The recent announcement by the Dalai Lama to retire from his political role as the leader of the Tibetan people has aroused intense emotions among Buddhists here in Syracuse. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been looked up for years for both spiritual and political guidance by Buddhists here. And just when the Syracuse Buddhist community was settling into acceptance of the Dalai Lama’s new role as solely the religious leader of the Buddhist people a controversial position on his plans to retire from his political role has surfaced from
Xinhuanet has reported “Chinese Tibetologist doubts if Dalai Lama can really “retire””, http://bit.ly/ee9VPd. This report states that a Chinese Tibetologist has expressed doubts if the 14th Dalai Lama can really “retire” from his political role as he has openly claimed. Professor Du Yongbin, who is associated with the China Tibetology Research Center, told a group of journalists at a seminar organized by the All-China Journalists Association “It is natural for the 76-year-old man to retire from work but I do not understand from what position the Dalai Lama will retire and how he will do to realize it.”
And now this position out of China regarding the plans by the Dalai Lama has heightened anxieties among Buddhists here in Syracuse about what China really wants from the Dalai Lama and his Buddhist following. It is possible this analysis of the Dalai Lama’s recent statements about his planned retirement from politics means China simply has no intentions of backing off of the Dalai Lama and his followers anyway.
Du has said the 14th Dalai Lama has a dual identity, both political and religious, but he does not hold any official position at the so-called Tibetan “government-in-exile”. Du has gone on to comment “And by no means he will retire from being the Dalai Lama.” Claims by the Dalai Lama that he will give up his political role in the Tibetan “government-in-exile” and shift that power to an “elected leader” are said by China to be a “trick” and “political show” which is aimed at gaining the attention of the international community and molding public opinion.
Du has also said “Judging from his announcement, we can easily observe that in the past years the Dalai Lama and his followers had followed the old theocratic way despite claimed efforts to transform their group into a secular and democratic one. His resign announcement can be regarded as an attempt to give up his political role but I doubt if it will be easily realized.” Regarding questions about what will happen when the Dalai Lama dies Du has said “For so many years, all related sides have been working to find a solution to the Tibet issue while the Dalai Lama is alive. And they have not got one. I don’t think they would easily find one after he passes away.”
And so it appears there may be little peace of mind among Buddhists here in Syracuse and elsewhere regarding the Dalai Lama’s plans to retire from politics due to fears this is only the beginning of a new round of attacks against the Dalai Lama and Buddhism by the Communist Chinese.
Mandel News Service: www.mandelnews.com