The transcript of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reply to the questions from the media persons
The transcript of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s reply to the questions from the media persons at the Kalachakra temple just before leaving for the Maitreya Project on January 12, 2003 at 1630 hrs.
What do you think about the terrorism and the danger of war today?
The early part of the 20th century compared to the later part of the 20th century and present 21st century was marred by violence. In the 21st century, I think, in spite of some unhealthy developments here and there, the world is becoming safer. This is my feeling. And also, I think, the desire for peace every where is much stronger in the 21st century.
In the past, in the name of patriotism and ideology, millions of people were ready to sacrifice their own lives, but that concept is no longer there. Terrorism, of course, is the worst kind of violence. It is very bad. I always believe that there are several levels of counter measures. At one level, I think, there are the immediate sorts of measures, which the leaders take, such as sending commandos. These are temporary immediate sort of measures. In the long run, it is very essential that individuals must create within ourselves a more peaceful and compassionate inner world. This certainly can create a peaceful and friendly atmosphere within our own home or family, and through this way in the society.
Then, there are educational institutions. I think, besides knowledge or education, we must make more efforts to cultivate compassion, and through compassion, the sense of dialogue. I think this must increase. This is my feeling. Sometimes, when we see conflict, the immediate sort of response that comes to our mind is to solve this problem by force, not through dialogue. But on the other hand, at the human level, I think, everybody, wherever he or she lives, has some potential to create a more peaceful and compassionate world. This is, in the long run, a more effective approach.
You have said China has liberalized. How do you substantiate this?
China is changing as the world is changing. Firstly, at the global level, communist totalitarian regimes are almost gone, except in North Korea, China and Vietnam, and in some way Cuba. This change has been brought about by popular peaceful movements, not by the presence of nuclear weapons. Likewise, today’s China, compared with 20 years ago, has changed much. Although, in China, there is still no rule of law, and no freedom of speech and press. All the media in China is controlled by the government, which is, of course, unfortunate. But compared to the past years, people can criticize their leaders in teashops. This sort of thing was not possible 30 years ago. So, these are the signs of change. Now this change will continue. The problem of Tibet is not caused by any civil war or conflict due to religion, ideology or some other reasons, but by the presence of Chinese in Tibet. Therefore, the change in China will have a direct impact on Tibet.
(On the question of autonomy and freedom of Tibet)
I always make it clear that I am not seeking independence for Tibet irrespective of past history. Under the present circumstances, the world is becoming more interdependent. When I was in Taiwan, I told some of the Taiwanese politicians, who seek independence for Taiwan, that as far as Tibet is concerned, I am not seeking independence. In the present circumstances, I think, Taiwan should have a very unique close relation with Mainland China in the field of economy and defence. So, now in the modern world, complete separation or sovereignty does not have much relevance.