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7/15/09

Who Is The Real Dalai Lama?

The author's father traveled to India to meet the Dalai Lama after the monk and his followers fled Tibet after the Chinese invasion. His father returned with a photograph of the Dalai Lama, a gift to the boy. The boy grew into a man and when young the man got to know the Dalai Lama and has had conversations and meetings with him since then. His is more than just a passing acquaintance with the Tibetan leader.

"In truth, the Dalai Lama is a hyper-realist, who constantly enjoins people not to hope or wait or pray for a miracle to come, but to look at reality closely, unblinkingly, as through a scientist’s microscope, and then see what can be done with it. His favourite adjectives, as you may notice when you listen to him speak, are “logical”, “realistic” and “practical”; and his own life, being enthroned at the age of four, receiving envoys from Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the age of seven and facing a monastic civil war in Lhasa when he was 11, has never allowed him to traffic in abstractions or to sit above the clouds. The fiercest I have ever seen him came once when, 20 years ago, I carelessly referred to him as a “Living Buddha” and a “god-king” in an article I wrote. The whole point of Buddha’s teaching, and therefore of his own, he reminded me next time I saw him, was that all of us are humans, trying our hardest to awaken the potential we have within us, while acknowledging that all of us are mortal, flawed and always works-in-progress. “Lord Buddha I really consider to be a scientist,” he said last year in Japan, invoking once more his empirical, scientist’s contention that every word of the Buddha’s, let alone the Dalai Lama’s, should be thrown out if it were shown to be faulty by new research. If there is any blind faith involved in this contest between a spiritual and a material view of the world, it is on the side of the latter." More

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