The Dalai Lama. Help me understand it…

OK.  So the Dalai Lama is here in Seattle.  I’ve seen pictures of him, heard stories…etc  But that is about it.
This man has caused a lot of media churn lately so I thought I would read up on who this man is and what he represents.
So I did a Wikipedia.  It seemed to be informative, but I am not sure if it is correct or not.  Especially dealing with religious/political definitions…Wikipedia is dubious.  For one thing, it talks about the Dalai Lama being a "reincarnated" being.  Maybe my definition of "reincarnated" is different than what they are using.  To me "reincarnated" means the person is the same "inside" but different outside.  It would seem that "reincarnation" means something different to the followers of the Dalai Lama, because he (the Dalai Lama) said, "The Dalai Lama office was an institution created to benefit others. It is possible that it will soon have outlived its usefulness" 
So does this mean that he will simply stop reincarnating himself or is that process handled by someone else?  It was stated "These statements caused a furor amongst Tibetans in India. Many could not believe that such an option could even be considered. It was further felt that it was not the Dalai Lama’s decision to reincarnate. Rather, they felt that since the Dalai Lama is a national institution it was up to the people of Tibet to decide whether or not the Dalai Lama should reincarnate." 
That strikes me as either odd and remarkable.  The people of Tibet decide where or not the Dalai Lama should reincarnate?  To me, this would mean that the power to reincarnate is held collectively by the people of Tibet?  So if they decide one day "There is no need for a Dalai Lama" they convene and that’s it?  I’m looking for understanding and I only know one Buddhist, who may or may not follow his teachings.  I’ll ask–but I wanted to put this out there in the hopes that someone might enlighten me.

1 Comment

Filed under Politics

One response to “The Dalai Lama. Help me understand it…

  1. Dan

    Hey Rick!
    I\’m actually interested in this topic, both because of what\’s going on in Tibet and China (where I\’ll be spoending the summer at the Olympics for NBC) and because he visited Maui recently, where his impact was palatable and amazing.  He\’s both a spiritual and world leader… akin to the Pope but obviously quite different as well.
    Check out KUNDUN (1997) which, while \’just a movie\’ is at least an introduction (and a damn good movie) to the dalai lama.  Also check out
    All I can say from my (two degrees of separation) brush with him is that his teachings and his spirit are absolutely what the world needs more of right now.  I\’m looking forward to learning more about him as well.

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