Top image caption: The Dalai Lama is running out of options and allies.

The Dalai Lama’s long held strategy of being the prickly porcupine that stands between the two elephants of India and China is clearly backfiring.

His recent visit to the contested region of Arunachal Pradesh resulted in an opportunistic swipe at China by the Indian state’s Chief Minister who said that “his state” borders Tibet and not China. The Chinese elephant promised repercussions. India has kept a low profile ever since.

When the Tibetan leader visited Mongolia earlier this year with the blessing of the Mongolian government who were foolishly trying to assert its independence from China’s sphere of influence, India failed to come to Mongolia’s rescue and Mongolia had to subsequently humble itself to China for a financial bailout, plus commit that it would not host the Dalai Lama ever again.

Tibetans in exile, who have been led by the Dalai Lama since 1959, are seeing all this and taking notes. They note especially the multiplying influence of China globally and how other countries are slowly but surely bowing to it, particularly countries whose anaemic economies are in need of blood transfusion from Chinese investments. All these are happening at the expense of the Tibetan leadership.

The Tibetan leadership is also losing appeal to the Tibetans who seem to have given up on the Tibetan exile leadership. In the past, scores of Tibetans would escape Chinese rule to join their beloved Dalai Lama in exile. The opposite is happening these days as thousands leave the exile settlements in India yearly, opting to return to Tibet and become Chinese citizens instead, spurred on no doubt by the myriad problems they face moving ahead in their lives as refugees and securing some semblance of a future.

Today, with the US under President Donald Trump having a very practical and business-like view of the world, and who surprised some by recently sending a delegation to the “Belt and Road Forum” hosted by China, it is also hard to see its ally India finding any strength to bolster its support for the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan leadership lost their country half a century ago and now they are in the process of losing control of the religion of Tibetan Buddhism in large part due to their heavy handedness in dealing the Tibetan people that often divides the community. But by far the biggest prickly divide lies in the Dalai Lama’s excommunicating his own lineage’s Dorje Shugden, a highly controversial move whose fractiousness has reached a global scale. Many accuse China today of using the religious practice of Dorje Shugden to undermine the Dalai Lama’s hold on his people but in fact it is the Tibetan leadership who provided China with this golden opportunity to capitalize on a schism that is the Tibetan leadership’s own creation.

The Shugden debacle exposes the Dalai Lama as being dictatorial in his rule which disallows the most basic of rights such as freedom of faith. The support that the Tibetan leadership lost, China has picked up as it positions itself as a progressive global leader that is moving towards reform and freedom. And this is on top of having installed a pro-China Panchen Lama (a Lama of equal rank historically and spiritually to the Dalai Lama) in Lhasa whom China is promoting as an alternative to the Dalai Lama.

The 11th Panchen Lama whom China recognises is promoted as a spiritual equivalent to the Dalai Lama

China has also funded many Tibetan monks from the East Tibetan region, where the Dalai Lama does not have much sway, and have transplanted them to the area around capital Lhasa.

It is crystal clear that the Dalai Lama has hence set his own trap a long time ago by miscalculating his moves and creating one thorny issue after another. Today, his detractors even claim that he is not keen on announcing his successor because he wants to end his own incarnation lineage. It would be almost impossible for him to move his chess pieces now without facing checkmate.

This article from Hardnews really sums up everything very well. The article is really unbiased and fair reporting but it still does not bode well for the Tibetan leadership’s immediate and distant future. It is a must read as it summarizes perfectly well the situation of the Tibetan leadership and Tibetans in exile.

Click to read the full report. Source:

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  1. Camillia

    May 25, 2017 at 12:38 am

    I agree with the observation of J. Aulden that Dalai Lama had handed a golden opportunity to China to position herself as the party who values, treasures and will invest to enshrine Tibetan Buddhism, that is deeply embedded in Tibetans’ pride in their culture and tradition. Hence, invalidating the single most potent reason that Dalai lama used to continuously wage “war” against the Chinese all these while.

    By creating the Dorje Shugden schism, Dalai Lama effectively dethroning himself and telling the world he is mere mortal, has likes & dislikes, and has succumbed to politics; meaning he is willing to use unethical means to get what he wants. Therefore, it is precarious for Dharamsala or CTA to continue abuse and fight against the Dorje Shugden people. It is better for Dalai Lama to embrace true reigious freedom and remove any trace of ban against Dorje Shugden practice. In this way, Tibetans can be united.

  2. SabrinaS

    May 26, 2017 at 6:43 am

    Further to Camilia’s comment, I am amazed that the Dalai Lama who is the same mindstream as Avalokiteshvara could make such “bad” moves with regards to China and Dorje Shugden. In his attainments His Holiness would have the ability to foresee the results of his actions and yet why did he make the choice to antagonise China and create the divide between his own people into pro-Shugden & anti-Shugden? It seems that whatever ‘side’ that the Dalai Lama had chosen, the contrary happens. He chose to partner with the West for sponsorships and China now prosper to be the powerful country in the world with many seeking her favour and partnership. The Dalai Lama chose to put down the 400 year old practice of enlightened protector Dorje Shugden with CTA placing a ban and inciting hatred & abuses against the practitioners if they disobeyed. Instead this beneficial practice spread worldwide with 4 million practitioners and gained the full support of China under freedom of religion & preservation of cultural act. Of course, the Shugden practitioners did not go out to woo China but since it is seen as though the practitioners are against the Dalai Lama, China is happy to benefit from this hostility.

    Certainly I don’t see any country capable of standing up to China now that the American President has turned the nation’s attention inward to rebuild the great nation and being from a business background, had preferred commercial/trade agreements in friendship rather then hostile disagreements as before. I would see a decline in need for the Dalai Lama or CTA as pawn to antagonise China in the near future. Sad really, how the great acceptance of the Dalai Lama had fallen to courteous dismissal when CTA could had made connection with China for the Tibetan exiles to return home years ago if they had taken the Dalai Lama’s advise of pursuing autonomy rule. I guess CTA thought they know better in aggressively continuing their propaganda against China. I wonder if CTA realises that they no longer have the support that the movement garnered in its early years. And their illogical ban on Dorje Shugden emphasize the failures of their feudalistic method of governance and showed the whole world their injustice in protecting the rights of their own people. So YES, the Tibetan Leadership is losing everything!

  3. GonG108 Karma jigme dorje

    May 28, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    sadly is see only the destruction of Dharma and tradition , we may oppose the Dalai Lamas decisions but one must be blind not to see how all the tradition is going down .
    all this are no good signs

  4. Dondrup Shugden

    June 6, 2017 at 5:55 am

    “A WOLF IN SHEEP CLOTHING” is what China has always described the Dalai Lama. From what is happening and the actions of the Dalai Lama, China may be correct in that description.

    As a Buddhist who is taught to believe that the Dalai Lama is emanation of Avalokitshvara, it is rather disappointing to note that He has been creating so much disharmony among various sectors of the universe.

    Most of all, His display of dislike to Dorje Shugden Lamas and devotees. Is there really a bigger picture.

    As far as I can see there is none. Correct me, if the Dalai Lama and CTA is being construction for Buddhism.

  5. sierra

    June 7, 2017 at 7:30 am

    China seems to be learning from history and their mistakes. They have realised that people need a spiritual anchor. Thus, China has made progress by slowly allowing her people the right to religious activities. From the days of the cultural revolution to now, China has made great strides whereas Tibetans in exile, namely the CTA has regressed by repressing certain worships and creating division to weaken her people in exile.

    CTA wants to call China repressive and inhumane, but look at their own actions. Are they any better than the China they so despise, even if that China is around? To be honest, China may be no angel but compared to CTA, they look like saints.

    So, to have to look at the Tibetans in India when the tap runs dry.

  6. Arrie Robtson

    June 13, 2017 at 8:37 am

    After so many years, finally Tibetans realized that the Tibetan leadership is not bringing them anywhere with their motive, CTA are not capable to take care of their country, their citizen, they only do everything for themselves, hence, it is definitely the right move to go back to Tibet and become the Chinese citizen. More and more people going back, this also means CTA’s time is up. It is sad to see that Tibetans are putting so much hope to CTA for leading them and at the end, they end up with disappointment.

    Lobsang Sangye recently mentioned that Dalai Lama will announce his successor very soon, but now Dalai Lama claim that he is not keen in announcing his successor which I heard this some time back that he want to end his incarnation lineage this life(with no disrespect to Dalai Lama), so does is mean that Lobsang Sangye is telling lie?

    I doubt that for Dalai Lama who is the emanation of Avalokitesvhara will make any wrong move, because Buddha can see all the past, present and future, that is not possible for him to make such mistake over and over again, this also clearly shows that Dalai Lama is planning something that we do not know.

    For this, it has clearly shown that all the previous claim about Dorje Shugden as a spirit is not true, it is so obvious now that for the ‘truth’ that CTA trying to show all these years is actually the biggest lie. Really glad to see CTA is going down, so they could not harm their own people anymore.

  7. vajra-NMD

    June 13, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Maybe is time for CTA to going down? US not support CTA anymore, what else can CTA do?

    At my point of view : I always Wish for HHDL leave the ban of Dorje Shugden.


  8. bambi

    June 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

    There should be freedom of religion, practice, speech, etc no matter what country one is in.
    In the case of Dorje Shugden’s discrimination, it is very bad as there is no religious freedom at all, just because the Dalai Lama said so. Whether or not, China is promoting Dorje Shugden to spite Dalai Lama and His followers, it doesn’t matter. There should be religious harmony. The point is, China is promoting Tibetan Buddhism. And shouldn’t we, as Buddhists, be proud that they are doing that? The freedom to practice.

    With what CTA is doing, look at what is happening. Tibetans are leaving India by the thousands and although some may want to return but wouldn’t those people be going back to square one? If after all those years spent in India and governed by the CTA bring not much benefits, then why stay on? China is growing huge and bringing so much to their own country, why not stick around and see how one can benefit? If it was me, I would definitely not go back to CTA nor India.

  9. samayakeeper

    June 13, 2017 at 11:57 am

    One of the wisest moves China is making is the support of religious freedom for the Tibetans living in China. The present Tibetan leaderships are trying their best what their predecessors had done, that is to further annihilate the lineage of Dorje Shugden. But their efforts have instead increased more awareness and popularity for Dorje Shugden’s practice, as clearly seen by the peaceful protests all over the world where the Dalai Lama visited, and world leaders are distancing themselves from the Dalai Lama. Government leaders do not want to be part of another government who are not treating their people fairly especially the right to religious freedom and human rights. Add to that, the warning given by China not to host the Dalai Lama for any visit, including spiritual ones. Hence the smart gambit by China to woo Tibetans and to weaken the support for the Dalai Lama is working.

  10. Tenzin K

    June 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    After close to 60 years CTA has not bring Tibetans to anywhere. We know so much fund they have received but unfortunately we still cannot see how CTA make Tibetans self-sustain in India. What make the situation more worst is that instead of uniting their people they discriminate their own people with violent for those that have different preference in their religious belief in this case Dorje Shugden practice or political.

    I have read how China is rebuilding monastery, encouraging Buddhism practice and many Tibetans in India going back to Tibet. It has been a long 60 years and the situation between CTA and China is not going anywhere and it has gotten from bad to worst. Indeed CTA is loosing everything from funding to their own people. This is not because their people are traitor but it’s because the disappointment from the leaders that never take care of their people and never put their people interest as priority.

    The longer the Tibetan leadership didn’t realise this the worst it will become.

  11. Belinda Mae

    June 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    The CTA is on a losing side. The Tibetans in exile are returning to Tibet. China on the other hand is stopping their help to the countries where Dalai Lama goes to give talks or teachings. The younger generations of the TIbetan in exile are beginning to know more bad things about CTA through the power of social media. Even US is pulling out their help to India which very soon India will also hit with trouble and difficulties. I really don’t understand how long CTA wants to stand firm with their thinking and their rules. Times have change. People have change. So it’s better for them to take action now rather than later when everything turns so bad for them that is hard for them to rise up again.

  12. Geraldine Sarie

    June 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    In my point of view, if CTA have allowed freedom choice practice to their people, no such thing as religion discrimination, Tibetan in exile will occur. What CTA should do? Who should be blame? China again?

    Moreover, China funded many resource to Tibet economically gain more trust, hope and confident to the Tibetan people in India return to their homeland. Other than that, China fully supported religious freedom practices such as Dorje Shugden which the CTA go against it. Right now, China is Tibetan people breadwinner and CTA is far away from it. It is sad but true.

  13. Wisdommind

    June 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Tibetan leadership with his exile government has fail to gain tibetan trust for the pass 60 year to fright for Tibet independent. Since China has grow global, many countries does not want become China enermy and stop funding to support CTA recently. All the while CTA has misuse the funding has raise to help tibetan in exile provide best living condition . Instate of using this fund . Compair with China has founded more money to rebuild tibet, help building monastries, improve tibetan living condition. Most of the young generation has choose to go back stay at tibet.

  14. Tanni

    June 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Tibetan Leadership has not progress much for the last 60 years and during this 60 period China has taken steps to develop Tibet and slowly win the hearts and the minds of Tibetan.

    One of the most impact things that show China control of Tibetan Buddhism is selected another boy as 11th Pachen Lama while the boy selected by the HH Dalai Lama has since disappeared. Panchen Lama ranks after the Dalai Lama as the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism and bears part of the responsibility for finding the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama (and vice versa) . The Kalachakra ceremony conducted by Pachen Lama was strongly supported by China is a showcase as a demonstration to the outside world that Tibetans are allowed to practice their religion.

    CTA has depending on HH Dalai Lama to play an important role in the world to gain the financial aid and sponsorships. And now countries that do business with China have learnt to their discomfort how badly it reacts to any nation extending hospitality to the Dalai Lama. Nexg is how CTA is going to survive?
    In the last 30 years, China government has improved the Tibetans income compare with CTA still fully reliant on aid and sponsorships.

    In short, CTA has done nothing to improve the life of Tibetan in exile. Therefore it is not surprise that Tibetan leadership is losing everything.

  15. Richard LakTam

    June 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    With the technology in current days, people now can get information with just a finger snap. People are not stupid anymore. How long more can CTA cover with their lies? The Tibetan in exile begin to loose faith in their leadership. Those promises had made are still remain empty. Those unfinished business are still remain unfinished. Even the world has loose faith in the Tibetan leadership. One of the giant countries non other than USA, has already planned not to fund CTA anymore. Tibetan in exile, especially the younger generation, not believe CTA dream talk anymore, begin to go back to China.

    From what we see, from the politic side it looks like Tibetan leadership is loosing. But, what about spiritual side? Dorje Shugden begin to spread in China, even in the world. People around the world joining the demonstration to plea to lift the ban. Dalai Lama is a high Lama, maybe he already know this will happen one day? Out of compassion, he doesn’t mind sacrifice his Dalai Lama title, he doesn’t mind dismissing his CTA, but on the other hand, Dorje Shugden practice started to spread world widely. Tibetan leadership seems to loose everything, in Dharamsala. But Tibetan Buddhism seems to have a bright start since China is allocating huge amount of money to help Tibet growth. From what I see, there’s good and bad. China really did a good move.

  16. Vajra10

    June 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Very soon CTA will collapse and become history. No one government is going to be successful if they do not have the support of their very own people.

  17. Pema

    June 13, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    It is indeed a dificult situation for HH Dalai Lama. On top he is not welcomed anymore as people see the ban and how many Tibetans are treated.

    The CTA has so many things that are bad against Dorje Shugden and many high lamas for example. What will be their future with such heavy negative karma?

    It is time to end the Dorje Shugden ban and bring a better future to all Tibetans!

  18. Brian

    June 15, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I think this runs in every Tibetan in exile, i wouldn’t want to be living under the umbrella of Tibetan Exile Government anymore. What have i gotten from this administration in exile which made all sorts of promises but nothing materialised. It has been a 60 years of outcry and certainly won’t go down well with all Tibetans who fled Tibet 60 years ago. All in their mind would probably wanting to go back to China Tibet because of all the issues that happened for the longest time. One of it will be lack of freedom of speech and another would be freedom of religion, which clearly lacking. If you are going against what CTA as they are known nowadays, you will be subjected to abuse and using fear on your people doesn’t work. Especially when you are not even a legitimate government which operates on another country’s land. More questions will be asked on the leadership Lobsang Sangay whether are they actually edging any closer in protecting the interests of Tibetans and will they ever reclaim control of Tibet. Very very unlikely from what i see from here.

  19. Jing Jing

    June 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Sad to read about the news. HHDL has been recognised as an animation of Guanyin, but made such a big mistake to his country, his people and his nation. He is also responsible to all Buddhists because he as the highest calible among Buddhist’s teacher set a very bad example to the world. He’s strategises and his moves totally against and contrary as who he is. There’s no harmony among Tibetans due to the controversy of the Dorje Shugden ban, bad management politically and economically by CTA, creating troubles, sufferings and disharmony to their neighbouring countries politically and spiritually.

    I sincerely hope this will end very soon for the sake of what Buddha has taught 2500 years ago. May the dharma continue to grow among people. May world peace achieve by mind transformation for the people who’s ruling and influencing the world. May there’s no suffering nor war in this world but people alway think of benefiting each other.

  20. Elibuchen

    July 1, 2017 at 6:32 am

    The Chinese Gambit has worked perfectly, even the Russians another global power kind of are working well with the Chinese.

    4-5k tibetans leaving back to China, thats really clever of them. Soon Dharamsala will be emptied out of Tibetans who will choose to head back to China.

    I wonder Chinese would make one more overture to lure all the spiritual heads and tradition back to China? It will enrich Tibet’s main offering the world, its spiritual traditions… Time is not on CTA’s side.

  21. Winnie MB

    July 15, 2017 at 3:07 am

    It is ironic that Tibetan leader who is supposedly a democratic government and run based on Buddhist value are restricting religious freedom of their people. Why is it so? Whether or not China is supporting Dorje Shugden as against CTA is secondary, it shows that China is a government that support freedom of choice and promoting peace and harmony for the people.

    It is illogical that Dorje Shugden that have been practised for 400 years by many highly attained lamas was suddenly ban. Practitioners were discriminated and segregated due to their choice of belief. The CTA created so much hatred on Dorje Shugden practitioners. If Dalai Lama who is believed to be Chenrizig, then why would he allow disharmony among the people. Why let people continue to suffer? Will people still support CTA with their negative actions against their people, I don’t think so. And yes, I agree that Tibetan leadership is losing.

  22. Pema Norbu

    September 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Watch this clear video of His Holiness the Dalai Lama asking the monasteries to expel monks that practice Dorje Shugden. Click here to watch:

  23. Tsering Gonkatsang

    September 30, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Member of Parliament Tenpa Yarphel is a hero. He is speaking up for free speech and freedom of expression. He is exercising his rights, he is standing up for logical democracy which is the only way forward and not having to contact spirits like Nechung via oracles to make decisions that impact people’s lives. But look how people speak about him in the comments, so rude and nasty. It really represents the Dalai Lama badly as they are supporting Dalai Lama beings so rude:

    They say we need to believe in Nechung and follow what he says. But in 2009 Nechung said the Dalai Lama would go back to Tibet and that everyone would be happy. A monk from Nechung Monastery is the one that told everyone about this: But Nechung was wrong. It has been eight years and this has not happened. The Dalai Lama did not return to Tibet. Nechung being consulted by Tibetan government in exile is backwards. No governments do this in the civilized world.

    When people like Tenpa Yarphel speak up and are real patriots of the Tibetan people, they are attacked by other people. In fact people even protest like this man who shaves his hair: People like these are actually protesting against Tenpa Yarphel’s democratic rights and freedom of speech. Tibetans by criticizing Tenpa Yarphel shows they are far from democracy. Besides many of the other Kagyu leaders such as Drigung Chetsang Rinpoche, Drukchen Rinpoche, Karmapa Thaye Dorje all did not say anything against Tenpa Yarphel that represents the Kagyus.

    Dalai Lama had said that is his minister of cabinet in the government. Even though it is clear that Nechung is unreliable and a spirit, the Dalai Lama continues to rely heavily on Nechung and other oracles who take trance of spirits. He invites Nechung to all his events and allow him to take trance in centre stage always. In fact the Dalai Lama even calls the oracles to his own private bedroom:

    These practices show how Tibetan government is run.

  24. Tashi, Delhi

    October 20, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    What is the CTA for a club? Going around pretending to be a democracy and only because of HH Dalai Lama they can make some foreign people believe it but it seems that karma is coming back.

    The CTA is suppressing its own people and is having a good life with the money originally meant for the Tibetan people. On top, their elections are a farce!

    Listen here to Tenpa Yarphel who questions about the reliance of the Tibetan Government to Nechung, an oracle, which is understandable already but on top Nechung’s predictions seem to create more problems than anything else.

    What happens to Tenpa Yarphel now that he speaks up? Tibetans have started a Facebook page against Tenpa Yarphel and protest against him: They even ask Tenpa Yarphel to resign:

    So much for the “Democracy” in the Tibetan Government!!

  25. Doreen Park

    October 22, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Yes, the Tibetan Leadership has no more cards to play, seeing that India cannot help the Tibetans in exile now. Forces are working against this. The winds of change have blown against them. China now is the world’s key-player; every other country is bowing to it and seeking its friendship.India has no ally to help her with her “balance of power” game with China.It couldn’t even help Mongolia in fending off China in its efforts not to bow to it in the face of its threat over allowing Dalai Lama to enter Mongolia. In the end, Mongolia had to bow to China and tell Dalai Lama he cannot visit Mongolia any more.
    Hence, CTA , why are you still dragging your feet over the future of Tibtan refugees? Why aren’t you negotiating with China for those who wish to return and helping those who wish to stay in India , get their Indian Passport or citizenship?

  26. TseringD, Delhi

    October 29, 2017 at 8:21 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

  27. Tenzin Ngawang

    November 17, 2017 at 11:23 am

    China knows how to treat important guest

    The CTA does not know anything and that is why they are losing everything

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