If anyone was asked who was the most famous Buddhist in the world, most would say The Dalai Lama. In actual fact, he is the 14th Dalai Lama whose religious name is Tenzin Gyatso. He was born in 1935 in a small Tibetan village and was designated as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama in 1937 and enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama in 1950. Although he is recognized as one of the leading figures in the world, he continues to represent a thorn in the side of China since he fled Tibet to India in 1959. The communist Chinese overrun of Tibet forced him to abandon his throne as the Temporal Leader of Tibet and establish the Government of Tibet in Exile in Dharamshala, India where some 13,000 Tibetan monks and religious people have joined him.
Pictured below at its home in Tibet, the throne awaits but the Chinese have a keen eye on it. Moreover, the Chinese also keep track of The Dalai Lama's every movement wherever he may go.
As noted in The Elephant Story blog, Just Like Chinese Checkers, of February 6, 2017, China has forced the current Government of Mongolia to deny The Dalai Lama future visitation rights to the very country that generated the word Dalai (ocean) to go with Lama (guru). India, on the other hand, has withstood repeated and massive Chinese diplomatic protests and pressures by giving its avaricious neighbor a reasonably cold shoulder.
Most recently, The Dalai Lama's imminent religious tour of the sprawling Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, famous for its virgin forests and soaring mountain ranges, will cause further discord between China and India. The visit is even more problematic as China has a widely disputed claim on the territory. Moreover, The Dalai Lama has clearly debunked the claim that the territory was ever part of India which further enforces the feelings of the Chinese toward this spiritual leader.
On the other side of the alleged border, China's actions in Tibet are creating an environmental threat to India as it develops the resource rich, but fragile, Tibetan environment with mining and dam building activities. In fact, the Tibetan plateau is warming at a rate nearly twice as fast as the rest of the world. Despite the impending environmental crisis, the political strains pose an even greater risk to mankind in the region.
The fall of Tibet had the greatest impact on the geopolitical development of India in its modern history. China became a bordering neighbor of India, Bhutan and Nepal for the first time and provided a common land corridor to build relations with Pakistan. India still remembers its war with China in 1962 which China won to create an even greater rivalry. Accordingly, while China and India might be lumped together in terms of their rapidly growing economies, they are anything but good neighbors.
Moreover, in view of the impending environmental impact on India following China's actions to the north, it is time that India becomes even more assertive before China re-engineers more transboundary river flows. As more than 40% of the rivers of the Tibetan plateau and Chinese regions to the north flow into India, India is extremely vulnerable to the number of dams China is building on these international rivers.
Accordingly, India will clearly suffer the greatest as a result of China's exploitation of Tibet. Therefore, India needs to strengthen its position that India's tacit acceptance of China's claim over Tibet was dependent upon a measure of autonomy for the region. On the other hand, the Chinese continue to turn the screws in Tibet which could lead to further unrest there. Neither humility nor subtlety are Chinese strong suits.
Jen Christensen of CNN did a recent piece entitled Playful humor:The Dalai Lama's secret weapon (and how it can be yours, too) which could be a good primer on modern Buddhism and health. Click below for some very good advice directly from the 14th "ocean of wisdom."
At The Elephant Story, our scarves are each a work of art. All of our scarves are hand-loomed by various groups throughout southeast Asia, many with philanthropic goals of teaching indigenous tribes or underprivileged individuals a lost craft so they can support themselves and their families.