March 12, 2015

The Deeper Truth Behind the Dalai Lama’s Cheeky Response.

Dalai Lama

Would it sound arrogant of me if I were to say I know how the Dalai Lama feels?

Recently, the Chinese government has been bullying the Dalai Lama into reincarnating into the leader they want the Tibetan people to have after he dies.

And with a cheeky “all-knowingness,” the Dalai Lama told the Chinese government—and the world—that perhaps he won’t reincarnate at all.

Here’s what His Holiness told the BBC:

“The Dalai Lama institution will cease one day. These man-made institutions will cease. There is no guarantee that some stupid Dalai Lama won’t come next, who will disgrace himself or herself. That would be very sad. So, much better that a centuries-old tradition should cease at the time of a quite popular Dalai Lama.”

This is what the Dalai Lama and I have in common: I told my mom the same thing once.

I came home for a visit at 19 years old, after fleeing west on a spontaneous one-way flight the year before, with my non-Jewish boyfriend on my arm. When confronted about this situation by my mom my response was “I don’t care about continuing being Jewish.”

Of course, that was a mean thing to say to my mom. I was a mouthy, know-it-all type of kid. But I still believe in what I meant behind those cruel words.

I meant that I was interested in truth and not custom.

I meant I was interested in delving into my own spirituality which meant letting go of self and the sense of being an individual versus being identified with a certain religion.

And I hear this same meaning behind the Dalai Lama’s words.

Because what is true is that millions of people around the world will be extremely sad when we lose this wise man to death. He has brought a type of secular teaching of peace and harmony to the entire world that transcends religion and culture.

It’s clear that he cares about peace and not about drawing artificial lines between people, countries and traditions.

So, for the Dalai Lama to say that it doesn’t matter if there is another Dalai Lama? Well, this seems true to who he is and what he has brought into the world: peace without religion.

Does the Dalai Lama even have control over how he reincarnates? Maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t. He definitely knows better then us. But after all the cruelty the Chinese government has brought to his life and to the lives of the Tibetan people he guides can we blame him for giving a cheeky response to the Chinese government at their insistence that he reincarnate in China?

But behind the Dalai Lama’s cheeky response there is a greater truth: everything is unknown.

That letting go of outcome and being friends with uncertainty is all we can do.

That the power the Chinese government wants to have over the leader of the Tibetan people isn’t something that exists.

Can the Dalai Lama control what will happen to the people he leads after he dies? No, he can’t. Like all of us, he can only do his best while his two feet are still on this earth and know when he passes the world will continue turning.

But nothing will be the same because we will miss this great man terribly.

Luckily, the Dalai Lama is only 79 years old, and hopefully we have many more years to come to learn from his words, his teachings…and hopefully some more bold, cheeky comments.




The Dalai Lama said He should Be the Last One.



Author: Ruth Lera 

Editor: Renee Picard 

Image: kris krug at Flickr

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