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Post 5: The Fine Print of The Dalai Lama's Subversive Marketing

I can still recall the moment in my childhood when my feeling about Eastern "wisdom traditions" turned from a combination of respect and mild unease to sheer outrage at the preposterousness of the whole edifice:

I walked out of my building in New York, and saw, across the street from my house, the theater at which Tenzin Gyatso, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, sometimes holds speeches and retreats (how much of Buddhism's appeal is given away with that oft-employed word). In bright lights on the marquis, I saw an advertisement for tickets to be taught lessons by "His Holiness The Dalai Lama." Emphasis mine.

His Holiness!

I have never understood the motivation of vandals, but I recall registering a panging desire to spray paint "[Sic!]", right onto that absurd expression.

The sheer inspiration for sarcasm is overwhelming: Of course, the man himself would never have himself so titled. It is simply the deference of his rightfully impressed pupils and contemporaries. How could I not know that he is a humble man? The very first line of his biography on his website brags that he describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk!

Jesus was humble too. All he wanted was to help people and to save our souls and to claim to be the son of god.

I know that any comparison between the wise and enlightened "wisdom traditions" and the dogmatic Western Monotheisms will be written off as a lack of depth of understanding. After all, Buddhism is not a religion, right?

"Naturally I feel myself as more of a religious person."

"His Holiness" The Dalai Lama wrote that.

But, say my critics, arguments against The Dalai Lama do not constitute knockdown evidence against the (ill-defined) evolutionary leaps in enlightenment for which Buddhism is responsible. For...

 

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