Dalai Lama: A monk in the middle of two rival nations

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 26, 2019, 10.30 PM(IST)

File photo: Dalai Lama. Photograph:( Getty )

Story highlights

The 84-year old leader is currently on a two-day visit to the Buddhist holy site of Bodh Gaya.

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Wednesday, slammed China saying that the Chinese communists have the power of gun which is weaker than the power of truth.

The Dalai Lama made the statement at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment more than two millennia ago.

With his advancing age Dalai Lama is a figure caught in a tight spot.

The question of who will succeed him has become more pressing than ever.

The 84-year old leader is currently on a two-day visit to the Buddhist holy site of Bodh Gaya.

This is the place where Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment more two thousand years ago.

From this holy site - the Dalai Lama made this declaration aimed at china.

'The power of gun vs the power of truth'

A statement in stark contrast to something he has been saying for the last few years.

Not too long ago — the Dalai Lama had said that the Tibetan issue was no longer a struggle for independence.

And surprisingly - he had also praised the Chinese communist party.

His remarks were meant to please china which is harnessing Buddhism as a soft power across Asia.

The Chinese regime is spending 3 billion dollars to revive the birthplace of Buddha - the Nepalese town of Lumbini.

But the only problem — Beijing is adamant on preventing the Dalai Lama from deciding his successor.

And Dalai Lama's statement indirectly raises pressure on India which hasn't spoken much on the issue off late.

India's policy on Tibet has bounced back several times. What we saw during the Doklam crisis may have been a result of that.

PM Modi had permitted the Dalai Lama to visit Tibetan communities in the state of Arunachal Pradesh — but these were territories claimed by China. Beijing had vociferously objected to this. 

The people's liberation army of China has said that its ties with the Indian military are improving with strategic dialogue.

This provides an upbeat picture of the relations between the two countries.

So the flip-flop in statements clearly shows the Dalai Lama's dilemma.

The Wuhan and the recent Mamallapuram summit has helped break ice between India and China after decades.

The Dalai Lama feels he is caught in between. He feels he may be losing voice with India's growing relations with China.

Despite being the world's most famous Buddhist —  he has kept himself out of anybody's strategic interests.

But now with the geo-political order changing — he fears that his institution could lose relevance.