The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'dalai lama'
At 14 months, Osel Hita Torres was chosen by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of a recently departed lama, and became Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche. He spent most of his life in the Tibetan exile city of Dharamsala, isolated from corrupting influences and venerated as a living god. But then he escaped, turning his back on the holy life. He is now studying film in Madrid and has denounced the Buddhist order which elevated him to guru status:
Yesterday he bemoaned the misery of a youth deprived of television, football and girls. Movies were also forbidden – except for a sanctioned screening of The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy, about a kidnapped child lama with magical powers. "I never felt like that boy," he said.
At six, he was allowed to socialise only with other reincarnated souls – though for a time he said he lived next to the actor Richard Gere's cabin.
By 18, he had never seen couples kiss. His first disco experience was a shock. "I was amazed to watch everyone dance. What were all those people doing, bouncing, stuck to one another, enclosed in a box full of smoke?"The article is short on detail about why his parents handed their infant son over to the Dalai Lama and his monks; were they just the usual bovine hippies with heads full of mystical mush, or did the Dalai Lama cult compensate them monetarily for their contribution? In any case, it sounds like child abuse to me.
Another dispatch from the escalating shadow-boxing match between China and the Dalai Lama:
Then, in January, in a religious address delivered in India, the exiled Dalai Lama called on Tibetans to stop wearing wildlife skins, to save animals from extinction.
The results were dramatic: from Lhasa to Gansu, Tibetans gathered for public fur burnings.
Confronted with this evidence of his continuing influence, the Government accused the Dalai Lama of promoting "social disorder" and responded, bizarrely, with a pro-fur campaign in which TV presenters were ordered to wear fur on air.
Whilst the West hunts for Osama bin Laden, China is intensifying its war against its own equivalent thereof: the Chinese government has pledged a "fight to the death" with the Dalai Lama, its arch-nemesis best known in the West for peddling new-ageisms to Hollywood celebrities:
China's new top official in Tibet has embarked on a fierce campaign to crush loyalty to the exiled Dalai Lama and to extinguish religious beliefs among government officials.
Ethnic Tibetan civil servants of all ranks, from the lowliest of government employees to senior officials, have been banned from attending any religious ceremony or from entering a temple or monastery. Previously only party members were required to be atheist, but many of them quietly retained their Buddhist beliefs. Patriotic education campaigns in the monasteries that have been in the vanguard of anti-Chinese protests have been expanded.
Ethnic Tibetan officials in Lhasa as well as in surrounding rural counties have been required to write criticisms of the Dalai Lama. Senior civil servants must produce 10,000-word essays while those in junior posts need only write 5,000-character condemnations. Even retired officials are not exempt.Elsewhere, China is also cracking down on web video, requiring video (such as that posted on sites like YouTube) to be approved by the government beforehand. This measure was prompted by a number of films which satirised official history.
(Incidentally, China isn't the only country requiring all online video to be approved by censors. In Australia, this is the case too. As far as I know, the government there is not yet cracking down on short films promoting seditious black-armband historical narratives or taking the piss out of For The Term Of His Natural Life or We Of The Never Never.)
(via Boing Boing)
The Dalai Lama: cuddly, celebrity-endorsed embodiment of Peace'n'Love and self-help and feeling good about yourself and universal acceptance, or bigoted reactionary snake-oil peddler, whose mediæval views are modulated by a hypocritical pandering to gullible, moneyed westerners?
In reality, Tibetan Buddhism is not a values-free system oriented around smiles and a warm heart. It is a religion with tough ethical underpinnings that sometimes get lost in translation. For example, the Dalai Lama explicitly condemns homosexuality, as well as all oral and anal sex. His stand is close to that of Pope John Paul II, something his Western followers find embarrassing and prefer to ignore. His American publisher even asked him to remove the injunctions against homosexuality from his book, "Ethics for the New Millennium," for fear they would offend American readers, and the Dalai Lama acquiesced.
I remember a public talk he gave at his headquarters in Dharamsala in northern India in 1990, after conflict between Tibetans and Indians there. He spoke in Tibetan, and his delivery was stern and admonitory, like a forbidding, old-fashioned father reprimanding his children. The crowd listened respectfully, and went away chastened.
All this reminds me of claims about various parties in the Middle East (on both sides) saying one thing in English for the benefit of gullible western liberals and another, considerably more warlike, thing in their people's own language. The moral of the story: the dumb Yanqui (and that includes Americans, Britons, Australians, Canadians and such) are mugs to be played as such.
But yes, back to the subject at hand. I once got a book "by" the Dalai Lama as a present from a new-age relative. Little surprise that it consisted of the most vapidly insipid pabulum, a lowest-common-denominator collection of self-help aphorisms with the Dalai Lama brand slapped on it. It's highly unlikely that its wisdom came from any tradition older then 1960s California. The Dalai Lama appears to have become the leading brand of guilt-assuagement for affluent Westerners whose TV doesn't quite drown out the awareness that they're living high off the hog amidst massive injustice and thus need to be reassured that they're good people and their positive thoughts cancel out any contribution their lifestyle makes to global suffering. Either that or he's just an incredibly successful conman. Or both.
And here's an article on rampant brutality in feudal Tibet; not quite the happy valley of bliss Richard Gere would have you believe. Mind you, it seems a bit pro-Chinese in places. And here's Hitchens' opinion on the Dalai Lama. (via MeFi)