The Absurdity of the Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama: "I love President George W. Bush"
Dalai Lama: "I love President George W. Bush"

He has been quoted as saying “Sleep is the best meditation.” May I suggest his holiness wake up to the fact that the two wars started by his friend George W. Bush are the clearest violations of his own espoused principles of peace and non-violence. Really, does no one else find it absurd that the Dalai Lama has on multiple occasions since 2001 stood unopposed to the brutal, barbaric and illegal wars first in Afghanistan and later Iraq? This sought-after personality loved by celebrities, the CIA, political leaders and civilians alike restated today in Calgary that “It’s hard to tell which category the current military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq will eventually fall into.”

He was referring to whether these blood-stinged imperial wars fit into the category of a “justified” war like World War II or North Korea or an “unjustified” one. Hard to tell? Your Holiness, hard to tell? In Iraq many estimate that over 500,000 civilians have died as a consequence of the war who even Alan Greenspan says was motivated on America’s incessant oil thirst. Moreover, tens of thousands have been savagely killed in the Afghan war with growing numbers every day as America slowly recognizes its inability to “win” an unwinnable war. Do we need to repost the pictures of Abu Gharib? Pictures of the massacre of Fallujah? Wedding after wedding bombed into the ground as “collateral damage”?

No, it is not hard to tell. What man of peace could possibly have trouble with this equation? Granted he did mention in the same session that he felt the wars were “so far” a failure. However one would assume that this modern saint who’s self-proclaimed religion is “non-violence” would be held to a higher standard on his understanding of the two most violent acts of the 21st century. It took the Lama over four years to move from staying that it is to early to call the wars a failure to his current statement on only time will tell. Shame.

I suppose if we look at the Dalai Lama’s resume his repeated failures to oppose these gruesome wars would not be as surprising. After all, this spiritual leader represents the brutally oppressive feudal order of old Tibetan society whereby he “lived richly in the 1000-room, 14-story Potala Palace” while most of his country men were destined to serfdom. It is not so easy to find any criticism of this feudal order by the Dalai Lama who loves to riddle his many best-selling books with simplistic statements of equality, peace, non-violence and justice.

Nor should his nonchalant attitude to the wars be as surprising if we take into consideration his previous history of accepting millions of dollars from the CIA to send armed squads into Tibet to undermine the Maoist revolution (he himself was to receive $186,000 a year on payroll from the CIA). Former CIA agent Ralph McGehee even today “alleges that the CIA has been a prime funder of the Dalai Lama’s media profile as a symbol of meditiative peace and Buddhist mindfulness.”

In fact, this is the same holy man who joined George Bush Sr. and Margaret Thatcher in their outcry over the extradition from England to Spain of the late fascist leader Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity committed in his bloody rule over Chile. This is the same holy man who has no quarrels with standing next to far-right reactionaries like Jesse Helms, George Bush Senior and Junior or John McCain, expressing his deep and devoted friendship on repeated visits to the United States. He shocked many when he stated “I love President George W Bush” earlier this year.

No, we should not be surprised at all.

What’s truly surprising is is how easily the spin doctors of the mass media can manufacture modern day Jesus Christs with such finesse, grabbing the hearts and minds of the masses with nothing more than shiny books and endless photo ops. I think it would be fair to say that second to Obama, the Dalai Lama and the campaigning around him has been one of the most successful marketing ventures of our time. No wonder China is so pissed off.

31 thoughts on “The Absurdity of the Dalai Lama”

  1. Great post. He also condemned Palestinian ‘terrorism’ without condemning the far greater violence of Zionism.

  2. “Who has Alan Greenspan forgiven?”

    This article offers an artificial analysis of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan culture, and Tibetan politics.

    The circulation of it has illuminated the understanding of the Dalai Lama and Tibet to be a confused one.

    The understanding of the Dalai Lama and his relationship to Tibet, its culture and of its politics, as discussed in this article, is more akin to the understanding of Ronald McDonald and Ronald’s relationship to McDonalds.

    It is easy to point out the personal bias offered in this article.

    First, allow me to introduce the first referenced article: “The Canadian Press: Dalai Lama says the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are failures so far.”

    That should be clear of and in itself. However, the author of the Pulse article missed it. I guess. The author also missed and I qoute: “If the billions of dollars spent on military action by both Canada and the United States had gone to education and health care in Afghanistan, ‘today the picture may be different.'” Was this statement irrelevant?

    Another personal bias is revealed in attempting to congeal the Dalai Lama’s idea and communication of “forgiveness” to that of George Bush Jr. The CBC article qoutes the Dalai Lama as saying: “I think forgiveness is important, but forgiveness does not mean to forget about what happened.” I’m a little lost on how this becomes an outcry.

    In short, if you are going to publish an article, and you have a message you feel is important to discuss, make the article a little more balanced, less personal, and try not to generalize statements or simply overlook ones that have just as much significance, which can, in this case, and were, easily obtained in the referenced articles you chose as sources. Moreover, your failure to understand or discuss the Dalai Lama, Tibetan culture, or its politics, in and of themselves, shows your superficial understanding of them as a whole.

    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”–Mahatma Gandhi

  3. Thanks for your comments Jesse.

    I actually did acknowledge that the Dalai Lama has declared the wars “so far” a failure. See statement “Granted he did mention…” This is a change from his previous stance on the eve of both wars where he asked us to wait and see. Like I mentioned in my post, I hold self-proponents of non-violence to a much higher stander than mainstream ambivalence on wars of genocidal proportion like Iraq. And I fundamentally agree with him on his statement regarding education and health and yes I think it would be fair to mention it. But that is far from an anti-war stance that one would expect from a pacifist.

    With regards to your second point, do you not find it strange that the Dalai Lama takes time out of his day campaigning for a free Tibet to support fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet? For anyone familiar with the brutality of Pinochet, I don’t think there’s anything more that needs to be said on that level. The only connection between the two is that they were both clients of the CIA at one point or another.

    Jesse, I welcome you to post some references or links to quality sources to better understand the Dalai Lama.

    Qunfuz thank you for your comment as well. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=683250&contrassID=1&subContrassID=1. This article mentions what I believe you were referring to. The Dalai Lama received Life Time Achievement Award from the Women’s Zionist Organization of America in 1999. Very interesting.

    Damon

    1. Refuting the believe that the Dalai Lama is a tolerant person using an analogy:
      THE VOICE OF THE DALAI LAMA
      If I had to find some fictional character to illustrate what the word tyranny means. I would choose “Saruman the White”. Tolkien describes very precisely what kind of motivation lies behind this word.
      Saruman is the chief of a saga of wizards in the novel. A priori, he is a positive character. Then later on he is tempted by the lust of power. In the novel we are told that first he studied the arts of the enemy to fight them, but eventually gave in to those same arts. Saruman is tempted by the ring of power, which can subdue the whole “Middle-earth”. Saruman wants all the power for himself and from that very moment begins the corruption of his mind. First, by betraying his own kind, remember when Gandalf visits him Saruman tempts him with the possibility to help him to get the ring of power and dominate in this way “Middle-earth”. Gandalf refuses of course and then Saruman make him his prisoner. After that Saruman mobilizes all his forces to get the ring of power. In order, to achieve this he lies, cheats, and manipulates his own people as a real tyrant. It is important to remember that he is a being with powers and uses them to achieve his own distorted purposes. You only need to read the chapter “The voice of Saruman” to realize how he is able to manipulate and confuse people only with the friendly and seductive tone of his speech. Recall that in this chapter Saruman has already been defeated and cornered in his tower, but still he has the power of his voice that like the song of the sirens may tempt the unwary sailor. Luckily there is Gandalf to dismount all his lies.
      Tolkien makes an excellent analysis of this character in this chapter.It is so good that one fear that Saruman will convince everyone of his goodness. It requires all the skill and integrity of Gandalf to defeat him.
      This is a magnificent work to analyse power and its manipulations, how power changes the mind and the dangers of being tempted by power.
      Unfortunately, it is not very difficult to find in this world examples that fit perfectly with Tolkien’s descriptions of Saruman. I think that the most remarkable is that of the Dalai Lama as a symbol of Buddhism worldwide, Nobel peace prize, supported by Hollywood and the media, as well as being the representative in this world of the words tolerance, compassion and goodness, actually he has deceive the whole world. The Dalai Lama voice resembles that of Saruman. His words in the west are cordial and tolerant but what really lies behind his seductive voice is the word tyranny. Tyranny towards his own people as religious discrimination (chasing mercilessly Dorje Shugden practitioners)
      Since the Dalai Lama arrived to India his real motivation has been to destroy the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, thus creating a new tradition of which he would be the head. Then he would be the absolute leader of his people, political, material and spiritual. Is not this a description of absolutism?
      Finally, I would only make a recommendation to all those under the influence of the Dalai Lama, check what is behind the voice of “HH” the Dalai Lama because his music although seductive resembles that of its counterpart in fiction.

  4. Non-violence, indeed!

    The Dalai Lama is a farce.

    The only thing I will credit him with is a sense of humor. His fiendish giggle is almost worth keeping him around.

  5. Jesse – Damon did not write a piece on Tibetan culture or even Tibetan politics. He wrote a piece on the Dalai Lama.

    Speaking for myself, I abhor China’s occupation of Tibet and its cultural and social vandalism there. I also feel very strongly about the Chinese occupation of Xinjiang province, the ongoing destruction of the old city of Kashgar, and the attempt to smother Uighur Muslim culture and to make the Uighurs a minority in their own land.

    Just finished William Dalrymple’s excellent new book Nine Lives. One of his interviewees is a Tibetan monk who renounced his vows in order to fight the Chinese (a Tibetan tradition which exists too). With a Tibetan unit he was trained by the CIA, the Dalai Lama’s friends, and expected to be sent into action against the Chinese. In fact, he was sent into action against West Pakistan during the war which created Bangladesh.

    The Dalai Lama has failed to do anything for his own people. He has insulted the struggles of other oppressed peoples. But he has sold a lot of self-help books in the West, and he goes down well in Hollywood.

  6. Excellent analysis, and you also give framework to a wider problem that the imagery of the Dalai Lama helps to create.

    When the media puts people like the Dalai Lama on a pedestal, a person who say that “non-violence” is the only way to fight occupation, while also hypocritically supporting the brutal actions of the sole powerpower, you create a situation in which people think that any group of people that violently fights for their rights is completely in the wrong because “non-violence” is touted as the only way to resist oppression.

    Granted, non-violent resistance has its place, but just tell that to groups of people around the world that have been steam rolled and turned into refugee’s by trying to resist their oppressors with non-violent tactics. Non-violent resistance only works if the media is documenting whats going on and more importantly if the media is sympathetic to your plight. In the case of the Dalai Lama, the media is sympathetic to Tibet not because Tibet is some “shangr-la peace loving utopia” but because supporting Tibet is a way of keeping a thorn in China’s side. The media would not care about Communist China’s repression of Tibetans if this were not the case.

    Case in point, Palestinians during the first intifada began their protest by mostly utilizing non-violent actions. They boycotted Israeli goods, refused to pay taxes to Israel, marched in demonstrations, organized sit ins etc. Israel responded by shooting protesters, shutting down all Palestinian schools, torturing Palestinians, and killing countless more. Through-out this entire scenario, the media was not sympathetic to the Palestinians and often gave the Israeli soldier shooting school children the benefit of the doubt.

    Today in Palestine, the West Bank continues to non-violently protest Israels “apartheid” wall, continues to do demonstrations, and continues to call for non-violent resistance. Yet, Israel continues to steal more Palestinian land, kill and imprison more Palestinians in the West Bank, and continues to build the Apartheid wall which was ruled illegal by the international court and had parts of it ruled illegal by the Israeli High Court.

    Even with Hamas calling for an end to suicide bombing:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/apr/09/israel

    Agreeing to a full peace with Israel based on the 67 borders:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035414.html

    and removing their call for the destruction of Israel (a call that was not reciprocated by the Likud party in Israel vis a vis Palestine)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jan/12/israel

    Israel still persists in using massive violence against a virtually defenseless population. Non-violence has never worked for the Palestinians, but violent actions like capturing soldiers of war like Gilad Shalit have actually produced results for the Palestinians.

    Anyway, back on topic, thanks for the post!

      1. Thanks for creating the topic.

        I always felt like something was wrong, when people responsible for the deaths of millions like Madaleine Albright, Henry Kissinger, and Dick Cheney take time out of their lives to pay homage to the Dalai Lama.

  7. Jesse, it is always a shame and frequently a tactic of neo-conservatives to charge people who write articles against them with accusations they have satisfied or do not need to satisfy. I read Damon’s article once and caught clearly the reference to the wars being a failure.

    I understand when you read something you don’t like the cortisol goes through the roof and you can no longer hear what the other person is saying. This is a consequence of internecine marital arguing that ends in divorce. But that’s a private matter.

    The other omission of active listening which qunfuz pointed out is the topic is the Dalai Lama, no more no less. It offends me when perfectly liberal voices who point out the great hypocrisy of leaders are booed by those same leaders’ bootlicks for charges that will not obtain by the testimony of the very accused. Oh, I know why you veered off into Tibetan culture–another tactic of hawks and pundits: change the debate to comfortable and defensible ground when your own ground is captured. Abortion? Let’s define a human, not argue women’s rights to sanctity of body. God? Let’s highlight the many believers and not contemplate the impossibility of proving either way in this life (or while we live). The lack of intellectual integrity is a grave danger for resolving debates of importance that relate to equality and freedom.

    When the blood rushes in your ears, have a chamomile tea!

  8. DL is working an agenda, you get what you (CIA)paid for.
    his annoying laughter and smile to evade all impertinent questions is nauseating. I say feel your anger, its an emotion just like love & kindness.
    Gotta feel it to get thru it.

  9. Oh where to begin in addressing yet another mash-up of poorly analysed history, cultural ignorance, and one more guy using one more struggle to bolster his own narrow and Euro-centric perspective of how the world works.

    Should we start with the mention of GWB as DL’s “friend,” sans mention of many, many other individuals cited as DL’s “friends?” Nelson Mandela might come to mind here.

    Shall we continue with the carefully chosen image of Bush and DL? Such a perfect depiction of cronyism, certainly the current propaganda machine of the Peoples’ Republic of China could not have done a better job.

    Or how about the startlingly original condemnation of a 16-year old ‘ “living richly in the 1000-room, 14-story Potala Palace” while most of his country men [sic] were destined to serfdom.’ FYI, that’s the age of DL when he, the Tibetan government and 100,000 of his countrymen AND women went into exile.

    And then there’s the astoundingly egregious parroting of China’s party line; that China is only claiming what had been historically been theirs. Might it be possible that DL’s efforts to “undermine the Maoist revolution,” actions supported by the vast majority of his countrymen and women, was and is, in fact, a struggle to maintain Tibetan sovereignty in the face of global apathy?

    To put it in the lingua franca of this site, DL was and is engaged in a struggle for national liberation. Through ignorance, this writer has managed to position himself as a supporter of and mouthpiece for a regime that is colonialist and imperialist, not to mention deeply racist.

    Do a little research here, try sources written by those who have thus far lost the battle. Certainly such an erudite leftist does not need to be reminded that “history is written by those who win and those who dominate.” That’s Edward Said, BTW, a noted advocate for Palestinian rights.

    As to the automatic condemnation of DL because he’s been photographed “standing next to far-right reactionaries like Jesse Helms, George Bush Senior and Junior or John McCain…”

    The anarchist colleague who forwarded this post doesn’t seem to have problems with the alliance between his hero, Hugo Chavez and the anti-women, fundamentalist and revisionist President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, nor that charming event’s accompanying photos. No doubt the author of this post can juggle such contradictions in his sleep, while simultaneously dreaming up simple-minded, misspelled, badly written diatribes like this one.

    Now that’s a good definition of an absurdity.

    1. Thing is, I was photographed standing beside Richard Nixon, in New Hampshire, during the 1967 presidential campaign. What was not photographed, was that 16 yr. old Eugene McCarthy volunteer, the one who cut classes to work on an anti-war campaign, slapping a large anti-war sticker on the door as she exited.

      A single image or moment is never the whole story; we all do what we can, when and where we can.

      Most of the Left’s writing about DL is characterised by an inability to distinguish spirituality from religion, and by historical amnesia.

      The Left had a long-standing alliance with the faith community until the 1926 Scopes trial. The ridicule they subjected their faith-based colleagues to shattered an important relationship. All progressive forces were weakened by those actions, which, in the end have done little more than provide ground and fertilizer for the growth of fundamentalism.

      The split also mirrors and promotes a general cultural ascendancy of Science over Faith… really, one that of one unproven doctrine over another… that can be traced back to the Renaissance. Although a much-needed response to the Church, over time the dynamic has played out as Masculine vs. Feminine, Man vs. Nature, Intellect over Intuition, etc. To eliminate desire for meaning via the denigration of spiritual matters, ignores a core component of human endeavour, and fractures our connection to environment. As our planet can attest, no one benefits,

      And as to the “cult of personality surrounding“ DL in the West, yeah, it’s a problem, but surely speaks most directly to our own sorry cult of celebrity. Like Marxism, Buddhism incorporates the indigenous form of whatever culture is comes in contact with. In Tibet it blended with pre-existing shamanistic traditions; over time, Mao very much became the Emperor he replaced, Stalin, the Tzar, etc. American democracy looks more and more monarchial/imperial in both trappings and policy. Its even had its own Mad King George. In North America, Buddhist magazines depend primarily on advertising revenues for survival; hence their pages are filled with ads for the better cushion, prayer beads, spa-like retreat centres. This is the initial face of Buddhism in a material, merchants’ culture, and is thus far our most prominent response to a tradition that sends practitioners out to sit on a rock with environment as only companion.

      But, more to the point, please explore the biases brought to these and other questions.

      In noting that DL recently met with some American Jewry (“Dalai Lama visits sukkah, says he has a lot to learn from Jews,“) you leap to the rather spectacular conclusion that he is “toeing the Zionist line.“ Truly, it’s mostly the author grasping at whatever is at hand to support a particular perspective on the Middle East. Were veracity and clarity rather than opinion the essay’s raison d’etre, there would be more than passing mention of DL’s very specific question… how does a people maintain core values in the face of diaspora?… as well as acknowledgment that this exchange, on-going for nearly two decades, is between DL, rabbis and other teachers of Jewish spirituality, ie, not Jewish Religion

      What is typed as “platitudinous moralising“ is no more nor less than DL’s words to his country men and women in the face of brutal oppression, cultural and other forms of genocide. Approach one’s foe with compassion; find common ground. The need for clean air, clean water, wholesome food, and adequate shelter is something we share with everything from microbe to mammal; it is far greater than our apparent differences. As a mother, I have found common ground with an international roster of women of all classes, ethnicities and polities. It’s kind of a no-brainer, and often effortless.

      In the end, it seems one standard is applied to those deemed ”Enemy“ and another to those called ”Ally.“ In a time of great global peril, ask: who benefits from conflict among those who should be allies?

      How much more time, effort, resources can or should be spent debating how many Engels can dance on the head of a pin?

  10. Linda, You’ve misrepresented (or haven’t properly read my post). The DL’s ‘platitudinous moralising’ was directed at a Palestinian audience, not, as you claim, to ‘his countrymen/women’. Nor do you seem to have the faintest grasp of what is (and has been for over 60 years) going on on the ground in Palestine: there can be no ‘common ground’ when the land is literally being pulled from under the feet of the Palestinian people as we speak. To talk of seeking common ground in the face of a brutal Israeli colonization drive betrays the most incredible ignorance of the process underway in Palestine. We need clarity here, not new age bullshit.

  11. Yes, a little more clarity and a little less bullshit would be a good thing for all of us.

    Perhaps begin by apologising to your readers for promoting the simplistic idea that standing next to someone in a photograph somehow equates with supporting that person’s political or other point of view. Anyone working in media should know better.

    The Palestinian post was neither misrepresentative nor improperly read, only understood from other perspectives. On my planet such things are possible. Pity they aren’t on yours.

    The history of Palestine is no more nor less than the history of the human species, what we do and have done to one another for millennia. The motivations don’t change, only the weaponry does. We do it as individuals, as tribes, as nations. Will more of the same change what needs changing? Unlikely.

    From this perspective, I fail to grasp why the Palestinian situation is unique, so will accept that this is your particular hot button.

    But thank you for your efforts, which so clearly demonstrate our cultural tendency to focus on what is divisive rather than what unifies, what limits our ability to find common ground and common good.

    Meanwhile, there is dinner to make.

  12. Oh, I see, Palestine (and every other outrage, including Tibet, festering away as I type) is just “the history of the human species, what we do and have done to one another for millenia.” That’s alright then. That should comfort the Palestinians who are getting screwed by the Israelis as well as the Tibetans who are getting screwed by the Chinese. Consistency, Linda, also demands that when and if you and yours ever get screwed, you’ll also be comforted by the fact that it’s all down to “history” OK?

  13. Uncertain how placing Palestinian conflict within broad historical context translates as apathy, but wonderful we agree that it is one tragedy among the many that mark our species’ history.

    It would have been nice to arrive at this shared understanding with, as a previous commentator suggested, more chamomile and less vitriol.

  14. Linda, is this what an excess of chamomile does to the brain? Palestine and Tibet are not Hurricane Katrina-like ‘tragedies’, they’re colonies – crying out for some kind of de-colonization process. If you’d put down your cup of chamomile tea long enough to educate yourself on the vitriolic, gritty details, instead of blathering on with inane, throwaway lines such as ‘the history of Palestine is the history of the human species’, you might eventually have something useful to say on the subject. Oh, and when was the last time you did something practical, such as protest your government’s $3 billion plus annual subsidy for Israel’s brutal colonization drive in Palestine?

  15. Yes, again we again are in agreement: Palestine and Tibet are colonies, “crying out for some kind of de-colonisation process.”

    But the attacks ad feminam? How quickly you arrive at that well-known position of last resort.

    As earlier written, the reference to chamomile tea was a reiteration of another commentator’s suggestion; I prefer oolong.

    And as I am neither a US citizen nor resident… a reasonable, if OBVIOUS conclusion given an earlier mention of involvement in a single American presidential campaign… you may understand why I was startled to read of my “…government’s $3 billion plus annual subsidy” to Israel. Perhaps you can understand why protest against that is neither “practical” use of my time, nor terribly high on the agenda.

    It seems we can conclude the following; your assumptions about who you’re communicating with are inaccurate, and you’re dead wrong in stating image equates reality. Maybe worth asking what other aspects of of your analysis is flawed?

    No need to respond, unless you really do need to be yet another guy intent on having the last word.

  16. The article stated that the Dalai Lama insisted that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might turn out to be “good wars” like those in WW2 etc.

    This is despite the fact that many around the world were quite positive about the simple fact that these wars were in fact illegal and propped up on false charges.

    In any case its not that people have a serious issue with the Dalai Lama as a person, but rather with how he is used by many in the West to make it seem as though violent resistance to horrible injustices is somehow immoral.

  17. Word, thanks for re-focusing this exchange.

    In researching DL’s statements on Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., found different writers/publications emphasised or interpreted the same quote to support whatever POV they ascribed to. There was scant impartial or rigorous analysis from Left, Right, Buddhist, Christian, etc.

    Have attempted to convey only that we all need to acknowledge and examine our own particular slant when analysing, and before commenting on others’ world view.

    Think we also need to acknowledge that two, very different cultural perspectives are interacting, and a mutual basis of understanding is not a given.

    A hopefully simple example : in the West we say,”ignorance is bliss,” while Buddhist tradition states “Ignorance is suffering.” These two contradictory statements are actually somewhat similar, yet the former is an observation about a specific dynamic or event, the latter is a core cultural value. What Eastern peoples hear in the brief phrase rests on millennia of certain philosophies, a ground we, in and of the West, do not share.

    There is a well-known Buddhist parable, (also Hindu, Jain and Sufi Islamic) ; this is wiki’s version:

    ‘ “The Buddha… tells the story of a king who had six blind men gathered together to examine an elephant.

    “When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant, the king went to each of them and said to each: ‘Well, blind men, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant

    The six blind men assert the elephant is either like a pot (the blind man who felt the elephants’ head), wicker basket (ear), ploughshare (tusk), plough (trunk), granary (body), pillar (foot), mortar (back), pestle (tail) or brush (tip of the tail).

    The men cannot agree with one another and come to blows over the question of what an elephant really is like…

    The Buddha ends the story… and compares the six blind men to preachers and scholars who are blind and ignorant and hold to their own views: “Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing…. In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus.” ‘

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

  18. Linda, seems like wanting the last word might also be a ‘girl’ thing. Applying your elephant story, which enshrines only a general truth, to the crime of rape, for example, would result in the rapist’s version (‘She led me on’ or ‘She was asking for it’ or ‘The Devil made me do it’) being on an equal footing with that of the victim’s, something no one with any moral sense could possibly do. The same applies to collective crimes such as ethnic cleansing, colonization, and occupation. There is an objective reality out there: ethnic cleansers are not just as right (or wrong) as their victims, colonizers are not on a par with the colonised, and the views of occupiers with their boots on the necks of the occupied aren’t as valid as those of their victims.

    1. Notice how nobody here has any real criticism of the article. Its all “HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE THE DALAI LAMA!”

      No one in this article is saying that the Tibetan struggle is wrong, what is being said is that the DL has had some very hypocritical positions over the years. Somehow, that drives people crazy, as if their great leader was insulted.

      The Dalai Lama is a human being and a politician just like any other, he shouldn’t be put on a pedestal, that’s all this article is saying yet people are throwing some serious temper tantrums.

  19. A poorly written, culturally and historically ignorant article. I have no aversion to your views just to the way they have been presented.

    I spent time with the Tibetan community in India and never have I seen a man who has done so much for people from such a young age. He has been a political and spiritual leader for people who have suffered the worst forms of abuse.

    Coming from a buddhist perspective, his words are always measured to say the least. He is a world leader so there should be no fault in his associating with unscrupulous leaders, especially if he does it to further the plight of his people.

    Shame this is the first article I have read on Pulse.

  20. A few points:

    – you are clearly attempting to paint the Dalai Lama as politically aligned with G W Bush, by saying that he’s his ‘friend’. Yes, the Dalai Lama met with him cordially. What would you argue that he do? Refuse to meet with arguably the most powerful man in the world? The leader of the world’s most powerful democracy? He met with him, I have no doubt, because he saw that having a good relationship with such a man, and having an opportunity to have dialogue with him, could be immensely beneficial, particularly to the cause of Tibet. The Dalai Lama could easily have decided to opt out of the role that was given to him to be the representative of 6 million Tibetans. But he hasn’t. In fact, he has used his position to try his best to benefit those 6 million Tibetans. The main reason he has such a high profile is that through his behaviour and example, he has enormous moral authority. If not for this, he would not have the profile he has, and therefore would not be the target of critics such as yourself, who for whatever reason, attempt to paint him in a bad light.

    – the Dalai Lama said he ‘loves’ G W Bush. And undoubtedly he would call him a friend. Whether or not you believe the Dalai Lama is a holy man, one would expect a holy man to love all, even those who engage in harmful actions, or are disliked by many. So to criticise him for loving another is rather odd. And just because he calls him a friend it does not mean that he supports all of his political policies. It ought to go without saying, but just because you call someone a friend, it does not mean that you support all they may do or say. So your attempt to criticise by saying that he’s a friend of G W Bush, is quite clearly lacking logic.

    – the Dalai Lama has carefully chosen his words – he’s basically said that it’s too early to tell whether the wars in question, overall and ultimately will result in more harm than good. This I think shows that the Dalai Lama is pragmatist. He has consistently said that, in certain circumstances, forceful action may be appropriate. My view on it is that, he wants to use his position to be of as much benefit as possible to the cause of Tibetan freedom. Having America as an ally in his struggle to influence China to give cease its oppression of Tibetans is crucially important. Therefore, he needs a good relationship with America, who are the one country in the world who can have most influence on China, and who are prepared to speak out against Chinese human rights abuses. Therefore, I think the Dalai Lama is sticking to what is a true statement about these wars, but not getting off-side with America. All things considered, I think this is a wise course of action. It is easy to criticise, especially when you can’t see all aspects of a situation.

    – the Dalai Lama fled Tibet when he was still very young. He became the leader of Tibet when he was in his teens. He can hardly be held responsible for any unjust practices of the Tibetan government at that time. However, even in his tender years, he had begun to implement reforms. However, I do not accept that Tibet was somehow ruled by oppressive lamas in the past – I beleive this to be a lie by the Chinese propaganda machine.

    – I also believe that attempts to smear the Dalai Lama with the allegations relating to the CIA are without foundation. However, if you can point to any authoritative sources for these smears, please do so.

    – I can certainly say that the Dalai Lama would not have objected to the extradition of Pinochet. Again, if you have any actual evidence for that, it would be interesting if you could point to it.

  21. Shocking but true , to think a few years back a followed this man and thought he was the face of Buddhism , until my eyes opened and I saw he was not interested in teaching westerners true Buddhism , only interested in our resources , no wonder he could not get in to South – Africa 2 years back , it is his Karma!

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