Interview with Tom Kahn

"The Tibetans are the good guys and the Chinese are the bad guys.
That´s what many people want to believe.
But what happens, if reality is not as simple as that?"

What is true about The Tibet Project?

The Tibet Project is based on many years of research and the publisher double checked everything. All historical places, personalities and events are real. Pictures, art objects, maps and documents exist. Also, the temple of horror is no invention of the author. Many people know the facts but they never saw them in this context. Of course, there is a line between facts and fiction but if I told you where exactly it is the book would loose the mystical touch. After all The Tibet Project is a thriller, not a documentary. However, the line is not where you might think it is.

Where did you get the informations from and are they secret?
A choice of my sources is published on the website. They are mostly books from witnesses and historians. Some of them are hard to find or no longer printed. That includes ethnological books or year books of the Royal Asiatic Society of the 19th century. Besides that the internet provides a huge source of information while some of them are biased. TV documentaries on certain aspects of the book that came out in recent years can be found on You Tube. A lot of information is available to everybody.

Why then didn´t you write the book earlier?
For a long time I was convinced the somebody must have had the same idea before me and is currently working on such a book.

Did you use all your informations?
No. There is much more that could be said about the Dalai Lama. I focussed on the religion´s history and facts that can be proofed. However, it would be of great interest to know more about the financial side but the organisation behind the Dalai Lama doesn´t make any statements concerning money. There are many roumors about that in the internet.

Where did you get the idea from for The Tibet Project?
As a student I was interested in buddhism and read the books of the Dalai Lama. I found out that His Holiness wrote two autobiograhies which are not consistent. That made me wonder. When I checked the historical data in both of his books more contradictions surfaced. As a result it showed that the words of the Dalai Lama are not supported by reality. The doctrine of compassion is appealing but it was never implemented in Tibet. Also, I was suprised to see that seemingly nobody in the West ever asked the question if the Dalai Lama is telling the truth. There is a huge degree of deception and manipulation of the public opinion. So, I decided to write my master´s thesis on the policy of the Dalai Lama. Then I wanted to go deeper into the whole affair and to write my PH.D. on the same issue but never finished this kind of work. The intensified research came up with incredible facts and curiosities that made my phantasy go wild. I just couldn´t resist to add a little speculation and some thought games.

That´s why they compare you in recensions to Dan Brown?
I like Dan Brown. His Books are fascinating and he inspired me. The mix of facts and fiction in a mystery thriller really is a parallel between us. However, I´m going in another direction. In addition, I want to give the reader some starting points to look for explanations why things happen in history and to understand human actions including the so called evil.

The Tibet Project and your TV Interviews caused strong protests. Why?
The opninions polarize about the Dalai Lama and China. My book contradicts the common views and tackles prejudices. That provokes resistance. Also, The Tibet Project gets in conflict with religious feelings and political interests. This is why I find myself sometimes in the role of a pagan or am suspected of beeing a Chinese agent. But some people blindly thrusted the Dalai Lama and now can´t admit they didn´t know everything. Nobody likes to do that. Other readers are thankful that finally someone brought enlightenment to the theme of the Dalai Lama and allows a view behind the curtain of Tibetan Buddhism.

Why don´t the medias pay more attention to this?
That is a phenomenon I don´t understand. I believe they dont have the courage. Maybe they believe in the Dalai Lama or they don´t want to loose their readers by depriving them of some illusions. Normally the press is fond of any sensation but in the case of the Dalai Lama it looks as if nobody wants to criticize him. That is like a selfimplied censorship which is even more remarkable when compared to the numerous reports about scandals of the Catholic church. In addition, journalist like to use the Dalai Lama against the Chinese dragon that seems to freighten the world. On the other hand today´s medias don´t have the time and the resources for an in-depth investigation into Tibet´s history. Take the Stern magazin mentioned on this website as an example. The report focuses on a single issue. Nobody so far presented the full picture or understood what it all means, not to mention the consequences they would have to draw from the results.

What are the consequences you are referrint to?
Of course, everybody must decide for himself. All I can say is that the Dalai Lama is not what he pretends to be or what the people want to see in him. Tibetan Buddhism never made men more peaceful or this world a better place. The Dalai Lama has little achived in political or religious reality. That brings up the question why then he is still so popular.

What would you tell to followers of Tibetan Buddhism?
Truth hurts. The original teachings of Buddha are most inspiring. But what happend to them before they reached Tibet and how they were transformed into lamaism and finally became a state religion is something else.

What would you tell to Western politicians supporting the Dalai Lama?
In order to solve the global problems of humanity we need good relations with China but not with the Dalai Lama. Living Buddha or not, the Dalai Lama is a politician who fights for his interests - which might not be ours.

Has your image of China changed while working on The Tibet Project?
Absolutely. At first I thougt what everybody thinks based on today´s media reports. But then I saw that the reality is not black and white. China is condemmed by the West and Tibet is popular. At this point the book is stepping out of the line and challenges the general views and prejudices. The Tibet Project sheds a different light on both the Dalai Lama and the Chinese side. Historically seen the situation is complex and as usual there is not just one truth. Next time the Tibet-China discussion is in the headlines again it would be nice if that aspect would be considered too. The Dalai Lama is not just a victim.

Did you pursue a special goal when writing the book?
I wanted to free the scientific books from their prisons in the libraries. A thriller get´s more attention. I wanted the world to know the truth so that everyone can make up his own mind concerning the personal search for inner values in life and the impact of the Dalai Lama. The Tibet Project offers a counterbalance to the public discussion on Tibetan Buddhism.
Personally I see myself as the philospher who is standing on the mountain looking down on the world´s colourful activities. Seen from this bird´s point of view on history the fall of Tibet is just one of many tragedies in history and can be taken as a case study. The German philosopher Schopenhauer once said, that history is always the same - just different. My goal was to show that in Tibet people and history are the same as anywhere else around the world. The next question then is if there is a hidden agenda or a pattern in world´s history and if there is any chance to understand the repeating madness around us. As one of many poosible answers to that question I used the cultural theories of Sigmund Freud for The Tibet Project. As I believe the founder of psychoanalysis offers some surprising explanations on human actions I wanted to share the pleasure of understanding or taking a new viewpoint. Beeing political scientist I also enjoyed applying the old thinkers like Weber, Kant, Marx or Nietzsche on a contemporary phenomenon and by this showing that some of their writings are timeless. They can still help to see through the veil of what seems to be reality and this causes some intellectual excitement. Of course, my book is just a thriller but it is based on the material of my planed thesis for a Ph.D. and therefore it contains a lot of philosophy between the lines. I hope my readers share this insight and pleasure with me.