Things are changing in China, His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Special Express Adda in New Delhi.

May 24, 2017

His Holiness Dalai Lama at Express Adda in New Delhi on Wednesday. EXPRESS PHOTO BY PRAVEEN KHANNA 24 05 2017.

I am always optimistic, things are changing. Over past sixty years, there has been much change and things are still changing in China, His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at Express Adda in New Delhi, 24 May 2017

DELHI: The Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the chief guest at the Indian Express Adda in New Delhi on 24 May. Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change.

In the two and half hour conversation with The Indian Express's Executive Director Anant Goenka and National Opinion Editor Vandita Mishra, His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke on various issues, from hopes for freedom in Tibet to importance of holistic education system and on war and humanity.

When asked whether he is hopeful to see a free Tibet, His Holiness said, "Things are changing. Through Chairman Mao's era, Deng Xiaoping era, Jiang Zemin era, Hu Jintao and now Xi Jinping, it is same party and same system but lot of change took place. Particularly during Deng's era, they follow more market oriented economy. As a result, huge gap between rich and poor. Jiang Zemin's three represents theory of not only working class people, but cultural and educated people. So therefore things are changing.

"Under leadership of Xi Jinping, I think economy and many things happened. One significant thing is he is courageously fighting corruption. So I think, same party, generally same ideology but in reality, according new circumstances, things are changing. I am always optimistic, things are changing. Over past sixty years, there have been much change and still changing," His Holiness said.

The Tibetan leader said "Chinese brothers and sisters" are cultural, hard working and realistic people. "Traditionally Han people are Buddhists. Wherever there are Chinese people in Malaysia or Vietnam, there are Buddhist temples."

Responding to questions on his reincarnation, His Holiness clearly stated that in order for China to involve themselves in the reincarnation process, Chinese communist should accept concept of rebirth and recognize reincarnation of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. "Then they have the moral connection to show concern about Dalai Lama's reincarnation. In former cases, Chinese emperors actually followed Buddha Dharma and received teachings from former Dalai lama and Panchen lama. These are not serious problem."

The optimist Dalai Lama further shared his hopes for a matured humanity.

"We are all social animals and compassion, care and concern for others bring us together. Scientific findings that confirm that basic human nature is compassionate are a major source of hope. Animals may be violent but only human beings make war. However, this may be changing. In the early 20th century when one country declared war on another, citizens joined the effort without question. By the end of the century this was no longer the case. In America many resisted the Vietnam War and across the world millions opposed the Iraq war. I am a great admirer of the spirit of the European Union, putting the common good ahead of local interest among nations that have historically fought each other. This is a sign of human maturity."

He went on to state the need for a systematic approach to uphold humanistic values.

"So long as we are human we need compassion. Compassion brings inner peace and whatever else is going on, that peace of mind allows us to see the whole picture more clearly. Therefore, in our education system we need to include lessons about warmheartedness and how to find inner peace. But I'm convinced that today's young people, the generation of the 21st century, can achieve a better more peaceful world if they cultivate that as a vision and begin to work towards it now."

His Holiness Dalai Lama speaking at Express Adda with Anant Goenka and Vandita Mishra, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo/OHHDL/Tenzin Choejor

Tomorrow at the Deshmukh auditorium, India International Centre, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will launch former BJP leader Arun Shourie's Two Saints, Speculations around and about Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi.