Monday, 31 March 2008

The internal structure of Dalai Lama Ltd

I just read this article ( in the People's Daily and it is fairly obvious that it is a propaganda piece as it a blatant finger pointing. If you are used to reading the Chinese press though you get over that indignation fairly quickly and move on to see what you can actually extract from any news article. What I would love to read is someone from the Western media (not CNN I imagine) to verify those facts and then put their name on it!

In this article though won't comment on who I think is right or wrong (as in my previous piece it is obvious that I do not know right from wrong). I simple want to raise a very important question. What is the corporate structure of the Dalai Lama's organisation?

In most religions there is some sort of hierarchy. Growing up in a Catholic primary school and then a Anglican high school I got a glimpse of how these Christian organisations worked. In primary school I recall that the Parish Priest was just that. He was the priest. That was his job and thats all that he did. In high school the Anglican Reverend (who was married) was also a teacher, also coached a football team. So in my mind Catholic's are like full-time public servants and Anglicans are like part-time entrepreneurs.

I know that there is a heirarchy in the Islamic faith as well as the Jewish ones, but when it comes to Buddhism and particularly Tibetan Monks, I am at a bit of a loss. The reason is simply that Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Hindu's are exclusionary faiths. You can't really be a Christian Jew, or a Muslim Christian. You are one or the other but the way I understood Buddhism (and I am really illustrating my ignorance now) was a personal search of enlightenment. It it not a faith based on meditation and being "one with everything" (I will dispense with the hotdog joke). Also in Islamic Government's the head of state is normally not the spiritual leader. (aside from the pope who's landmass is somewhat limited anyway). But as far as the media has presented, the Dalai Lama is the head of state as well as the spiritual leader. How does this work?

Based on the article I mentioned before he has a Dalai Clique. Is this an inner circle type of Clique or is it the cool monks who used to smoke behind the tool shed at the monastery. Does this "clique" report to the Dalai Lama himself or are they like Oliver North and Ronald Reagan. Do they have their own power and make things happen without the Dalai Lama's expressed knowledge but he recognises their existance? Or are they like the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) that are disavowed if they get caught by the enemy.

Then there is the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC). This name is also quite misleading in that it sounds like the cross between a community social club and the Hitler Youth. From what I understand from the article they are organising guerrilla attacks. So obviously they are not Monks because guerrilla warfare would be quite useless if you are wearing orange robes. I know that there are non-priests working in the Vatican. The Swiss Guard for example are not even from Rome. I did however assume that those working within the Catholic organisation, even if they were not priests or nuns, they were at least Catholics themselves. So are the TYC a Buddhist organisation? Do they also seek enlightenment?

The article says there are also some other key players in this thing. Organisations that I have not heard of before nor have I read in the Western media. (Which I am not surprised because I really never read about Sunni's and Shiite's until after Sadam was caught and troops kept on dying.) These organisations include the "Tibetan Woman's Association" (TWA), "Students for a Free Tibet" (SFT) the /'National Democratic Party of Tibet" (NDPT) and the "Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet" (GCSMT). A name that I am ashamed not to have come across before as well is Samdhong the "Prime Minister" of the "Tibetian Government-in-exile". So hierarchically speaking, does that make the Dalai Lama like Tibet's Monarchy?

Now I am not sure if the same imagery is being conjured in your mind but I am seeing a Monty Python sketch in the "Life of Brian" film.

I'm confused! Can someone draw me an organisational chart please.

P.S. I wonder if the Shaolin Monks would have better luck at gaining independence. At least they are trained to fight.

1 comment:

Dedric said... [www_abc_net_au]

See what I mean. Is this propaganda or is the Xinhua article propaganda? I can't tell anymore aaaaaaah

AFP is French right?