And as a religious figure, one should not discount the religious attaction
> of him as a figure. [SNIP]
> Buddhism ..., emphasizes social enlightenment
> where it is the responsibility of the enlightened, boddhisatvas, to help
> the rest of humanity both economically and spiritually.[SNIP]
the drawbacks to Tibetan society in economic and social practice,
> the spiritual basis of encompassing spiritual possibility and openness
> does have real attractions.
> --Nathan Newman
I don't know how much knowledge of pre 1951 Tibet is available, but until someone can cite more dependable information than that offered by Stuard and Roma Gelder, *The Timely Rain*, I will continue to see Tibet as one of the more successful 1000 year reigns of terror in human history. And I recently saw a slide-show presented by one of my ex-students, a Catholic social worker, who is infatuated with the Dalai and visited Tibet this last year. Her slides, as well as all her concrete facts, tended to contradict glaringly her own summary of those facts and more or less confirm for me the Gelder's 1964 report. She spoke of oppression and starvation; she described and showed photographs of peasantry certainly no worse off than a rather large majority of the world's peasantry. She spoke of the spiritual power of the religion; she described and showed slides of priests who were clearly parasites, doing rather well for themselves, given the general poverty of Tibet and the alleged persecution by the Chinese authorities.
There was nothing in her report to offer any support to lovers of the current (or past) PRC regimes -- but there was equally nothing to suggest that the people of Tibet were not, however wretched, better off than under the responsible and kindly rule of the Buddhist theocracy.
information more or less confirmed by the actual facts as opposed to summaries of the facts