q: There seems to be a ground swell of interest happening around Tibet. Why is
there so much interest in Tibet?
yauch: I think it goes to a lot of different levels but the two main ways that
I look at it is that on the one hand, we're able to help the Tibetans to gain
their freedom--in a sense we're obligated to do that in a sense since we have
the ability to help the Tibetans. But I think the really significant part of it
for us for the western world is we have a lot to gain from the Tibetans--there
are certain lessons that are within Tibetan culture. I mean understandings of
compassion and of nonviolence that are things that we really lack in our
Also, the contrast is so huge between the compassion and nonviolence that's
coming from the Tibetans and the unimaginably brutal oppression that's coming
from the Chinese, the forced abortions and forced sterilization and the torture
of monks and nuns ... for just trying to practice their own religion.
q: Tell me about your concerts and what you hope to achieve....
a: I feel like I've gained a huge amount from being exposed to Tibetan
culture. From being in Tibet and being around Tibetans I feel like I've
learned so much more about what brings a person happiness, about what actually
brings myself happiness.
I think there are a lot of misconceptions in society in general about what
actually brings happiness, we're caught up in all these ideas that having a
lot of money or having somebody beautiful to have sex with or having some cool
objects, having a cool car, cool stereo or whatever is gonna make us happy.
And those things actually don't bring us happiness. I've learned a tremendous
amount about how compassion or altruism actually brings a person happiness and
I think that's a lot of what's trying to be put forward through the concerts
and it seems like the optimum way to put those ideas forward is through
helping the Tibetans gain their freedom because those values are so inherent
within Tibetan culture.
q: Tell me -- how do you effect change?
a: I think every person has the ability to effect change. I think we're
often led to believe that it's just celebrities have some ability to effect
change but I think that what's important for us to realize is that everyone of
us affects the world constantly through our actions, through our every smallest
action, through our every thought, our every word, the way that we interact
with other people we're constantly affecting the world.
q: What are you trying to do for Tibet in in the music and the concerts you
a: We're trying to just raise awareness/with the concerts, what we're
really trying to do is create more of a forum for the Tibetans themselves to
be able to speak, I know that like if I turn on the TV and I just see some
movie star or rock star talking about some cause a lot of times I get really
turned off to it so I guess the idea is -- creating some kind of forum where
the -- the Tibetans themselves can speak and Tibetan culture can be there
I bet there are a lot of Tibetans walking around at the concerts, there were
hundreds of Tibetans walking around with petitions to be signed and there was
monastery tent there and we did our best to come as close to having Tibetan
culture exist naturally in a giant rock concert
q: What impact do you think the concerts and films can have?
a: I think concerts and films and and CD and things like that can bring
the stuff into the mainstream. .... I think the films and CDs and what not,
can really have an effect because I think that our government and our
corporations are definitely affected by public perception. And so the more that
we can raise this awareness, the more chance there is that our corporations and
government will be forced to act in the interest of humanity.
q: And what is going to on? I mean what do you see happening?
a: I think the main focus in America is is basically greed. I think that
that's the number motivator in our society and it goes to all levels, it goes
to our government and our corporations and us as individuals and I think we
have to recognize our own involvement as individuals in that greed that we're
the ones that go out and and buy all these things that empower the
q: What does Tibet have to offer us in America, in the West?
a: Well some people have described it this way -- while the West has been
outwardly modernizing ourselves, while we've been building better machines
and cameras and faster trains and planes and faster telephones and computers,
while we've been outwardly modernizing ourselves for the last few hundred years
the Tibetans have isolated themselves from the rest of the world and have been
inwardly modernizing themselves.
They've been spending the last thousand years learning about mind and what
actually brings a person happiness and what brings a person unhappiness. What
creates jealousy and what creates hatred and what actually creates true lasting
happiness. So in a sense it seems like it's no accident that when we've come
to this point where our technology has put the world on the edge of
destruction. We've stockpiled so many nuclear weapons and dumping nuclear waste
and creating materials that don't biodegrade and on and on. And just as we've
put the earth on the edge of destruction here-- Tibetan culture has been forced
to infiltrate into the rest of the world and expose itself in order for itself
to survive. And, it almost seems like no accident-- that this has happened at
that time, that they're, as Bob Thurman calls it, their inner modernity has
been forced to be exposed to our out modernity .
q: What is your dream scenario for the impact that your concerts and music and
CD can have?
a: I would hope that the concerts and the CD and the films that are
coming out would help Tibet to gain their freedom. But on the other side of it,
I'm really hoping that some of those values are going to infiltrate into
American culture and in particular into youth culture uh because obviously
that's the future of what this world is going to be come and what human it is
going to become.
q: And do you think that things like popular culture, like movies and concerts
can ultimately have some effect on things like government policy?
a: I think that movies and CDs-- they affect the way people think. I know
they've radically affected the way I think. And so they definitely will have
some effect on the world and in turn that will affect our government because I
really don't think that Clinton wants to be remembered as a president that
could have done something to benefit the people in Tibet. That could have
helped with human rights and just didn't do that for reasons of greed or
having America be a powerful country at the expense of other people. I don't
think that Clinton that wants to be remembered that way. And so I think that
the more that awareness is raised, that more that Clinton is gonna really go
out of his way to make sure that Tibetan culture is preserved.
q: Why is there an urgency suddenly about Tibet's predicament and dilemma?
a: The thing with the Tibet cause is that there is very little time left
with it because of the rate of the population transfer that the Chinese are
pushing for right now and the sterilization and forced abortions that are going
on with the women. And the religious oppression. There is very little time
left that Tibetan culture will actually survive. Probably a few more years if
a radical change doesn't come about. So I think that's part of what the uproar
is that people are really coming together on this issue.
q: Do you have a feeling the government has sort of abandoned this issue?
a: I think it's scary that that our elected officials aren't operating
under the principles of human rights, under the principles that this government
and this country was founded on. I think that that if anyone should be
holding those principles dear to their heart and and as the most important
values there are then it should be our elected officials and the idea that our
country is being run by a bunch of selfish egomaniacs is pretty terrifying.
q: What's your hope for a kid who comes to a concert that you're putting on
a: I guess the best way for me to put that answer is more in terms of my
own experience. I was traveling in the Himalayas and I met some Tibetan
people and then I began to really learn about a lot of much deeper ideas about
mind and what actually brings a person happiness and the patterns of thinking
the traps that we get ourselves into through our different lines of thinking.
And so what I hope is that somebody might come to one of these concerts and
run across some of that same information that I did-- that benefited me. And
that they would also gain something from that.