Top image caption: His Holiness the Dalai Lama with his former personal biographer and confidant, Amchok Rinpoche (right). Amchok Rinpoche recently moved to Tibet and took up Chinese citizenship. How come the Tibetan leadership have been silent over his defection, and continue to be vocal against Shugden practitioners whom they falsely accuse of receiving money from the Chinese government?

On September 2nd 2015 the Tibetan government-in-exile celebrated its 55th ‘Democracy Day’ with the usual grandiloquent speeches about how much the Tibetans owe the Dalai Lama and how much the government has achieved in exile. For Penpa Tsering, the Speaker of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile, the occasion was also an opportunity to remind Tibetans who in his words, “…have moved and who continue to move to other countries – with the result most of them become scattered…”, of the importance of them voting in the upcoming Sikyong and general elections, into which Penpa has also thrown in his candidacy.

Penpa Tsering’s comment may seem casual to outsiders but to the Tibetan people in exile, it represents an acknowledgement that a ‘pact’ amongst the Tibetan refugees, forged out of a common commitment and bound by a common belief, has fallen apart. The Tibetan exiled leadership known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has traditionally held that the Tibetan people should remain as refugees and fight to eventually return home to genuine freedom in Tibet. To refuse to remain stateless and without an identity hints at disloyalty. This combined with 60 years of stagnating CTA policies has resulted in the Tibetan exile community becoming the oldest refugee community in the world with no sign of that status changing soon.

However, it is not so much that increasing numbers of Tibetans are restless and seem to have relinquished the cause. More significantly, it is who has given up the fight and where they have moved to that sounds the loudest warning to all who continue to believe in the Tibetan dream. The recent Sunday edition of the South China Morning Post ran a news piece that reported that a Dalai Lama insider has essentially de-camped the Tibetan cause and become a Chinese citizen, “Dalai Lama’s former biographer takes up residence in mainland China.”

Amchok Rinpoche was the personal biographer of the Dalai Lama. As such, he was counted as a member of the Dalai Lama’s inner circle and moved amongst the Tibetan social and monastic elite; he was privy to the latest undisclosed news and developments. His decision therefore to jump ship took many by surprise and is definitely worth noting. To the public, the CTA portrays itself as a liberal society against China’s oppressive totalitarianism that constantly challenges human rights provisions. If that is true, then it has to be asked why anyone would choose to give up a life in relative freedom, to trade it in for what is supposed to be a tyrannical regime that is accused of violently opposing Tibetan Buddhism. Surely not an aging monk and a senior member of the Dalai Lama’s own community.


The Writing In On The Wall

Amchok Rinpoche’s defection can mean a number of things from the benign to the sinister:

(1) Like many Tibetans who went into exile with the Dalai Lama, he is now an elderly person in his 70’s. Most Tibetans have expressed the desire to live out the rest of their lives in their homeland, and set aside all worldly aspirations and nationalistic pursuits. For Amchok Rinpoche, his return to Tibet may be as simple a reason as that – after fifty years in exile, Amchok Rinpoche’s view is towards his next time and his preparations for his passing on hallowed land now, this desire now overriding nationalistic fervor

(2) All is not well within Dharamsala and after half a century, those like Amchok Rinpoche finally acknowledge that the Tibetan people will never win the freedom that the CTA has been promising for five decades. Realising this, Amchok Rinpoche has decided to abandon all hopes in the Tibetan leadership, in favour of a more comfortable life in China. This loss of faith should not come as a surprise when the CTA is notorious as a corrupt government that busies itself with internal politicking and personal gains, instead of looking after the welfare of the Tibetan people.

Tibetan settlement in India. Socially and economically, it is obvious that not much progress has been made in relations to the welfare of the Tibetan people since they went into exile.

It is the decaying values of the CTA that prompted United States Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to issue a stern and official warning to the CTA stating amongst other things, “…[the US Congressman is]…also aware of serious accusations that US funding meant for Tibetans may have been misspent… If US assistance has been misspent and perhaps even goes into the pockets of the Communist Chinese and Tibetan power brokers I will learn of it and action will be taken.”

Thus, with his insider’s knowledge of what really happens in the CTA, Amchok Rinpoche’s faith in the leadership’s ability to achieve their goals was finally extinguished, leading to his departure for China. After all, how can a perverted CTA undertake such a task which took the likes of Mahatma Gandhi an entire life of commitment to achieve?

(3) The Tibetan community in exile under the CTA cannot sustain itself let alone preserve the rich culture, tradition, language and spirituality of old Tibet. Recognising this, Amchok Rinpoche may have decided to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Five decades of CTA mismanagement has thrown Tibetan society (and therefore the Tibetan cause, whatever that may be) in chronic disrepair. For all the aid that has been amassed by the various Offices of Tibet, Tibet Fund, International Campaign For Tibet and similar Tibetan organizations (private and public) around the world, the Tibetan people have not progressed socially, economically or politically.

If the main objective of leaving Tibet was to escape supposed oppression, and to live and thrive in the largest democracy of the world and work from there to regain their nation, then for the Tibetan people that objective is now purely moot. How does the CTA define ‘thriving’ when tens of thousands of their own people have no choice but to live in dilapidated refugee camps? How does it benefit the Tibetan cause for the Tibetan people to suffer high unemployment rates, or an inability to vote, buy a house, or register and start a business? How does it benefit the Tibetan exile community to suffer all of this while the rest of the world streak ahead?

An octogenarian Tibetan refugee in Brindi Village, Nepal, forgotten by the CTA.

And all things considered, the Tibetan refugees in India actually have it good compared to their counterparts in Nepal. In Nepal, Tibetan refugees are all but invisible to the world although they number in excess of thirty thousand. The Nepali government refuses to acknowledge them for fear of provoking the ire of China, and the CTA conveniently forgets about them.

How can this heavily afflicted community of people hope to fight their way back into freedom if their leadership so easily forgoes their welfare when it becomes inconvenient? If the CTA cannot even care for 150,000 Tibetans with five decades’ worth of international aid, how can the same CTA negotiate the freedom of six million Tibetans and thereafter govern them?

(4) China, more so than the CTA is serious about preserving the Tibetan culture, identity and spirituality. Amchok Rinpoche’s move to China came after decades of observing China (he first visited in 1982) and witnessing how the Asian giant has come to embrace Tibetan Buddhism. At the same, China is initiating projects to preserve and assimilate the Tibetan culture into the greater Chinese identity.

Even before the Tibetan language was made available in refugee schools in India, China had already made the language compulsory for schools in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. In the years after Mao’s rule, the Chinese Communist Party seems to have changed its approach. Regardless of whether this change in approach is motivated by a sincere appreciation of Tibetan culture and religion, or it is laden with strategic political considerations to win the Tibetan people over, the fact remains that the Tibetan people, culture, standard of living and religion fare much better under the Chinese government. Political sentiments aside, this is a fact.

Tibetan Buddhism is thriving in China’s Tibet.

In contrast and for all that they claim to be doing, the CTA’s results fall short of even the bare minimum required to defend the Tibetan way of life in exile. The Tibetan refugee camps are proof of this. The Tibetan people as well as their culture continue to fall prey to modernity and the ineptitude of its defenders. Whether the Tibetans like it or not, their culture and religion are exposed to greater threats due to the CTA’s mismanagement rather than to China.

In the meantime, what were once pure Buddhist traditions that survived millennia now face dilution to find a place in foreign cultures. Perhaps in the end, even traditional hardliners like Amchok Rinpoche had to admit this and chose to work to help the Tibetan people from within by going back to China.

(5) The Tibetan Cause is a lost cause.What is unique about the ‘Tibetan Cause’ is that the longer it is around, the less well-defined it becomes and the less people know what they are actually fighting for. It becomes a blind vocation when the CTA demands that their people commit to a cause the CTA itself cannot describe. That ultimately renders the fight, hollow of conviction and short-lived.

From firm believers in the fight for independence, that purpose was quietly mortgaged away by the Dalai Lama in June 1988 for what he had thought the Chinese would agree to, which is self-autonomy (or as he named it, the ‘Middle Way’). The problem was that the Dalai Lama miscalculated the Chinese resolve and over-estimated Western support. In redefining the Tibetan Cause as the Middle Way (instead of independence), the primary reason the Tibetan people remained as refugees for decades became lost and exhausted.

The pure Tibetan Buddhist lineage being preserved in Tibet under Chinese stewardship.

Finally just when the Tibetan people were about to reconcile with the fact that the Tibetan Cause was no longer independence, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay too sold that away in Washington and stated that the CTA would agree to communist rule ( In any case, the ‘Tibetan Cause’ in all its chimerical manifestations has become a storm in its own teacup as the new Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has stated unequivocally that he will agree neither with Tibetan self-autonomy or Tibetan independence. In the meantime, the Dalai Lama’s popularity and political currency wanes as China waxes into world economic domination.


In Conclusion

The CTA has proven conclusively that opposing China without economic or military might, and without any long-term ally in the West has not and cannot work. On the other hand, China has expressed openness to engage with any Tibetan who is willing to set aside all political content and advocacy of the Dalai Lama’s ideas. The condition that the Tibetan people’s livelihood, language, culture and religion are inextricably linked to the CTA’s feudalistic politics is solely the creation of the Tibetan leadership, and not the Chinese leadership. In order for the CTA to fulfill their own interests, they gambled away the entirety of the Tibetan people’s cultural and spiritual inheritance. It was only a matter of time before patience wore thin and frustrations grew.

To leave Dharamsala for greener pastures fulfills the needs of various groups of people. For self-serving people looking out for their own interests, leaving Dharamsala to start building a future elsewhere reflects a lack of faith in the Tibetan leadership’s ability to provide a future in Dharamsala. For those who remain loyal to the CTA, leaving Dharamsala may be an opportunity for them to gather information from inside Tibet to feed back to the Tibetan leadership.

For those who simply want a quiet, peaceful place to retire, leaving Dharamsala takes them away from the directionless, dogmatic politicking that has come to characterise the Tibetan leadership in recent years. Whatever a person’s reasons for leaving are, it does not reflect well on the CTA.

The Chinese Communist Party supports the propagation of Tibetan Buddhism so long as Buddhism is not used as a political tool.

Amchok Rinpoche’s decision to accept citizenship in China is not the first, and it foreshadows the people’s distrust of the CTA and a future where more ordinary Tibetans decide to take matters into their own hands. For certain, no true democratic government (as the CTA claims to be) would have been allowed to run the people’s lives and their future to the ground, and not be held accountable.

Having said that, we can now expect the CTA to respond with a barrage of accusations and counter-claims. One that is already making its way amongst netizens is that this story is yet another manufactured propaganda by the Chinese and that Amchok Rinpoche was tricked into colluding with this story. However this would be highly unlikely as Amchok Rinpoche visited China in 1982, lived in China for a year in 1987 and visited Tibet several times since then. Having spent so many years in China, he would have become well-versed in the modus operandi of the Chinese leadership and understood how his visits will be publicised. Is it possible for Amchok Rinpoche to have colluded so many times with the Chinese, and risked being used as propaganda? Surely then he should have known better, and visited China less often so as to prevent himself from being used as propaganda against the Dalai Lama.

After all, it is the Dalai Lama whose biography he was working in and it would be in his best interests to protect the subject of his works. Having worked closely with the Dalai Lama’s Private Office, Amcok Rinpoche would also have been well aware of the political maneuvering of both sides and would not so easily fall into a trap.

It has been speculated that Amchok Rinpoche has been sent to infiltrate the enemy of the Tibetan people, China. That would infer that the Chinese government’s fear of the Dalai Lama’s separatist activities have a basis and that is why the Chinese have refused to negotiate until such gamesmanship and espionage cease altogether. However, this is unlikely to be the reason why Amchok Rinpoche has defected due to his age and his high visibility to both sides of the divide; espionage would be more effectively carried out by a lower profile individual.

Whatever Amchok Rinpoche’s reasons are to defect, it is certain that the CTA has over the half century supplied many reasons for the Tibetans, Chinese and observers to doubt its capability if not its integrity. Perhaps it is time, the CTA face up to the hard truth that the game is over for them.



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In the Media

The news of Amchok Rinpoche’s defection is now being publicised on Chinese media.

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English Translation

Left column (starting at the light blue box):

Dalai’s Close Official Returned to Settle in Sichuan, Receiving Mark of Courtesy

Official media widely reported that in May this year, Achok Rinpoche who has served key positions in the exiled Tibetan Spiritual Leader the Dalai Lama’s “Government In Exile”, declined to participate in the Dalai Lama’s 80-year-old birthday celebrations, returning from India to China, to settle in Aba Sichuan, and receiving mark of courtesy from the government. Achok Rinpoche could be the first important member of the Dalai Lama “government in exile” to return home in 30 years. Beijing’s scholar, Jiang Zhaoyong told this newspaper that “this is an important change in Beijing’s policy on Tibet, and I hope this will play a role in dividing and splitting up Dalai Lama’s “government in exile”.

Achok Rinpoche was born in Sichuan, Markam County in 1944. He is the third incarnation, associated with Tsanney Gompa. In 1959, when he was 15 years old, Achok Rinpoche followed the Dalai Lama into exile in India. Achok Rinpoche served as director for the Dalai Lama’s “Government In Exile” Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute, director for the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives and other key positions.

The official China Tibet website reported that Achok Rinpoche first visited China in 1982. Since then, he has returned to the mainland several times to visit relatives and friends in his hometown in Sichuan. On August 30th 2012, receiving approval from the Central United Front Work Department, Achok Rinpoche came home. According to reports, “every time he returned home, he witnessed tremendous changes in the rapid development of the motherland and his hometown,” he also thinks that the Chinese high standard of living and a variety of social security are such that even those living in Dharamsala or in the big Indian cities do not dare to dream about, and “the only hope and way out for overseas Tibetans is only in China.”

Late last year, Achok Rinpoche had injured himself from a fall. The Sichuan government sent experts to treat him. Achok Rinpoche subsequently filed a formal application to reside permanently in China. In April, his application was approved by the Sichuan Provincial Government. He received the news that his application was approved and returned early in May, not attending the the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday celebrations although he was invited.

On the eve of Mid-Autumn Festival, Sichuan Provincial Committee and Head of the United Front Work Department, Cui Baohua visited Achok Rinpoche in the Aba Tsanney Gompa on September 22nd, conveying greetings from Sichuan Provincial Party Committee’s Wang Dongming, and Sichuan Province Governor Wei Hong. According to reports, the first words that Achok Rinpoche blurted out when meeting Cui was: “I am truly a Chinese citizen now!”

It was reported that when Achok Rinpoche spoke about his wandering life of 56 years, his eyes had flashes of hardship and helplessness. He said, “While in the past I have been a Chinese citizen in name, but I was wearing the coat of ‘refugee’ for decades. Today, I am considered a real Chinese citizen.” Achok Rinpoche is the current abbot of Tsanney Gompa.

Tsanney means “institute of philosophy”. It is one of the monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and the first monastery in Aba to implement debate. It has also established subsidiary monasteries in many areas, and it is one of the three major monasteries in the Aba region.

Middle column (under the main headline):

“This is a bit unusual!” said Jiang Zhaoyong, a independent Beijing researcher on Mongolian, Tibetan and other ethnic issues, who said that extensive reporting of the return of Achok Rinpoche reflects Beijing’s preparation to deal with the post-Dalai Lama era. This also shows the important policy change of the United Front and that this “will have some effects” on Tibetans who have been wandering for decades.

By the end of 1978, the central government promoted “All patriots belong to one big family, whether they rally to the common cause early or late”, welcoming visits by overseas Tibetan compatriots to return home for visits. In the 1980s, some influential Tibetans have continued to return to settle in China. After the Tiananmen Square Protests, although China is still in contact with the Dalai Lama, there has not been any progress. Achok Rinpoche may well be the first influential overseas Tibetan to return home in 30 years.

Jiang Zhaoyong also said that Achok Rinpoche’s repatriation could not have been determined by the Sichuan Provincial Government alone. It was the decision of the Central Government, and it is an important preparation by Beijing to deal with the post-Dalai Lama era, as well as United Front’s strategy in hopes to divide and split up the Dalai Lama’s “government in exile” in India. He also mentioned that the Tibetans who exiled together with the Dalai Lama have been wandering for decades, and that their Indian identity issue has not been resolved. They are still refugees and as they age, the longing to return to homeland gets stronger. The official announcements of the repatriation of Achok Rinpoche and of him receiving the mark of courtesy from the local government, “will have some effects!” to attract more Tibetans to repatriate.

In addition, the Dalai Lama announced that due to health reasons, the trip to the United States in October is cancelled. Agence France-Presse said that the decision would lead to concern about the Dalai Lama’s health from his supporters. However, the Dalai Lama’s secretary Tenzin Takla, said that there is nothing wrong with the Dalai Lama’s health.



Amchok Rinpoche

Recently during His Holiness the Panchen Lama’s first and historic Kalacakra initiation on 21 July 2016 in Shigatse, Tibet, the abbot emeritus of Ganden Shartse Monastery, Amchok Rinpoche attended the first few days of the event. There, he made a spiritual and karmic connection with the Panchen Lama.

Amchok Rinpoche’s background is quite interesting as he is a scholar, known for his literary skills in Tibetan and is a recognized reincarnated Tulku from Amdo, Tibet. This is actually the same area from which the Dalai Lama comes from. After completing his Geshe studies at Ganden Shartse Monastery in South India, he proceeded to Dharamsala and worked at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA). He was very close to the Dalai Lama and worked as his personal Tibetan biographer. He would often be summoned by the Dalai Lama to attend various rituals and sermons.

He resided in Dharmasala for nearly two decades, after which he was appointed the abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery, where he resided during his tenure. Following the completion of his tenure, he returned to Dharamsala to be near the Dalai Lama and his government, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

However, in a recent and stunning turn of events, Amchok Rinpoche declared that his root Guru was none other than Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. He went to the Chinese embassy in Delhi and he received his visa to travel to China within one day. He packed up his belongings and flew to China where he was well-received and granted Chinese citizenship immediately. Amchok Rinpoche had a few students in Ganden Shartse, South India. Those who happened to be Geshes have, since then, also left India for Tibet and China.

Amchok Rinpoche is a strong disciple of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and a practitioner of Dorje Shugden. For many years he had to keep his practice a secret as he lived in Dharamsala, near the Dalai Lama. Like many other people, he paid lip service to the Dalai Lama in order to feign giving up Dorje Shugden’s practice. However, he did not in fact do so. It is said within the Tibetan communities all over the world and even in the three great Monasteries of Ganden, Sera and Drepung, that many still practice Dorje Shugden. They do not see the purpose of banning Dorje Shugden. Rather than bringing unity, the ban has only brought further disparity to an already fragmented society.

Many Tibetans, even those outside of the monastic communities, who traditionally have not had a connection to Dorje Shugden practice, now whisper among themselves about the ban having no purpose and bringing no benefit to the Tibetan people. Evidently, Amchok Rinpoche tired of hiding his practice and decided that enough was enough. He packed up his belongings and literally defected to China.

More and more Geshes and scholars as well as ordinary monks are tired of the ban. They know there is nothing wrong with Dorje Shugden. They have to feign giving up the practice although they continue in secret. They see the blatant persecution against practitioners who are open about their worship of Dorje Shugden. They cannot reconcile with the turmoil that they see within the Tibetan communities. Therefore, many of them just like Amchok Rinpoche have opted to defect back to China. Surprisingly, they escaped China for freedom but the freedom they sought in India was nothing but farce since they were under the oppressive regime of the CTA (Tibetan government-in-exile located in Dharamsala). So they decided to defect back to China.

Amchok Rinpoche has been very well-received in China, in his monastery and also among his peers. China has really opened her arms up for him. He has set an example for many other Tibetan lamas, Geshes, scholars, teachers and ordinary folk, showing them that if they returned back to Tibet, their lives will be much better, they will have freedom of religion and practice.

He was recently seen attending the Panchen Lama’s Kalacakra initiation, which would have irked the CTA leadership in Dharamsala. From the side of those who continue to support the CTA, there has been no comment regarding this high-profile defection of someone close to the Dalai Lama, his own personal biographer. No doubt this would have embarrassed the Dalai Lama, who has remained silent over the issue. As time goes on, we will see that what China and Tibet has to offer is so much better than what the Tibetans living in the refugee communities of India are given. India affords every freedom for the Tibetans, except for religious freedom which is curtailed by the CTA.

It seems that Amchok Rinpoche will not, cannot and refuses to give up his practice of Dorje Shugden and for this purpose has defected back to Tibet. This is the latest update on Amchok Rinpoche. We wish him well for his bravery and integrity.

Continue Reading


  1. Michaela Smith

    April 17, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Dear Shasi Kei

    Thank you for the article. The fact that Amchok Rinpoche, who was part of Dalai Lama’s inner circle, moved to China said a lot of things about the current CTA management. I understand the sense of patriotism for remaining as a refugee. But, one must be realistic, what future is available for those who chose to remain refugees? It is near impossible for CTA to regain their country or Tibetan independence. In addition, their middle way negotiation with the Chinese is going nowhere. I guess China is not inspired nor believe the seriousness of CTA in implementing the middleway approach. If you are serious, then why CTA keep encouraging and allowing self immolation among the Tibetans. They are too busy with internal conflicts, inflicting fear and intimidation and discriminating their people based on faith.

    Considering the above, I won’t be surprised if we see more and more Tibetan refugees defecting to other countries in the future.


  2. Rinchen

    April 17, 2016 at 5:44 am

    It is just amazing how selective the CTA is with regards to the Shugden issue as well as things relating to China. If the news would affect H.H. Dalai Lama or themselves, they will definitely let it go and try their best to covert up about it. However, if the news would create some sort of trouble and distress within the Tibetan community, they would definitely say something about it and take actions.

    It is really thought invoking to see how the CTA is doing that tries to bring pain to their own community.

  3. Ashok Rao

    April 17, 2016 at 6:15 am

    This move by Amchok Rinpoche to relocate back to his home, which is now in China has far reaching political implications indeed. This must have been a shocking to the Tibetan Leadership. For someone so close to the Dalai Lama to have ‘defected’ and moved to China must be a smack in the face of the Tibetan Leadership.

    This isn’t the only incident where people have done things which would embarrass the Tibetan Administration. There have been many incidents in which this has occurred. The most recent being the State protectors showing their disapproval for the corruption during the electoral process…. but i digress. In the case of Amchok Rinpoche, i really believe that he moved back home as he really just wanted to live in his country again. Perhaps he even wanted to engage strongly in his practice rather than be in an environment in which there is so much politics, and therefore little chance to practice the Dharma, such as in the Tibetan exile community. I have known a couple of lamas like this, who just want to go back to Tibet and practice.

    Whatever the case may be, it just goes to show that the current state of the Tibetan refugee people’s was just not a place where Amchok Rinpoche wanted to be. Sad…but perhaps this could improve given that average Tibetan is now understanding that as citizens they do have their own rights.

  4. pema

    April 17, 2016 at 7:13 am

    By moving to Tibet, Amchok Rinpoche shows that the possibility to get Tibet back is lost. It is wiser to make friends with China and build up a constructive relationship with China instead.

    China is a huge country with many different ethnic groups and many different religions. They are making efforts to improve the life their citizens.

    To live for 56 years wandering, as refugee is tough. Hopefully more exile Tibetans will join and build a strong Tibetan community in China.

  5. Dev

    April 17, 2016 at 10:37 am

    The article very well written. Amchok Rinpoche who was part of Dalai Lama’s inside man who moved to China tells things about the current Tibetan government. A lots of things in CTA is not right. I Think now is the time for Tibetan to make friend with china and build relationship for future generation….

  6. Simone Bernard

    April 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Amchok Rinpoche returning to China is a sign of CTA’s failure in providing hope to these Tibetans that one day CTA will lead them back home, to Tibet (China). 50 years in exile is a long time to ‘wait’ for something to happen. Many would agree with the points regarding what Amchok Rinpoche’s defection possibly mean. CTA ‘s corrupted government and members are full of internal politicking and are mostly up to self- gains, their priority is obviously not the Tibetans’ welfare.

    How many Tibetans have left Dharamshala and India for greener pastures in another country? Didn’t they leave Tibet for His Holiness? So why are they leaving His Holiness now? How many of CTA’s officials and their family members have foreign passport or have back-up plans to fled to another country once His Holiness is not around? Recent incidents of His Holiness criticising the leadership and the oracles/ gods reprimanding the CTA leadership said it loud and clear about CTA’s performance and how unreliable this ‘exiled’ administration is. Hence, China is definitely a better bet. At least they own Tibet, officially.

  7. Lovett

    April 17, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    After reading this article, I realize that this is what many Tibetans especially those of the older generation of Tibetans who grew up Tibet want. When you are older, you want to go back to your homeland and you crave for that nostalgia and I believe the Tibetans are no different. Its sad that CTA don’t try to negotiate something for the older Tibetan folks who want to return to their homeland without the stigma of a traitor to the Tibetan cause.

  8. Dan Bear

    April 17, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    This is an important article on at least 2 fronts:

    (i) it shows that even those very close to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan establishment have given up all hopes that the CTA would ever set aside their personal agendas and work for the interest of all Tibetan people and;

    (ii) it shows the sheer hypocrisy of Shugden haters. All over the net we see them accusing Lama Gangchen and other Shugden lamas of colluding with the ‘enemy-Chinese’ simply because some these lamas were seen with Chinese people. And when someone from the Dalai Lama’s inner circle moves to China, everyone of these critics are silent.

    All Tibetan people should be asking this question – what is it that a Dalai Lama insider knows to prompt him to take things into his own hands and return to Tibet on his own accord, that the rest of the Tibetan are still in the dark about.

  9. Lukas Leibowitz

    April 17, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    He may be the Dalai Lama’s ex biographer but this guy is nothing more than a self-serving SOB. Where are the calls that this guy is some Chinese running dog? How come no one’s paying attention to this? Oh yeah because he doesn’t practice Dorje Shugden so everything’s a-okay. You can murder a man (HELLO PENPA TSERING!), embezzle funds from your people, shoot, rape, pillage and everything will be forgiven IF you don’t practice Dorje Shugden.

    Why our government continues to fund this sham of a democracy is beyond me. I’m sure we can find cheaper ways to piss off the Chinese.

  10. Pema Drolma

    April 17, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    How come the CTA never make a big issue out of this? But they would make a big issue with Shugden lamas like Gangchen Rinpoche who visits China? Double standards and bias for sure.

    Amchok Rinpoche returning to China is a clear indication that the CTA cannot be relied or trusted. It is a sign saying there is no hope or future with them especially when His Holiness passes. Being someone close to His Holiness and knows so much insiders news, I am sure He did not make this decision overnight. I am sure He knows it is going to be a big news to every Tibetan yet the Dalai Lama and the CTA is silent about this.

    I am also sure inside CTA itself, everyone has also already made their plans to “move” and migrate themselves and their entire family to other parts of the world as soon as CTA collapses and everyone is waiting for that faithful day when His Holiness enters clear light. So why is it not okay for other Tibetans to obtain citizenship even in India and be called a traitor and that they have to remain in India without an Indian passport and be considered a refuge? That’s pretty unfair especially for the poor Tibetans who cannot afford to migrate abroad.

    However we look at it, we are uncovering more dirt from CTA and the worst part is so many Westerners are such huge suckers to keep supporting and giving them money for them to keep operating. What have CTA done for their people except create disharmony and disunity.

  11. Aloysius Bong

    April 17, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    This is the trend, the Tibetans are getting tired, they have been living in poor condition in Dharamsala and India, or they spent tens of thousands of dollars per person trying to migrate to Europe or USA. The CTA failed miserably in caring for its own people, all they care about is playing politics and cheating the west to donate more money to them so that they can pocket the money themselves. All CTA care about is suppressing Dorje Shugden practitioners and make it an issue and blame their own failure on Dorje Shugden.

  12. Olivia

    April 17, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    This is a very educational and nice article because it has enabled a lot of us to learn more about the situation in Tibet now. This biographer of His Holiness the Dalai Lama moving to China is a huge attention to the failure of the leadership, they can’t even convince their own Tibetans to stay in the country. It really says a lot about the current situation in Tibet.

  13. Dharmacrazy

    April 18, 2016 at 3:41 am

    This is really a play of karma. All the things that tibetan leadership blamed and accuse China of is going full circle. To imagine that tibetan would choose China over their leadership. It is a real slap in the face for CTA.

    However, everyone is entitled to making mistakes. The key is to learn from mistake and improve. Unfortunately, the CTA shows no sign of effort to change and the results they created over the past decades have only gone from bad to worst.

  14. Amber Sonam

    April 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

    The points are valid and regardless which one, it is evident that the CTA is falling apart without the trust and support of their people. Who would accept this kind of “government” who has failed to bring any benefits for its own citizens?

    Amchok Rinpoche is one of the many high-profile lamas, scholars, professionals, etc. who has chosen to live overseas, including Thupten Jinpa – His Holiness’ translator. Thupten Jinpa has his own family and translation business in Canada, having a lot of opportunities and a peace and safe environment to live.

    Anyone who can afford wouldn’t wish to live like a refugee, especially under the ruling of a group of selfish and incapable group of people. It is too obvious not to tell that the Tibetan refugees are the bargaining chips of CTA for more donations. The leaving of Tibetan refugees would mean that there is no longer “substances” in the CTA pledge for external help. After all, there is no point to donate to nothing.

  15. Eli Buchen

    May 21, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I wonder if more Tibetans will consider going back to Tibet, now that the utopian idea of some semblance of their own country is dead and gone under the CTA.

    CTA is run by people who just want to fatten up their bank accounts. 50+ years of Tibetans in exile what is there to show for? Tibetans who have taken up citizenship in other countries are doing well now all over. Why be loyal to CTA, CTA will just bleed all Tibetans in exile dry.

  16. SabrinaS

    May 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    The move by Achok Rinpoche to return to live in mainland China as a Chinese citizen is definitely a wakeup call for CTA. Many will find the well received living condition of Achok Rinpoche in China as appealing and may just follow suit. After all they are still of “refugee” status and living in deplorable conditions matching their status, a condition that CTA controls to further their political cause. All the donations were to fatten their own pockets and the few elitists but not their people.
    It is time they stop putting the blame on Dorje Shugden and lift the ban on his practise as it is CTA’s own questionable and high-handed policies that are loosing the favours of support.

  17. Anonymous

    September 16, 2016 at 7:49 am


  18. Sierra

    October 4, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Guess this just goes to show that the he is feeling his age and is tired of waiting. He’s also probably tired of the politics surrounding the Dalai lama and the CTA. He might just want to go back to the real practice without politics.

    Don’t forget Achok Rinpoche is a monk and i doubt he had much opportunity to do long retreats. and he wouldn’t want to be in a position to jeopardize his karma and continue to deny Dorje Shugden, rightly or wrongly.

  19. Pema

    May 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Sad to say but what to do except going back to Tibet.
    The picture says enough unfortunately… there is not much that has been done for the Tibetans to make a living and be at home in Dharamsala. Why stay a refugee when there is no hope for a better future?

    So why stay instead of going home to Tibet? The decision of Amchok Rinpoche shows clearly the way as after so many years the CTA has not helped his people for better living conditions but created difficulties and hardship like for example by dividing the Tibetans because of the Dorje Shugden ban.

    “The Chinese Communist Party supports the propagation of Tibetan Buddhism so long as Buddhism is not used as a political tool.” So instead of mixing religion with politics, preserving Tibetan Buddhism seems to be more close to heart to the Chinese Government than to the CTA. I guess we cannot deny that the CTA is digging its own grave.

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