Dalai Does Washington

by Ryan on October 17, 2007

in Culture,Politics

Emerging from his undisclosed location when no one is watching except those home-stricken few or college types just waking up, surfing down the channels on their way to Maury or Jerry, flipping around in between technical school commercials.  But, anyway.  Bush hit on a lot of good topics , each worthy of their own post: like the status of SCHIP, World War III and Iran, the obstructionist Dems on FISA, Comrade Commisar and (former) KGB apparatchik Putin, and the new Congressional Gold Medal recipient, the Dalai Lama.

On the Dalai Lama: I actually saw him give a two-hour speech at Rutgers a few years ago on a brisk Sunday morning in September.  The audience was quite eclectic:  ex-hippies, Rutgers kids working off their hangovers, Christianites looking to convert others in the audience, but mostly those like me who felt it was just a neat opportunity to see a world-renowned philosophical figure speaking in one’s own backyard.  His message had to be translated and we heard his monks sing some really bassy Eastern-flavored religious tunes, which was neat for me being such a music fan. 

What he had to say was that peace should always be preferred to war, the Middle Path is important for a fulfilling life, and respecting human dignity is key to world happiness.  Actually, it was not really revolutionary stuff and I didn’t feel any closer to Enlightenment, though it was a great morning.  In China, though, that message could get you killed, deported, or tortured, and is viewed as inflammatory political speech. 

The Dalai Lama and his immediate followers are centered in India and have been since being chased out of Tibet in 1959.  China has been furious about Bush and Congress embracing the Dalai Lama, but their threats and anger are just for show.  China has devolutionary pressures in Tibet, in the southern Canton region, and Taiwan.  Taiwan has been ruling independent of China since 1949, and we’ll see how long that’ll remain in tact.  Yet, the Cantonese language and culture in the South has been brutalized by Beijing, and Tibet’s fate has been much the same but more high-profile.  Thanks to the efforts of the Dalai Lama, attention is persistently being drawn to the dark side of China: the brutal repressive side that does not take the will of the people into account over the demands of the state.  It’s also the side we don’t like to think about as we trade with a country with over a billion consumers of American goods and services.

Pic from the Rag and the Bone Man blog.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

trm1 October 17, 2007 at 8:25 pm

I don’t know why but every time I see the Dalai I want to do a bong hit. I’m no stinkin hippy though…


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