Rochester,MN April 23–On April 22, 2012 morning His Holiness left the city of Long Beach for Rochester, Minneapolis. Gaden Shartse Abbot Jamyang Choeden, Geshe Lobsang Tsultrim, Managing Director, and staff of Gaden Shartse Thubten Dhargye Ling saw him off at the airport.
On his arrival in Rochester, several hundred members of the Tibetan community (Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota) had gathered to welcome him. His Holiness went around greeting them and advised them to remain at ease. His Holiness was received by officials and doctors of Mayo Clinic and thereafter went to address a gathering of more than a 100 Chinese students and scholars studying in inMinnesota, including from St.Olaf College; University of Minnesota; Macalester College; Carleton College; Normandale College; Mayo High School; Winona State University; and Southwest High School.
His Holiness began by talking about everyone of them being the same human being from the one blue planet. He said if we have such a mindset then we will not see any need to involve in cheating, etc. His Holiness said Han and Tibetans have sufficient reason to fight. Historically, he said for the past 1000 years or so Tibetan and Chinese emperors specially have had a close relationship, including marital ties. He said the ties have sometimes been happy ones and at other times problematic.
He said throughout the world things are changing referring to how the European Union has evolved. In the Tibetan case, the Tibetans have a distinct identity, including our own language and written script, which is closer to the Indian Devnagri script, he said. We must, however, think of the reality, he said.
His Holiness said it is in the Tibetan people’s own interest to remain within the People’s Republic of China. However, there should be meaningful autonomy, he said.
His Holiness said the 17 Point Agreement that Tibet had signed with China was in the spirit of one country, two systems. He talked about his visit to China in 1954-55 and his meetings with Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi (who he called as his immediate boss), Zhou Enlai. Etc. His Holiness said he had much interest in Marxism and had expressed his desired to the Chinese Communist Party, but was asked to wait. He added that although he considers himself a Marxist, he is not a Leninist. He talked about Mao’s interest in Tibet and how he even asked His Holiness to be in direct touch with him. Subsequently, in 1956, when His Holiness was in India Zhou Enlai and He Long had come on a visit there to meet with Indian officials and also with him. He said that Zhao had a message from Chairman Mao saying that the controversial reforms campaign inTibetwould be postponed for six years, and if needed would be postponed further. Zhao also told His Holiness as well as the Indian government officials that the Tibetan case is something unique. Gradually, however, Chairman Mao’s own thinking went extreme leftist and the result was the Cultural Revolution.
In Tibet, His Holiness said that some local officials had made a pledge during the Cultural Revolution period that they would exterminate the Tibetan language within 15 years. He also talked about Chinese Party Secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region, Chen Kuiyuan, banning the study of classical Tibetan texts in Tibet University in Lhasa.
His Holiness said all these were the cause for the 2008 protests in Tibet. But the Chinese authorities wanted to find a scapegoat and blamed him. He said after the protests inTibetwherever he went inEurope, the United States, Australia, including here in Rochester, there were demonstrations by Chinese students.
His Holiness had subsequently said that on account of the way the Chinese leadership has been approaching the Tibetan issue, his faith in the Chinese Government had grown thinner although his faith in the Chinese people remained strong.
He said he had told a Chinese friend from Beijing that he had tried his best to work for a solution for the Tibetan issue for the past 30 years but that the Chinese United Front has destroyed his spirit. He said that since 2001 he had become semi retired following the direct election of Tibetan leadership. Following the devolution of authority in 2011, His Holiness said the new political leadership had happily and gladly supported the Middle Way Approach.
His Holiness said China was aspiring to be a super power and if this was done with joy with liberty and freedom, the Tibetan people will feel proud to join. He said so far China is a close and secret society and unpredictable. Thus, neighbors like India, Japan and even Vietnam a Communist country are suspicious. China needs to open up, he said. His Holiness said the Chinese students are in the United Statea free society and so should be able to see for themselves the reality.
He said in the United States, even President Clinton had to undergo legal process when he was in a problem. Similarly, in Taiwan former President Chen Shuibian came under judicial investigation. His Holiness said he had written to President Chen then saying that as a friend, he was sad to learn of his situation but on the other hand the development is a testimony to democracy.
Thereafter, His Holiness answered questions from the people, including about Chinese traditional medicine, role of Karma in human development, etc. He clarified some of the misconceptions, including about him being recognized as a reincarnation by the Kuomintang Chinese Government, and Tibetans demanding “Great Tibet.” One Chinese said he was sorry for the self-immolations inTibetand asked about it. His Holiness said self-immolations have taken place not just among Tibetans, but also among Chinese, Vietnamese and even in the former Czechoslovakia. He said these are the result of people who are in a desperate situation but who do not want to harm others.
He said the development is terrible and very sad, and said that there needs to be thorough investigations into their causes. He said these people are not drunk or committing self-immolation on account of a personal tragedy. The Chinese leadership must inquire thoroughly, he said. His Holiness said that the issue is sensitive political point and so since he had already retired he did not want to comment more than this.
His Holiness also responded to a comment about the Chinese attitude towards the 2008 Tibetan protest in the light of the Olympics. He said that he had actually supported the Olympics for China and this was recognized by a member of the Olympics Committee has having impacted his decision.
His Holiness said the People’s Republic ofChinabelongs to its 1.3 billion citizens, who have the right to know the truth and the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Therefore, he called for transparency saying censorship is immoral.
Members of the Tibetan community in Minnesota, including students, have been involved in a dialogue process with Chinese students and scholars in the area. Some of them were present at the discussion with His Holiness. The Chinese participants subsequently had a discussion session with Mr. Tsegyam Ngapa, Secretary to His Holiness, and Mr. Kunga Tashi, Chinese Liaison Officer at the Office of Tibet in New York.
His Holiness will undergo routine check up during his stay in Rochester. OnApril 24, 2012, he will join a panel discussion on resilience through mindfulness at the Mayo Clinic. Among the panelists are John Noseworthy, M.D., president and CEO, Mayo Clinic; Amit Sood, M.D., Mayo Clinic; Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., Mind & Life Institute; Carla Paonessa, Mayo Clinic Leadership Board, Mayo ClinicArizona; and Sherry Chesak, Mayo Clinic.
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