This interview was given by Rinpoche on July 9th to His disciples at the new home of Je Tsongkapa(i) Ling. We publish only its “open” part. The answers are slightly edited, as Rinpoche-la used German, French and Tibetan words.
Question: Rinpoche-la, why did you resolve to absolve your silent retreat?
Rinpoche: To answer your questions. But not such as this one. Please try again.
Q: Does a God exist?
R: “God” is simply a word you may use or not. Many cruel things were made to please a “God” who, people thought, thinks and feels like them. It was not the God that created Man. It was rather us who created the “God”, it is, the concept of a personal and almighty God.
Q: And the concept is wrong, you say? Why?
R: You don’t need to ask me. Please read Nagarjuna, he explains brilliantly, why a personal almighty God cannot exist.
Q: Is there still anything which we may call “God” or, let us say, a “Divine Principle”?
R: There surely is “something” you may call so. We Buddhists use other words, but you may use the words you like more. Our old texts say, there truly is an “unshakable unshakability”, the suchness. I don’t know whether my translation is good enough. But this is too profound a question to be answered in few words.
Q: If such a Divine principle does exist, why do terrible things happen? I believe, there were also children who died in the crash of MH17. Why should they die?
R: Children under seven years die of many special causes. I cannot name you all the causes. In fact, I had better not to name you them at all. You won’t believe me.
Q: Let us try?
R: As you please. Some children were nagas in their previous lives. Such children differ from other children. They want to continue their cycle of births in the world of nagas. Yet they want to get “some new experience”. Some of them are therefore incarnated as human beings for the length of one life. They soon get tired of our world. Our world is a cruel place. They want to stop their human life. They don’t want to live this long human life to the end. They actually want to die, but they do not want to commit a suicide. So they die in accident or of a disease. Everyone who dies in accident has wanted to die. I don’t mean this actual life. The person might want to die in his previous life. Or he might kill another person at the same age he dies in accident. Does it seem credible, what I have just said? I told you so.
Q: What shall we be most afraid of in our spiritual life?
R: There is not a single “what”, there are many things you shall be afraid of in your life. Try not to use terms like “spiritual life”. There is absolutely nothing which is not spiritual. Do not separate spirit and matter. Even if you try to kill someone, the process is “spiritual” in some sense. One of things you shall be afraid of is hypocrisy. Another one is selfishness. They combine. Your question about the crash of MH17 shows, how they combine. Children in Asia and Africa are dying everyday in greater numbers. Some are dying right now. Did you ever care for their deaths? Some of them die of diseases, others of starvation. It depends on you to change it. If all of you sold your iPads, many of them would survive. You surely will spend your money to save children in Holland. I am not certain, whether you will do the same for children in Asia.
Another thing you shall avoid is cowardice. I am not sure if I use the correct word. Cowardice means to give up. Not to fight any longer. We have to fight with your obscurations, of cause, they are our main enemy. But there also exist external forces which create conditions for obscurations. Most of us try to avoid “confrontations”. This is what I call cowardice.
Q: We know that Putin is a tyrant but we continue to buy Russian gas. Is this a correct example?
R: This is an example for your wrong views, not for cowardice. You believe that you cannot trade with Putin or someone like him because he “suppresses freedom” in his country and so on. But you see, the freedoms you enjoy are not genuine. The freedom to have a gay as a bishop is not a freedom I personally wish to enjoy. You may call Putin an emperor, a king. But being a king is not a crime in itself. It were kings who gave very rich donations to Buddha Shakyamuni and His Sangha. Do you believe a buddha could get rich donations in Europe of today? I doubt of it. Of what use are your freedoms, if they let a buddha starve?
Q: Why cannot a homosexual be a good priest or bishop?
R: Because he denies his own religion. You see, I am not going to argue with you. You may believe that you understand Christianity better than Jesus did and that you may therefore reform it. Such a Christianity is not Christianity any longer. The Tibetan word for Christianity is yeshooy choe, “religion of Jesus”. So it is Jesus who decides what is good and what is bad, not you. If Gerard decides, what is good, this is Gerardanity, not Christianity, If Valerie decides, what is good, it is Valerianity, not Christianity. Valerianity as a religion may have gay bishops, if Valerie wants so. Don’t use Christian symbols and Christian churches in this case. Invent other symbols, build other churches. This will be honest.
Q: Rinpoche-la, may we ever win the struggle with the lies of this world?
R: You hardly can win this struggle. This enemy never dies. But fight, if you can. Giving up is dishonorable.
Q: The confrontation between the West and the East, between USA and Russia seems nowadays to go a little bit too far. Is it not better to avoid this confrontation, to show a considerable “cowardice”, rather than experience a nuclear war?
R: This is a good question, but asked by someone who absolutely cannot avoid anything. I didn’t mean to insult you. But, you see, you live in Europe, you are a European, so how can you avoid stopping a war? I am very sorry to say that Europe never stopped a single war. It is money which counts. You believe the Russian president to be a tyrant. Do not sell to him the war ships, then. But no, you cannot afford to lose your money. I know, it is not you who decide. You believe that Mr… Mr… I forgot the name of your president, can you fancy? (He laughs.) François Hollande, yes. You may accuse him, you may believe another person at his place to act more “peacefully”. But you absolutely cannot elect such a person. Not a single person who truly prefers to lose money instead of lives will ever be chosen, will ever become a candidate. So what sense does make to ask whether you should avoid a war?
Q: What will become of Europe?
R: Europe of today looks like an old woman who used to be beautiful. To tell the truth, I, too, am an old man. I believe I shall not live till the day of Je Tsongkapa’s Parinirvana. I wonder if Europe will. I don’t say that everything here suddenly collapses. But new states may appear, other states may cease to exist.
Q: Will it happen before the day of parinirvana of Je Tsongkapa? Is this a prophecy?
R: No. I simply wander what happens.
Q: Rinpoche-la, we know for certain that you have many times communicated with non-human beings. Can you please tell us, what these beings have said to you?
R: I certainly communicated with non-human beings. With cows, for example. Do you like the grass you eat? I asked. The cow answered nothing. Do you guess, why? Because a cow cannot speak.
Some of you waited and are still waiting for some secret teachings and even miracles. I am not a miracle-worker. I am not a prophet. The most sublime miracles proceed in your hearts. They never look like miracles in films about Harry Potter. Pleas try to keep it in mind.