Supporters of Dalai Lama clash with Buddhist sect

by Dharam Shourie, PTI, July 18, 2008

New York, USA --  Thousands of supporters of the Dalai Lama shouted and "spit" on a group of demonstrators belonging to a Buddhist sect which alleges that the Tibetan spiritual leader is persecuting its members, forcing the police to intervene to prevent clashes between them.

The incident occurred outside Radio City hall in Manhattan yesterday evening as thousands people, mostly Tibetans and Nepalese-American, were coming out after listening a sold out lecture from the Dalai Lama on the Four Nobel Truths about Buddhism.

Some of those who attended the lecture had paid as much as USD 1000.

As they came out, they were confronted by the demonstrators. Some among them started shouting at the protesters and waving currency notes to make the point that the demonstrators were paid Chinese agents, a charge which spokespersons of the protesters vehemently denied.

More and more supporters of the Tibetan spiritual leaders joined them and at one stage thousands were participating in a wordly duel.

Police on horseback and ground set up barricades to separate them and physically pushed back some of the supporters of the Dalai Lama as tried to advance towards the demonstrators to prevent a possible clash.

Asked during a question and answer session about the demonstration which had begun much before the Dalai Lama began his address, he described their faith as "just spirit worship."Conceding that he had followed the practice from 1951 until 1970s, the Dalai Lama said he had given it up after he realised that it was a mistake. By giving it up, he was able to explore other teachings of Buddhism.