French researcher Maxime Vivas presents real Tibet in new book "Not So 'Zen': The Hidden Side of the Dalai Lama"

Maxime Vivas: Pas si Zen: La face cachée du Dalaï-lama

@ English.xinhuanet.com, 2011-08-12

PARIS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- A French writer says a visit to Tibet makes it obvious that the culture there is not being destroyed and there is freedom of religion.

"The signs are written in Tibetan. The temples and monasteries are full and people do pray in the streets. Religion is omnipresent," French writer and Tibet researcher Maxime Vivas told reporters Thursday.

Such things would be impossible, Vivas said, if the Tibetan culture was being destroyed and the freedom of religion restricted.

Vivas, who spoke at a press briefing on his new book "Not So 'Zen': The Hidden Side Of The Dalai Lama," talked about the purpose of writing the book and a real Tibet in his observation.

It's been awhile since news reports about Tibet in France were almost all in the same key, said Vivas, who also is a journalist. His confusion and curiosity concerning Tibet prompted him to travel to Tibet in the summer of 2010 with a number of other French journalists.

As soon as Vivas returned from the trip, he started independent research on Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

Seeking to paint a true picture of Tibet, he had read a plenty of documents and gathered opinions of all sides. And the result of his research has given birth to his new book, which will be released Aug. 18.

Vivas enumerates in his book a large quantity of words of the Dalai Lama and his supporters, many of which are self-contradictory. He said he intends to use their own words to kill their lies.

Meanwhile, Tibet under the Dalai Lama's reign was no paradise at all, Vivas said, citing words from the Dalai Lama's memoirs to prove that the peasants back then were deprived of all human rights and had to do very heavy work. Even a slight show of disobedience would subject them to cruel punishment.

"The Dalai Lama said that he had been forced to leave Tibet before he could have time to carry out social reforms, but according to his memoirs, at that same period, he had time to think about building a new palace in addition to the Potala Palace," Vivas said.

Editor: Bi Mingxin


  1. How do I say if someone would like to show how others stupid are? The stupid people who you critized have wisdom to recognize the truth of Dalai Lama. They know exactly that the Dalai Lama is NOT representive of world peace, Lamaism / Tibetan Buddhism is NOT Buddhism, the Essence of Lamism is Tantric couple practice which Budda did not teach us. The people are too stupid to know exactly the differences between Lamaism and Buddhism. The Tibetan Lamas are not pure like an angle, and the Chinese are not evil like Satan. Just read some more books and do more researches, than you will find out the true color of Dalai Lama. Do not receive all the NCC news or medium report. They are cheated by DL.

  2. Correct: Do not receive all the [CNN] news...

  3. http://weblog.savetibet.org/tag/maxime-vivas/

    I should begin by saying I haven’t read this book and in all honesty probably never will. There are plenty of other recommended books on Tibet to read and more important things to do than follow up on a book review from Xinhua. So, for what its worth, congratulations to the author; I hope he received a large advance for the book and I would love to see him present his “research” to the Dalai Lama and all of the former “serfs” who live in Tibet or chose the uncertain journey of a life in exile.

    Articles from China’s state-run media outlets such as this are nothing new. It seems that any movie, book, article, or ad hominem attack is quickly repackaged by the PRC’s propaganda machine for distribution, so please forgive me if I hesitate to pick up a copy of their latest recommendation.

    I’m not interested, at least in the present case, in going point-by-point and detailing how the arguments put forth in these types of articles not only contradict China’s own historical records, but also often display some very impressive Olympic-level feats of logical and rhetorical gymnastics.

    So, while I’m not in a position to directly critique this particular book, for the sake of argument, brevity (and my own sanity), let’s set aside the history that books such as this purport to detail, and take a look at one of the most prominent messages (if not the most prominent message) that is woven into nearly every article mentioning the Dalai Lama that is produced by the state-run media, and that is: it’s all his fault. Everything. His fault and his alone. This is, of course, part of a concentrated effort to demonize the Dalai Lama and discredit his calls for “genuine autonomy” for Tibet. It is also a reflection of the official PRC approach to the dialogue process: there is no “Tibet issue” and all that there is to discuss is the personal future of the Dalai Lama.

    To read these articles, you would think that the Dalai Lamas controlled every minutiae of Tibetan life from the time of the first Dalai Lama, all the way until the 14th fled into exile in 1959. These articles are so single-minded in their focus on demonizing the Dalai Lama that they quickly reveal their authors’ ignorance of Tibet’s history (e.g. the long periods between Dalai Lamas during which regents controlled the Tibetan government). Unfortunately, the authors probably don’t care, or are so consumed in their attempt to demonize the Dalai Lama that they’ve rendered themselves incapable of incorporating any information that falls outside the scope of the official PRC narrative on Tibet.

    While it is disheartening and frustrating (to say the least) to read these types of articles, the positive take-away is that they expose just how weak the foundation upon which the arguments against the Dalai Lama rest. These articles also serve as a very important reminder of how important it is to continue reporting on what is happening in Tibet today, given the punishments meted out to those Tibetans who attempt to counter the PRC’s ongoing efforts to manufacture a history for Tibet and dare to expose that there is actually a “Tibet issue” that needs dealt with, and it isn’t simply an issue of one man’s personal future.
    Tagged with: Dalai Lama • Maxime Vivas • Propaganda

  4. To Savetibet: What belongs to politics should return to politics, and what belongs to religions should return to religions.

    Do not bring politics into the internal affairs of Buddhism, and do not participate in the political affairs under the name of Buddhism either.

    Lamaism, with the Couple-Practice Tantra, is not Buddhism!


  5. Fair enough, well said.
    Once politics is involved, religion would not be able to hold its original serenity any more.

  6. Suffice to say that the hostile comments against China are not based on historical or recent facts but on prejudices (some racist) and distortions. Vivas, at least, has taken the trouble to find out for himself. Starting from a hostile position but as an honest inquirer, he had the courage to let the facts challenge his own preconceived views, a most laudable French scientific tradition.

    With modern travel, it is not difficult to ascertain for oneself is the true situation regarding such things as religious freedom or the use of ethnic languages in China. An air-ticket is all it takes, and an open but curious mind. And it is a fact that China has managed to keep alive more ethnic cultures with their languages and local customs than other nations, including the USA. The Zhuang, Lisu, Miao, Tibetans, etc., still are able to use their own languages and practise their religions freely. Walk the streets of Lijiang or Dali and you will hear the locals speaking their own languages in addition to Putonhua. You would have to go into a reservation in the backwoods of N. Dakota to hear a smattering of Lakota (Sioux) languages, and then only among the very old. Their ethnic cultures have been more or less wiped out.

    It's a pity many westerners take the position which can be summed up by 'I know what I believe; don't confuse me with facts', accompanied by some verbal abuse at others who take a different viewpoint! I guess it is very difficult to convince people when they are deeply entrenched in their views. Sad.

  7. Indeed, I think the new book of Vivas is a good start. He traveled with his own foots, observed the people there with his own eyes. In this way, he find the hidden side of Lamaism and Dalai Lama. Hope that more and more books like this one will be written and published, so that the people all over the world will not be misled by Dalai Lama and the medien.