Just my two cents worth


February 2010

His Holiness Talks to CNN’s Larry King Live

On February 22, 2010, CNN broadcast an interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Larry King on his show Larry King Live. This interview was pre-recorded in LA. Following is the full text of the interview as released by CNN. There are certain typographical errors like referring to Chinese leader Hu Yaobang as Hyuang Pang and to the Dalai Lama on occasions as Dali Lama.

The Dalai Lama with CNN's Larry King

CNN Transcripts
Larry King Live

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the Dalai Lama on his controversial meeting with Barack Obama.


KING: How did that meeting go?


KING: World affairs.


Where does it stand now between you and the Chinese government?


KING: And private ones, too.


You were asked the other day about Tiger Woods, the golfer. You said you had not heard of him.


KING: And then, is Ron Paul the great Republican hope for 2012?

Conservatives shock the political world by picking him in a presidential poll. He and James Carville are here to tell us what it all really means.

Plus, Olympic sensation Shaun White stops by. The half pipe king just won his second straight goal. Now he wants an invitation to the White House.

Are you listening, Mr. Obama?


Good evening.

We’ve got an update on the breaking news about former Vice President Dick Cheney. He was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after experiencing chest pains. He’ll remain there overnight. His doctors are evaluating the situation. And according to a statement from his office, he’s resting comfortably.

Cheney has had a history of heart problems.

If we have more information about the condition, we’ll bring it to you during the hour.

And now the Dalai Lama. I sat down with him over the weekend to talk about many things, including China, Tibet, even Tiger Woods.

We began our discussion with the Dalai Lama’s controversial, low key meeting with the president last week.


KING: The Dalai Lama met last week with President Obama.

How did that meeting go?

DALAI LAMA, EXILED TIBETAN SPIRITUAL LEADER: Very good. Of course, when he was a new senator and on the Foreign Relations Committee or something…

KING: Right.

DALAI LAMA: — I met him once. A very impressive young politician. Then during the election, he telephoned me and inquired about Tibet. As soon as he became president, he said we’ll have some — some contact and was very sympathetic. Last year, on the day (INAUDIBLE) chance (INAUDIBLE) meeting. But then, before — just before his visit to Peking, I always felt better not meet because if…

KING: You said that?

DALAI LAMA: Yes. I mean he also, he said that (INAUDIBLE). And I fully agree, better — you see, since, you see, he very, very seriously thinking to talk to the Chinese leaders, besides other issues, Tibetan issues. And he very much wanted to talk.

So the atmosphere may be better that not a meeting not take place at that time.

So that postponed (INAUDIBLE) to this time. In spite of some difficulties, you see, we had that meeting and a very pleasant one.

KING: What, Your Holiness, what do you want from him?

What do you want from America?

DALAI LAMA: Actually, I mentioned my three commitments. The number one commitment, the promotion of human value in order to create a better world, a more compassionate world, a peaceful world. For that, technology — economy is not the ultimate source of peace. The real source of peace is inner peace. Inner peace comes through a more compassionate heart. So that’s my (INAUDIBLE) number one commitment I always say wherever I go. I also talk these things. So I mentioned that.

And on that level, we are the same human being (INAUDIBLE) the same (INAUDIBLE) as the human being out of six billion human beings like that. So it is our common interest and common responsibility. I mentioned that.

And, second, my commitment is the promotion of religious harmony. I mentioned that. So in these (INAUDIBLE) or something. I mean he was very much in favor. And I hope that he also can make, I think, very effective sort of contribution in these fields.

Then, there was the Tibet issue. Since, you know, 2001, we already have elected political leadership. So in the Tibetan issue, the political side mainly is requiring the main responsible by the elected person. So I had some note (INAUDIBLE) and, of course, full — on my full agreement.

So then I mentioned, firstly, I report to him about our — the up to date sort of our contact with the Chinese government. Then, also, besides that, the refugee community in a free country. So we are carrying various kinds of work for preservation of Tibetan culture, Tibetan Buddhist tradition, like that.

And then, also, I request the help for modern education of Tibetan children, not only outside, but also inside Tibet. If some (INAUDIBLE) scholarship, Tibetan youth from Tibet will immensely benefit.

KING: What…

DALAI LAMA: So these things we discussed.

KING: Was he receptive?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, yes, very receptive. Very receptive. And then, truly, after our meeting, they — they made (INAUDIBLE) the president issued a statement that the American administration is fully supporting my — my middle way approach. (INAUDIBLE) like that.

KING: Where does it stand now between you and the Chinese government?

Right — right now, where are you at?



DALAI LAMA: Now, you know, the Chinese government denying there is sort of a problem.



KING: They deny it?
DALAI LAMA: Yes. They say Tibetans are very happy prosperity and much, much, much better than previous Tibet. But we received information that some, in some of some material development, but culture side or religious faith or all these fields, there’s so much (INAUDIBLE), suppression or control, restriction.

So, for example, just a few years ago, I met one Tibetan who come from Tibet — one profession, a professional person. He told me his own (INAUDIBLE) salary, accommodation and also the education for his children, no worries. Everything is good. But then he mentioned, but being as a Tibetan, mentally, emotionally, some kind of overwhelming sort of — what’s the feeling?

KING: Pressure?

DALAI LAMA: Or pressure. Then when he mentioned that, tear. So that has a Chinese — some of these hard-liner Chinese do not understand.


KING: We’ll have more on China and autonomy for Tibet as our exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama continues.


KING: Will there ever be greater autonomy for Tibet?

The Dalai Lama admits that China has hardened against him.

We spoke about what effect that might have on relations and progress between Tibet and China.


KING: When Americans are asked, what is more important, that Tibet become independent or the United States maintain good relations with China, it’s a — it’s a quandary. But Americans — more Americans think that it’s important for the United States to maintain good relations with China.

Can we do both?

DALAI LAMA: Actually, we are not seeking independence. No. We are — you see, that’s why we call the middle way. We — we complain that the present sort of policy in Tibet, it’s actually very much damaging about the Tibetans’ religious freedom and also culture, heritage and (INAUDIBLE), and, also, very bad for environment.

But, on the other hand, we also, you see, do not want separation from China, because the Tibet, landlocked country; materially is backward. Every Tibetan wants a modernized Tibet.

So for that reason, remain within the Peoples Republic of China. It is our own interest, as far as materials development is concerned. But (INAUDIBLE) meaningful autonomy, self-rule in the field of the culture, education, religion — in these fields, where the Tibetans can handle better — a better way. So in these fields, Tibetans should have full sort of authority.

So that’s what we call middle way.

So, firstly, we are not seeking independence. So, therefore, there’s some people among Tibetans and also among our supporters, our friends, also are a little critical we are not sort of fight for independence. So…

KING: But…

DALAI LAMA: So, therefore, this is — this is no contradiction, keeping good relations…

KING: I understand.

DALAI LAMA: — with China and, meantime, to support, you see, what we are carrying stock of (ph). So, actually, the Tibetan — our middle approach is the best way to bring unity and stability. So if you use common sense, then our approach is the best interests for Peoples Republic of China.

KING: But didn’t you recently say that the middle way was failing?

DALAI LAMA: Yes. After the 10th of March crisis in 2008, I publicly expressed now our effort — one aspect of our sort of effort, that’s to bring improvement inside Tibet.

Now that aspect failed. But that does not mean complete failure.

On the other hand, our approach brings a lot of support from Chinese intellectuals or writers. And then, also, you see many of government now in — I mean, clearly, including the United States government and, also, the Indian government, fully support — support our way of approach.

KING: You left your country 50 years ago — over 50 years ago.

Do you miss it?

Do you think of it a lot?

What are your feelings?


KING: That’s a long time.

DALAI LAMA: Yes. Occasionally, I remember my experience of childhood in Potala and also the Summer Palace in Norbulingka. Sometimes I remember these things. But otherwise, the last 50 years, now the portion of my life spent in India. And my body supported by Indian rice and Indian dal.


KING: So you don’t think of it a lot?

DALAI LAMA: So I — I don’t much sort of concern. But, you see, our concern is six million Tibetan people’s basic rights and their culture and Tibetan environment. These are the main issue.

Now in early ’80s, when the Hyuang Pang (ph), the late Hyuang Pang was there, his tenure — he’s very liberal, very realistic. So at that time, he offered a five point proposal. That’s about my return — about my concern. At that time, immediately, we responded to the Chinese government, this is not the issue. The issue is six million Tibetan people’s rights, not mine. Not the Dalai Lama’s issue.


KING: The Dalai Lama has an incredible sphere of influence, which is why he’s doing what he can to help the world’s most desperate children.

That’s next.


KING: When the Dalai Lama speaks, people listen, which is why he’s doing what he can to help children and call attention to those without access to education, medicine and the very basics that every child deserves.


KING: Whole Child International, what is that?

DALAI LAMA: Actually, the leader of this Whole Child International organization, he came to see me some time ago, last year, and explained about her work. I was very much impressed. Then I — I accepted her invitation, so now I come here.

So this is extremely important, because my number one commitment is to build a healthy world, a compassionate world, so these young children are the future generation. So they cultivate or nurture about compassion from — right from the beginning. It’s very, very essential.

Then, now, this organization is taking special care of these vulnerable children, who I felt (INAUDIBLE) like helpless children.

KING: Everywhere?

DALAI LAMA: Everywhere — an international sort of organization. So otherwise, you see, these children, who lack affection, then these — there is real danger eventually these children become possibly merciless person.
KING: And how do you reach them?

DALAI LAMA: So they — they are taking care not only just to provide food or shelter and education, but provide (INAUDIBLE) or connection. So that has very, very important. So that’s very, very important.

So that’s the, I think, real way or right way to cultivate affection on the child’s mind. So this is, I think, wonderful. I really appreciate it. This is their — their work.

KING: Do you think it can happen? Do you think it can work?

DALAI LAMA: I don’t know what it is who are carrying these work. I think the last few years some positive results are already there and some of these results, they’re scientifically (INAUDIBLE) prove it’s improved. The children’s not only body, but also mind; also, intelligence; all these things. So it is wonderful.

Now, my only hope, my only prayer is to spread this — these work in everywhere and, particularly, I mentioned at a — a meeting yesterday morning, I mentioned some of the countries, they consider daughter, female and a girl, you see, not much use for her. So sometimes there is sort of — a sort of practice of (INAUDIBLE) the girl.

KING: It’s terrible.

DALI LAMA: Terrible. Really terrible.

KING: Who does that?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, originally, I heard through BBC that one Chinese — a Chinese woman who carries some research in China proper, she had one interview with the BBC (INAUDIBLE) a reporter with her. And he — she mentioned a terrible sort of story.

So — and then, India, also, sometimes the villagers and farmers, you see, they consider the son is more useful, daughter is (INAUDIBLE) and then, also, India, you see another sort of — of course, India is now my home. And, also, I always describe myself as a messenger of India, because I am Buddhist.

Particularly, I consider myself as a (INAUDIBLE) follower of India’s ancient monastic institution of nalinda (ph).

So, and anyway — but in — in India, some — you see the sort of custom is something a little like they call dowry or something. So the daughter sometimes, you see, they (INAUDIBLE) it more.

KING: Do you speak out in India about this?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, yes, in India.


KING: We’ll talk about Haiti next.


KING: Welcome back to more with the Dalai Lama.

We talked about human suffering — acute in Haiti right now.


KING: As a man of God, a man of principle, a man of spirit, how do you explain to yourself what happened in Haiti?

DALAI LAMA: Very, very sad. Of course, I usually describe myself as a simple Buddhist monk. And I…

KING: A simple Buddhist monk?

DALI LAMA: Yes. I am one of the six billion human beings — same human being…


DALI LAMA: — on a fundamental level. So the — the tragedy in Haiti is really terrible. So almost, you see, the whole nation collapsed. So just — just yesterday I met with someone who asked about my feelings. And I told.

Nowadays what’s important is, unlike the past, nowadays, I think one of the, I think the indication of civilization of the whole world, like the tsunami sort of — sort of — sort of tragedy, the response from the rest of — the rest of the world is immense.

Now, similarly, Haiti case, also, you see, the response is very good. Now the resources are available. Now, ultimately, much depend on people’s own sort of determination and confidence.

So I mentioned them. I mentioned they’re now important is the Haitian people should think forward, not just to worry or sad, but work hard and utilize all these funds properly, then build a new nation, new buildings, a new nation. That’s my feeling.

KING: So from bad can come good?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, that’s right.

KING: All right. You were asked the other day about Tiger Woods, the golfer. You said you had not heard of him.


KING: He is a Buddhist. He said that, unfortunately, he left Buddhism and he practiced infidelity and he got in a lot of trouble. And you said you thought that fidelity is a discipline.

Do you think it’s a difficult discipline? DALAI LAMA: No. Discipline means protection of your own interests. That’s (INAUDIBLE) discipline. Another discipline, by order, that’s something different.


DALI LAMA: These totalitarian regimes give orders and some discipline.

KING: That’s different.

DALI LAMA: That’s unwanted.

But, you see, the spiritual, moral ethics are self-discipline, that — actually, just like taking care of your own body, according to a doctor’s sort of, what’s the suggestion. You see, there’s certain food reduce — certain food should sort of stop like that.

KING: The same thing?

DALAI LAMA: That’s self-discipline.

KING: How is your health?

DALAI LAMA: My health very good. You know, I think October 2008 I went through surgery to remove, also, the gallbladder. So — so I, you see, since then, I’m talking when my public talks, in some cases, I mentioned among the audience some people may have the view the Dalai Lama have healing power. So that — since then, scientifically, I prove that I don’t have no healing power.

But however, it’s very fit, my body.

KING: Do you, despite all you’ve gone through and been through, do you remain optimistic?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, yes. It’s much better.

KING: Why?


Oh, future is open. And then still, we are in this planet. So now I think, one, I think the practical reason is judging, even in the 20th century — I think the later part of the 20th century basically much more healthier than the early part of the 20th century.

Now for example, I think the concept of peace, reconciliation and also the concept of love and compassion, I think, these are — and also the environment issue. I think human beings — I think better awareness of all the reality. And I feel in 20th century, through a lot of pains, killing. I think some — according to some experts, the 20th century more than 200 million people killed through warfare. So such a painful experience, you see, helped humanity thinking more mental. So I’m optimistic.

KING: One other thing. You talk of love. You love the Chinese? 

DALAI LAMA: Certainly. We have to practice that. Sometimes you see some of these hard liners of a policy, ruthless policy. Sometimes I got some irritation, but a short moment. 

KING: You still love them? 

DALAI LAMA: Still, yes. I have to make effort to keep love.

KING: Thank you.

DALAI LAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Since I think modern, I think at least around 15 years.

KING: Fifteen years since last we were together. 

DALAI LAMA: So you are not much changed, so congratulations. 

KING: Nor you, thank you. His holiness — I haven’t changed? I’m older. His holiness the Dalai Lama. 


His Holiness on Tibet, His Childhood in Interview to NPR

As I was in the car this morning, I heard this program about His Holiness the Dalai Lama on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program.   His Holines expanded on his meeting with President Barack Obama, on the future of the institution of the Dalai Lama and on his upbringing. Following is the text of the program.
Dalai Lama: Committed To Promoting Human Value

Morning Edition
National Public Radio (NPR)
February 22, 2010

Whenever the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, comes to the West, his trips are fraught with political implications.
That’s because China, which claims Tibet as part of its territory, is particularly sensitive to Western leaders greeting the Dalai Lama as a “political” leader.
When he met last week with President Obama, the White House was careful to describe it as a meeting with a “religious” leader.
But that didn’t stop China from lashing out at a man they’ve called a “wolf in monk’s robes” — and warning of possible negative consequences, suggesting that a spring meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao might be cancelled.
Part of what exiled Tibetans are asking for is what the Dalai Lama calls “The Middle Way” — a measure of political autonomy and greater protection for Tibet’s culture and religion.
In a conversation with NPR’s Renee Montagne in Los Angeles, the Dalai Lama said he is committed to the promotion of human value and religious harmony.
“Our main concern is 6 million Tibetan people’s basic rights and their culture, including their language,” he said. “My future, no problem. If 6 million Tibetan people are satisfied and have basic rights … no problem.”
Childhood ‘Like Any Other Child’
The Dalai Lama was in Los Angeles as the guest of Whole Child International, a group that works with orphanages to train caregivers on how to foster more nurturing environments for institutionalized children.
It’s something he has experience with: He was enthroned at the age of 4, and spent much of his childhood away from his family in a grand palace outside Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.
But he told Montagne that he had what he considered a normal childhood.
“My childhood like any other child,” he said. I [loved to] play. I very much reluctant for study.”
Though he didn’t have other children to play with, workers at the palace played games with him, he said. That playtime gave the young Dalai Lama a sense of the home he had lost.
He laughed that losing at games also taught him a key tenet of Buddhism — humility.
From his mother, he learned a different lesson — compassion.
The illiterate peasant woman always shown brightly as a beacon of compassion, he said. Her first impulse was to help anyone in need.
That lesson helped shaped his desire to seek a peaceful solution to the worsening situation in Tibet.
A Focus On The Spiritual
When President Obama met last Thursday with the Dalai Lama, Tibetans in northwest China set off fireworks to celebrate the meeting.
“Initially they a little bit sort of excited” about the meeting, he said, adding that Tibetans know that Americans value “democracy, freedom, liberty.”
But Chinese leaders had a different reaction to the meeting. Though he is regarded as a separatist leader in Beijing, the Dalai Lama says that 90 percent of the time, his energy is spent on spiritual things.
“I think the Dalai Lama’s main importance in politics is mainly created by Chinese government,” he said.
He reiterated that he supported Obama’s decision not to meet with him during Obama’s first presidential visit to China last fall.
Postponing the meeting until Obama met with Chinese leaders allowed the president to “engage more effectively [with China],” he said.
Future Of The Institution
Now 74, there has been speculation on who the Dalai Lama’s successor might be. Amid fears that China might choose its own candidate, the Dalai Lama says it’s up to the people to decide whether the institution should continue.
“If people feel that the Dalai Lama institution is no longer much relevant, then this institution will cease — no problem. It looks like the Chinese are more concerned about this institution than me.”
Of course, at this moment in history, the majority of the Tibetan people have made it clear they very much do want the institution of the Dalai Lama to continue.
That is likely to keep the man revered by millions traveling the world for some time to come.

President Obama to Map Out Tibet Strategy with the Dalai Lama in the White House

View of the Map Room in the White House

The White House announced today that President Obama will be meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on February 18, i.e. on next Thursday. It was the second of the two announcements that Spokesman Robert Gibbs made as he began today’s regular briefing in the  James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

Gibbs said, “Secondly, on February 18th the president will meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  The meeting will take place in the Map Room here at the White House.  The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious leader and spokesman for Tibetan rights, and the president looks forward to an engaging and constructive dialogue.”

This was followed by some questionings by the press. As I write this, the White House is yet to release the transcript, but here is what I have been able to get.

“Q     Robert — (off mike) — this is a difficult time and a tense time already with China, and you have the problem that you’re talking about right now.  You need China’s help on Iran and many other issues.  Why proceed with the Dalai Lama meeting, which you know will infuriate them?

“MR. GIBBS:  Well, we’ve said this all along.  First off, we talked to the Chinese about their currency in Beijing.  We talked to the Chinese about the Dalai Lama in Beijing.  We talked about Internet access and Internet freedom with the Chinese, both in Shanghai during a town-hall meeting and in Beijing.

“We think we have a mature enough relationship with the Chinese that we can agree on issues that are of mutual interest, but we also have a mature enough relationship that — we know that two countries on this planet are not always going to agree on everything, and we’ll have — we’ll have those disagreements.”

The Map Room is not unfamiliar to His Holiness. In 1998, it was the venue of the meeting that he had with then President Bill Clinton.   The Map Room also seems to have figured in quite a few historical events. When President Obama had to retake his oath of office from  Chief Justice John Roberts last year, the oath was taken in the Map Room.  When President Clinton testified before independent counsel Ken Starr investigating the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, it was done in the Map Room.

I guess President Obama will map out his Tibet strategy in the Map Room now.

In any case, here are some recent responses by White House spokesperson on questions relating to the meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama. It gives you a taste of how the White House has been working to project this upcoming meeting in the way they want it to appear.

“Gaggle by Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton aboard Air Force One en route Manchester, New Hampshire, 2/2/10

“Q    Bill, China had some tough warnings about the President possibly meeting with the Dalai Lama.  Does the President intend to meet?  Is there a time, date set for that?

“MR. BURTON:  The President told China leaders — China’s leaders during his trip last year that he would meet with the Dalai Lama, and he intends to do so.  The Dalai Lama is an internationally respected religious and cultural leader, and the President will meet with him in that capacity.

“To be clear, the U.S. considers Tibet to be a part of China.  We have human rights concerns about the treatment of Tibetans.  We urge the government of China to protect the unique cultural and religious traditions of Tibet.

“As the President has expressed, we expect that our relationship with China is mature enough where we can work on issues of mutual concern, such as climate, the global economy, and nonproliferation, and discuss frankly and candidly those issues where we disagree.  The President is committed to building a positive, comprehensive, and cooperative relationship with China.

“Q    A date?

“MR. BURTON:  We’ll announce a date as it comes closer.

“Briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, 2/4/10

“James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

“Q    A quick follow.  Is the Dalai Lama still coming to meet with the President at the White House or not?

“MR. GIBBS:  I’m sorry?

“Q    If the Dalai Lama is still coming to meet with the President at the White House?

“MR. GIBBS:  He will be here later this month, yes.  Again, just let me say, again, that we told President Hu in November in Beijing.  The President told him that.  The President discussed each of these issues — Iranian sanctions, larger proliferation, and currency.


“Q    The Dalai Lama meeting that you said will be here at the White House, will that be in the Oval?  Will that be in the Residence?

“MR. GIBBS:  I do not know where the location of the meeting will be.

“Q    Will cameras be allowed in, or will the pool be brought in?

“MR. GIBBS:  I don’t have any coverage information on that right now.


“Q    Sixteenth and 17th for that?

“MR. GIBBS:  I don’t have a date either.

“Q    You don’t have a date?  Okay.

“Q    The Dalai Lama is not a leader of a foreign power.  What is the nature of his invitation here?  Is he invited in as a personal guest?

“MR. GIBBS:  I can check with NSC.  I don’t — the President meets with folks in the White House all the time that aren’t foreign leaders.

“Q    — whether it’s an Oval Office visit or whether he stops —

“MR. GIBBS:  Yes, and I honestly — I don’t have any information on where the meeting will take place.”

Thoughts on a Snowy Night

It has been some time since I posted something on my English blog. During this period I had traveled to India and China accompanying the envoys of H.H. the Dalai Lama to continue the talks with the Chinese leadership. Upon our return Special Envoy Lodi Gyari released a statement.

A welcome development that I could see in Dharamsala this time was the expansion of internet connectivity. While broadband has expanded, WiFi seems to a given now in Mcleod Ganj and Gangkyi areas, and this has enabled more people to participate in the internet world. Personally, these developments enabled me to tweet regularly while I was in India. As I mentioned on this site earlier, I have been tweeting in Tibetan for some time, just as a way to personally improve my command over the language as well as to push the limit in terms of its usage in a modern technological setting. You can see my tweets here.

I have also been posting on my Tibetan blog, which you can see here.

Anyway, on my return to the United States this time, there was a snowy reception, which has continued to this day.

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