The Global Congress World's Religions Proceedings 1980-1982 Edited by Henry O. Thompson

VI Discussion

DR. KALUPAHANA: Thank you Lama Tenpa for sharing your thoughts with us and for the blessing. We are running short of time. We have two more speakers for tonight. So I will allow maybe one or two questions. Please make it brief. Yes, please come to the microphone.

SPEAKER: How many Tibetan people are in exile? Is there any effort to restore His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to the throne in Tibet under the present circumstances?

PEMA GYALPO: We have about 100,000 Tibetan refugees throughout the world. They are mainly in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and in Europe. We have a number in Canada, the United States and Japan. All together we are in nineteen different countries. The answer to your second question depends on whether it is for the Chinese side or for the Tibetans. If it is for the Tibetans -- the Tibetan people have never dethroned him. He is still on the throne. On Chinese rule -- well you know that since 1979 we have had some direct contacts with them. They have also through their own experiences I think, learned that they cannot win the hearts of the Tibetans through gun point. We have so far sent three delegations as fact finding missions. We also have some other contacts. You know, once you get bitten by a snake, if someone says rope, you get scared. Therefore, we are quite cautious. Of course, as I said, His Holiness is always searching for a peaceful solution.

SPEAKER: Would you care to make a comment whether or not Tarthang Tulku at Berkeley is an authentic representative of Tibetan Buddhism or not?

PEMA GYALPO: I think this is where our representative for North America could answer.

TENZIN TETHONG: Do you mean Tarthang Tulku at the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley?1


TENZIN TETHONG: There are a few Tibetan teachers and Lamas in Europe and in the United States. Many of them have studied in Tibet as monks or as Lamas. I think they are authentic but I can't pass a judgment as to whether anyone is a good man or a bad man.

QUESTION: Well if so, what are the reasons that you do not cooperate with each other?

TENZIN TETHONG: There are many Buddhist centers all over the world. Many of them have been set up by individuals in cooperation with certain institutions or with their own following or their own friends. We don't necessarily try to get everybody to do something together. Most of the Tibetan monastic communities in India are studying and working mainly in the traditional Tibetan systems. The monasteries we established are following the curriculum and the study patterns done in Tibet. Centers like the one in Berkeley and others in Europe and the United States are mainly catering to a new following, new students, and doing translation work. We don't really do similar work in that sense.2

GEORGE N. MARSHALL: May I rise to a point of personal privilege and refer to my biography of Buddha which is in the book room at the center in the Lotte Hotel. It was my privilege two years and three weeks ago to spend the final evening with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, when he was in the United States and to receive a blessing from him which I still possess. For those who don't know, it is a white scarf which he placed about my neck. I have it in the entrance way of my home to share the beneficence of His Holiness with those who enter. My own approach and interest in Buddhism goes back many years. I have been a participant in, and a student of, the Buddhist Publications Society of Sri Lanka. I therefore have written from the standpoint of the "tradition of the elders," of the Theravada approach to Buddha. The foreword to my book was written by Huston Smith who is one of the acknowledged leaders in the field of World Religions and of Buddhist thought in the United States. It is available for purchase if people are interested in it.3

DR. KALUPAHANA: As I mentioned yesterday at the beginning of our meeting, in addition to the special delegation coming to us from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I invited some religious dignitaries from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It is appropriate that since this is the first time we have had religious dignitaries coming from that part of the world, that we give them an opportunity to share their thoughts with us. I now call upon the Venerable Ananda Mangala to speak a few words to this audience.

THE VENERABLE MANGALA: Venerable Sirs, Mr. Chairman and dear friends: I thank all of you for allowing Buddhism to be heard and understood in this Congress. This Global Congress of the World's Religions is sponsored by the Theological Seminary of the Unification Church. It is the noblest thing they have done. I pay my tribute to Rev. Moon and to all of those who have sponsored these opportunities for dialogue; very few people can do this. The World Council of Churches convened the first Buddhist-Christian dialogue in 1970. It was my privilege to be the co-chairman of the first dialogue. Jesus said, "If two or three are gathered together" in his name, he will be there. I believe the Buddha extols meeting together. He asks the religions to get together. Discuss, have dialogue, but when you leave the assembly leave in concord not in difficulty. So this Global Congress is a Congress that will come together to bring concord. I was at the inaugural session of the Conference of Religion and Peace.4 They too work for concord. There is plenty of room in this world for us all. There is more than we can do. Let us all work together. I wish you all every success. Greetings from the Buddhist world. Thank you.

DR. KALUPAHANA: Thank you, Venerable Mangala. The Global Congress is an open forum. Unfortunately it is getting a bit late but perhaps we could spend a few more minutes in discussion.

QUESTION: Mr. Chairman, I am really enjoying this GCWR. There was one suggestion which I wanted to make. There are so many professors from all over the world who are teaching religions in various universities. We did not have the opportunity or at least I didn't have the opportunity to talk to them. I did not have the opportunity to ask them what is happening in their department, what courses they are offering, what books they have recommended. It would have been good to have exchanged some ideas, among ourselves. I thought that this was the best opportunity to have organized some kind of business meeting where we could have discussed our courses and learn from each other. This is too late for this year but in the future, if it is included in the program it would be a great advantage to us.

DR. KALUPAHANA: Thank you. We will give that some thought and discuss it in the Board of Trustees. Before I conclude our meeting I want to express our appreciation to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, for sending us a delegation and letting us know his views on Global Ecumenism. I wish to express our gratitude to the three representatives here. I would request you to convey our thanks to His Holiness for His response to our request. I wish to thank all of you who have been participating in our activities. Thank you and good night.


1. Nyingma or Nyingmapa is one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Its traditional origins are with the coming of the Indian Guru, Padmasambhava (750-790), who defeated the Bon priests in a contest of miracles. He established the famous Semye monastery in 790. The other three schools are the Kagyud, Kargyupa or Bka-brgyud-pa, the Sakya or Sa-skya and the Geluk or Gelugpa. The last, the Yellow Hats, was noted earlier. The Kagyud traces its beginnings to the Bengali mystic, Naropa (d. 1040) of Nalanda or alternately to his disciple, Marpa (1012-1097) and his disciple, Milarepa (1040-1143). The Sakya go back to the central Tibetan scholar, Khon-gyal or 'Khon dkonmchog rgyal-po (1034-1073). The Nyingma, Kagyud and Sakya are known as Red Hats in the West.

The Sakya dominated Tibet from 1200-1350. In 1260, Kublai Khan (1215-1294), founder of the Chinese Yuan Dynasty and grandson of the Mongol ruler, Genghis Khan (1189-1227), recognized Chogyal-Phag-Pa, the Grand Lama of Sakye, as the ruler of Tibet. He was the first of the priest-kings of Tibet. The Sakye rulers were followed by the Phamo Drupa lamas who ruled for 100 years. After another 200 years of kings (1435-1642), the fifth Dalai Lama began the 300 year rule of the Yellow Hats.

The Panchen (Tibetan for Great Scholar) Lama or Panchen Erteni (Mongol for Precious) or Panchen Rinpoche is the second highest incarnation of the Yellow sect. He is or was (the last one died in 1968) the presiding abbot of Tvushi-lhunpo (Tashi Lump) monastery near Shigatse west of Lhasa. The first was the tutor of the Fourth and Fifth Dalai Lama. The Fifth recognized the Panchen as the incarnation of Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light, spiritual father of Chenrezi. There have been seven or ten Panchens, depending on whether you start with Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen Blo-bzang Chos-Kyi rgyal-mtshan (1570-1662) or earlier as Stein does with Khe-Trup (1358-1438). The seventh or tenth and last, was born in 1938 and installed in 1944. He was born in a Chinese area, educated by them, backed by them, and removed by them in 1965 when he spoke in favor of the Dalai Lama. STC-84. KCFT-68-69. HTH-243, traces the Amitabha incarnation back to Tsong-kha-pa's disciple, mkhas-grab-rje. NCE-1776. DLLP-102-114, 125-126. 133, 141, 143, 212, 240.

2 For Buddhism in America, including Tibetan Buddhism, see Rick Fields, How the Swans Came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism in America; Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala Publications, 1981. Emma McCloy Layman, Buddhism in America; Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1976.

3 Buddha; The Quest for Serenity; Boston: Beacon Press, 1978.

4 Braybrooke. op, cit, pp. 61-88, discusses the development of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP). 

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