Since his journey into exile the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has done much to popularise Tibetan Buddhism in the West, even to the extent of becoming a ‘Hollywood’ icon in the process. He has drawn worldwide attention to Tibet and has amassed hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars for the cause of a free, independent Tibet. But he has completely failed to accomplish the political objective of an independent Tibet upon which his reputation and power have been built. Why? The blatant reason for this is that the Dalai Lama knows that he alone handed Tibet to China on a plate through his own personal desire to embrace communism. How can he possibly undo what he alone started and further consolidated with the Seventeen-Point Agreement?
Such is the perverse nature of Lama Policy: one ruling lama mixes their personal and selfish ambition with their political and spiritual power, resulting in catastrophic life-changing consequences that affect millions but from which the ruling lama alone remains aloof and unscathed. Thus Lama Policy can be seen to be what is commonly referred to as ‘dictatorship’.
An assessment of the political views and failures of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama while in exile reveals how his constant public rhetoric for an independent Tibet is a mere front to disguise his actual deceptiveness and ineptitude as a leader of Tibetan people.
To assess the political record of the Dalai Lama, five areas of his international and domestic activity will be examined: (1) the issue of Tibetan independence; (2) negotiations with Beijing; (3) the Panchen Lama affair; (4) the issue of democratisation; and (5) how the Dalai Lama’s political failures led to his ban on Dorje Shugden practice.