By Shreya Roy Chowdhury
NEW DELHI, India, 13 September 2012
A Buddhist leader he may be, but the 14th Dalai Lama says he feels he has “more freedom to visit Christian and some Muslim countries than Buddhist ones.” He was asked about the violence against Muslims in Myanmar after his speech on “the importance of non-violence and ethical values” at Jamia Milia Islamia University on Wednesday.
Asked about the situation in Myanmar, he said he had “no channel” through which he could attempt an intervention. “Burma is a Buddhist country but it has never allowed me in for a pilgrimage. I have more freedom to visit Christian and some Muslim countries. There are so many Buddhists in Korea who want me to go but I can’t. Sometimes even transits are not allowed,” he said. But he had tried. “The only channel I can approach is Aung San Suu Kyi.” He had been in touch with her through a “third party” when she was under house arrest. After hearing of the “crisis” in Myanmar, he had written a letter to her but has received “no reply till now.” “I have no channel but prayer,” added the leader who, only a year ago, has retired from politics.
When asked about photos of the alleged involvement of Burmese monks in torturing Muslims, Dalai Lama explained that the photos were later proved to be of another event having no relationship to the recent events in Myanmar: a rescue effort by monks after an earthquake in Tibet. And not only that, were taken much earlier. “This is wrong information. If a monk was actually involved in torturing Muslim brothers, it’s very wrong,” he said but “further research is needed.”
Dalai Lama also said that he is “attracted” to Marxism-Socialism. He declared himself a “Buddhist-Marxist” who is “a little wiser than just materialistic Marxists.” “Capitalism allows individual freedom and opportunity to every individual for creativity and initiative. That’s why it’s successful. Marxism, in the money matter, is very concerned about equal distribution, not just profit. That’s moral values and ethics,” he explained — but observed, at the same time, that “totalitarian system with capitalism” is dangerous. “What China has is moral injustice, where you are above the law.”
In his speech, the Dalai Lama also encouraged students to protect the environment and the economy, and to fight injustice while maintaining peace. All the world’s problems would be solved more easily if only people took a more realistic approach to them. He used the killing of Saddam Hussein to cite as an example. “They thought if Hussein was eliminated, all problems will be solved,” he said, “But that is not the reality.”