The Dalai Lama has threatened to resign if his followers continue to use violence in Tibet.

But can the Dalai Lama resign? Clearly, he cannot resign his religious leadership as the Dalai Lama. According to Tibetan tradition he will remain the Dalai Lama until he dies. However, the Dalai Lama can step down from his political role as head of the Tibetan protest movement.

His spokesperson says that  » if the Tibetan movement chooses violence to attain their goals then the Dalai Lama cannot lead that movement.  » Furthermore, the Dalai Lama opposes those in the Tibetan movement who advocate independence for Tibet. He wants more autonomy and he wants the Tibetans to use only non-violence.

Is the Dalai Lama, as their political head, in an impossible situation with those of his Tibetan followers who advocate violence to achieve an independent Tibet?

Should he resign as the political head of the Tibetan movement?



  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    If he continues to advocate non-violence as the only means to achieve independence for Tibet then, yes, I think he should at least consider it. He should see which way the Tibetan people want to go on this very important and crucial question.

    I don’t pretend to know much about Tibet and its history with China other than what I’ve seen in three movies: the one with Brad Pitt called « Seven years in Tibet »; the Martin Scorcese « Kundun »; and the documentary « Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion ». Two things stick in my mind:

    1) the horrible legacy of death (1.5 million) visited upon it by the Communists in the ’50s as they took Tibet over and, in doing so, devastated their religion and culture; and

    2) the emphasis by the Dalai Lama on the principle of non-violence which was the particular emphasis of the « Snow Lion » documentary.

    What irked me in the documentary, however, was the mention that while all this devastation was happening back in the ’50s, the Dalai Lama, quite late in the game, reached out to the United States for help, which was not forthcoming. Of course, the film-makers portrayed this as some sort of betrayal by the U.S.

    Well, pardon me, if your emphasis is on non-violence, why reach out to the U.S.? I mean, why not reach out to Monaco or Swaziland or Bulgaria? The reason, of course, is that the U.S. was a superpower and they were the ones with influence.

    But that influence and power was there by virtue of the threat of violence: the military power of the U.S. and, yes, its nuclear arsenal.

    So where was the non-violence on the part of the Dalai Lama? Not very, if he wanted the help of the U.S. Because the only reason to choose the U.S. for help was simply and solely because of the promise of the help they could give in the form of violence or the threat thereof.

    So, I see a very big hypocrisy there on the part of the Dalai Lama.

    It seems to me that what, more than anything, would have prevented 1.5 million Tibetans and their culture, way of life, and religion from being devastated by the Red Chinese was the very OPPOSITE of non-violence: a nice, big, fat atomic bomb.


    That is the language that would have been understood by the Red Chinese: the threat of violence. Had the Dalai Lama not been so intent upon sticking to the principles of non-violence and instead sought, at the very beginning of their troubles, alliances with a superpower such as the U.S. — which brought along with it the protection backed up by the military and the bomb — there would have been a much, much greater chance to have saved the millions from dying and to have saved the Tibetan culture.

    So the question must be asked: what would have served the Tibet culture and people better?

    Non-violence; or

    A nice, big, fat nuclear weapon?

  2. 2
    Chimera Says:

    I think the Dalai Lama is naive in the extreme. Non-violence will not work against anyone who loves to use violence, and China has shown that violence is its favorite toy.

    Passive resistance will only work with an opponent with whom one can reason. Chinese authorities aren’t interested in reason.

    Whether or not he steps down as political head, the Dalai Lama must, on some level, understand that his own influence is necessarily limited if he doesn’t want to see Tibet wiped off the map completely.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    A follow-up:

    I don’t know if Richard Gere speaks for the Dalai Lama or whether his views on this issue correspond with his but I find it curious that Gere supported nuclear weapons testing by India, the adopted home of the Dalai Lama:

    Sound’t sound very non-violent to me.

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    The Lama does’nt control anything anymore. A new more violent generation is coming into it’s own and he should resign.

  5. 5

    Reaching out to the United States doesn’t mean you’re asking for violent help. The world did look to the U.S. for moral leadership in the past and some still do today. It just so happens that right now they’re not popular with some decisions they have made.

    Rather than only look at the incidences of military intervention with the U.S. (and there is a tendency to look to the military a little too much at times) why not also consider the times they helped use skillful diplomacy and peaceful means to solve problems?

  6. 6
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Let’s say the Bush administration is a sad parenthesis in American diplomacy, but it was not always that way, the Commentator is right and the Lama called on them before that. However, after 1958 Hungary he must not have been very hopeful.

  7. 7

    I think the U.S. is already treading thin water by being a friend to Taiwan. Already China is freaking on that. Imagine if Tibet is added to that! This is probably all about geopolitics. Hmpf. What isn’t?

  8. 8
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    I think that the Dalai Lama should remain the head of Tibetan non violence advocates an continue to speak out against viloence. Non violence is not passivity on the contrary it refuses to retaliate against violence and absorbes the violence of another person, not easy.

  9. 9
    mike-servethepeople Says:

    « It seems to me that what, more than anything, would have prevented 1.5 million Tibetans and their culture, way of life, and religion from being devastated by the Red Chinese was the very OPPOSITE of non-violence: a nice, big, fat atomic bomb. »

    Tony, do you sometimes wonder why the world finds some Americans to be just plain dumb? If the view above is the culmination of your education and life experiences to date, then (a) go back to school, and (b) get a life!

    I won’t abuse the hospitality of this site by taking up too much space with comments, so my take on why the Dalai Lama is being pushed aside is here: together with my review of Kundun at

    Have a nice day!

  10. 10

    The Dalai Lama is a total fraud. He receives money from the CIA. This is declassified information. Here is a great site to check out if you want to learn the truth about the Dalai Lama:

    Do your own research.

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