Where is the Dalai Lama’s compassion? － Profiles of the consecutive self-immolation incidents in Tibet (Part 1)
(By the True Heart News interviewing team in Taipei)When Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was asked about the recent spate of self-immolations committed by Tibetans and young lamas, he offered a confounding, unperturbed response of no response.
In an interview with The Hindu’s Ananth Krishnan, the Dalai Lama remarked “Now, the reality is that if I say something positive, then the Chinese immediately blame me. If I say something negative, then the family members of those people feel very sad. They sacrificed their own life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong. So the best thing is to remain neutral.”
Zhang Gongpu, chairman of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation, indicates that the Dalai Lama’s response fully reveals his perverse mindset and treacherous schemes, which is indeed improper for a self-proclaimed “Buddhist monk.”
Speaking in an equivocal fashion, the Dalai Lama confuses people’s standard of values by deliberately twisting the definitions of “positive” and “negative.” Chairman Zhang poses the question that, if the Dalai Lama had openly praised such acts of collective self-immolations, thereby provoking social division and panic, who could regard his response as “positive”?
Contrarily, if he had chosen to sincerely comfort the deceased and wounded, express condolences to their families, and counsel them to overcome and reconcile the grievance and hatred such that the instigated agitation could be dissolved into peace and rationality, how could anyone regard his response as “negative”?
Dalai’s twisted explanation is not only rubbing salt into the wounds of the families of the deceased, but also pouring gasoline on the remains of the self-immolators. His words clearly show that his mentality is incongruent with that of a Buddhist monk.
In fact, Dalai’s statement in the interview “so I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong” is nothing but an evasive talk because he never truly intends to decry the acts of self-immolation. Rather, to some extent, he seems to be pleased to see that such chaos has happened and will persist (his comments seem to implicitly suggest these incidents appear to be righteous in a certain way, so bring it on). Chairman Zhang comments that the Foundation has recently posted many articles on the True Hearts News website which expose the ambitions of the Dalai Lama and his political religious group. As a matter of fact, they are using this wave of self-immolations to spur their ignorant and superstitious followers to continue such action, which is essentially ritual after ritual of human sacrifice.
Dalai Lama’s statements have not only filled the Foundation with indignation, but also intellectuals around the world. Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religious scholar, is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor, sternly denounced Dalai’s attitude and commented regarding the incidents of self-immolations: “But he [the Dalai Lama] deserves criticism in this case. Why not ‘create some kind of impression’ that killing is wrong? Why not use his vast storehouse of moral and spiritual capital to denounce this ritual of human sacrifice?”
In his blog article entitled My Take: Dalai Lama should condemn Tibetan self-immolations, Prothero continued: “In an important article on the subject of suicide in the Boston Globe, Jennifer Michael Hecht noted that suicides beget suicides. ‘One of the best predictors of suicide is knowing a suicide,’ she writes. That means that every suicide may be a delayed homicide. And so it goes with self-immolations.”
Chairman Zhang points out that, for those young self-immolators who were blindly supporting the Dalai Lama, had the Dalai Lama timely denounced the foolishness of giving up one’s precious life and unequivocally voiced his opposition to self-immolation, exhorting that “committing suicide is a violation of Buddhist precepts,” their ignorant behavior that afflicts both themselves and others could have been stopped.
For these reasons, Prothero pleaded that “The Dalai Lama isn’t just a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He is also a man of peace. It is time in this crisis that he started to act like one.” However, since the Dalai Lama has been trying to dodge the issue with his vague attitude and states that “the best thing is to remain neutral,” Stephen Prothero could not help but questioned: “But there is [in Buddhism] (Note: Westerners often mistaken Tibetan “Buddhism” for orthodox Buddhism) also a strong ethic of compassion. So where is the compassion here?”
This article is an English version of the Chinese edition published on
Oct. 18, 2012.