Are Buddhsist Racist

Read my one & only interview in the New Statesman

What is Racism?

 

Race can be defined as:

"A classification system used to categorise humans into distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”

 

Racism can be defined as:

“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

 

When a group of people are labeled according to a certain religious belief or affiliation and their access to public services, jobs, livelihoods and social freedoms are denied or restricted on the basis of this belief or affiliation this is racism.

Final Proof

25th July 2015 updated

Eleven days ago I wrote an article that mentioned Tenzin Peljor had attended both the Dalai Lama's press conference in Wiesbaden and also Lobsang Sangay's in Frankfurt. Since then I have given Tenzin adequate time to explain publicly, through his various websites, blogs and social media accounts, exactly why he was there.

He has totally ignored this issue and refused to give any reason for his attendance. My explanation for his being there is because he works for the Dalai Lama's government, the Central Tibetan Authority (CTA). As Tenzin refuses to offer any other plausible explanation this article will help to clarify the situation.

 

Press Accreditation

In order to understand why Tenzin's presence at these conferences proves beyond any doubt that he works for the CTA readers first need to understand the function of the events, why they are tightly controlled, and how people can access them.

The Dalai Lama's press conference in Wiesbaden was essentially an open forum where he gave a small talk and took questions from the audience. The function is to have one event where the Dalai Lama can put across the message he wants to get into the media. Rather than conducting a series of interviews it enables maximum exposure for minimum effort.

It also gives journalists who normally wouldn't have the opportunity to interview the Dalai Lama the chance to ask him a question. Usually a one-on-one interview only takes place with the most prestigious media outlet that offers him the most exposure.

Due to the openness of the event it is a high risk environment because anything that happens in a press conference necessarily takes place in front of all of the main media outlets. For this reason it's tightly controlled, attendance is limited to the most reliable or reputable of journalists. To minimise the risk of anything going wrong all attendees are pre-screened to weed out any that might ask 'out of bounds' questions or risk embarrassing him.

In situations where the focal person of the conference also faces protests or contentious issues that risk is greatly magnified. It's a well known phenomena in the media where conferences are hijacked by protesters and their issue gets immediate worldwide coverage.

One such protest group, FEMEN, are renowned for this approach, embarrassing Vladimir Putin amongst others.

Most recently Sepp Blatter's FIFA press conference was the subject of a protest by UK comedian Lee Nelson (aka Simon Brodkin) who threw $600 at him. Within hours the stunt was reported in every major outlet throughout the world and greatly overshadowed anything that Blatter actually said in the conference.

Given that the Dalai Lama is the subject of continual protests his press events are considered to be at high risk of such an occurrence. Therefore the procedure to gain access to any of his press conferences, such as the one in Wiesbaden, is strictly enforced and limited to 'accredited' journalists.

In order to gain accreditation for the event journalists are required to apply several weeks in advance. They must complete an application form similar to this one for the Dalai Lama's 2008 Berlin visit.

The first proof they need to supply is to show they are a member of a journalist trade organisation such as the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV), the Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (DJU) etc. These are similar to the UK's National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Membership is only open to professional journalists and proves applicants are bona-fide.

Secondly they need to state which outlet (Bild, BBC, Reuters etc) they are working for, whether as a freelance contributor or staff member. Applicants must also submit a letter from the outlet's chief editor confirming that they are seeking to attend the press conference on behalf of their organisation.

Typically press conferences such as this one are over-subscribed, so the press liaison team will go through all of the applications and sort them on the basis of status. The more respectable or the wider the outlet's circulation, the more likelihood there is of passing the accreditation process. A shortlist is drawn up and all the chief editors are then contacted to confirm that the application is genuine.

The process of accreditation is done by the CTA Department for Information and International Relations in conjunction with each group of event organisers.

In addition to the credential check the application process also includes a security background check, usually administered by the CTA Department of Security. Prior to the Wiesbaden event the CTA will have consulted with the German Federal Intelligence Service or Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). A list of all applicants will have been sent to the BND to be background checked to prevent any possible threats to the Dalai Lama.

Taking all of these factors into account it is impossible for someone who isn't a professional journalist to pass the accreditation process, unless they work for the CTA.

 

Under the Radar?

Despite the best efforts of the CTA and the BND there is always the chance of human error and someone slipping into the press conference who shouldn't be there. For this reason several additional measures are put into place to try and minimise the risk.

In order to gain entry to the press conference journalists need to check-in and pick up their press pass. They are required to show their photo ID, usually government issued, to prove they are the right person. They are then given a pass that is specific to the press attached to a lanyard.

As the events often take place in hotels various staff are usually milling around the room before the event begins to ensure the sound systems and other facilities are working properly. Before the Dalai Lama comes in all staff without the correct lanyards are removed from the room.

During the event CTA staff and the Dalai Lama's police bodyguard and protection team stand at various points throughout the room and watch all of the attendees. In case they missed anyone without a lanyard they remain alert, ready to remove anyone who shouldn't be there.

As this photograph shows there are several CTA staff along with German police officers monitoring the event. Tenzin is out of frame, off to the left, but he is less than 4 metres away from one of the German police officers from the Dalai Lama's protective detail.

 

 

Twice Lucky?

Although it is impossible for Tenzin to have attended the Dalai Lama's press conference by passing the accreditation process there is always the very slight possibility he could have somehow sneaked in. Granted that possibility is highly remote but, as with all systems, there remains a degree of human frailty.

Perhaps Tenzin has a friend who helped to arrange the Dalai Lama's visit to Wiesbaden, perhaps he knows someone who works at the hotel? The problem for Tenzin is that he not only attended the Dalai Lama's press conference but also Lobsang Sangay's.

The Dalai Lama's press conference took place in Wiesbaden at the Hotel Nassauer Hof on July 12th. It was organised by "Freunde für einen Freund" or 'Friends for a Friend'.

The CTA Prime Minister, Lobsang Sangay, held a press conference on 13th July in the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt. The press event was organised by the Association of Tibetans in Germany. In order to attend via the accredited journalist route attendees had to complete this form by 7th July and include their official press card number and contact details for their editor.

Given that Tenzin attended 2 separate press conferences in 2 separate cities on 2 different days it is impossible that he was there by chance. It would be difficult enough for him to attend one press conference without having permission to be there, but to attend 2 events one day after the other in different cities and venues is far beyond chance.

 

Why was he there?

A final possibility is that the CTA, aware of Tenzin's work to undermine the protests through his various blogs took pity on him and made an exception. Tenzin would like you to believe they have no connection with him at all, that he is completely independent and the views he presents are his own.

Under this premise perhaps he asked the CTA to allow him to attend the conferences so that he could write them up on his websites. Maybe they felt his work should be rewarded and that, although not an accredited journalist, they could trust him.

In such a set of circumstances he would be attending the press conferences for the same reason that journalists were attending - to record them and write articles about their content. If we look at Tenzin's behaviour during the events it doesn't correspond with this theory.

In both press conferences Tenzin positioned himself at the back of the room, this is the worst position if you intend to photograph the event but it's ok if you're just recording it. Maybe he felt obliged to be at the back since he wasn't a journalist. However, by his own admission, Tenzin didn't even bother to record the content of the events.

 

Comment posted to Facebook by Tenzin Peljor under one of his many aliases.

If he was independent and unconnected to the CTA it would be a rare chance to attend such events, especially considering the high risk climate of the protests. Given such a once in a lifetime opportunity you would make the most of it. You would make certain that you recorded it, even if it was just as a memento. You would be even more certain to record it if you were expected to write up the event to show the CTA that their trust was well placed in allowing you to be there.

The very fact that Tenzin attended both press conferences yet made no effort to record them indicates that he wasn't there to cover the events for his websites. The CTA hadn't given him permission as an amateur blogger, nor could he have passed the official accreditation process. It is also impossible for him to have slipped into both events unnoticed.

The only logical conclusion which remains is that Tenzin attended both press events in his capacity as someone who works for the Dalai Lama's government.

As I have explained numerous times already Tenzin started work for the CTA in 2006. He has been engaged in a long term project to undermine and discredit the protests against the Dalai Lama's ban and discrimination towards Shugden Buddhists.

Tenzin was in Dharamsala working at the CTA's main offices in early 2015 when he claimed he was on retreat. He was working with them to re-develop his websites and plan the campaign against the protests in the run up to the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday celebrations in Germany.

The final cast-iron proof that Tenzin works for the CTA is his attendance and behaviour at both of these press conferences. There is no possibility he was there in any capacity other than his work for the CTA. The fact he has remained silent on this subject is because he knows there is no way he can lie his way out of it. Other than simply denying it he has no alternate explanation for why he was there.

Tenzin knows he's blown his cover, the CTA know it, and now INFORM also know beyond any doubt that he has been lying to them for the past 8 years. Just as Carol McQuire's on-stage appearance with the Dalai Lama in Basel proved her close links to senior CTA members Tenzin has now shown he works for them.

The question is how long they will try to keep up the charade of being 'independent' in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

 

Updated

In a remarkable turn of events Tenzin Peljor has now given his explanation for why he was at both the Dalai Lama's press conference in Wiesbaden and Lobsang Sangay's in Frankfurt.

It's remarkable in that, if true, it shows the Dalai Lama to be incompetent and lacking knowledge on the subject. Tenzin's response to a comment on his blog is shown in full below:

 

 

According to Tenzin's explanation he was in both events as an "expert" on Shugden Buddhism in case there were any questions about it. That means that he has greater knowledge and ability to answer questions on the subject than both the Dalai Lama and his Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay.

Tenzin received ordination from the Dalai Lama in 2006 and shortly afterwards began working for his government, the CTA. Even if he had devoted himself to studying this issue alone he would have accrued less than a decade under the direction of the Dalai Lama.

He didn't. Tenzin spent his time in India working on Wikipedia entries, then moved to Germany to be "resident monk" at Bodhicharya Centre in Berlin where he taught a few classes and established the survivors discussion group.

In 2007 Tenzin went to Italy to join the Geshe training programme, studying a variety of Buddhist principles. He later returned to Germany to continue working at Bodhicharya Centre and setting up his websites in accordance with advice from the CTA.

The Dalai Lama claims to have begun researching this issue in the 1970's. He also spoke out against the practice strongly in the mid-1980's after his own spiritual guide, or root guru, that instructed him in the practice of Shugden Buddhism had passed away.

He has continued to speak out against the practice for the past 40 years and answered questions about his view to Tibetans and the western media.

If we are to believe Tenzin this would mean that the Dalai Lama doesn't understand the western media and that he also doesn't understand the issue or how to present it correctly to the western media. Tenzin understands the media better than the Dalai Lama according to this premise.

I have seen the Dalai Lama on several occasions, both in public and in press events, and I can categorically state that he understands the western media very clearly. Any other journalist who has interviewed him will corroborate this.

He has been advised over several decades by publicists and Hollywood celebrities and has spent literally hundreds, if not thousands, of hours dealing with the press. Tenzin's claim to understand the media better than the Dalai Lama is perhaps the most preposterous and blatant lie I've seen him come out with so far.

He also expects the public to believe that he is more of an expert on the subject of Shugden Buddhism than the Dalai Lama, who has been researching it since Tenzin was a baby.

People are expected to believe that the Dalai Lama felt the need for Tenzin to be there as an "expert" in case any questions about "this very complicated subject" were asked. We are left to conclude that due to the Dalai Lama not understanding the complexity of the issue and his lack of familiarity with the western media Tenzin was there to, "answer most of the questions related to it".

I defy anyone to be able to suspend their disbelief for long enough to accept Tenzin's words as the truth. Either Tenzin is lying or the Dalai Lama is totally out of his depth.

There's also another flaw in Tenzin's ridiculous explanation, his seating position. I have never been to a single press conference where an expert was positioned in the audience along with the press. Experts are always at the front of the room.

Below is the photograph showing the position of the panelists, CTA staff, German police, and Tenzin during the Wiesbaden press conference. Most CTA staff were at the front, right hand side of the room. If Tenzin was an "expert" in reserve he would have been seated with the CTA staff at the front, not at the back of the room.

 

 

I challenge any other journalists reading this article to give me a single example of a press conference they have attended where an "expert" was sitting amongst the journalists at the back of the room. No-one will be able to cite such an event because it would never happen.

If Tenzin was there to answer questions that the Dalai Lama wasn't able to he would be at the front, off to the side. Ready to be called upon, but not in the main frame unless he was needed. Why on earth would you position someone away from the microphones and behind the cameras if they might be required to answer a question?

For those unfamiliar with press conferences the microphones and journalists personal dictaphones are always positioned on the speakers table. If Tenzin had started to speak from his position in the room his comments wouldn't have been recorded which would render him useless.

His explanation is quite simply ludicrous, but he claims it to be the truth, so I'll leave it for readers to decide which of these two options is the truth:

Is Tenzin telling the truth that he attended the Dalai Lama's press conference to answer questions about Shugden Buddhism because he has more knowledge about the subject and the media than the Dalai Lama?

or

Is Tenzin lying, and if so, what is his real reason for being there and what else is he lying about?

 

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