Thoughts on the Dalai Lama’s Resignation.

Via News
on Mar 17, 2011
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Originally published by the rapscallions over at New Era News

The Dalai Lama has served as a living emblem for what peace remains for Tibetans-in-exile from Chinese rule.

For six decades, he’s served his people and given a face to a conflict rocked by what I can’t decide is a new imperialism…or just the scraps of an outdated model. But the Dalai Lama has done more than play figurehead to a movement; indeed, he’s held an instrumental and practical role in the political process of Tibet, one he feels that he can no longer perform to Tibet’s greatest benefit.

On March 14, Tibet’s beloved spiritual-political leader announced that the time is ripe to him to step down.

The Economist reports:

The spiritual leader of Tibet reminded his audience that ever since the 1960s he has “stressed that Tibetans need a leader elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect.”

The Dalai Lama suggested an amendment to the current Charter for Tibetans in Exile that would transfer political power to a popularly elected parliament. Expansive as his mind and architectures have proven, the solitary (and unavoidably aging) 75-year old political leader has long coached for a stable, autonomous Tibet rooted in a democratic establishment. Though he hopes his departure will encourage such an institution to take root, the political community is widely unprepared to see their leader relinquish responsibility.

Complete overhaul of infrastructure aside, a part their reluctance stems from the contention surrounding his successor. In 1995, the Dalai Lama pointed to the 6 year-old Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the next Panchen Lama. In response, Beijing kidnapped the boy and assigned another according to their interpretation of the ritual. By tradition, the Panchen Lama is tasked with selecting the next Dalai Lama; by Beijing’s decree, they will be in charge of the selection process.

In stepping down, the Dalai Lama has advocated for a third way—that the next power in Tibet stem from popular support driven by the tangible requirements of a people in exile, or maybe even in transition to a more sustainable political situation.

In the meantime, he will continue to foster the spiritual health of his people and provide authentically benevolent facial expressions and palms-up gestures to be silk-screened on organic tees (hopefully not Made in China) throughout the West.

Check out more adventures at sea over at New Era News.


About News

Andrew Whitehead is a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. He grew up in the grand country of Ireland, which is probably where he began to develop his exquisite beer palate. After moving to Wayne, Pennsylvania, Andrew became seriously passionate about the environment and strives to spread his awareness with anyone willing to listen. In his free time he loves to play hockey and soccer as well as go hiking. All that know him well fear his obsession with goats will land him a staring role on the well-known American TV show “Hoarders”.


3 Responses to “Thoughts on the Dalai Lama’s Resignation.”

  1. Linda says:

    For Tibetans to vote for their political leader could also be a further step toward moving the 4 main schools of Tibetan buddhadharma into the ri-med or unbiased mode. The Dalai Lama himself has exemplified this unbiasedness, while being the head of the Gelugpa lineage. It will be interesting to see who the newly elected leader is. Perhaps he will be one quite divorced from allegiance to any one school, although that is hard to imagine, as the buddhadharma is so interwoven into the very fabric of Tibetan society that Tibetans are so desperately trying to preserve.

  2. KZT says:

    Linda – two corrections.

    One, the "newly elected leader" has already been elected by the Tibetans-in-Exile general populace. He is knows as the "Kalon Tripa" and according to one report, the front-runner as of Sunday's election is (from the source) "43-year-old Harvard scholar and international law expert Lobsang Sangay".

    Second, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is NOT the head of the Gelugpa lineage. While he is, being the Dalai Lama, the one most looked up to for that position, he is not the actual lead. The reason for this is that while traditionally the Dalai Lama has always been from the Gelugpa lineage, there is no requirement for such. In such a case, the lead of the Gelugpa lineage would still be there while the Dalai Lama would be somebody else.

    And yes, it will be interesting to see what role the Kalon Tripa takes in the future.


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