THE CLINTON CURSE. A BALANCED BUDGET vs FOREIGN DEBT
I ask my readers to make the distinction between Budget Deficit and Foreign Debt. I describe the phrase ‘The Clinton Curse’ from my reading the Book of Deuteronomy which specifically mentions the Curse relating to a debt owed to foreign nations.
In my analysis, ‘The Clinton Curse’ demands the Repeal of Bill Clinton’s Public Law called PRWORA or The Welfare Reform Act of 1996.
SURPRISE! The budget deficit is soaring! 🚀🚀🚀
Here’s a headline you might have missed amid the onslaught of news about Julian Assange, William Barr, Nipsey Hussle, and Michael Avenatti:
“US budget deficit running 15% higher than a year ago.”
The story cites this monthly report from the Treasury Department detailing these few eye-popping facts:
1) The budget deficit grew $146.9 million in the month of March alone. 2) The deficit for this fiscal year is now $691 billion — a 15% increase (or roughly $100 billion) from where we were at this point in 2018. 3) Treasury is projecting that the deficit will surge over $1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year in September.
To which, our politicians have responded: 😒
“Nobody cares,” White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly told a group of Republicans who wondered why President Donald Trump wasn’t going to mention the ever-growing deficit in his State of the Union Speech earlier this year.
That’s a massive change from where Trump, Mulvaney and the rest of the Republican Party were on the dangers of debt and deficits just a few years ago. Here’s Trump talking to Sean Hannity in 2016 about how easily he will balance the federal budget:
“It can be done. … It will take place and it will go relatively quickly. … If you have the right people, like, in the agencies and the various people that do the balancing … you can cut the numbers by two pennies and three pennies and balance a budget quickly and have a stronger and better country.”
So, well, it hasn’t turned out that way. At all.
Here’s the kicker: Trump isn’t likely to pay a price — either within his own party or the broader electorate — for the soaring deficit. Less than 50% of people in a January Pew poll said that lowering the federal deficit should be a top priority of Washington policymakers. That’s down, rapidly, from 72% who said the same earlier this decade.
The Point: Deficits have lost their salience as a political issue. But that doesn’t mean they are going away. And, at some point, our political (and economic) systems will be forced to deal with our growing mountain of debt.
How the U.S. Deficit and Debt Are Different? The U.S. budget deficit was $211 billion in August 2018. That’s much lower than the record high of $1.4 trillion reached in FY 2009. The U.S. debt exceeded $22 trillion on February 11, 2019. That’s more than triple the $6 trillion debt in 2000. What is Foreign Debt? Foreign debt is an outstanding loan or set of loans that one country owes to another country or institutions within that country. Foreign debt also includes obligations to international organizations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank or Inter-American Development Bank. Total foreign debt can be a combination of short-term and long-term liabilities. Also known as external debt, these outside obligations can be carried by governments, corporations or private households of a country. In fact, the national debt went from $4.4 Trillion at the end of 1993 to almost $5.7 Trillion at the end of 2000, U.S. Treasury data shows, a 28 percent increase in the debt over this time when our nation supposedly was running a balanced budget. The reason for the confusion is that the reported budget deficit/surplus does not take into account new debt being incurred by the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds and other government loan programs. So, when the budget appeared to have gone down by $69 billion in 1998, the national debt increased by $109 billion, similarly, in 1999, the budget surplus appeared to be $126 billion, the actual national debt rose from just under $5.5 trillion to just over $5.6 trillion.
THE CELEBRATION OF SPRING SEASON – SATURDAY, APRIL 06, 2019.WELCOME TO THE TELUGU NEW YEAR VIKARI – UGADI CELEBRATION:
THE CELEBRATION OF SPRING SEASON: WELCOME TO TELUGU NEW YEAR “JAYA” – UGADI CELEBRATION ON MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2014:
TELUGU NEW YEAR VIJAYA: UGADI- THE DAWN OF NEW YEAR APRIL 11, 2013:
Spring is the season of the year between Winter and Summer. In the Northern Hemisphere it extends from the Vernal Equinox( day and night equal in length), March 20 or 21, to the Summer Solstice( year’s longest day ), June 21 or 22. The Seasons come with cyclical frequency at the expected time while planet Earth and the rest of the Solar system partake motion of Sun in the Milky Way Galaxy and their location in Space is never constant and is never the same.
THE SPRING SEASON – A REASON FOR HOPE:
The arrival of Spring Season is celebrated with a sense of Joy in numerous cultures and human traditions. The reason for Joy is because of the Season giving a sense of Hope. The reason for Hope is that of rebirth, renewal, regeneration, regrowth, and rejuvenation. In Spring, we witness the plant and animal life getting revitalized. Things in Nature change with Time but Nature remains unchanged. Nature remains constant, immutable, unchanged, or eternal. Nature does not change as mass, energy, and momentum always remain unchanged. The Laws of Conservation stated by classical Physics state that mass and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Each Law of Conservation signifies that Nature does not change with the passage of Time. We have hope as Nature exists without change. There is hope that we can recover and renew and restart if a process is broken or worn out. Nature’s ability to support and sustain Life is maintained by operation of The Laws of Conservation and by operation of the Fundamental Force called Gravitation.
THE LORD OF THE SEASON – MADHAVAM:
The other name for Spring Season, known as Vasant or Basant is MADHAVAM. Indian tradition describes ideas by attaching them to personalities. The person known as LORD MADHAVA is the consort of a person known as Goddess MADHAVI. She derives her name from the word MADHU which describes the nectar gathered by butterflies. Madhu is used to name the taste experience called Sweetness, the sweet substances like honey, sugar, Jaggery and any alcohol derived by fermentation of sugars. The Sweetness gives Joy and Happiness and man can get easily addicted to its powerful intoxicating effect. The sweetness has to be experienced with a sense of restraint. Man experiences a sweet sensation called MADHURYA when he experiences MADHAVI as a FORCE/POWER/ENERGY called Mercy/Grace/Compassion. Spring Season is celebrated as MADHAVAM as Lord Madhava is the Controller of the FORCE/POWER/ENERGY of Mercy/Grace/Compassion described in the Sanskrit language as KRUPA. Man exists at all stages of his life because of God’s Mercy, Grace, and Compassion.
THE CELEBRATION OF TELUGU NEW YEAR – UGADI:
The Telugu speaking people of India follow the Lunar Calendar and the first month of the year ( March-April) is known as CHAITRA.
The Telugu New Year is traditionally celebrated as UGADI festival. A traditional holiday dish, a relish called ‘UGADI PACHADI’ is prepared to reflect the tastes and flavors of Spring Season. Telugu people are celebrating the dawn of their New Year called “VIKARI” on Saturday, April 06, 2019.
The 14th Dalai Lama flees from Tibet to India across the Himalayas, 1959. He is riding a white pony, third from the right. Photograph: Popperfoto/Getty Images
The Chinese were yesterday using planes and some fifty thousand troops, including paratroops, to search the Tibetan mountain passes for the Dalai Lama. But according to reports from Kalimpong, in North-east India, the Tibetan religious leader, moving only by night, was expected to cross the frontier within a few days.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Mr. Silun Lukhangwa, a former Tibetan Premier, said it was hoped to send a delegation to the United Nations to protest against Chinese action in his country. He was speaking after two Tibetan groups had appealed for Indian aid in the crisis in an interview with Mr. Nehru. An Indian official press release merely said: “Mr. Nehru spoke to them briefly, expressing the hope that the present difficulties in Tibet would end peacefully. He made it clear that India was not in a position to intervene and in fact, would not like to take any steps which might aggravate the situation there.”
The Dalai Lama is accompanied on his flight by his mother and sisters, as well as most members of the Tibetan Cabinet, it was learned yesterday. His progress on the 200-mile trek to safety is slow, but it was believed in Kalimpong yesterday that reports that he had been injured in a fall were incorrect. The territory through which he is believed to be moving is the roadless mountainous region of the Tibetan plateau, south-east of Lhasa, bordering Bhutan and the Indian North-east Frontier Agency. The Indian north-east frontier region has been closed to anyone without a permit, and it was stated in New Delhi that no permits could be issued at present.
Reports said the Chinese were dropping paratroopers in an effort to intercept the Dalai Lama. Other troops were going from village to village and monastery to monastery “harassing” inhabitants and monks to try to extort information about him. Strong cordons of Chinese soldiers were being thrown around many monasteries, including the one at Rongbuk, near Mount Everest.
The Tibetan delegation gave Mr. Nehru a memorandum asking him:
1. To lend his active support in securing the personal safety of the Dalai Lama.
2. To send immediately a mercy mission to Tibet with medical supplies.
3. To sponsor the Tibetan cause before the United Nations.
4. To permit Tibetan refugees to cross over freely into India.
It was thought in New Delhi that Mr. Nehru might well pass on the memorandum to the Chinese for their information. The Tibetan groups’ leader, Mr. Lukhangwa, told reporters: “The Dalai Lama’s wishes are the wishes of the people of Tibet. Whatever he says, we will follow him.”
MARCH 29, 1973: THE UNFINISHED WAR TO CONTAIN COMMUNISM
On March 29, 1973, the U.S. withdraws combat troops from Vietnam after the signing of the Vietnam Peace Agreement in Paris on January 29, 1973. However, the War to contain the threat posed by the spread of Communism to Asia is not over.
Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops leave South Vietnam as Hanoi frees the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. America’s direct eight-year intervention in the Vietnam War was at an end. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam.
In 1961, after two decades of indirect military aid, U.S. President John F. Kennedy sent the first large force of U.S. military personnel to Vietnam to bolster the ineffectual autocratic regime of South Vietnam against the communist North. Three years later, with the South Vietnamese government crumbling, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered limited bombing raids on North Vietnam, and Congress authorized the use of U.S. troops. By 1965, North Vietnamese offensives left President Johnson with two choices: escalate U.S. involvement or withdraw. Johnson ordered the former, and troop levels soon jumped to more than 300,000 as U.S. air forces commenced the largest bombing campaign in history.
During the next few years, the extended length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes, such as the massacre at My Lai, helped turn many in the United States against the Vietnam War. The communists’ Tet Offensive of 1968 crushed U.S. hopes of an imminent end to the conflict and galvanized U.S. opposition to the war. In response, Johnson announced in March 1968 that he would not seek reelection, citing what he perceived to be his responsibility in creating a perilous national division over Vietnam. He also authorized the beginning of peace talks.
In the spring of 1969, as protests against the war escalated in the United States, U.S. troop strength in the war-torn country reached its peak at nearly 550,000 men. Richard Nixon, the new U.S. president, began U.S. troop withdrawal and “Vietnamization” of the war effort that year, but he intensified bombing. Large U.S. troop withdrawals continued in the early 1970s as President Nixon expanded air and ground operations into Cambodia and Laos in attempts to block enemy supply routes along Vietnam’s borders. This expansion of the war, which accomplished a few positive results, led to new waves of protests in the United States and elsewhere.
Finally, in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war, and the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held, and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.
However, the agreement was little more than a face-saving gesture by the U.S. government. Even before the last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the cease-fire, and by early 1974 full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and civilians had been killed in fighting during the year, making it the costliest of the Vietnam War.
On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces. North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, accepting the surrender of South Vietnam later in the day, remarked, “You have nothing to fear; between Vietnamese, there are no victors and no vanquished. Only the Americans have been defeated.” The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular foreign war in U.S. history and cost 58,000 American lives. As many as two million Vietnamese soldiers and civilians were killed.
As the month of March, Tibet Awareness Month is heading towards its end, I regret to report that The Great Problem of Tibet is still on the Back Burner. But I am adamantly hopeful for the word ‘EVIL’ means Doom, Apocalypse, Calamity, Cataclysm, and Disaster. The global attention for Tibet has shrunk but the Evil Red Empire could be rushing ahead to meet its unavoidable Fate.
Special Frontier Force
How China has shrunk global attention for Tibet and the Dalai Lama — Quartz
March is a sensitive month in Tibet. In 1959, an uprising led to a bloody crackdown by Chinese forces, culminating in the 23-year-old Dalai Lama’s escape to India on March 17, where he arrived after two weeks of apprehension over his fate. Protests marking the Tibetan revolt were put down in 1989, and most recently in 2008, months before China was set to showcase itself to the world with the opening of the Beijing Olympics.
It’s hard to imagine such acts of defiance taking place today. In 2011, Beijing further tightened its chokehold on the autonomous region under the leadership of new Tibet Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo (paywall), who implemented a vast array of security measures, including the incarceration and “re-education” of those who had returned from listening to the Dalai Lama’s teachings in India. Tibetans were also forced to adapt their culture to party ideology and to learn how to “revere” science, part of Beijing’s ongoing propaganda campaign that portrays its rule in Tibet as a benevolent exercise in modernization and anti-feudalism. Ten years ago today (March 28), the Chinese instituted Serfs’ Emancipation Day as a holiday to celebrate its program.
Smoke rises from burning buildings below the Potala Palace in the Tibetan capital Lhasa during protests on March 14, 2008.
“To some extent, China has been very successful in dealing with Tibet,” said Tsering Shakya, an academic at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Beijing is applying the Tibet model to another minority considered to pose a danger to the state. In 2016, Chen became party secretary in the Xinjiang region of northwest China, where his Tibetan policies are largely seen as the foundation for repression of the Uyghur minority. Large-scale re-education camps hold hundreds of thousands of Muslims as Uyghur cultural and religious practices face systematic erosion.
From Kundun to Rock Dog
Advocates hope that growing international awareness over Xinjiang will help rekindle the world’s attention toward Tibet, which has dwindled amid the Chinese Communist Party’s relentless efforts to reshape the global conversation about the region.
Perhaps the starkest manifestation of that is in the arts. Tibet, once a cause célèbre in Hollywood as the subject of films such as Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet—in which Brad Pitt played the role of an Austrian mountaineer who tutored the young Dalai Lama—is today almost nowhere to be seen on screen. Actor Richard Gere, one of the most well-known celebrities to support Tibetan independence, said in 2017 that he has been shut out of major productions because of his outspokenness.
Nancy Pelosi talks to Richard Gere at a memorial event for Kasur Gyari, former special envoy of the Dalai Lama to the US, March 12, 2019.
When Tibet is still visible, said Seagh Kehoe at the University of Leicester, it is often in a watered-down and totally depoliticized fashion, as in the animated Rock Dog, a 2016 joint US-China production about a Tibetan mastiff who becomes a music star. Self-censorship over Tibet can be seen at work in London as well, with a West End theater suspending performance of a play about Tibet last year reportedly at the urging of the British Council, the UK’s international cultural organization, which is partly government funded. Following accusations of censorship by its playwright and apologies by the theater, Pah-la is now due to be staged next month.
Shaping the narrative on campus
Universities are another important battleground in Beijing’s attempt to mold its narrative. Campus activism in an earlier era was generally pro-Tibetan. That’s changing today with the ballooning number of Chinese students abroad—over 600,000 now compared with fewer than 50,000 in the late 1990s.
Chinese authorities “see overseas students as allies in their ongoing efforts to counter regime opponents” including groups sympathetic to Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, and the Falun Gong, according to a report (pdf) last year by the Wilson Center, a Washington, DC-based think tank. The report detailed attempts by Chinese officials to put pressure on institutions to cancel invitations to the Dalai Lama and to bring more Chinese delegations to US universities to espouse the Communist Party’s line on Tibet.
Chemi Lhamo, a Tibetan student who was elected last month as a student president at the University of Toronto, received thousands of threatening Instagram messages from Chinese students. The student union decided to close her office out of concern for her safety. Chinese officials in Canada denied having anything to do with the incident or a case in which a Uyghur speaker was disrupted by Chinese students at McMaster University who had reportedly sought advice (paywall) from the consulate in Toronto. Chinese diplomats in Canada have praised the actions of students in both instances as being “patriotic.”
“Slow violence” gets less attention
Draconian restrictions on travel by Tibetans, foreign diplomats and journalists has made getting disseminating information from the region immensely more difficult.
Ever-tightening security has eliminated visible, large-scale displays of protest. The “optics of urgency” spotlighting the Xinjiang situation, such as satellite photos of camps and reporting by journalists on the ground, are missing from the Tibet narrative, wrote Gerald Roche, an anthropologist at La Trobe University in Melbourne. The “slow violence” that characterizes the plight of Tibet today, Roche added, makes it harder to get global attention.
Ahead of the 60th anniversary of the uprisings in Tibet, Chinese authorities further tightened control, restricting even foreign tourists from traveling there. Meanwhile, a white paper from China’s State Council on Tibet released yesterday (March 27) boasted of “democratic reform” over the past six decades, including a chapter titled “The People Have Become Masters of Their Own Affairs.”
Armed police attempt to prevent a photographer from taking pictures at the entrance to the village of Taktser, known in Chinese as Hongya, where the Dalai Lama was born in 1935, Qinghai province, China March 9, 2019.
Dramatic protests have continued. Since 2009, Tibetans have been self-immolating as a form of protest, with the act spreading from nuns and monks to laypeople. The International Campaign for Tibet’s latest count of self-immolations totals 155, with the last of the three known to have occurred in 2018 taking place in December. International media coverage, however, has largely disappeared. “We have some 150 cases of self-immolation, but for all I know it could be 300,” said Kevin Carrico at Monash University in Australia. “Even for people who pay attention to this situation, we don’t really know what’s happening.”
The debate over the next Dalai Lama
Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch in Washington, said that spotlighting China’s human-rights abuses in Xinjiang can reinforce mutual support between diaspora Uyghur and Tibetan groups. There’s a common “core pathology” underlining Beijing’s actions in both places, including the “erasing of cultural identities and practices,” she said. Lhamo, the Tibetan student, told Quartz that a growing focus of her activism now involves building ties and sharing information with Uyghurs, Taiwanese, and the Falun Gong.
Advocacy groups have also welcomed renewed pressure by the US on Beijing. Congress passed the Tibet Reciprocal Act in December, which denies entry to the US any Chinese official who blocks Americans from going to Tibet. Matteo Mecacci, a former lawmaker in Italy and president for the International Campaign for Tibet, said the bill signals “enduring, bipartisan support for Tibet” in the US. The law requires annual reports detailing access to Tibet for Americans, with the first published this week.
AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia
The Dalai Lama smiles as he sits on his chair at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Feb. 27, 2019.
The fight over the Dalai Lama’s succession—and China’s obsessive control over it—could also return Tibet to headlines in the coming years.
Amid a flurry of attention this month marking the leader’s 60th anniversary in exile in Dharamsala, the 83-year-old Dalai Lama said in an interview that his next incarnation could be found in India, adding that Beijing is likely to appoint its own successor whom “nobody will trust.” Beijing, which consistently maintains that the Dalai Lama is a separatist, promptly reiterated that the selection of the next Tibetan spiritual leader must follow Chinese law.
“Our strength, our power is based on truth. Chinese power based on the gun,” the Dalai Lama said. “So for short term, the gun is much more decisive, but long term truth is more powerful.”
In my analysis, the Battle for Tibet will not be decided by either Chinese Gun or American Gun. The truth will prevail. China will reap the consequences of her own Evil actions. Tibet’s Identity is shaped by Natural Forces, Natural Causes, and Natural Factors that condition the nature of Tibetan Existence. Nature will unleash a physical force to compel China to withdraw from illegally occupied Tibetan Territory.
Special Frontier Force
Exclusive: Dalai Lama contemplates Chinese gambit after his death. Reuters
The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, said on Monday it was possible that once he dies his incarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years, and warned that any other successor named by China would not be respected.
Sat in an office next to a temple ringed by green hills and snow-capped mountains, the 14th Dalai Lama spoke to Reuters a day after Tibetans in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala marked the anniversary of his escape from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, disguised as a soldier.
He fled to India in early 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and has since worked to draw global support for linguistic and cultural autonomy in his remote and mountainous homeland.
China, which took control of Tibet in 1950, brands the 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate a dangerous separatist.
Pondering what might happen after his death, the Dalai Lama anticipated some attempt by Beijing to foist a successor on Tibetan Buddhists.
“China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important. They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me,” said the Dalai Lama, swathed in his traditional red robes and yellow scarf.
“In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas come, one from here, in a free country, one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect (the one chosen by China). So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese! It’s possible, it can happen,” he added, laughing.
China has said its leaders have the right to approve the Dalai Lama’s successor, as a legacy inherited from China’s emperors.
But many Tibetans – whose tradition holds that the soul of a senior Buddhist monk is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death – suspect any Chinese role as a ploy to exert influence on the community.
Born in 1935, the current Dalai Lama was identified as the reincarnation of his predecessor when he was two years old.
Speaking in Beijing at a daily news briefing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the 14th Dalai Lama himself was chosen by following centuries-old religious rituals and history, which were “respected and protected” in rules and ordinances regulating religion.
“Therefore reincarnations, including that of the Dalai Lama, should observe the country’s laws and regulations and follow the rituals and history of religion,” Geng said.
UP FOR DISCUSSION
Many of China’s more than 6 million Tibetans still venerate the Dalai Lama despite government prohibitions on displays of his picture or any public display of devotion.
The Dalai Lama said contact between Tibetans living in their homeland and in exile was increasing, but that no formal meetings have happened between Chinese and his officials since 2010.
Informally, however, some retired Chinese officials and businessman with connections to Beijing do visit him from time to time, he added.
He said the role of the Dalai Lama after his death, including whether to keep it, could be discussed during a meeting of Tibetan Buddhists in India later this year.
He, however, added that though there was no reincarnation of Buddha, his teachings have remained.
“If the majority of (Tibetan people) really want to keep this institution, then this institution will remain,” he said. “Then comes the question of the reincarnation of the 15th Dalai Lama.”
FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Patron of Children in Crossfire, speaks during a press conference in Londonderry, Northern Ireland September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
If there is one, he would still have “ no political responsibility”, said the Dalai Lama, who gave up his political duties in 2001, developing a democratic system for the up to 100,000 Tibetans living in India.
SEMINAR IN CHINA?
During the interview, the Dalai Lama spoke passionately about his love for cosmology, neurobiology, quantum physics and psychology.
If he was ever allowed to visit his homeland, he said he’d like to speak about those subjects in a Chinese university.
But he wasn’t expecting to go while China remained under Communist rule.
“China – great nation, ancient nation – but its political system is a totalitarian system, no freedom. So, therefore, I prefer to remain here, in this country.”
The Dalai Lama was born to a family of farmers in Taktser, a village on the northeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau, in China’s Qinghai province.
During a recent Reuters visit to Taktser, police armed with automatic weapons blocked the road. Police and more than a dozen plain-clothed officials said the village was not open to non-locals.
“Our strength, our power is based on truth. Chinese power based on the gun,” the Dalai Lama said. “So for short term, the gun is much more decisive, but long term truth is more powerful.”
Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Additional reporting by Philip Wen in BEIJING; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO SPRING. CELEBRATING THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019.
I wish all my readers, ‘Happy First Day of Spring’.
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO SPRING ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2019. EVERY CHANGING PHENOMENON IN NATURE IS OPERATED BY UNCHANGING REALITY.
Every changing phenomenon in nature is operated by Unchanging Reality. Spring Season brings a change, and this change is possible for it is governed by Unchanging Reality. In Indian tradition, Spring Season is glorified for it symbolizes LORD MADHAVA, Lord of Seasons.
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO SPRING. LORD MADHAVA WITH GODDESS MADHAVI: The Divine Song called Bhagavad Gita, Chapter X, ‘The Infinite Glories of the Ultimate Truth’- ‘VIBHUTI VISTARA YOGA’, describes LORD God Creator’s Infinite Divine Attributes. In verse # 35, Lord Krishna describes Himself as The Lord of Spring Season – The Flowery Season: “Rtunam Kusumakarah.”
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO SPRING. LORD KRISHNA AS MADHAVA SYMBOLIZES THE SEASON OF FLOWERS, SEASON OF JOY.
The word ‘Spring’ describes the move upward or forward from the ground, it denotes resilience or bounce, and it means to grow or develop or come into existence quickly. Among the Seasons, the Spring Season is the time during which plants begin to grow after lying dormant all Winter. In the North Temperate Zone, the Spring Season includes the months of March, April, and May, the period between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO SPRING. The Spring Season begins on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, Vernal Equinox or Spring Equinox, the day on which duration of Light and Darkness(Day and Night) are equal in all parts of the world.
LORD MADHAVA – LORD OF THE SPRING SEASON:
LORD OF SEASONS – WELCOME TO SPRING. In Indian tradition, Spring Season is called ‘BASANT’, ‘VASANT’,’KUSUMAKARA’ or ‘MADHAVAM’. A chief, alluring feature of this Season is the flowering of plants. Mangifera indica, MANGO plant, a native of India bears flowers and promises to deliver its sweet, and delicious fruits.
The Spring Season is a time for rebirth, regeneration, renewal, and regrowth after a period of dormancy. Man derives a sense of joy and happiness when the plants start their growing process and quickly bear attractive flowers. It gives the experience of ‘Sweetness’ which is called ‘Madhurya’ in the Sanskrit language. It is a manifestation of a creative process, or operation of creative energy that makes human existence possible giving the man the sensation associated with consuming nectar, honey, or sweet wine. In Indian tradition, this creative energy is personified as Goddess Madhavi, and Her consort Lord Madhava is the Controller of Creative Energy. Today, I seek Blessings of Lord Madhava and Goddess Madhavi to renew my creative energy and to guide expression of my thoughts using sweet words and to promote the well-being of all my readers and become a source of Happiness to all people.
The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, warned that the successor chosen by China could not be trusted Credit: BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images
The Dalai Lama has warned of a possible “double reincarnation” with one from a “free country” after Beijing reiterated that his next incarnation must comply with Chinese law.
The Tibetan Buddhist leader on Monday warned that a successor chosen by Beijing after his eventual death could not be trusted.
He said it is possible that his reincarnation could be found in India, where he has lived in exile for 60 years upon fleeing Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
“In future, in case you see two Dalai Lamas come, one from here, in a free country, one chosen by Chinese, then nobody will trust, nobody will respect [the one chosen by China].
“So that’s an additional problem for the Chinese! It’s possible, it can happen,” he told Reuters in an interview.
The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in northern India since the failed uprising, along with other Tibetans Credit: MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images
China stated in response that its leaders have the right to approve the Dalai Lama’s successor. The selection process “must comply with Chinese laws and regulations,” according to Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the foreign ministry.
Chinese state media highlighted those laws, titled “New Regulations on Religious Affairs and the Rules on the Management of the Reincarnation of Tibetan Living Buddhas.”
Many Tibetans, who believe that the soul of a senior Buddhist monk is reincarnated into the physical body of a child upon his death, worry a successor chosen by Beijing will be under the thumb of the ruling Communist Party.
The current Dalai Lama was identified as the reincarnation of his predecessor when he was two years old.
Now at 83, it’s getting harder for him to travel the world to boost awareness, and his influence is waning just as China’s is growing on the world stage.
The Dalai Lama is now 83. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images
Beijing has recently cracked down heavily on religion under president Xi Jinping after the government vowed to “Sinicise” faith. The wave of repression has affected Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists.
“China considers Dalai Lama’s reincarnation as something very important,” the Dalai Lama said in an interview with Reuters. “They have more concern about the next Dalai Lama than me.”
Beijing has previously co-opted the spiritual reincarnation process with a goal of bringing Tibetan Buddhism within party lines.
In 1995, the Dalai Lama named a young Tibetan boy as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama – the second highest in spiritual authority after himself. But the child was then put under what Chinese officials described as protective custody.
Beijing put forth another successor and the Dalai Lama’s choice – then only six years old – disappeared from public.
‘Chinese interference is routine’
The Chinese government has sought to discredit the Dalai Lama. In February, Wu Yingjie, leader of a parliamentary delegation from Tibet, said that Tibetans didn’t love the Dalai Lama at all.
“Since Dalai Lama defected from Tibet, he has never done a single thing that was for the benefit for the Tibetan people,” Mr. Wu said. Instead, “they are grateful for what the Party brings to them.”
Last May, Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan businessman, was given a five-year prison sentence by China for promoting the Tibetan language, based on comments made in interviews with the New York Times.
The Tibet Autonomous Region, in China’s far west, is considered a homeland to many Tibetans and remains on lockdown. Travel in and out of the region is difficult, even for Tibetans.
Foreign journalists cannot visit without government permission, and those requests are frequently denied. Chinese officials have said they are concerned this is out of concern that foreigners may find it difficult to acclimate to the high altitudes on the Tibetan plateau.
The word ‘intelligence'( Latin. intelligentia) involves perception, discernment, the ability to learn or understand from experience, ability to acquire and retain knowledge. While psychologists are not able to come to a common understanding to define ‘intelligence’, it is clearly understood that ‘intelligence’ can only exist in living entities that have the abilities of perception, cognition, memory, responsiveness, communication, awareness, and consciousness.
‘Intelligence’ is used to indicate all-around effectiveness of an individual’s mental processes, particularly capabilities of comprehension, learning and recall, and thinking and reasoning. I want to suggest that it would be incorrect to conceive ‘intelligence’ as innate brain power, an attribute which distinguishes the more highly ‘evolved’ animals from simpler organisms, and geniuses from average persons. I would like to contest this commonly held view or opinion about ‘intelligence’ which defines ‘intelligence’ as a unitary power or faculty of the mind.
INTELLIGENCE AND WHOLE INTELLIGENCE:
On the 14th Day of March, I would like to pay my tribute to Albert Einstein for his ‘intelligence’ and for demonstrating the relationship between creative thought and analytical thought.
While I agree that ‘intelligence’ is the abstract faculty that apprehends, conceptually and perceptually, relations among objects. The size of the object is also important when we consider the existence of microscopic objects like the size of living cells, bacteria, viruses, proteins, and organic and inorganic molecules of numerous varieties.
It is now agreed that ‘intelligence’ is a collection of a large number of highly varied, although overlapping skills rather than as a single faculty. ‘Intelligence’ may include 120 specific abilities which could be classified into three categories: logical processes, the kinds of information processed, and the products of such processing. ‘Intelligence’ includes factors such as verbal, spatial, memorizing, and reasoning abilities and needs to connect creative thought with analytical thought. All these things that are mentioned in the context of describing ‘intelligence’ focus on a combination of the innate characteristics of an individual’s Central Nervous System which is molded by experience, learning, heredity, and environmental factors.
The term ‘Intelligence Quotient’ or IQ is often used to show the relation of or ratio of mental to the chronological age of the given person. Tests have been devised to measure ‘Intelligence Quotient’ or IQ of people.
I would like to introduce the concept of ‘Whole Intelligence’ and describe it as the ability of Living Matter or that of Living Entities to know a range of information, process information, and perform functions using the stored information and that of acquired information. It needs ‘Whole Intelligence’ to perform the numerous, complicated tasks that are essential to maintain life and to sustain the living functions. ‘Whole Intelligence’ is characterized by the presence of knowledge in the Living Matter. Knowledge means the act of knowing, the state of knowing, and the fact of knowing a range of information. The living cell typically uses a vast variety of biological information to perform functions of its metabolism, growth, maintenance, and reproduction. These functions require the abilities of recognition of specific molecules and other microscopic materials to use them or dispose of them in a very selective manner involving precise, sequential reactions. The non-living matter has no intelligence.
The Laws of Physical Science operate in the material universe. ‘Whole Intelligence’ describes the ability to exploit the Laws of Physical Science for the material benefit of the living, intelligent entity. Physical systems that are non-living do not apply intelligence of their own in their operations and they function according to the design of the system. Whereas a living system uses its ‘Whole Intelligence’ to preserve, to sustain, and to promote its living condition.
I or Albert Einstein do not have the ‘Intelligence’ capabilities displayed by the cells, tissues, organs and various organ systems that constitute our human bodies. We do not have those abilities to perform the tasks they perform. I say, my heart is beating and pumping all the time using ‘Whole Intelligence’ and if not, I would be Brain Dead. What would do you say???? Please share your thoughts and views.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Albert Einstein born
On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is born, the son of a Jewish electrical engineer in Ulm, Germany. Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man’s view of the universe and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum mechanics and, ultimately, the atomic bomb.
After a childhood in Germany and Italy, Einstein studied physics and mathematics at the Federal Polytechnic Academy in Zurich, Switzerland. He became a Swiss citizen and in 1905 was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich while working at the Swiss patent office in Bern. That year, which historians of Einstein’s career call the annus mirabilis–the “miracle year”–he published five theoretical papers that were to have a profound effect on the development of modern physics.
In the first of these, titled “On a Heuristic Viewpoint Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light,” Einstein theorized that light is made up of individual quanta (photons) that demonstrate particle-like properties while collectively behaving like a wave. The hypothesis, an important step in the development of quantum theory, was arrived at through Einstein’s examination of the photoelectric effect, a phenomenon in which some solids emit electrically charged particles when struck by light. This work would later earn him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics.
In the second paper, he devised a new method of counting and determining the size of the atoms and molecules in a given space, and in the third, he offered a mathematical explanation for the constant erratic movement of particles suspended in a fluid, known as Brownian motion. These two papers provided indisputable evidence of the existence of atoms, which at the time was still disputed by a few scientists.
Einstein’s fourth groundbreaking scientific work of 1905 addressed what he termed his special theory of relativity. In special relativity, time and space are not absolute, but relative to the motion of the observer. Thus, two observers traveling at great speeds in regard to each other would not necessarily observe simultaneous events in time at the same moment, nor necessarily agree in their measurements of space. In Einstein’s theory, the speed of light, which is the limiting speed of any body having mass, is constant in all frames of reference. In the fifth paper that year, an exploration of the mathematics of special relativity, Einstein announced that mass and energy were equivalent and could be calculated with an equation, E=mc2.
Although the public was not quick to embrace his revolutionary science, Einstein was welcomed into the circle of Europe’s most eminent physicists and given professorships in Zurich, Prague, and Berlin. In 1916, he published “The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity,” which proposed that gravity, as well as motion, can affect the intervals of time and of space. According to Einstein, gravitation is not a force, as Isaac Newton had argued, but a curved field in the space-time continuum, created by the presence of mass. An object of very large gravitational mass, such as the sun, would, therefore, appear to warp space and time around it, which could be demonstrated by observing starlight as it skirted the sun on its way to earth. In 1919, astronomers studying a solar eclipse verified predictions Einstein made in the general theory of relativity, and he became an overnight celebrity. Later, other predictions of general relativity, such as a shift in the orbit of the planet Mercury and the probable existence of black holes, were confirmed by scientists.
During the next decade, Einstein made continued contributions to quantum theory and began work on a unified field theory, which he hoped would encompass quantum mechanics and his own relativity theory as a grand explanation of the workings of the universe. As a world-renowned public figure, he became increasingly political, taking up the cause of Zionism and speaking out against militarism and rearmament. In his native Germany, this made him an unpopular figure, and after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933 Einstein renounced his German citizenship and left the country.
He later settled in the United States, where he accepted a post at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He would remain there for the rest of his life, working on his unified field theory and relaxing by sailing on a local lake or playing his violin. He became an American citizen in 1940.
In 1939, despite his lifelong pacifist beliefs, he agreed to write to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of a group of scientists who were concerned with American inaction in the field of atomic-weapons research. Like the other scientists, he feared sole German possession of such a weapon. He played no role, however, in the subsequent Manhattan Project and later deplored the use of atomic bombs against Japan. After the war, he called for the establishment of a world government that would control nuclear technology and prevent future armed conflict.
In 1950, he published his unified field theory, which was quietly criticized as a failure. A unified explanation of gravitation, subatomic phenomena, and electromagnetism remains elusive today. Albert Einstein, one of the most creative minds in human history, died in Princeton in 1955.
THE SUPREME RULER OF TIBET IS TRAPPED IN EXILE SINCE 1959
The Dalai Lama’s Recollection: Prime Minister Nehru predicted that the Americans will not fight the Chinese Communists. As there was no other choice, India and Tibet agreed for the covert US assistance in the hope that the military occupier of Tibet would be evicted sooner or later.
“[First Indian Prime Minister] Pandit Nehru told me, ‘America will not fight the Chinese communists in order to liberate Tibet, so sooner or later you have to talk with the Chinese government,’” the Dalai Lama recalls.
On Saturday, March 09, 2019 I want to remind my readers that the Supreme Ruler of Tibet is trapped to live in exile since 1959. In my analysis, both India and Tibet made a serious miscalculation. They hoped that the Americans will eventually fight the Chinese Communists. My concern is not about the face of Tibetan Buddhism. I am talking about the face of Tibetan Ruler.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
The Dalai Lama on Donald Trump, China and His Search for Joy | Time
Morning has broken on the cedar-strewn foothills of the Himalayas. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama sits in meditation in his private chapel in Dharamsala, a ramshackle town perched on the upper reaches of North India’s Kangra Valley. Rousing slowly, he unfolds his legs with remarkable agility for a man of 83, finds the red felt slippers placed neatly beneath his seat and heads outside to where a crowd has already gathered.
Around 300 people brave the February chill to offer white khata scarves and receive the Dalai Lama’s blessing. There’s a group from Bhutan in traditional checkered dress. A man from Thailand has brought his Liverpool F.C. scarf, seeking divine benediction for the U.K. soccer team’s title bid. Two women lose all control as they approach the Dalai Lama’s throne and are carried away shaking in rapture, clutching prayer beads and muttering incantations.
The Dalai Lama engages each visitor like a big kid: slapping bald pates, grabbing onto one devotee’s single braid, waggling another’s nose. Every conversation is peppered with giggles and guffaws. “We 7 billion human beings — emotionally, mentally, physically — are the same,” he tells TIME in a 90-minute interview. “Everyone wants a joyful life.”
Ruven Afanador for TIME
His own has reached a critical point. The Dalai Lama is considered a living Buddha of compassion, a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Chenrezig, who renounced Nirvana in order to help mankind. The title originally only signified the preeminent Buddhist monk in Tibet, a remote land about twice the size of Texas that sits veiled behind the Himalayas. But starting in the 17th century, the Dalai Lama also wielded full political authority over the secretive kingdom. That changed with Mao Zedong’s conquest of Tibet, which brought the rule of the current Dalai Lama to an end. On March 17, 1959, he was forced to escape to India.
In the six decades since, the leader of the world’s most secluded people has become the most recognizable face of a religion practiced by nearly 500 million people worldwide. But his prominence extends beyond the borders of his own faith, with many practices endorsed by Buddhists, like mindfulness and meditation, permeating the lives of millions more around the world. What’s more, the lowly farmer’s son named as a “God-King” in his childhood has been embraced by the West since his exile. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and was heralded in Martin Scorcese’s 1997 biopic. The cause of Tibetan self-rule remains alive in Western minds thanks to admirers ranging from Richard Gere to the Beastie Boys to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who calls him a “messenger of hope for millions of people around the world.”
Yet as old age makes travel more difficult, and as China’s political clout has grown, the Dalai Lama’s influence has waned. Today the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that drove him out of Tibet is working to co-opt Buddhist principles — as well as the succession process itself. Officially atheist, the party has proved as adaptive to religion as it is to capitalism, claiming a home for faith in the nationalism Beijing has activated under Xi Jinping. In January, the CCP announced it would “Sinicize” Buddhism over the next five years, completing a multimillion-dollar rebranding of the faith as an ancient Chinese religion.
The Dalai Lama delivers a lecture from his throne on Feb. 18 to mark Losar, the Tibetan new year.
Ruven Afanador for TIME
From Pakistan to Myanmar, Chinese money has rejuvenated ancient Buddhist sites and promoted Buddhist studies. Beijing has spent $3 billion transforming the Nepalese town of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, into a luxury pilgrimage site, boasting an airport, hotels, convention center, temples, and a university. China has hosted the World Buddhist Forums since 2006, inviting monks from all over the world.
Although not, of course, the world’s most famous. Beijing still sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous threat and swiftly rebukes any nation that entertains him. That appears to be working too. Once the toast of capitals around the world, the Dalai Lama has not met a world leader since 2016. Even India, which has granted asylum to him as well as to about 100,000 other Tibetans, is not sending senior representatives to the diaspora’s commemoration of his 60th year in exile, citing a “very sensitive time” for bilateral relations with Beijing. Every U.S. President since George H.W. Bush has made a point of meeting the Dalai Lama until Donald Trump, who is in negotiations with China over reforming its state-controlled economy.
Still, the Dalai Lama holds out hope for a return to his birthplace. Despite his renown and celebrity friends, he remains a man aching for home and a leader removed from his people. Having retired from “political responsibility” within the exiled community in 2011, he merely wants “the opportunity to visit some holy places in China for pilgrimage,” he tells TIME. “I sincerely just want to serve Chinese Buddhists.”
Despite that, the CCP still regards the Dalai Lama as a “wolf in monk’s robes” and a dangerous “splittist,” as Chinese officials call him. He has rejected calls for Tibetan independence since 1974 — acknowledging the geopolitical reality that any settlement must keep Tibet within the People’s Republic of China. He instead advocates for greater autonomy and religious and cultural freedom for his people. It matters little.
“It’s hard to believe a return would happen at this point,” says Gray Tuttle, a professor of modern Tibetan studies at Columbia. “China holds all the cards.”
The boy born Lhamo Thondup was identified as the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama at just 2 years old, when a retinue of top lamas, or senior Buddhist Tibetan monks, followed a series of oracles and prophecies to his village in northeastern Tibet. The precocious toddler seemed to recognize objects belonging to the 13th Dalai Lama, prompting the lamas to proclaim him the celestial heir. At age 4, he was carried on a golden palanquin into the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, and ensconced in its resplendent Potala Palace. A daily routine of spiritual teaching by top religious scholars followed.
“Sometimes my tutor kept a whip to threaten me,” the Dalai Lama recalls, smiling. “The whip was yellow in color, as it was for a holy person, the Dalai Lama. But I knew that if the whip was used, it made no difference — holy pain!”
It was a lonely childhood. The Dalai Lama rarely saw his parents and had no contact with peers of his own age, save his elder brother Lobsang Samden, who served as head of household. Despite his tutors’ focus on spiritual matters, or perhaps because of it, he was fascinated by science and technology. He would gaze from the Potala’s roof at Lhasa street life through a telescope. He took apart and reassembled a projector and camera to see how they functioned. “He continually astonished me by his powers of comprehension, his pertinacity and his industry,” wrote the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who became the Dalai Lama’s tutor and was one of six Europeans permitted to live in Lhasa at the time. Today the Dalai Lama proudly describes himself as “half Buddhist monk, half scientist.”
The Dalai Lama was only supposed to assume a political role on his 18th birthday, with a regent ruling until then. But the arrival of Mao’s troops to reclaim dominion over Tibet in 1950 caused the Tibetan government to give him full authority at just 15. With no political experience or knowledge of the outside world, he was thrust into negotiations with an invading army while trying to calm his fervent but poorly armed subjects.
Conditions worsened over the next nine years of occupation. Chinese proclamations calling Lord Buddha a “reactionary” enraged a pious populace of 2.7 million. By March 1959, rumors spread that the Dalai Lama would be abducted or assassinated, fomenting a doomed popular uprising that looked likely to spill into serious bloodshed. “Just in front of the Potala [Palace], on the other side of the river, there was a Chinese artillery division,” the Dalai Lama recalls. “Previously all the guns were covered, but around the 15th or 16th, all the covers were removed. So then we knew it was very serious. On the 17th morning, I decided to escape.”
The two-week journey to India was fraught, as Chinese troops hunted the party across some of the world’s most unforgiving terrain. The Dalai Lama reached India incognito atop a dzo, a cross between a yak and a cow. Every building in which he slept en route was immediately consecrated as a chapel, but the land he left behind was ravaged by Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Hundreds of thousands died. By some reckonings, 99.9% of the country’s 6,400 monasteries were destroyed.
Tibet’s desire to remain isolated and undisturbed had served it poorly. The kingdom had no useful allies, the government of Lhasa having declined to establish official diplomatic relations with any other nation or join international organizations. The Dalai Lama’s supplications were thus easy to ignore. Tibet had remained staunchly neutral during World War II, and the U.S. was already mired in a fresh conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
“[First Indian Prime Minister] Pandit Nehru told me, ‘America will not fight the Chinese communists in order to liberate Tibet, so sooner or later you have to talk with the Chinese government,’” the Dalai Lama recalls.
Around 300 devotees line up early at Tsuglagkhang temple to offer the Dalai Lama traditional khata scarves and to receive his blessing.
Ruven Afanador for TIME
When Tibetans first followed the Dalai Lama into India, they lived with bags packed and did not build proper houses, believing a glorious return would come at a moment’s notice. It never did.
Four decades of conversations between China and exiled Tibetan leadership have led nowhere. Consolatory talks began in the 1970s between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and reformist Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and continued under Deng’s successor, Jiang Zemin. The talks stipulated that Tibetan independence was off the table, but even so, the drawn-out process was suspended in 1994 and after briefly resuming in the 2000s is again at a standstill.
Meanwhile, Tibet remains firmly under the thumb of Beijing. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has lamented that conditions are “fast deteriorating” in the region. In May, Tibetan businessman Tashi Wangchuk was jailed for five years merely for promoting the Tibetan language. In December, the government issued a directive to stop the Tibetan language and culture from being taught in monasteries. Once known as the “abode of the gods,” Lhasa has become a warren of neon and concrete like any other Chinese city. Although the U.S. officially recognizes Tibet as part of China, Vice President Mike Pence said in July that the Tibetan people “have been brutally repressed by the Chinese government.”
Many allege their cultural and religious freedom is under attack by the Beijing government. Some in Tibet resort to extreme measures to protest their treatment. Since 2009, more than 150 Tibetans — monks, nuns, and ordinary civilians — have set themselves ablaze in protest. Often self-immolators exalt the Dalai Lama with their final breaths. Despite his message of nonviolence, the Dalai Lama has been criticized for refusing to condemn the practice. “It’s a very difficult situation,” he says. “If I criticize [self-immolators], then their family members may feel very sad.” He adds, however, that their sacrifice has “no effect and creates more problems.”
Beijing vehemently refutes accusations of human-rights violations in Tibet, insisting that it fully respects the religious and cultural rights of the Tibetan people, and highlights how development has raised living standards in the previously isolated and impoverished land. China has spent more than $450 million renovating Tibet’s major monasteries and religious sites since the 1980s, according to official figures, with $290 million more budgeted through 2023. The world’s No. 2 economy has also greenlighted massive infrastructure projects worth $97 billion, with new airports and highways carving through the world’s highest mountains, nominally to boost the prosperity of the 6 million ethnic Tibetans.
This level of investment presents a dilemma for Tibetans stranded in exile. The majority live in India, under a special “guest” arrangement by which they can work and receive an education but, crucially, not buy property. Many toil as roadside laborers or make trinkets to sell to tourists. And so large numbers of young Tibetans are making the choice to return, lured to a homeland they have never known. “If you want a safe and secure future for your children, then either you go back to Tibet or some other country where you can get citizenship,” says Dorji Kyi, director of the Lha NGO in Dharamsala, which supports Tibetan exiles.
At 83, the Buddhist leader reflects on a life spent away from his native Tibet.
Ruven Afanador for TIME
Many of the returnees are armed with better education and world experience than their peers who grew up in Tibet. “Some of them do well,” says Thupten Dorjee, president of Tibetan Children’s Village, a network of five orphanages and eight schools that have cared for 52,000 young Tibetans in India. “But if they get involved in political things then they land into trouble.”
Tibet still has a government-in-exile, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in Dharamsala, but it is dogged by infighting and scandal. Exiles are instead forging their own path. Last September, the Dalai Lama himself was filmed at his temple telling young Tibetans that it was better to live under Beijing’s rule than stay as “beggars” in exile. Speaking to TIME, he said it was “no problem” if exiled Tibetans chose to return to China.
Even those who have achieved prosperity elsewhere are opting to return. Songtsen Gyalzur, 45, sold his real estate business in Switzerland, where his Tibet-born parents immigrated after first fleeing to India, to start China’s Shangri-La Highland Craft Brewery in 2014. Today his award-winning brewery has an annual capacity of 2.6 million gallons of lagers, ales, and porters. He recruits 80% of the staff from orphanages his mother set up in Tibetan areas in the 1990s. “Tibet has so many well-educated, well-trained professionals abroad who could have a real impact on people’s lives here,” he says.
Despite the “Lost Horizon” legend, the kingdom was never a spiritual and agrarian utopia. Most residents lived a Hobbesian existence. Nobles were strictly ranked in seven classes, with only the Dalai Lama belonging to the first. Few commoners had any sort of education. Modern medicine was forbidden, especially surgery, meaning even minor ailments were fatal. The sick were typically treated with a gruel of barley meal, butter and the urine of a holy monk. Life expectancy was 36 years. Criminals had limbs amputated and cauterized in boiling butter. Even the wheel wasn’t commonly employed, given the dearth of passable roads.
The Dalai Lama has admitted that Tibet was “very, very backward” and insists he would have enacted reforms. But he also emphasizes that traditional Tibetan life was more in communion with nature than the present. Tibet hosts the largest store of fresh water outside the Arctic and Antarctic, leading some environmentalists to term its frozen plateau the “third pole,” and especially vulnerable to the choking development unleashed by the Beijing government.
“Global warming does not make any sort of exception — just this continent or that continent, or this nation or that nation,” the Dalai Lama says. Asked who is responsible for fixing the crisis, he points not to Beijing but to Washington. “America, as a leading nation of the free world, should take more serious consideration about global issues.”
The Dalai Lama meditates in his private chapel inside his residence on Feb. 18.
Ruven Afanador for TIME
The Dalai Lama is a refreshingly unabashed figure in person. His frequent laughter and protuberant ears make him seem cuddly and inoffensive, and it’s difficult to overstate how tactile he is. He appears equally at home with both the physical and the spiritual, tradition and modernity. He meditated within reach of an iPad tuned to an image of a babbling brook and mountains and a few minutes later turned to Tibetan scriptures written on wide, single sheets, unbound. He retires at 6 p.m. and rises at 4 a.m. and spends the first hours of his day in meditation.
“Western civilization, including America, is very much oriented toward materialistic life,” he says. “But that culture generates too much stress, anxiety, and jealousy, all these things. So my No. 1 commitment is to try to promote awareness of our inner values.” From kindergarten onward, he says, children should be taught about “taking care of emotion.”
“Whether religious or not, as a human being we should learn more about our system of emotion so that we can tackle destructive emotion, in order to become calmer, have more inner peace.”
The Dalai Lama said his second commitment is to religious harmony. Conflicts in the Middle East tend to involve sectarian strife within Islam. “Iran is mainly Shi‘ite. Saudi Arabia, plus their money, is Sunni. So this is a problem,” he says, lamenting “too much narrow-mindedness” and urging people of all faiths to “broaden” their thinking.
Buddhism has its own extremists. The themes of Buddhism, as a nontheistic religion with no single creator deity, are more accessible to followers of other faiths and even ardent atheists, emphasizing harmony and mental cleanliness. But the Dalai Lama says he is “very sad” about the situation in Myanmar, where firebrand Buddhist monks have incited the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. “All religions have within them a tradition of human loving kindness,” he says, “but instead are causing violence, division.”
He keeps a sharp eye on global affairs and is happy to weigh in. Trump’s “America first” foreign policy and obsession with a wall on the southern U.S. border make him feel “uncomfortable,” he says, calling Mexico “a good neighbor” of the U.S. Britain’s impending exit from the European Union also warrants a rebuke, as he has “always admired” the E.U.
Six decades on, the Dalai Lama still hopes he will visit his birthplace again.
Ruven Afanador for TIME
In his ninth decade and moving with the help of assistants, the Dalai Lama continues to explore human consciousness and question long-held shibboleths. During a series of lectures in February to mark the Tibetan new year, he pontificates on everything from artificial intelligence — it can never compete with the human mind, he says — to blind deference to religious dogma. “Buddha himself told us, ‘Do not believe my teaching on faith, but rather through thorough investigation and experiment,’” he says. “So if some teaching goes against reason, we should not accept it.”
This includes the institution of the Dalai Lama itself. Even as a young boy, his scientific mind led him to question the idea that he was the 14th incarnation of a deity king. His former tutor recalled that he found it odd that the prior Dalai Lama “was so fond of horses and that they mean so little to me.” Today the Dalai Lama says the institution he embodies appears “feudal” in nature. Leaving the spiritual element aside, he says he doesn’t believe any political authority should be conferred when he dies. “On one occasion the Dalai Lama institution started,” he says. “That means there must be one occasion when the institution is no longer relevant. Stop. No problem. This is not my concern. China’s communists, I think, are showing more concern.”
Indeed they are. In a blow to the Tibetan exile community, China has set about bringing the leadership of Tibetan Buddhism into the party fold. When the Dalai Lama named a Tibetan child as the reincarnation of the previous Panchen Lama in 1995 — the second highest position in Tibetan Buddhism after himself — China put the boy into “protective custody” and installed a more pliant figure instead. The whereabouts of the Dalai Lama’s choice remain unknown.
So when the Dalai Lama leaves this plane of existence, it’s highly likely a 15th incarnation will be chosen by the godless CCP. “It’s pretty obvious the Chinese state is preparing for it, which is absurd,” Tuttle says. Tibetan Buddhists will be forced to choose between the party’s Dalai Lama and the selection of Tibetan exiles. On this point, at least, the incumbent is very clear. Any decision on the next Dalai Lama, he says, should be “up to the Tibetan people.”
No doubt the party’s desire to name a Dalai Lama stems from the fact that there are 244 million Buddhists in China — a cohort that dwarfs the CCP membership by 3 to 1. The party craves legitimizing its power above all else and believes yoking it to the institution of the Dalai Lama will provide that. But Beijing clearly also hopes it will be a symbolic final nail in the coffin of Tibetan self-rule, completing the absorption of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China that began seven decades ago.
So in a twist of irony, it seems the incumbent God-King’s wish will eventually be granted. One day a Dalai Lama will return to China — in this body or the next, with his blessing or without.
Correction, Mar. 7
A photo caption in the original version of this story misidentified a group of people waiting to see the Dalai Lama. They are devotees, not Buddhist monks.