In a Huffington Post article, Committee of 100 for Tibet member, Robert Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism at Columbia University and co-founder and President of Tibet House US, explains, on the eve of President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama, why Tibet matters so much.
"Against the feelings and warnings of many of his countrymen, the Dalai Lama wants Tibet to be a fully contributing part of China, achieving economic success and enjoying the genuine autonomy promised to all "minority nationalities" under the Chinese constitution -- but the Chinese insist against all evidence to the contrary that he wants to split Tibet away from them! The Dalai Lama wants to use his legendary reconciliatory skills to help China achieve the "harmonious society" they yearn for -- and the Chinese Communist party officials call him a dangerous reactionary, even a wolf in monk's clothing! The Dalai Lama wants not only to preserve and restore Tibetans' spiritually satisfying Buddhist culture, he wants to help re-kindle the spiritual contentment of the hundreds of millions of traditionally Buddhist Chinese people, helping them to be more patient with the inevitable shortcomings of governments and bureaucracies, and giving them the inner peace that guarantees a better level of social peace. Yet the Chinese openly admit they fear his calming influence over the hearts of his own people and millions of religious Chinese people as well!
The Dalai Lama wants to see Tibet's environment restored, brought back from the brink of devastation due to extinguished wildlife, de-forested valleys, desertified grassland, overpopulated towns, and swiftly melting glaciers that 60 years of Chinese military occupation, extractive industrialization, and unregulated colonization have caused, according to China's own environmental scientists."
Read the rest of the article here.