The Dalai Lama and Tibet

Since the protests in Lhasa last March, many younger Tibetans and supporters have called for independence from China. Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of Students for a Free Tibet, said Tibetans have a greater shot at winning independence than by asking for autonomy.

"Instead of thinking along the lines of 'What can China Give us?' we should think 'What can we fight for and how can we fight for it?'" Dorjee said. "By pursuing independence, by demanding independence -- I'm not saying we should pick up arms, very few Tibetans think that -- but we need to pursue nonviolent means."

There was also a call to end all dialogue with China immediately, although today the Dalai Lama said there should be no decision on that for a month. That delay is most likely due to an upcoming meeting on Tibet in Delhi.

As for why the Dalai Lama believes his next incarnation could be female, he described a long plane flight on which he observed a family sitting nearby. He noticed the father fell asleep within a couple of hours of boarding while the mother watched over two energetic children throughout the night, appearing with bloodshot eyes in the morning. This helped the Dalai Lama determine that women are more sensitive.

"Time has come for female shifting [for a] more active responsibility on world peace and promotion of human compassion. This I feel. So therefore, the Dalai Lama's reincarnation could be one female reincarnation."

The Dalai Lama discussed the future of the Tibetan religious and political domains, saying that "secularism" was the best route.

"In the future, the government will be separate from spiritual," he said.

The Dalai Lama said that the young Karmapa Lama, who is approximately 23 years old, is "necessary for the spiritual guidance and future" of Tibet. Officially known as the 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorje and the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Karmapa made a daring escape from Tibet when he was 14 years old.

The young Lama is said to have jumped out of his monastery bedroom window and rushed into a waiting car that brought him to the mountains. He then hiked over the Himalayas disguised in a baseball hat and jeans to cross into Nepal. He lives in exile near Dharamsala.

In a recent interview, the Karmapa -- whose good looks are widely admired -- admitted he liked music, including rap, which, unfortunately, he cannot dance to because of his constrictive monk robe.

Positive as the delegates believed the conference was, it is only the beginning of a continued struggle for the Tibetan people. Earlier this week, The Associated Press translated an editorial in the official Tibet Daily newspaper, which said, "The so-called middle way is a naked expression of Tibetan independence aimed at nakedly spreading the despicable plot of opposing the tide of history."

Most believe that this is a critical time for the Tibetan people.

"There's a true risk of the Tibetan nation and the Tibetan people disappearing," said Dorjee. "I don't say that just simply to sound good about it. I've never been so terrified of the future that holds ahead for us."

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