It's surreal because this park is located on a big open square right below the front of the Potala, the Dalai Lama's old monastery-palace, an ancient monument and a place sacred to Tibetan Buddhism. It is almost too much to bear. It is so painful that, well, you just can't think about it too much. On my last visit there, I vowed to try to look at such things in the new Tibet objectively, which, with my history in Tibet, is almost impossible to do. To really see that these young Tibetans are now living in a society in which their children are eating well, they're going to school ... They're not unhappy! They may not be happy in the way that they were, but it's a changed world.
The most tragic part of it, though, is the loss of the spiritual element. Somehow with Tibetan culture and the Tibetan Buddhist Dharma, there was a practice that was really true in the lay people. The whole spiritual community was supported and embraced by the lay people in a way that wasn't just an activity. It was a way of life. There was a characteristic of inner beauty that always came to the surface. Famously so. And I think it is that that they're losing. I think it's maybe what they have already lost.