Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, Politics and Current Events

Tibetan Independence

Donald S. Lopez Jr., author of several books on Tibetan Buddhism including The Madman’s Middle Way: Reflections on Reality of the Tibetan Monk Gendun Chopel and Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West has written an interesting piece for openDemocracy on the recent turmoil in Tibet and the future of the movement for Tibetan independence. Lopez draws a parallel between Tibet’s current political relationship with China, and Latvia’s former relationship with the USSR. Lopez notes that since the 19th century Latvia, though culturally distinct from Russia, was repeatedly placed under communist control between brief respites of independence, only to gain what Latvians hope will be a lasting independence when the USSR collapsed in 1991. Thus Lopez writes: “Is there anything to do but wait? Latvia regained its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It would seem that Tibet could only regain its independence with the collapse of the Peoples Republic of China. In Buddhism, time is measured not in centuries, but in cycles of creation, abiding, destruction, and vacuity, then creation again.”
Read the full article on the openDemocracy website.
Also find out 7 Things You Didn’t Know about Tibet, a web feature for Prisoners of Shangri-La.