Home > Queensland Synod News > Dalai Lama praises aspects of communism and Marxism

Dalai Lama praises aspects of communism and Marxism

Nobel Peace Prize laureate The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama has disclosed that he considers himself a Marxist sympathiser and that he once asked to join the Chinese Communist Party.

"Communists care most of all about equality and the rights of the destitute," the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism has said in an interview with the Russian edition of Newsweek magazine. "This is very similar to principles of Buddhists: altruism, concern for others and especially those who need it."

He said, "As two forms of humanism, there is no contradiction between communism, if it’s really applied, and Buddhism. The problem is that communism was never true to itself."

The 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who, as well as being a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism also claims the position of head of state, made his remarks in the 12 January issue of the international news magazine.

The Dalai Lama, who is reviled by China’s communist rulers, said that a struggle for self-rule in Tibet had "no attitude to religion" and was supported by numerous communists and atheists, who had devoted their lives to it after initially placing "enthusiastic hopes" in communist rule from China.

"It was under their influence that I became interested in Marxism – when I was in Beijing, I told Chinese officials I wanted to join the Chinese Communist Party", the Dalai Lama told Newsweek. "The idea of global responsibility, which I’m now seeking to develop, comes from Marxism. All the world’s working classes deserve equality, so it’s necessary to struggle, not just in Russia and China, but worldwide."

Born into a northeastern farming family as Tenzin Gyatso in 1935, the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after the suppression of a national uprising and the failure of peace talks with China’s communist regime. Since then he has lived at Dharamsala in northern India’s Himchal Pradesh state. He has repeatedly called for an autonomous democratic Tibetan territory in association with China.

The Tibetan leader said followers should "resist China’s policy" while showing sympathy with Chinese people. He added that he had always believed religion should be "separated from the State", but said the majority of his committee members had rejected an early 1990s charter setting out principles for a secular State".

Addressing students on 21 January at Madras University, the Dalai Lama said he believed autonomy was "only a matter of time," adding that he would give up his privileges as spiritual leader if freedom was granted to Tibet, which witnessed renewed nationalist riots in 2008. [

(c) Ecumenical News International

Photo : Nobel Peace Prize laureate The Dalai Lama