Dalai Lama Feels ‘Freer’ Since Giving up Political Role

Posted July 12th, 2011 at 6:35 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The Dalai Lama says he feels “freer” since he relinquished his role as the political leader of the exiled Tibetan government. Now, he says, he can devote his energy to helping others live happier lives and to promoting religious harmony.

The Tibetan spiritual leader spoke to VOA Tuesday in Washingon, where he has been guiding his followers in a multi-day prayer and meditation ritual.

He said it is up to the newly elected leadership of the exiled Tibetan government to pursue negotiations with China. But he said he is willing to help if asked.

The Dalai Lama's trip to Washington is his first since he stepped down from his political role in March. Last year, a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Barack Obama at the White House angered China, even though the administration went to great lengths to keep the meeting low-key.

With only four days left in the Dalai Lama's visit, there has not been any public announcement from the White House that the president plans to meet with him.

The Dalai Lama told VOA that if he has an opportunity, he is very happy to meet with President Obama. But he said his main reason for being in the United States is for Buddist teaching.

The Tibetan spiritual leader also reflected on his more than half-century of experience in dealing with officials in Beijing. He said that while he still supports Marxist ideas, he believes democracy is the only answer for the world.

He said Tibetans desire what he considers basic rights, such as freedom of speech and the press. He also said China needs reform and that he believes there is a growing voice for it there.