Canwest News Service
The Dalai Lama’s followers believe him to be a living Buddha.
I think he’s the Second Coming of Yoda.
The physical resemblance is striking, and their voices are nearly identical. Both are given to responding to questions with ethereal, ponderable answers, such as yesterday’s response by the Dalai Lama about whether a peace movement existed in China: "In order to visualize creativity, there must be freedom."
Plus, like Yoda, beneath a humble exterior, the Dalai Lama is a bit of a badass.
Here’s a guy who travels the world incessantly making public appearances, and yet is the one person in the world whom China — an extremely well-armed and ruthless regime — would most like to see dead.
He’s accompanied by some lethal-looking bodyguards, but you have to admire a person who keeps putting himself out there despite the risk of assassination.
And though I mocked him in my column yesterday, I came away from the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit with a healthy respect for this funny little man who is revered by millions.
He’s humorous, and warm. He’s smart, and he’s pretty hard-core.
Thankfully, Peace Summit organizers didn’t bar me from entry yesterday in light of my Dalai-dissing column. Media had been corralled on to a landing outside the theatre doors to watch the event by video link. I exploited a weakness in the ushering system and helped myself to an empty front-row seat — when panelist and Nobel Prize-winning U.S. physicist Murray Gell-Mann advised "play with the rules, not by the rules," I made the sound of one hand clapping.
And I had a chance to closely scrutinize the world’s most famous monk, and listen to his message.
I have met too many Buddhists who focus solely on attaining inner tranquility, but the Dalai Lama is not about navel-gazing. Peace, he told the audience, does not mean doing nothing.
Truly, he has inspired many thousands of people to contribute their time and energy to try to free Tibet from China’s crushing fist. And here in B.C., he has inspired educators such as panelist and University of B.C. associate professor Kimberly Schonert-Reichl to work at bringing moral education into classrooms from the early grades.
The Tibetan rambles a bit, and I think he must struggle to put into English complicated ideas that can be understood in a spoken presentation. He asserts that the path to world peace rests on people’s willingness to respect others’ beliefs, and to co-operate. I wonder, though, how he reconciles that notion with his struggle for the liberation of Tibet against the Chinese government, a calculating entity immune to philosophical niceties.
I agree with him when he says the world needs more women in positions of power, not because I concur that women are innately more compassionate than men, but because they are much more likely to see communication, rather than violence, as a solution to conflict.
Still, I stand by my claim in yesterday’s column that no mortal should be worshipped as a god. Adoring crowds at the Peace Summit laughed and clapped at the Dalai Lama’s every move, a picture of blind adulation.
He shared the summit stage with people — including Bangladeshi anti-poverty crusader Fazle Hasan Abed and American anti-landmine activist Jody Williams — who are every bit as worthy.
I think the Dalai Lama would agree.
Funny little Tibetan man is pretty hard-core; Peace requires action, says world’s most famous
|Started 5 years ago by Canwest Global||(2 posts) (2 voices)|