H.H. the Dalai Lama decided this March that he will relinquish all his political power as the political leader of Tibet, enabling himself to focus on religious affairs and bringing the 4-century old institute of the Tibetan Dalai Lama leadership to an end. The Chinese government has, after strategic considerations, undertaken nine rounds of talks with the representatives of the Dalai Lama without any meaningful breakthrough. The Chinese government is waiting silently for the passing of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, after which they can attempt to reintroduce the Golden Urn method of the Manchurian (Qing) Dynasty to nominate the next Dalai Lama in a similar manner to the archaic nomination of his 10th reincarnation. This, they believe, will solve the Tibetan issue once and for all. The March decision of H.H. the Dalai Lama will definitely disrupt the Chinese government’s political process, and will simultaneously force the latter to alter its policy of rejecting to contact the Tibetan government-in-exile.
In the publicised view of the Chinese government, there is no Tibetan issue, only the Dalai Lama issue. Therefore, the resumed bilateral negotiations between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Dalai Lama have always been held between the private envoys of the Dalai Lama and the officials of the Department of the United Front. Up until now, the Chinese government have prevented direct contact with the Tibetan government-in-exile. Now that the Dalai Lama has renounced the political authority, there is no necessity for the Chinese government to undertake any negotiations with the private envoys of the Dalai Lama. Because of their previously publicised view, the Chinese government should not negotiate with Lobsang Sangay, the newly-elected Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
In the process of the bilateral negotiations between the Dalai Lama and the CCP, the latter has been dominant. The CCP did not attempt to give Tibetans a fair go, but instead resorted to force. His Holiness has personally expressed on more than one occasion that he still has confidence in the Chinese people, but that he has lost his trust in the CCP government. After 50 odd years’ of exile, Tibet is still facing the same abysmal situation. Nothing has changed.
Then came the March statement of the Dalai Lama, to break the deadlock and promote a change. This single change will trigger more changes, forcing the rival to review and change its obstinate stance.
Is the truth as claimed by the Chinese government that there is no Tibetan issue other than the Dalai Lama issue?
Obviously, this claim is nothing more than self-deception. If the Tibetan issue remains unaddressed, the international community will continue to increase its focus on this issue. Internally, the CCP will continue to face the problems of its internal disagreements regarding international diplomacy, and its political muscle will be weakened.
At this point, the situation of this political game will reverse. The incumbent political Tibetan leaders will have unprecedented political powers and responsibilities, and their initiation of political changes will only be a matter of time. It is foreseeable that it won’t be long before the CCP returns to the negotiation table with the incumbent political leader of Tibetans-in-exile, even if this negotiation is phony and fruitless.
The Tibetans-in-exile have an established democratic system throughout the exile communities, which is a progressive strategy. This will set the trend for future change in Tibet and China. The Dalai Lama has revealed that he will live for another 37 years in this world. Anyone who knows a little bit of Buddhism can understand that the life and death of an enlightened monk is not decided by natural ageing and illness, but failing external accident or misfortune, is decided by the monk himself as long as the world has the need of the monk’s continued existence. Obviously, H.H. the Dalai Lama is competing with the CCP against time. Is it possible for the CCP to win?
The September 24th Declaration of H.H. the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, regarding his future reincarnation, is an additional essential revelation since his initial public announcement of renunciation of his traditional political power this March. These events are triggering more speculations about the Tibetan issue amongst the international community, and it will doubtlessly affect Tibetan culture, Tibetan Buddhism and the future Sino-Tibetan relations fundamentally and profoundly. The Dalai Lama is an enlightened being in this world, with unequalled wisdom. Since he has indicated clearly about the length of time before his demise, he will naturally be aware of the Chinese government’s potential for political conspiracy. It is fairly unusual for His Holiness to make public declarations twice during a six month period, regarding his political status and reincarnation issues. For the writer of this article, the September 24th Statement is firm and strong. It is a profound insight of the changes in the future, and it is a horn heralding the march of the Bodhisattvas who may have to resort to force to rescue sentient beings from this intractable force.
The Golden Urn method was completely refuted as a valid selection method by the Dalai Lama in his September 24th Statement. This is the first time for the author has learned from the Dalai Lama that the Golden Urn method is the product of Manchurian hegemony, rather than the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Hence, any attempt to appoint the next Dalai Lama by the Chinese Central Government will be historically groundless and therefore not legitimate. The Dalai Lama expressly stated that ‘Reincarnation consists of the reincarnator’s own karma and good will, as well as his/her personal fate. This process is free from the oppression of external forces.’
The message is clear to the world: All Tibetans and international Tibetan Buddhist organizations shall not admit or accept the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama without the word and sanction of the incumbent incarnation.
The two recent statements of His Holiness the Dalai Lama have further confused the proposed strategies of the CCP regarding the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, shattering their dreams to disrupt and destroy the authentic future Tibetan leadership and impose a planted puppet leader as they have attempted to do with the Panchen Lama.