Monday, March 24, 2008

A simple Buddhist monk

The New Yorker has an article on the Dalai Lama. It seems uncertain at first, ready to attack.
For someone who claims to be “a simple Buddhist monk,” the Dalai Lama has a large carbon footprint and often seems as ubiquitous as Britney Spears.
But it never does. How could you?
The Tibetan leader cast doubt on his divine ancestry, pointing to his premature endorsement of the founder of the Aum Shinrikyo group, which released sarin gas in Tokyo subways, as an indication that he is not a “living Buddha.” The most famous Buddhist in the world, he advises his Western followers not to embrace Buddhism. He seeks out famous scientists with geekish zeal, asserting that certain Buddhist scriptures disproved by modern science should be abandoned.
Though so difficult to picture as “a simple Buddhist monk,” it seems more that his mistakes are magnified by his fame and authority.

I hope his view on non-violent pursuit of Tibetan autonomy (short of independence, so as not to provoke China more than necessary) is not a mistake. Buddhism does not embrace pacifism, and the Dalai Lama is no pacifist. So I hope he knows what he's doing.

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