The Dalai Lama likes President Bush

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The cause of "Tibet" appears, at first glance, to be one of those fashionable causes that celebrities love to embrace. Anything endorsed by Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, and the Beastie Boys is suspicious, don't you think?

Yet Tibet the nation, as opposed to Tibet the cause, has a very legitimate grievance against the Chinese government that has attempted to absorb it. China has murdered several hundred thousand Tibetans during their obscene occupation, and driven a similarly large number into exile. Now they are encouraging Han Chinese immigration into their restive "territory," and ethnic Tibetans will soon be a minority in their own ancestral lands.

The one bright spot for Tibet is its spiritual and would-be temporal leader, the Dalai Lama. Normally, one may safely assume that any Eastern spiritual leader known to Westerners is a charlatan, more interested in selling books and conducting seminars than achieving inner peace. A sure mark of the religious dilettante is the remark, "I'm interested in Eastern spirituality."

Real Eastern spirituality, as opposed to the denatured, consumerist version, has some rough edges to it. For one thing, the various moral codes differ, but they generally agree that giving into one's sexual passions is not the way to achieve happiness. Many strains of Buddhism place a very low priority on any bodily activity; celibacy is widely practiced and considered a highly desirable state for advancing in the life of the soul.

All of these points are raised in this account of an interview with the Dalai Lama. He takes a dim view of homosexuality, which might surprise his lefty fans. Not to mention his chummy behavior with their Black Beast:

Although he appeared not to approve of the war in Iraq, he was admiring of [President] Bush.

"He is very straightforward," said the monk.

"On our first visit, I was faced with a large plate of biscuits. President Bush immediately offered me his favourites, and after that, we got on fine. On my next visit, he didn't mind when I was blunt about the war.

"By my third visit, I was ushering him into the Oval Office. I was astonished by his grasp of Buddhism."

This passage could have come from Popes Benedict or John Paul:
"It is fascinating. In the West, you have bigger homes, yet smaller families; you have endless conveniences -- yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don't bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours," he said.

"I don't think people have become more selfish, but their lives have become easier and that has spoilt them. They have less resilience, they expect more, they constantly compare themselves to others and they have too much choice -- which brings no real freedom."

I read another article where he condemns syncretism, and gently chides Westerners for trying to combine elements of Buddhism, Christianity, and bits and pieces of other religions and spiritual practices. He doesn't think that's healthy, and usually recommends that people work from within their tradition unless they have a true conversion of the heart.

The late Holy Father attempted to reach out to leaders of other religions, including the Dalai Lama. Over the years, self-styled defenders of the faith have criticized him for this. But isn't this a man we should be working with? Sure, make it politely clear that we are not compromising our faith in the One, True God, but we as Catholics should work with any man of good will.

Read the whole article. It isn't very long.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric Johnson published on April 12, 2006 11:59 PM.

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