Attacks on the Dalai Lama are Cheap and Shallow
The normally esteemed New Statesman had a shockingly hateful article about the Dalai Lama’s coming retirement:
News that the Dalai Lama may retire in the next year is to be welcomed by all those sick of the cant, flattery and new age-type nonsense that have long surrounded this former guest editor of French Vogue magazine - however much his followers, such as the distinguished thespians Steven Seagal and Richard Gere, or his friends in the CIA might vouch for him.
It’s not that the cause of Tibet does not deserve international sympathy and attention. But it would be served far better by a purely political leadership, not one whose “mystical” aura allows for next to no examination or criticism about its aims and its strategies. I’ve posted before asking why it is that we think the current Dalai Lama is a living saint.
For a longer look at “His Material Highness”, who due to the “blissful, thoughtless exceptionalism” with which the West regards Buddhism, “combined with a Hollywood cult that almost exceeds the power of Scientology… fused with weightless Maharishi and Bhagwan-type babble” is thought of as “a saintly god-king” exiled from “an idealised Tibet”, I heartily recommend this article from Salon by Christopher Hitchens. “Far from his Holier-than-all image, the Dalai Lama supports such questionable causes as India’s nuclear testing, sex with prostitutes and accepting donations from a Japanese terrorist cult,” begins the introduction.
Read it and see if you don’t agree with me that it’s time to say good bye and good riddance to this worldly prelate. As for his retirement: there’s one show I’m sure he’d always be welcome on (just think of the fee he could command). As Nigel Havers exits, who’s next for the jungle? Welcome, the Dalai Lama, to “I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here!”.
The Dalai Lama has been trying to free his people in the role most appropriate for a religious leader. The attacks that Sholto Byrnes launches on the Dalai Lama literally seem like throwing shit at the wall (please excuse the expression) to see what sticks.
Most fair documentaries about the Dalai Lama, such as the esteemed 10 Questions For The Dalai Lama, will show that the Dalai Lama is fairly humble. He avoids lavish parades and does not walk around with the pomp and circumstance of a pope or president. The “saintly god-king” from an “idealized Tibet” is something put on him by Western liberals, not by himself. The “noble savage” mentality on the Left is fairly strong and, after the Dalai Lama has left, will be directed at a new saint of the “developing” world.
As for the other attacks, such as supporting India’s nuclear program, this attack is made even more bizarre by Byrnes recommending Christopher Hitchens (who has described, and rightfully so, India as “our most important ally”) later in such a brief article. From a geopolitical standpoint, India’s nuclear enrichment made perfect sense, unless one is comfortable with the whole of Asia being dominated by China and Pakistan.
As for the “sex with prostitutes,” I found there was a substantial level of wisdom in these words by the Dalai Lama on sex:
The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader, on Friday said sex spelt fleeting satisfaction and trouble later, while chastity offered a better life and “more freedom.”
“Sexual pressure, sexual desire, actually I think is short period satisfaction and often, that leads to more complication,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in a Lagos hotel, speaking in English without a translator.
He said conjugal life caused “too much ups and downs.
“Naturally as a human being … some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence to make comprehension that those couples always full of trouble. And in some cases there is suicide, murder cases,” the Dalai Lama said.
He said the “consolation” in celibacy is that although “we miss something, but at the same time, compare whole life, it’s better, more independence, more freedom.”
Considered a Buddhist Master exempt from the religion’s wheel of death and reincarnation, the Dalai Lama waxed eloquent on the Buddhist credo of non-attachment.
“Too much attachment towards your children, towards your partner,” was “one of the obstacle or hindrance of peace of mind,” he said.
For a less emotional and less belligerent take on the Dalai Lama, I recommend 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. Here is the trailer: