'World In Focus': Interview with HH the XIV Dalai Lama
(Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV | May 22, 2002)

His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama

Exiled leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, spoke to Jennifer Byrne in Melbourne during his Australian tour, 2002

Byrne: Thank you very much for joining us on Foreign Correspondent. The Chinese as you've said... they are the guests who came with guns... Now they come with money, is it even harder to stop the conquest of Tibet?

His Holiness: (laughs) Your question's quite sharp. Now, actually the Chinese government you see, they are putting..... pouring more and more money into Tibet with hope eventually that the Tibetan spirit will diminish.

Byrne: What do you believe?

His Holiness: Two years ago I received one letter from Tibet. It said the Chinese government now decided to make a railroad to Tibet — a railway link — and then within thirty years twenty million Chinese were going to settle in Tibet. So if that kind of situation happened, then Tibet would finish.

Byrne: I'd like to ask yourself Your Holiness, even though you've been insulted by experts — by our own politicians who won't meet you, by the Chinese, by Rupert Murdoch. Do you ever allow yourself the luxury of being offended?

His Holiness: Sometimes there is a little irritation, but then, of course, one of the main practices you see is to try to cultivate respect towards one 's own enemy, or the people who create problems or harm to you.

Byrne: Even to Rupert Murdoch?

His Holiness: Oh certainly....

Byrne: ... when he talks about your Gucci shoes — rudely.

His Holiness: Okay... I don't think it's true. Out of his ignorance, I think. It doesn't matter. When sometimes the Chinese accuse me as a murderer, or as a rapist — it doesn't matter. Mainly they are ignorant. And in some cases they have to say things like that.

Byrne: What is the time that you have been offended, when it actually wounds you?

His Holiness: When I heard this story of torture and beating inside Tibet, then sometimes I feel I think besides sadness, a little irritation. Sometimes a little anger, I also succumb. But then I consciously say this is not right. I am a Buddhist. I am a practitioner of altruism. So I try to minimise these negative feelings.

Byrne: As you have said, people have tried to paint you as a living God — as a living Buddha — a man God... you say you are very much a human...?

His Holiness: (laughs) If it is some Tibetan, you see — they say or I think believe, the Tibetan sort of bright future can be achieved through just praying to the Dalai Lama. That is nonsense.

Byrne: So they should not pray to the Dalai Lama?

His Holiness: It is useless. We work hard... we have to work hard, even Dalai himself. Through prayer nothing can be achieved. I'm always telling people prayer of course is good, but through prayer we can't change the reality. Very different. So change reality through heart, through action!

Byrne: Through work?

His Holiness: Yes. Karma means action. So things change through action, not by prayer... not by wish.

Byrne: But it's a long time coming isn't it — will they ever leave you be?

His Holiness: Well firstly I'm not seeking independence. I'm not seeking complete separation from China. Tibet's a landlocked country — materially backward. Of course spiritually very rich — I think very rich — but spirituality alone cannot fill our stomachs. So we need money. We need more material development. For that reason if we remain within the Peoples Republic of China, providing the Chinese government treat us or respect us, respect our culture, respect our own basic right, then as far as material development is concerned we might get greater benefit if we remain in the Peoples Republic of China.

Byrne: You have said that your successor will come from outside China... China has said that it will come from inside China — is this also a worry for you? Can you be sure that the Dalai Lama will continue as you wish? Forgive me for asking about your death like this, but...

His Holiness: No, no... I understand...it's okay... it's okay... no problem. Now whether the Dalai Lama institution should continue or not is entirely up to the Tibetan people. If under present circumstances, if I die and the Tibetan people want another sort of reincarnation, then the genuine reincarnation will appear outside of Tibet because the main purpose of reincarnation is to fulfil the task which was started by the previous life but is not yet fulfilled. So logically, if, you see, the reincarnation is in Chinese hands and becomes a puppet, it will not help. But of course they have their power, they have their force. So one artificial Dalai Lama — I think one Dalai Lama in Tibetan has mouth service — lip service, but in heart there's another genuine Dalai Lama who is outside Tibet. So, that is the reality.

Byrne: Do you feel in any way that you have failed the People of Tibet because they are still not free — they are have to fight for their belief and their freedom?

His Holiness: Yes... I give one example — reunion inside Tibet, outside of Tibet — now for the three years past.... anyway, failed. But at same time preserved Tibetan culture heritage on this planet. Not only amongst Tibetans, but also among Tibetan friends — including some Australians. I think we achieved something. I think that we created some kind of source — of hope — for Tibetans inside Tibet. So that's our achievement.... so it's not a complete failure. I think there always is some failure, some field, some aspect.... achievement. So that's I think, the nature of life.

Byrne: Your holiness it's a great pleasure to meet you — thank you.

His Holiness: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Friends of Tibet (INDIA)
Friends of Tibet (INDIA), PO Box 16674, Bombay 400050