|Devotees seek blessings of the Dalai Lama in Tawang on Saturday. (PTI)|
PRANAB KUMAR DAS and UMANAND JAISWAL, TT, Tezpur/Guwahati, April 8: The Dalai Lama today said China cannot decide on his successor and that it "always politicises" his visits to Arunachal Pradesh.
Speaking to reporters at a packed Yid-Ga-Chozin stadium in Tawang, he said, "Let them say...Chinese government cannot decide who will be the next Dalai Lama. It is nonsense. The Chinese Communist government should first accept the truth of reincarnation. It is only one soul. There may be some indication about the next Dalai Lama at the time of my death."
The Tibetan spiritual leader said "our people" would decide on his successor or the continuance of the institution of the Dalai Lama.
The media conference followed a three-hour preaching session attended by over 50,000 people from India and abroad at the stadium, which is 44km from the Sino-Indian border where the Dalai Lama had delivered his first sermon after escaping from Tibet in 1959.
On China's strong opposition to his visit to the frontier state, he said, "My friend China always politicises the issue. I think more than 90 per cent of Tibet is keen to bring me back. Even millions of Chinese Buddhists want me back. Just as the right signal comes from the Chinese government... I will go back."
He reiterated what he had said at Bomdila on Wednesday. "The Chinese government is against us. I am not seeking independence of Tibet. I am a Tibetan. As far as my responsibility (political) is concerned, it ended in 2011 after the electoral process in Tibet."
He said he held no grudge against China. "I feel there is a difference between Chinese people and the Chinese government. The country belongs to people and not the government. China needs another revolution based on compassion. I have forgiven China... 6,000 monasteries destroyed... We don't want to keep it alive and live with revenge."
Most of his followers and admirers, who turned up in traditional attire, were seen listening with folded hands.
Senior monk Jamphel Tsewang said, "It was a historic day for us and a lifetime experience for many. Such a huge turnout, over 50,000. A sizeable section came from Bhutan." Local resident Sonam Tsering said, "His Holiness talked about peace, compassion, education - human values which are so important in today's world."
The Dalai Lama mooted a European Union like arrangement in Asia and Africa, the need to protect the ecology and environment and embracing modern education. He also praised "religious harmony in India" and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "I admire him... He is quite active. When he was the CM (chief minister) of Gujarat, I went for the Buddhist conference. He came to me and we met. He is doing good and is working for farmers' development. They are working in the countryside... and we need to work there."
He also said that he disagreed with US President Donald Trump's "America First" policy. "It is unbecoming of a country that encourages free thinking."
The proceedings started with Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu paying tributes to the Tibetan spiritual leader for taking "all the pain to travel by road" to be among the people of Monyul, especially those who could not afford to seek his blessings elsewhere.
Khandu spoke of the privilege bestowed upon the people of Arunachal, as the Dalai Lama had entered India through the land in 1959. "We were the fortunate ones to receive your first sermon in exile at Tawang monastery in 1959. It had immensely benefited us to hold the dharma with firmer conviction. In your subsequent visits, His Holiness has blessed us with various sermons. I am sure the sermon we received this time will add to benefit us in understanding dharma and to follow the righteous way of living together with humane values, love, peace and compassion." He hoped the Dalai Lama would make many more visits to the state.
Khandu said Yid-Ga-Chozin would be developed as a centre for Buddhist learning to carry forward rational thinking and scientific analysis of Buddhist teachings.