NEW DELHI — The Dalai Lama said in an interview published Monday that it is best for him to remain neutral about the wave of immolations by Tibetans in China protesting Beijing’s repressive policies and calling for his return from exile.
The Dalai Lama described the immolations as a “very, very delicate political issue,” and expressed his reluctance to comment on the deaths of Tibetan protesters in China.
The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke of the dilemma he faces in speaking about the immolations in an interview published in The Hindu newspaper.
“If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their life,” he said.
“The reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me,” he said in an interview given on his 77th birthday last week.
In contrast, the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile, based in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, has spoken out more firmly against the immolations. In March, they reminded Tibetans “to refrain from drastic actions.” The Dalai Lama reliquished his role as head of the government-in-exile last year.
China has blamed the Dalai Lama for the self-immolations, which have touched Tibetans emotionally and created an image problem for Beijing.
Around three dozen Buddhist monks, nuns and Tibetan lay people have set themselves on fire over the past year in ethnic Tibetan areas of China. The Tibetans see the immolations as an act of sacrifice to highlight China’s repressive policies on religion and culture.
The Tibetan leader urged China to conduct “thorough research” on what was causing people to set themselves on fire. He called on China to “not pretend that nothing is wrong.”
The Dalai Lama said he advised young Tibetans, who were calling for independence and a more radical approach, that his “Middle Way” of seeking autonomy within the framework of the Chinese Constitution was the “only realistic way” to address the Tibetan issue.
The man lives in luxury with no wants. many of his people live in poverty. He continues to convince his people that he is a ancient Tulku reborn again and again. He does all this but can't say anything about people setting themselves on fire!? There is no neutrality in this matter. If you don't speak out against it when you can, you are in effect speaking for it.
He claims if he says anything negative, the family members will feel bad that their loved one killed himself? Chances are they already feel bad. Think how less bad they would feel if you spoke against it and prevented it.
He claims if he says anything positive than the Chinese will blame him!? First of all there is NOTHING postive to say about people immolating themselves. Second of all, lets compare who has it worse. The man who burned to death with the man who has the Chinese disprespect.
Of course people burning themselves, gets publicity. Publicity that brings in donations.