- Yes. When Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, some old relics were found in the state—they were like the Nalanda temple where monks used to live. It was then that I went to Gujarat and met him. He had also come to my room in the hotel. I was very much impressed. Even after he has become the prime minister, he remains very active.
- But you met him even after he became prime minister, didn’t you?
- Yes, one very brief (meeting).
- Was it indeed a brief meeting?
- It’s top secret, so it’s better if you ask him (laughs). I don’t know, I don’t want to elaborate on it.
- Do you think there is growing intolerance in India?
- I don’t think so. In Delhi, I have been asked the same question, if Muslims feel scared. But I said, no, maybe some individuals are creating some mischief, but overall in India, religious harmony is still being maintained. But at the same time, we need to remind people that it should always be maintained.
- Last year at the World Hindu Congress, where RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat was present, you said the RSS should focus less on building temples and instead build schools. A. I say this to Buddhist leaders too. Once they invited me to speak when a statue of Padmasambhava was being installed. I said that I respect Padmasambhava, but for the next thousand years the statue will remain but he will not speak. So what we need is advice, not a statue. The way we pray to statues is old-fashioned.
I always tell all Buddhists—Chinese or Vietnamese or Burmese or Sri Lankans—that we should be 21st century Buddhists who are knowledgeable about the Buddha dharma.
- In Dharamsala recently, when we went to attend your 80th birthday celebrations, the monks were pray- inq for your long life, that you live up to 113 years. Why 113?
- One of my dreams indicated the distillation of my life at 113 years. But now I doubt that. Increasingly, I feel tired. In Dharamsala also I had said that I’m looking forward to being 90
and then 100 years old but after th I have my doubts. According to phy – cians from Taiwan and Tibet, judgir.: my physical condition, it’s very p( – sible that I will live to be 100 years.
- So will you decide on who shou be the next Dalai lama?
- I have said this before, that th; decision whether the institution of th Dalai Lama should continue or n totally lies with the Tibetan people.
- It is not up to you?
A. I am not much concerned about th- 15th Dalai Lama. Sometimes it seems as if the Chinese government is mor- concerned than I am. Sometimes, i jokingly say that the ceasing or end c this institution should take place with the 14th Dalai Lama, who is quit- popular. If the 15 th Dalai Lama come; and he is a disgrace, that will be much worse! (Laughs.)
I REALLY ADMIRE
XI JINPING’S COURAGE
AND HIS WAY OF
THINKING. BUT HE
SHOULD EXERCISE AND
LOSE SOME WEIGHT
THE DECISION WHETHER
THE INSTITUTION OFTHE
DALAI LAMA SHOULD
CONTINUE OR NOT LIES
WITH PEOPLE OFTIBET.
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