area of Asia. Our position, just between China and India, acted like a
buffer between the two powers. The worsening of the situation has had
worldwide effects.=94

Don=92t you think the goal of independence for your people collide with a=

more and more leveling and invading globalization?

=93I don=92t think so. Globalization is above all an economic phenomenon
which has made various nations independent from each other. While
attitudes and eating habits change, our horizons expand.=94

Can you see a danger in globalization?

=93It can be for those cultures lacking in deep roots. Otherwise it
reveals its usefulness. For example, our nomadic people in Tibet can now
keep their food and drinks warm by using thermos while in their tents.
The world is changing. The risk is when a multinational company
determines the arrest of the process of development of the local
economies. There is concern in India for the huge presence of American
music and movie products. But these are only very superficial aspects,
the true values to safeguard being others, for sure=85=94

Which suggestions can you offer?

=93Coming back to the clash between globalization and autonomy, I think
the latter is mainly centered on the survival of Tibetan spirit and

Can we go back to the globalization issue, once more? The G-8 will start
in less than a month in Genoa. What do you think of the =93Seattle

=93I find it positive that the leaders of the developed countries meet in=

order to deal with such important issues which are, along with
globalization, ecology and the exploitation of underdeveloped countries.
These are important topics and it is good that people may remind them
with demonstrations and slogans in the streets when there is no other
way to attract leaders=92
attention. Provided there is no violence. Unfortunately, what we at
times assist to is rather
sad, as was recently the case in Sweden.=94

What is your opinion on the spreading of Buddhism in the Western
countries thanks to the contribution of important people=92s worshipping
practice, such as Richard Gere, Kay Rush and athletes, such as Baggio?

=93To properly estimate it, we should look at each separate experience.
While it may be only a matter of fashion for some people, it may reveal
a new spiritual path to follow to others.
I tend to suggest that following one=92s own religion is always better
since it is connected to one=92s own traditional culture. A change may
create confusion. We had a few Christians in Tibet, as well, but they
are now just an exception=85 Mass conversions are impossible. Who ever
may, anyway, convert into Buddhism (and there may be one out of a
million to be moved by sincere intentions) should not move any critic to
his previous religion.=94

What can Buddhism offer to Catholics?

=93Only a small part of Buddhism reached Western countries. It is too
difficult in its totality.
I think Westerners may find the idea of =93interdependence=94 useful, wh=
is peculiar to our
religion. You can then understand how any single event is determined by
many and several causes. The "interdependence" of the causes provides
you with a wider perspective and deeper understanding of life=94.

What has Pope John Paul IInd brought to the East?

=93He embodies the need for reconciliation. He restored links among
religions, which had contrasts for a long time. He has even been
apologizing for the misdeeds of the Church.=94

Until July 2nd, you will be at Mariapoli. What is your opinion on the
Focolarini and Chiara Lubich? Her origins are from the Trentino region,
she is back with us for a visit these days. She is a candidate to the
Nobel Peace Prize, that you yourself received.

=93I cannot express any opinion about the founder of the Focolari Movemen=
nor about the group itself since I don=92t exactly know either enough.
Let=92s wait till the end of the meeting at Cadine. I can say I gladly
accepted the invitation at Mariapoli in order to deepen our

What are you expecting from the Catholics?

=93We have had a relationship with the Catholic Church for more than 20
years. Our monks have been present in many Western countries=92
monasteries for a long time. They have been able to appreciate the
well-organized monasteries and the tolerance and sobriety of the life
-style of Catholic monks and nuns.

Among other things, Catholic monks are, differently from ours, very
appreciated and good at social activities. I must admit this is a
neglected aspect in our monasteries, which is bad. But emphasizing the
differences between Catholicism and Buddhism does not make much sense.=94=

In which respect?

=93Any religion has the same foundation principles: tolerance, kindness,
compassion. The thought that I want to share with you is the belief that
it is not worth to turn to religion and call for God=92s help only in
difficulties. And when everything is going well it is all forgotten.
To a Buddhist, Buddha is the Creator. Praying when problems occur could
even be of some comfort, but the true religious experience is a way of
life which is renown day by day. The same goes for a Christian:
professing your faith is not enough, it must turn into a rule which
leads your life.=94

Coming back to Trentino. You are a guest in our province also, and above
all, as the head of a
government in exile. What can you obtain in terms of aids?

There had been discussions concerning a series of cooperation plans.

=93In all honesty, it is very difficult for one to operate in Tibet. But
something can be done for our community in exile at Dharmasala, in
India. We are working at plans for agricultural cooperation, as well as
for student-exchanges. We are especially interested at training in the
diplomatic field that can be offered by the Province of Trento trough
its organization =93People of the earth=94 and trough its University.=94

You are going to receive the award =93Alpine Solidarity=94 at Pinzolo
today. How do you feel about it?

=93I am glad it is coming from people from a mountain town which has so
many similarities with my land. In spite of the few differences, we
share the same spirit.=94

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Should Beijing get the games?
  2. Interview with Dalai Lama in Trentino
  3. China conundrum really about dollars.
  4. China readies for Party birthday with survival vow
  5. Work begins on disputed Tibetan rail link
  6. More than a game
  7. Underdog Tibetan soccer team claims victory before the game begins
  8. Major Projects for Tibet Development Planned

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