Eighteen years ago...
In 2001, I had an interview with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. It was published by Rediff.com.
Click here to read the interview.
March 27, 2001, Dharamsala: HP: The Little Lhasa in exile. For the past two weeks a colourful crowd of more than 10,000 devotees has followed the Dalai Lama's teachings on the Graded Path of Enlightenment. They have come from the Himalayan regions of Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti or from the refugee settlements of South India and even from Tibet. A contingent of a few hundreds westerners have also joined in.
The day's Buddhist teachings are over and what better way to relax and recover from these intense days of concentration and prayers, but to attend the annual Tibetan opera festival at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, a mile away from McLeod Ganj, the Tibetan village with a British name.
It is here that the Dalai Lama receives Claude Arpi, a couple of days before leaving for another hectic 12 day journey to the Chinese 'rebel' island of Taiwan. He also explains the dichotomy between the real Karmapa and his rival. A Rediff exclusive.
On the occasion of the Tiananmen Day, here is an extract of the interview:
Could you envisage a day when you will perform the Kalachakra puja in Tiananmen Square?
Do you think lakhs of Chinese would come to listen to Buddhist teachings?
Yes. In fact, after the events in Tiananmen Square (in 1989), I felt that one day in the future, I would like to perform one Kalachakra initiation on Tiananmen in order to purify the area and help the people who died. This desire or vision is still there with me.
When you read the recently released the Tiananmen Papers, you see the leadership living in constant fear. Is it why they do not want to handle the Tibetan case?
More than 15 years ago, I met an old French diplomat, a friend of mine, he told me the Chinese Communist leaders fear religion, they fear Buddhism.
There is some substance in this and, of course, with the public interest for Marxist ideology decreasing, and the interest for spirituality (including the Falun Gong) increasing, naturally, the fear increases. Though (religious) practice is prohibited, it is today spontaneously increasing (in spite of the ban), so it is obviously causing fear.
Some sources say the Chinese leadership has no confidence in you. Is it true?
Yes, they think I am a very cunning, a very clever man. And on top of that they believe I am colluding with the Western powers to 'split' China. (Laughs).