The Syracuse Buddhist community has been anxiously waiting to see if rumors of the Dalai Lama’s planned departure from political life were true. For decades the Dalai Lama has served as guidance for religious and political issues in dealing with Buddhism and Tibet for Buddhists here in Syracuse. And so a report that the Dalai Lama has announced his resignation as the Tibetan political leader has been of interest here.
The Buddhist Channel has reported “Dalai Lama to resign as Tibetan political leader”, http://bit.ly/gGTMel. This report has also been published in the Bangkok Post, http://bit.ly/hlbZdT. The Syracuse Buddhist community is pleased that although the Dalai Lama has announced that he will step down as political head of Tibet’s exiled government, that he will nevertheless continue to represent the Tibetan cause in his primary role as its spiritual figurehead.
In a speech which the Dalai Lama gave on the anniversary of a failed uprising in 1959 against rule by China, the Dalai Lama announced that he would seek an amendment which will allow him to resign from his political office when the exiled Tibetan parliament meets next week. The Dalai Lama said from Dharamshala, the seat of Tibet’s government in exile, “As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect.” Although the Dalai Lama retains the more significant role of Tibet’s spiritual leader, this move marks a symbolic mark in the history of the Tibetan movement and its long and largely unsuccessful struggle against Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama was only 15 years old when he was appointed “head of state” in 1950 after the Chinese troops moved into Tibet. He fled his homeland for India in 1959 after the unsuccessful Tibetan uprising. The Dalai Lama acknowledged “repeated and earnest” requests from within Tibet and outside to continue as political leader, however he appealed for understanding of his decision. He commented “My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened.” In spite of his advancing age and several problems with his health over the years the Dalai Lama had been maintaining a grueling travel schedule as the global face of the Tibetan movement.
Spiritual and secular loyalty to the leadership of the Dalai Lama has remained firm over the long decades of exile. In his speech he made it clear that he would not be withdrawing from the political struggle and remained “committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet”. The Dalai Lama denounced the “grim reality” of life in Tibet under Chinese rule where people live in “constant fear and anxiety”. Resigning his political office is unlikely to diminish his pre-eminent status and Buddhists here in Syracuse will be joining Buddhists across the world in continuing to look towards the Dalai Lama for spiritual guidance.
Mandel News Service: http://www.mandelnews.com