NBC News | October 11, 2012
Ann Curry: More than 50 Tibetans , you know, have set fire to themselves in the last three years, expressing a desire for greater religious freedoms, a desire to be able to speak their own language. Their deaths have brought no change from the Chinese. Have they died for nothing?
Dalai Lama: Whether this kind of method, whether right or wrong, is difficult to judge. They are expressed non-violent way regarding Chinese policy.
Ann Curry: One young Tibetan writer who set himself on fire a few days ago, he left an online statement that read, “If we reflect on the past, we can see nothing but signs of defeat, anger, anguish and tears.” What should your people do to express these feelings? Do you support their decision to set themselves on fire? Do you want them to stop setting themselves on fire?
Dalai Lama: I always consider myself as a free spokesman for Tibetan people , not their boss. My boss is six million Tibetans inside Tibet , that's my boss. And also I'm in free country, quite comfortable. They are passing through really desperate situation, so they take these decisions. I'm quite certain, those cases who sacrifice their own life for sincere motivation, for Buda Dharma , for well-being of the people, from Buddhist viewpoint, from religious viewpoint, it absolutely positive. These sort of activities carried with full anger, hatred, then wrong. So it is difficult to judge. But, anyway, it is sad, very, very sad.
Ann Curry: Throughout history, the least powerful have been oppressed by the powerful. And, in some cases, the powerless fight.
Dalai Lama: The struggle which we are carrying is struggle between power of truth, power of gun. For short term, power of gun is much stronger. But long run, power of truth is more stronger than power of gun. That I believe. That is my fundamental belief. I am not admiring United States military power , including nuclear weapons. I really admire United States moral principal, democracy, freedom, or liberty. I admire these things. That's the source of American power , not weapons.
Ann Curry: In the region of Tibet , how long, they might ask, is this going to take? They are setting themselves on fire out of desperation.
Dalai Lama: Six million Tibetans , so long as Tibetan people remain, Tibetan spirit will carry. Judging the last 60 years' event, much changed in China . I think these next 60 years change, I think more positive. Look, world's trend: democracy, openness, freedom. No matter how powerful People's Republic of China , cannot go this way -- have to go along world trend. This is our human desire . From birth every human being has a right to be free. No force can stop that. Ultimately, People's Republic of China will become a more open society , more democratic institution, and freedom of press . Here, I always use the expression: 1.3 billion Chinese people have every right to know the reality. Once they know the reality, they also have the ability to judge what is right, what is wrong. Therefore, censorship on their own people is immoral.
Ann Curry: You can speak to world leaders . You have influence. If there is one thing you could do for your people, what would it be?
Dalai Lama: Just one word: freedom. Freedom with meaningful autonomy. So complete freedom about religious matter, about culture matter, about education. These things, complete freedom. Then defense and foreign affairs, that's up to the central government.
Ann Curry: Next month there's going to be a change for China , it will have a new leader, Xi Jinping , are you hopeful?
Dalai Lama: Difficult to say. I do not want to create some kind of speculation. Better wait six month or one year or two years, then we'll see.
Ann Curry: I asked people on Twitter , young people , what to ask you. And their questions are very similar. They want to know what motivates hate, how can we get rid of stress and anger? Young people are very concerned about getting rid of the dark, to open themselves up to the possibilities. So how do you answer these questions?
Dalai Lama: My view, our present existing education system , I think basically materialistic oriented. So that's why, from a young age, the education almost, I think, helping more desire and sense of competition. We should have more holistic education system . Holistic means not only material value, but also inner value. We should need some knowledge about the whole map of the mind. How to build healthy mind, healthy body, and a healthy family and healthy society. Not just money and power .