Speaking to representatives of French TV during lunch break on the second day of teaching in Toulouse, His Holiness said that he had been very impressed by the new Prime Minister and was especially appreciative of his views on education. His Holiness praised highly the new policy, which aims to have, within the next decade, 10,000 professionally trained Tibetans.
Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay has underscored that education would be the administration's number one priority. "It is the beacon that will light the future of Tibet. We will strive to reach 10,000 professionals among 150,000 in exile and appeal to Tibetans inside Tibet to reach 100,000 in the next two decades," Dr Sangay has said in his inaugural speech on assuming the political leadership.
When asked if he had noticed any difference in the functioning of the Tibetan administration since the change, His Holiness replied that it was too soon to say. He said that the Tibetan policy towards the PRC remains essentially the same: "We are always ready for dialogue."
In answer to the question whether any new political steps were planned for the near future, His Holiness said that he did not know: everything depends on China. "The whole world knows," His Holiness said, "that there is a Tibetan problem. The Chinese officials simply deny this, but they are hiding from the truth. Discontent is everywhere, not only in Tibet but also among the other cultural minorities."
His Holiness went on to say that at the recent celebrations in Lhasa to mark the Chinese annexation of Tibet, a high official from the Chinese government was present. But the police and secret services were everywhere; all tourists were made to leave the country; and the Tibetan people, apart from the selected "Tibetan public", were told to remain in their homes.
His Holiness also pointed out that, at the recent National People's Congress meeting in China, it had emerged that the budget for internal security was actually higher than the defence budget. "Of all the member states of the United Nations," His Holiness said, "this is surely a unique case." The Chinese officials, he said, are masters in the art of hypocrisy, and yet this cannot last forever.
Back in 1980, the then Chinese Party Secretary Hu Yaobang admitted in Lhasa that Chinese policy in Tibet had been a mistake and that the Tibetans should enjoy a meaningful autonomy. "So there is room for hope," His Holiness said, referring to the recent suggestion by the Chinese Prime Minister that the PRC should gradually move towards a more western style democracy.
His Holiness was asked whether his withdrawal from political power would impact negatively on world support for the Tibetan cause. His Holiness replied that he did not think so. Many people, he said, support the unique Tibetan cultural heritage and non-violent struggle of the Tibetan people.
On being asked for his feelings about his handing over of political power, he said that he was relaxed and happy and glad to be able to implement what he had always believed: that political power and religious authority should be kept separate. He said that the night after his announcement, he had slept particularly well!
"And thanks to the separation of the political and religious powers," His Holiness said, "I believe I have made things easier and given greater liberty to the next Dalai Lama."
His Holiness went on to say that he has three fundamental commitments. The first is the promotion of basic human values and the achievement of full human potential. From this point of view, he said, he regards himself as a simple human being and believes strongly in the equality of all humanity. This is the truth, he said. The problem is that we get stuck with secondary notions of nationality or religious adherence, which can lead to division and distrust and consequently to violence.
His second commitment, as a Buddhist practitioner, is to religious harmony. All the great religious traditions, His Holiness said, teach the same basic human values of kindness, forgiveness, patience and so on. These are things that we must all work for.
His Holiness' third commitment is to the Tibetan people. Hitherto, he said, this had involved political authority. But now that this had been completely handed over to the elected government, he said, he has more time for his first two commitments.
His Holiness started the day with his teaching on the Middle Stages of Meditation. In his introduction, he traced the origins of all the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism back to the great Indian university of Nalanda and emphasised the importance in Buddhism of study and deep understanding as a means of transforming the mind. His Holiness concluded the morning's teaching by bestowing the Bodhisattva vows.
His Holiness concluded the teaching around 1600 hrs amidst heartfelt applause preceded by a thanksgiving mandala offering. The event was extensively covered by French press and media.