The New York Times reports that today’s young Tibetans in exile are questioning the Dalai Lama’s commitment to non-violent solutions in their country’s dealings with China.
Since March 10 the Dalai Lama has stuck to his “middle way” script and appeared remarkably affable, at least publicly, even as China accused him of masterminding the uprising and called him “a devil with a human face.”
He has repeatedly said he advocates only nonviolence, presses not for independence but a “preservation of Tibetan culture,” endorses China’s role as host of the Olympic Games in August and is happy to speak to Chinese authorities, including President Hu Jintao.
As I see it, someone has to stand firmly for rationality and the essential dignity of human life. Where’s this person in the Middle East?
I’m not going to evangelize for Buddhism, ’cause reality needs no advocate. But I encourage everyone to examine the history and traditions of this remarkable method of existence. I don’t know where I’d be without it. And, although I can make no claims to the Tibetan experience, I have a great deal of respect for the Dalai Lama. Truly, he is an example of a curious, engaged, tolerant, compassionate and honest man — reincarnation of Avalokitesvara or not.
“I’m fully committed to eliminate negative feelings among Tibetans and fear, distrust among Chinese,” he said Thursday in his third meeting with reporters this week. Reminded of the latest slurs against him, he leaned back in his chair and howled with laughter. “As a Buddhist monk, whatever they call me, doesn’t matter.”
Beautiful. I can only hope his people continue to heed his words.