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Living Buddha chides Dalai Lama
By Xie Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-07-06 07:49

SHANNAN, Tibet: The Dalai Lama's call for Tibetans to "embrace the democratic system of electing a leader" is ridiculous, said Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, a living Buddha of Tibetan Buddhism.

"According to Tibetan Buddhism, the choosing of the Dalai Lama's incarnation should follow historical conventions and religious ritual," said Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, who became the 14th living Buddha of Shingtsa Temple in Tibet's Nagarze county in 1955 when he was five.

Living Buddha chides Dalai Lama

The 59-year-old, who is also a deputy to the National People's Congress, the top legislature, said politics was behind the "ridiculous" suggestion, which was reported by Reuters.

"He (the Dalai Lama) is once again doing something political with a religious pretence but his argument has no market in Tibet," Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak said.

"As a living Buddha, I understand my people. What they want is a stable society with a developing economy instead of a disrupted Tibet."

Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak visited the US and Canada in March and said he believed there were many misconceptions in the West about Tibet, including its religion, culture and human rights.

Since 1987, the Dalai Lama has frequently spoken with the US, but not until March did any other living Buddha from Tibet make an appearance in the Western world.

"Most Western people have never been to Tibet, nor seen the real Tibet. They get their information from the Dalai Lama," he said.

"I feel the necessity to go out more and tell the world what actually happens here," Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak said, adding that he would take another trip this year.

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Dawa Tsering, 27, a Tibetan driver, told China Daily: "You want to know what real Tibetan people want? I can tell you that all we want is a peaceful life with a developing economy. We are satisfied with the status quo."

He also expressed great discontent with last year's March 14 riots. "We Tibetan people do not act like that. What's the point of setting fire to others' shops or houses? That's criminal activity!"

Statistics show that the gross domestic product of Tibet was 34.2 billion yuan ($5 billion) in 2007, an increase of 15.8 times that in 1978. The net per capita income of the rural population increased from 175 yuan in 1978 to 2,788 yuan in 2007.

In addition, more than one million rural residents have safe drinking water.