|Dalai Lama – Not so Zen by Maxime Vivas|
A French writer's book put on sale recently has disclosed another side, including opportunism and tricks, of the Dalai Lama deified by some Western politicians and armchair pundits.
Maxime Vivas's new book "Not So 'Zen': The Hidden Side Of The Dalai Lama" hit the shelves of bookstores and online retailers Thursday, days after the Dalai Lama himself held a three-day public conference in the southern French city Toulouse.
Facts and views in the 130-page French-language book refute the long-time self-beatification of the Dalai Lama.
"Based on the word of the Dalai Lama in his transcribed memoirs and also in his speeches during his trips abroad, Maxime Vivas highlights opportunism, omissions, tricks, and lies of a man and his kingdom," the publisher Max Milo Editions said in a press kit.
"In a plea for secularism, the author raises the question of what would be a 'Free Tibet' led by a recalcitrant prophet in front of science and freedom of worship," the publisher said, while presenting a briefing of a feudal system decades ago under the Dalai Lama and the free primary education system in today's Tibet that is significantly bringing down the illiteracy rate.
"The trend in France is mostly to edit mass books praising the Dalai Lama. Writing against the Dalai Lama or breaking his image is akin to smearing the portraits of Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi, the idols which we can't touch," Vivas said.
Confusion-and-curiosity-driven, Vivas conducted a truth-seeking trip to Tibet in the summer of 2010 with several other French journalists.
He found there is a modern Tibet prospering with free prayers in temples and monasteries and even on the streets, and Tibetan-written signs are everywhere.
"What I saw in Tibet is not like what I read from the French press and books," he said.
To clarify the contradiction of the real Tibet he witnessed and the one in the Dalai Lama's propaganda and most Western reports, Vivas read numerous documents, including studies of French parliamentarians, and researched opinions from various angles.
"This book is not based on documentation of the opponents of the Dalai Lama, not documentation of the Chinese authorities," he said. "But the information I have drawn from speeches, lectures, interviews and memoirs of the Dalai Lama, and also with his followers …"
The book with the Dalai Lama's photo on the cover is now on the bookshelves of Fnac, the largest retailer of cultural and electronic products in France, and in the book category of U.S.-based Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer.
There have been many comments about the book on the Internet.
Some pointed out the double status of the Dalai Lama mixing political with religious faces.
"However the truth is, he is not actually the person he appears to be. His actions have not always been in accordance with his message of peace, tolerance and compassion…" a netizen named "Caz Namyaw" commented.
The book also has drawn attention from the French media including TV5, bfm radio and France info, among others.
Showing footage of a regional TV channel's interview on the book, Vivas pointed out several illogical arguments posed by some French media, which he said questioned him on the basis of prejudgment rather than the content of his book.
Vivas also said he didn't believe in the Dalai Lama's March announcement of handing over political power because he since met U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in July.