Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - The Communist economic system "is based on ideas that are barely 200 years old and whose influence is declining, whilst Buddhism and other religions have thousands of years and continue to attract the world's attention," the Dalai Lama told a group of Vietnamese executives. "Even if the world Marx imagined has some points that can be shared, the way regimes control human life and thought is unacceptable," he told his audience, made up mostly of liberal managers and economists from Vietnam who have little sympathy is Hanoi.
The group of 102 delegates represent Vietnam's Tibetan Buddhists, about half from the North and half from the South, members of the Vietnamese CEO's Club, a liberal group tolerated by the regime.
Tibet's spiritual leader met them in Dharamsala where Tibetan exiles are holding a big summit to decide the approach to take vis-à-vis the wave of self-immolations that has swept their homeland.
Tomorrow afternoon, summit delegates will present a joint motion after four days of debate.
The Dalai Lama, who will close the great gathering tomorrow, wanted to meet the Vietnamese group.
"There are times and situations in which external factors limit the sense of religion," he explained. "However, this should not frighten us because all we need is to develop a warm and open heart to live in a positive manner. Sharing wealth as Communists preach is a good thing, in theory, but it has never been applied."
In answering a mother who wanted to know how to live a good family life, he jokingly said, "I am 76 years old and do not have children. I think it is a bit late to start a family; so I will not dare answer your question."
"Children like all the people we care for need attention and care. It is necessary that they grow up in freedom to develop according to their own inclinations."
One of the delegates asked the Dalai Lama to travel to the Spratly or the Paracel Islands, which China and Vietnam claim, to start the construction of a temple that could appease recent nationalist tensions agitating the continent.
"Rather than temples, I'd like to see the construction of study centres," the Nobel Prize laureate said. "In any event, such a place would be more useful in Saigon or Hanoi than on a small island."
The meeting was widely covered by Tibetan media, which have stressed the closeness between the Chinese and the Vietnamese Communist parties.
The "liberal" delegation had some hurdles to clear before it could get the visa to travel to India, but in the end, they were able to meet the spiritual leader.
For this reason as well, the Dalai Lama chose not to take part in the summit but meet instead participants.