In his first public appearance since undergoing gallbladder surgery earlier this month, the 73-year-old said, “as far as I’m concerned I have given up.”
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said it is now up to the Tibetan people to decide how to take the dialogue forward.
The Dalai Lama has called a special meeting of Tibetan exiles next month to discuss the future of the Tibet movement.
VOA News – Dalai Lama Says He Has Lost Hope in China Talks
This is certainly disheartening news for Tibetans, and for their supporters, myself included, but it is probably the best course of action for His Holiness to retire from the fray and build the foundation that will support Tibetan Buddhism and the succession when he is no longer with us.
I have long believed that the dream of coming to terms with the Chinese, vis-a-vis Tibetan autonomy, was doomed to be dashed. The idea that the Chinese hierarchy would change sufficiently within the Dalai Lama’s lifetime to allow any progress was always remote, and the rise of a successor with the ability to influence the Chinese and the rest of the world as much as His Holiness is even more so.
His Holiness the Karmapa is a wonderful young man and fine teacher, but it will be decades before he approaches the stature of HHDL in the eyes of the rest of the world. This takes nothing away from him; the same must be said of any successor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, should he choose to reincarnate again. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama occupies a singular place in world history. He could not have happened earlier, and it remains to be seen whether his influence can be approached by a future Buddhist leader.
The bare fact is, the world needs the Chinese far more than it needs the Tibetans, and states always act in their best interest. It is difficult to envision a set of circumstances that would make supporting Tibet an advantage to the few nations in a position to influence China in that regard (assuming that any are). To believe otherwise is to tilt at windmills.
That being the case, Tibetans in exile would be best served by our support in maintaining their culture and traditional ways to the greatest extent possible. Tibetans in Tibet, it is sad to say, will be best served by doing the same within the strictures put upon them, and by becoming good Chinese citizens.
This is not a happy solution, but it is the best for all concerned. Romance and regrets have no function in international relations.
Afterthought: We certainly hope that this announcement says nothing about His Holiness’ health, and that he enjoys many more years spreading the Dharma throughout the world. It is interesting to speculate if he might be considering the matter of a successor — perhaps even an election, as he has mentioned in the past.