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Buddhism in the News


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dalai Lama Interview in The Progressive Magazine

There is a great interview with HH the Dalai Lama in the latest issue of, The progressive.

I have decided to post a few of the highlights in this post:

On countering terrorism:

We can not blame the entire Muslim society because of the mischievious acts of a few individuals. Therefore, at the general public level we must cultivate the notion of not just one religion, one truth, but pluralism and many truths.


Then, second, there should be a spirit of dialogue. Whenever we see any disagreements, we must think how to solve them on the basis of recognition of oneness of the entire humanity. This is the modern reality. When a certain community is destroyed, in reality it destroys a part of all of us. So there should be a clear recognition that the entire humanity should be considered as a family conflict. We must find a solution within this atmosphere.

It's not easy. If we tackle these problems the wrong way, then while today there is one bid laden, after a few years there will be ten bin ladens. And it is possible that after a few years, there will be 100 bin ladens.

On the male dominated history of Buddhism:

The important thing is that now, for the past thirty years, we have worked to change that. Many nuns are very sincere, but they have had no chance to ascend to the highest ordination level. This has made me somewhat uncomfortable, especially since the Buddha gave equal opportunities to women. But we, even as followers of Buddha, neglected the quality of religious studies in nunneries. For the past forty years, ever since we've been in India, nunneries have developed better. Then, we introduced the same levels of studies for both males and females. Now it is possible for both men and women to get doctorates in Buddhist studies.

The role he would play in a new Tibet:

My own role? Nothing. Zero. As early as 1969, I made an official statement that the very institution of the Dalai Lama, whether it should continue or not, is up to the people. Second, in 1992, I made clear that when the day of our return -- with a certain degree of freedom -- comes, I'll hand over my political authority to the local Tibetan government. Hopefully, that government should be a democratic, elected government. And even while we have remained outside Tibet -- for the last forty-six years -- we have undertaken strong efforts at democratization. In the last four years, we have established an elected political leadership. Since then, I have been in a position of semi-retirement. Once the day of our return comes, I will go into complete retirement. There will be no political role for the Dalai Lama. This will be true not only for me but for any future Dalai Lama.

Thoughts on mortality after turning 70 in July:

At a personal level, as a Buddhist practitioner, I deliberately visualize and think about death in my daily practice. Death is not separated from out lives. Due to my research and thoughts about death, I have some guarantee and some conviction that it will be a positive experience.


Don't you just love that smile on HH?

-Peace to all beings-

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Beth said...

thanks james for sharing this. i like his spirit so much. i keep trying to be mindful of death in my daily practice, but my mind just has a tricky way of censoring it out. i do see how it can really enhance one's life to have an awareness of our fleeting existence.

"James" said...

Kim: I am happy that you found something of benefit in this story as I have.

Yeah, we must just keep meditating upon the empty nature of death I think. Keep up the practice!

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