In the last week, a rather interesting document has been circulating on social media. It is touted to be the transcript of an audience that His Holiness the Dalai Lama had with former speakers, ministers and leaders of the Tibetan government on April 25, 2016. We were able to get a rough translation of this transcript to share with you all here.

As you can see, His Holiness recounts in some detail the difficulties he faces with different aspects of the Tibetan community. This extends from a lack of cooperation amongst the leadership, all the way down to a lack of cooperation amongst the Tibetan community themselves who refuse to take the Dalai Lama’s advice.

The question must be asked then, has it always been this way? Have the leadership and the people always been so stubborn, and the Dalai Lama’s disappointment is therefore nothing new? Or is this a recent development due to repeated disappointments the community has suffered as a result of mismanagement and misleadership by the Tibetan government in exile? We are not sure which one is better and which thought disturbs us more – knowing the Dalai Lama has always had such a difficult time leading his people, or knowing that the Tibetan leadership have driven their people to such a point where they no longer listen to anyone’s advice, not even the Dalai Lama.

Interestingly, His Holiness did not list people’s refusal to give up Dorje Shugden practice as one of his disappointments. This omission is significant considering the amount of time, effort and resources that has been spent in enforcing the ban. Instead of talking about Dorje Shugden, His Holiness chose to use far less significant examples, for example people’s refusal to delegate ploughing duties to their Indian neighbors. Could this glaring omission indicate a thawing in his approach towards Dorje Shugden practitioners?

The transcript has been in circulation in conjunction with this image, purporting to show the people who had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The transcript has been in circulation in conjunction with this image, purporting to show the people who had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The author of this document is currently unknown as the person wishes to remain anonymous. As a result, questions have been raised over the authenticity of this document and whether the conversation it claims to record really took place. Whether or not the transcript is genuine, we could not help but feel sympathy for the Dalai Lama as we read it. It gave a little glimpse into the difficulties His Holiness has to contend with. The transcript also offers a glimpse into the level of awareness that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has for the goings-on in his community. The Dalai Lama is fully aware of everything, including that people have been abusing his name for their own purposes. Their refusal to listen to him, their willingness to exploit his name for their own gain, is this how the Tibetan community shows their gratitude towards someone who has in general been very kind to them for the last 60 years?

Even if this transcript were later discovered to be less than genuine, the fact remains that someone had the mind to generate a transcript like this. Obviously there are various aspects of Tibetan society that troubles them enough to compose a transcript like this. Or perhaps the author really did hear His Holiness express his disappointment in the current situation of the Tibetan people. Otherwise, how dare they fake a transcript of things they purport the Dalai Lama to have said? Such a thing would be unthinkable, especially since it involves His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the king and leader of an entire people.

Origins notwithstanding, please read this transcript carefully and let us know your thoughts below. We hope it will shed some light for you into the workings of the Central Tibetan Administration where even their leader and god has now taken the unprecedented step of criticizing them.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama Addressing a Group of Former Ministers and Speakers

The Original Transcript


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English Translation

[ ] = indicates information or a phrase that has been added for clarity or context

You’re all from the generation where I’m the head. Now I think that generation has almost finished. I read each and every application and request that you put in front of me. I am very happy and glad to know you all gathered and discussed. Now, action is important. Meanwhile, how were the elections for the Kalon? [referring to the recent Sikyong elections featuring Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering as candidates] This year’s elections, there were so many problems like in the American elections, for example the candidates insulting each other. The previous years’ elections between Lobsang Sangay, Tenzin Namgyal, Tashi Wangdu, there weren’t this many problems even though there were three candidates.

Lobsang Sangay

Lobsang Sangay

Lobsang Sangay graduated from Harvard University in the US. During his time there, he got a modern education. At first he was good to everyone. I had great hope that Lobsang Sangay was a good candidate. Nowadays he [is] used to tell lies and boasting. I have always told everyone that you should have good manners and never boast of your position. Simple living, I thinking type.

See the members of parliament I’ve given to them [meaning see what has happened to them]. I am sad because people near to me are biased. Now I feel like there is no worth [in living]. One of the Chamdopas was the American donjo [representative of the Dalai Lama, referring to Kaydor Aukatsang]. He used my name and supported Lobsang Sangay, to promote to get votes for him. See, Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering’s party gathering their supporters [as though in a battle array]. From Amdo side, this type of thing, I never hear it happening.

Few days ago I have a meeting with Indian CID [the intelligence wing of the Indian police]. They told me that Tibetan elections have become like Indian politicians’ elections. That is true. I told the CID that many, many years ago, we were students of the masters of Nalanda but now we are students of Indian politicians. What to do?

I have been talking to all people to have good manners but people closest to me are doing opposite of this. The result of this is they are destroying Dharma (tenshi) from the top1. Even I told them many times, if there is no advantage, then what to do? If those closest to me don’t listen to me then what is the point of living? But on the other hand, foreigners listen to me and put it into practice. Some like that, in India also, what I have told, they pay more attention. By looking at them I think it has benefited [meaning for the Dalai Lama to remain]. I think if like this, it won’t be correct if I don’t stay.

During opening ceremony of Men Tsee Khang, while I was attending it, I saw Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and our other leaders sitting in front of everyone else. The young Health Minister was also there. During the ceremony, at the time, I saw the leaders sitting at the front. Suddenly I remembered something a high lama with clairvoyance told me many years ago. That at the front of the public, sometimes people sitting there and they are not related to Dharma [meaning inside, they have no refuge]. They said they want to meet with me and Kukey Yiktsang also received letter from them. What’s the point of an empty apology since they always do the opposite of what I say?

There’s a reason for me to be angry. It’s not like a small child not getting sweets so he is angry. If they are really sorry [meaning if they understand why he is angry] then discuss, come up with a plan, do it and come back in six months and show something. No matter how many times I say this, there is no change so what’s the benefit? (Dalai Lama folds his hands) I have asked so many times, there is nothing left to do but plead with them (Dalai Lama makes a thumbs-up gesture of pleading known as “kutchi kutchi”). Nobody is paying attention to this matter. I was so disappointed.

Jamyang Norbu

Jamyang Norbu

A person called Dondhup Lhadar said the Dalai Lama cleared [meaning destroyed] Tibetan government. Jamyang Norbu said that the Dalai Lama in 60 years has worked so hard to unite Tibetans then in the end he cleared Tibetan government. When I heard that I was very sad and disappointed. How did I clear it? How?

Today in Delhi, when Xi Jing Ping [is there], Dhondrup Lhadar protest and see what he said. Independence is everyone’s right but we need to see the real situation. In Parliament some have been talking about rangzen. Few years ago, they had special meeting. During the meeting they had four points: rangzen, umaylam2, rangta rangcho (self-autonomy). At the time, I said they should do what the public wants. The German Ambassador said, “In today’s meeting you haven’t changed the umaylam way. If you had a meeting on rangzen, then hard for you to visit Germany.” Indian government said same thing before.

A few days ago, during the offering of tenshug [long life ceremony] by some of the society…what was the name of the lama? Oh, Sog Shabdrung. What he said, he is not connected with Dorje Shugden. He will only focus and practice umaylam. By hearing that I said I am very happy. I said very thank you. If I had to say honestly, I am not saying umaylam is only for my purpose. Actually, umaylam is not cunning and not for my benefit. The current situation of Tibet is very critical. I thought that nothing is better than umaylam. For now, China government is ignoring. So that’s why we are unable to put that umaylam into practice. I am very glad that someone has been supporting policy of umaylam. In Tibet, the senior people are talking about umaylam more and more [like they are interested]. Recently there was a big meeting. At that time, a person from Chamdo, Jampa Phuntsok, was very outspoken [about umaylam].

Same like that, Yangling Dorje spoke like this too, also giving support. Via umaylam, if I can visit Tibet then the talk about umaylam being not true will be cleared away. Isn’t this true? If that can’t happen then they will think umaylam can’t be [or is not] successful. That will be true for them.

In the Tibetan language, referring to the Tibetan government བོད་གཞུང་། (bod gzhung) Gaden Phodrang as གཞུང་། (gzhung), the word is not appropriate. For example, gompa gzhung, dratsang gzhung – the English word ‘government’, the Tibetan word gzhung does not accurately reflect the English meaning. I didn’t change the Tibetan government because I felt sad or disappointed, but because I felt pity for the Tibetan people.

Recently, the Gaden Tripa and many Gelug abbots came to visit me with sincerity. I was very glad and I also told them at that time we are very losing and it is necessary to take precautions. I am hoping that one day, someone from Zangkara (ཟང་ཀར་ར) becomes a Gaden Tripa. Therefore I arranged [for him to be] the Gyume lama umze. He’s a very good scholar. I’m so sad he has liver cancer and now he’s going to have a liver transplant. Study for 20-30 years then this problem so what to do? No option. If this type of thing happens, then it is a very big loss to the monastery. In the settlements, not many people take precautions over their health so now, so many people are lost. There are many high quality hospitals but inside, no doctors. I have asked before to send quality doctors from Bangalore to the settlements. If they don’t get permission from high authorities, they cannot go to settlements. Maybe I think that the high authorities are not going to order. Even I have told this during the ceremony.

In the settlements there is a small community who do ploughing. I have said before to the settlement and that community that for this activity, they can ask their Indian neighbors to do. Also this would benefit them. Even after I told them, no one was taking action and doing this. The ploughing community, even where they keep their straw, it’s not complete / permanent and it’s just a tent. No improvement.

Gadong Oracle (left) and Tseringma Oracle (right).

Gadong Oracle (left) and Tseringma Oracle (right).

A few days ago, in Gaden Phodrang, every year they do tordru [also known as torgya]. At that time, the Gadong Oracle and Tseringma Oracle attended. Tenma came in a spontaneous trance. Then Nechung Oracle came and suddenly took spontaneous trance also. The deities then said they need to take trance again in front of me. “It’s not okay,” I said, “What I am thinking, you already know. Whatever people can do, they are not doing. If you can do, you just do it. If you want to say something, go and tell them [the citizens]. I can help you to connect with them.” Actually the Tibetan leaders have been requesting to the deities during trance that during the handover period of the government, to thank the deities for their support and also request for future support. During the trance, whatever prophecy was given, you [the people in front of the Dalai Lama at the audience] also know.

Even if I stay for another 10 years then I will be 90. I have a feeling I can do something during these 10 years. During these years, something can happen. Until then, we need to work hard on this thing. After that, I will be old and not much can be done because I won’t have enough time. Until we die, we need to think about other people. I have told this to Gelugpas also. Take a field for example. If you have an empty field, you can plant anything you want.

I met the Sera Je abbot for a moment and I was very happy that he has a good connection with the Indian universities. It’s very good. We must push hard to have good connection with the Indian universities. If we can do this, then our Nalanda lineage will be priceless.

What you have been thinking and the discussion you have done, this is very good. You need to finalize it. Must do what you discussed and have result and don’t just keep thinking, it’s good without doing anything. It’s like the proverb “grass covering the puddle”. Thank you. Ya (folds his hands). Now we take group photo for memory.

1 For example, if the abbot of a monastery does not uphold the vinaya, everyone below him will follow in his lead and as a result, the Dharma will be destroyed through his bad example

2 Rangzen is full independence. This was the Dalai Lama’s former position regarding the Tibetan cause, before he began to advocate for umaylam, or the Middle Way Approach referring to meaningful autonomy. Stalwarts of the rangzen approach are accused of being anti-Dalai Lama for their refusal to give up their dreams of Tibetan independence

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  1. Dominique

    October 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Feel so sad for His Holiness after reading this transcript. It is very apparent that his people especially his ministers are not really listening to him and doing their part.

    I am amazed they Dalai Lama had to address this like this, how embarrassing. If these ministers, even the Sikyong does not carry out the instructions and advises of His Holiness while he is still alive, then you can imagine what will happen to Tibetans once His Holineess passes.

    I feel His Holiness is trying his final best now to bring his people together and to try to achieve the middle way for the benefit of everyone but some are still stubborn. In this way, for sure they will not listen to His Holiness to stop discriminating Dorje Shugden practitioners, which is why we see them being hostile and violent towards Shugden people. But I still wish His Holiness would say something to the effect of “Stop discriminating and abusing Shugden practitioners”. That would be so great before He passes.

    Also after His Holiness passes, then the Tibetan leaders will no longer have the Dalai Lama to be their spokeperseon and stop using Dalai Lama’s name to exploit people.

    May the Dalai Lama quickly lift the Shugden ban and unite all Tibetans once again!

  2. Sierra

    October 10, 2016 at 10:15 am

    The Dalai Lama must be upset with himself for appoint Lobsang Sangay as the Sikyong now. Before this, I guess, the ministers were not listening and following the Dalai Lama’s instruction, though not so overtly.

    Now, this minister are flexing their muscles. They think they can manipulate the Dalai Lama. If more of this gets out, the people will wise up to the tricks of the CTA and will not listen to them so much.

    Looks like the wind of change is blowing.

  3. Sascha

    October 10, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    As long all nations are not interested in dignity/dharma for their own benifit to prevent and overcome alot of their problems in the present and future, that are rooted in ignorance and only can be overcome by dignity/wisdom and compassion and not by violence, dignity/dharma/wisdom and compassion is in the situation of being suppressed/blocked.

    You can’t change others in order to make them stop creating dualistic thoughts and emotions from their wisdom and compassion. The only thing that you can do is what tibetan people already did and do, they study and practice dharma, they explain dharma and help others to study and practice dharma.

    Not only HHDL and CTA as well as all tibetan people are responsible but also myself and all other people who have been in touch with tibetans and understand their culture that is so incredible rich with wisdom and compassion. The tibetan culture is a miracle in itself on this planet and is most important to protect.

    From my point of view tibetan people deserve to have their state/republic/autonomous region on this planet that also is beneficial for all other nations because of their wisdom and compassion culture.

    So please give tibetan people their place on this planet for the benifit of mankind.

  4. Sherabz

    October 11, 2016 at 10:18 am

    People are different now. Though HH Dalai Lama told to all people to have good manners but the people closest to him are doing opposite of this. It’s a kind of disappointment when a guru give advice for the benefit of the students but no one is listening and taking action for doing that. Furthermore, the deities took trance and also said the same that “Whatever people can do, they are not doing.” As a result, it is considered as destroying dharma due to the people being influenced not to follow the advice and forgot about the guru devotion.

    If HH Dalailama as per his wish to stay for another 10 years, sincerely hope that he can help to do something to resolve the Shugden ban during this period. We may see now, His Holiness thinks of others and wanted to do more. But, hope the people closest to him will follow his advice this time.

  5. Gypsy

    October 12, 2016 at 11:19 am

    For the past 60 years, H.H. Dalai Lama has been devoting Himself for the betterment of Tibetans and his country Tibet, both spiritually and secularly. His Holiness’ great contribution cannot be wiped off easily and His Holiness is considered as a legend of this era. It’s absolutely very sad to see such statement from His Holiness himself.

    The acts of the Tibetan Government certainly show clear signs of ungratefulness, disrespectful and stupidity and if they continue with this kind of management with their people, the whole nation will definitely degenerate further.

    I sincerely hope all the Tibetans can unite, have great respect to His Holiness as their leader, and most importantly, His Holiness please lift the dorje shugden ban, for the sake of peace.

  6. Lionel Tashi

    October 13, 2016 at 9:30 am

    看到这篇文章真的是让人感到悲痛万分。 至尊嘉瓦仁波切如此清楚的表达了他对他身边的人的失望, 尤其是西藏行政中央的领袖们。

    嘉瓦仁波切在六十年来都对藏人爱护有加, 不过西藏西藏行政中央的领袖们则是如此的不争气, 一直只是为了自身的利益而明争暗斗, 而忽略了身为领袖所需要履行的职务。 那么多年来在印度的藏人都没有得到很好的照顾, 反而因为多杰雄登禁令而令到藏人分裂。

    西藏行政中央也没有根据遵从嘉瓦仁波切的指示, 一直我行我素。 在不久前的降神仪式, 护法神–Tenma 也明显表现出对于西藏行政中央的不满及愤怒。

    嘉瓦仁波切也说, 如果人们都不听从他的劝告, 那么他转世来娑婆世界的目的也无法达成, 也不需要再继续转世回来。我相信这也是嘉瓦仁波切的弟子们最不想看到的。

    愿嘉瓦仁波切可以长寿, 也希望西藏行政中央的领袖们可以专注在利惠藏民的工作上, 而不是一直炒作多杰雄登议题。


  7. Gaz

    October 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

    As much as the Dalai Lama has created so many problems for Shugden practitioners, I cant help but feel sorry for him when I read all of this. I mean yeah sure the guys a Buddha but he took on a physical form. With the physical form, there are certain limitations that he is subjected to and my guess is manifesting disappointment would be one of them?

    Anyone else who has to go through this much would otherwise be having a really hard time. I think we should cut the Dalai Lama some slack. Ive been seeing comments going about that hes letting us practise Dorje Shugden? Maybe hes just tired of everyone not listening to him and it would just be easier to retract the ban and have people like him for it, and more people in general liking him again.

    Either way I think maybe we should cut His Holiness some slack sometimes. Its not easy being in the position hes in, with all the people hes got to deal with, and with all the expectations and pressure they put on him.

  8. Tenzin Dolma

    October 17, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Dear Your Holiness Dalai Lama,
    Your government has always been the culprit of many evil doings. They kill even high lamas and condemn them… like how they did with Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and Demo Rinpoche all wronged and many more lay practitioner too. How can you not know they been doing all this behind your backs, how can you Your Holiness Chenrezig, Buddha of Compassion not know all this?

    Now they decided to take Your Holiness words to cut and separate Guru and students, fathers and mothers from their children, family turn enemies, friendships become sour… how can all this negative sin be ignored. This is what your government do, they divide their own people. So when divided, everything is going to crumble, sooner or later and this is now happening inside. Your see your Sikyong behaving like childish children competing with each other, calling names all because greedy for power and money. What else is new… they are lay yet they are allowed to condemn the sangha. Everything going backwards and down, how can you not see this?

    When you go, I am afraid the all Tibetans hope will 100% be lost, confused and everyone will split everywhere. If Your Holiness don’t lift the Shugden ban and bring your people back together then who can??? Who will? Tibetan will be completely lost. Hope Your Holiness see this and do something now before too late and all is lost. Thank you.

  9. Manjushri

    October 28, 2016 at 4:50 am

    A certain sadness and disappointment can be felt through the transcript. Sounds like the Dalai Lama is trying to do his best, but face many many opposition to his advice and works, like it’s landing on deaf ears. He must be in a difficult position, to have to be a spiritual head and also associated with politics and the Tibetan Administration even though he seems like he’s out of it. You know that Dalai lama is speaking from an enlightened mind..he seems to say that there is no point in living, if situations and people don’t change, but if people do, and the Dharma stays alive and growing, then it’s well worth it. It is sad to read that the West is practising the Dharma more than his own people, and it must probably cause much sadness to Dalai Lama.

    I read on the news that he has said recently that people can practice Dorje Shugden if they want to… perhaps times is changing, and this is the only way to reunite Tibetans and have one less problem off his plate.

  10. Elibuchen

    October 29, 2016 at 6:29 am

    No wonder there is no progress in CTA’s engagement with the Chinese. No one is working hard to make goals a reality. in a way I feel sorry for the 14th Dalai Lama need to deal with so much, but he has no good help.

  11. sarah kays

    November 6, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Over time karma catches up and the seeds open and things will get out of control.
    In my opinion this is the phenomena of the negative seeds ripening in the Tibetan governance of the country and its people.
    When China took control of Tibet in the late 1950s, there were lots of sympathy and care that went out to the Tibetan people who had to fled from their homeland. Neighbouring countries welcomed them with open arms and allowed them to live and re establish their community in exile. Their families settled down though struggling initially, things improved and the new generation is now living decently well.

    Along the way, poor decisions were made. one such example is the exclusion of the Dorje Shugden practitioners from the Tibetan community. Another is the segregation in the Karma kagyu lineage with the existence of 2 Karmapas.
    The thrid example is that neither the Dalai Lama or the CTA have stepped in to ensure that the Drukpa Kagyus are protected from forced annexations and conversions. There are many more controversies that have popped up in the last few decades and the selectivity of the CTA when dealing with Tibetan Buddhist issues, and how their bias and prejudice destabilized the Tibetan society. On one hand, the CTA practices a non-involvement policy towards the Kagyupas; on the other hand, the CTA enforces a continued and vigorous campaign against Dorje Shugden.

    There is also the questionable usage of the funds collected from the sympathy of people around the world via its causes relating to Free Tibet. What were they used for ? Isn’t it misleading to ask people to sponsor Free Tibet when the cause is to establish Autonomy and not complete freedom ?

    Even the Dalai Lama has now realised how the Tibetan government and its people have degenerated. People became greedy for power and material gains. Focused mainly on these wordly concerns they discriminated and harmed many to keep themselves in power. Whilst the Dalai Lama is still alive such degenerations can take place.
    Can you imagine what will happen when the Dalai Lama is no more ??????

  12. Camillia

    November 28, 2016 at 6:07 am

    For a while, we would have thought that the Tibetans in exile community is under the leadership of His Holiness, and then we have this!? “We are not sure which one is better and which thought disturbs us more – knowing the Dalai Lama has always had such a difficult time leading his people, or knowing that the Tibetan leadership have driven their people to such a point where they no longer listen to anyone’s advice, not even the Dalai Lama.” Either way, Dalai Lama has lessened control over his own ministers and people. Plagued with such fundamental issues, the Dorje Shugden ban will be the backlash waiting to happen.

  13. Tenzin Paljor

    January 28, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    The Shugden groups can dare defy the Dalai Lama because they do not have a country. The Tibetans are scattered all over the world and they have their various power basis from their various countries. I have spoken to Ms. Dhardon Sharling about this. If all the Tibetans were back in Tibet, they would have no chance to defy the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama’s government would crush them into silence. How dare they defy the Dalai Lama. Democracy is not for the backwards and illiterate Tibetans. They need a strong, smart and able ruler like the Dalai Lama and his ministers to tell them what is good or bad for them. The Dorje Shugden practice should be banned completely from the Tibetans and Tibetan nation because it is a harmful practice. And no religious freedom should be allowed to let this Dorje Shugden religion arise. In history, many other harmful religions were suppressed for the good of mankind. Shugden should be suppressed and all people who practice him should be forced to give up the practice.

  14. Tenzin Paljor

    January 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Everyone should be seen and take a picture with the Dalai Lama and post it. It will boost ‘business’. It’s made me look really valid and more people trust what I am saying simply because I had my picture taken with the Dalai Lama. I’ve roped in Carole MccQuirre and gang to do the same things. You see because I am from East Germany and we don’t believe in any sort of religious freedom. Whatever the regime in the past told you to do, you do it without question. The Shugden groups should not be allowed to practice their religion because the Dalai lama says so. We shouldn’t question the Dalai Lama or defy him. After all he is not human but a god. So if Dalai Lama says don’t practice Dorje Shugden, just follow along without question because why should there be religious freedom. The populace are too stupid to see what religion is good and what is harmful.

  15. Carol McQuirre

    January 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    I agree with you Paljor. The Tibetans do not need democracy, but a strong firm hand to tell them what to do. They are not like us educated English people who can handle and know what to do with democracy. The fact that Tibetans have no real elected leaders and the leader is really the Dalai Lama for the last 60 years is good news. Tibetans cannot elect their own leaders. When the Dalai Lama dies, we wait for him to reincarnate back and take over again because he is the only leader that can handle Tibetans.

  16. TseringD, Delhi

    October 29, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Nechung is ZUMA 👎 before I m think he is one of d best when I m watch dis video By Geshe Dorjee la but now I m think is not d truth n he is lie to Tibet people we r not back to Tibet yt Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

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