Friday, 14 September 2018

Turn Off The Dalai Show

It is not news that the Dalai Lama is an old monster.

Before 1959, Tibet was not an independent state ruled benignly by the Dalai Lama and given over almost entirely to the pursuit of spirituality. But Tibet was certainly ruled by the Dalai Lama, by the lamas generally, and by the feudal landlord class from which the lamas were drawn. “Dalai” is a family name; only a member of the House of Dalai can become the Dalai Lama.

Well over 90 per cent of the population was made up of serfs, the background from which the present rulers of Tibet are drawn. That system was unique in China, and existed only because successive Emperors of China had granted the Tibetan ruling clique exactly the “autonomy” for which it still campaigns from “exile”. Life expectancy in Tibet was half what it is today.

There has never been an independent state of Tibet. Likewise, there is nothing remotely new about the presence in Tibet of large numbers of Han, who are ethnic Chinese in the ordinary sense, and of other Chinese ethnic groups. The one-child policy never applied in Tibet, so the Han majority there is the ethnic Tibetans’ own fault, if they even see it as a problem.

It is totally false to describe the Dalai Lama baldly as “their spiritual leader”. Relatively few would view him as such. In particular, Google “Dorje Shugden” for, to put at its mildest, some balance to the media portrayal of the present Dalai Lama. Or read what remains the greatest hit of The Lanchester Review. Beyond that venerable journal, we never hear from Dorje Shugden practitioners. Just as we never hear from the loyally Chinese Hui Muslims; I have tried, repeatedly.

Moreover, the Dalai Lama has never condemned either the invasion of Afghanistan or the invasion of Iraq.  For more on Buddhism as no more a religion of peace than Islam is (no less so, but no more), then see Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, and beyond. In fact, an examination of the relevant texts shows that violence in general and war in particular are fundamental to Buddhism. Tibet is particularly striking for this. A rare balanced treatment of Buddhism and violence was broadcast in August 2013. The subject is also addressed in great detail here.

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