Dalai Lama Relationships

Posted on May 27, 2014 by

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The fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet is a person who for the most part is likeable. How does he maintain good relationships with people? A reason for why he is successful at this is because he gets his message out to people from all over the spectrum. We see a large focus mainly on Westerners. Also, the Dalai Lama has seen some backlash from his Eastern Followers because they are wondering why he is out traveling the world instead of sitting in a temple. He has to be careful with his actions and be able to back them up so he does not lose any followers who could gain valuable lessons and knowledge from him. In my project, I will be going over his relationships with people; the good and the bad.

When dealing with relationships with Westerners, the Dalai Lama does what he can to make sure he is in good standing in the eyes of them. This year, the Dalai Lama participated in his first Tibetan New Year’s celebration in the western hemisphere. The event marked the first time since the Dalai Lama went into exile more than fifty years ago that he has celebrated Tibet’s most important spiritual holiday outside of India, which is where he lives. The Tibetan spiritual leader is currently on a speaking tour in the United States which has included meeting President Obama and also the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. When the Dalai Lama left his followers lined up next to the stage to leave a white scarf on the throne on which he had sat, a ritual that is meant to bring good luck to their spiritual leader in the year ahead. People that were there were so happy with his presence and when he left they had a sense of emptiness with hope that one day he will return. To obtain more followers, the media could have altered what they said to make him look like a better person. If the media shows someone who is well liked more people are going to want to follow because they get a sense that it is the right thing to do since the rest of the population is doing it.

It is important for a lot of people that he is here in the Western hemisphere spreading his message. Followers are very pleased with the visits thus far and are comparing these visits as being similar to Christians meeting Jesus. What the Dalai Lama always talks about is how to be happy; as an individual, in families, communities, and humanity at large. He believes that out of everyone alive today they have the right to be happy, which is hard because people tend to look for material comfort rather than looking at inner values. One reason the Dalai Lama is a figure to look at is because he talks about life stories and believes the way to solve problems is to be generous and have affection for others. Individual survival depends on cooperation; if we are filled with hate and distrust we cannot be successful in this idea.

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The short video and pictures portray the Dalai Lama to be a very laughable and fun person who is easy to get along with. This may be the case most of the time but there are some issues that the Dalai Lama does not find funny. For example the Dalai Lama has in the past called the acts of self-immolation “understandable,” but says he does not encourage them. He does not laugh and smile at everything. The media makes it seem like he does not take anything seriously and does not care about his religion or life back home in the east.

Even for those who do not believe or have any interest in religion the Dalai Lama is very excepting and he advocates the adoption of a secular approach to ethics, an approach on the Indian model that shows appreciation and impartial respect for all religions, but also for those who have none. The Dalai Lama said, “If you are open, honest, and truthful, you will be successful. In your own interest it is better to be able to help others than to neglect or harm them.”

The Dalai Lama for the most part has a favorable view from most people but he still does receive backlash. China for example is opposed to a visit by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Norway, saying if he really was a religious figure he should be “resting in a temple” not traveling the world. The Norwegian prime minister and the foreign minister have not accepted invitations to meet him. China’s foreign ministry which did condemned the visit, said it was opposed to any country giving a platform to the Dalai Lama’s views. Their views are consistent and give reasonable positions to think about. Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, “If the Dalai Lama is as he says, a simple religious person, he ought to be properly resting in the temple, and not travelling here and there, getting involved internationally in splitting China and damaging ethnic unity.” China calls the Dalai Lama a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who seeks to use violent methods to establish an independent Tibet.

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These arguments between Westerners’ feelings and Easterners’ feelings can be biased. The articles that are based in the United States make the Dalai Lama look like a peaceful figure with no hard feelings coming from anyone but as the case we see that is not true. Easterners throw out a valid point that if he was a religious figure he should be sitting in a temple. Both these are biased completely too each side. Westerners need to take a look at who they are listening to and not believe everything they hear. This is like an example we were shown in class where the fake spiritual figure Kumaré came to the United States. He gained this huge fan base and people would share with him personal things about their lives without technically knowing any history or background of him. They took one look at his appearance and chants and automatically believed everything he said. This is stereotype of what Westerners think spiritual leaders should look like. Westerners’ news media have more of an unbiased side when they are reporting on stories because they tend to have more accurate information on the stories they are cover. There is always some chance of misinformation because some facts are not shared openly throughout the world and are kept secret.

Articles from an Easterners’ perspective can tend to be more biased. If they are having a problem with someone they are going to try and throw that person “under the bus.” If they do not want people to follow what someone believes, they are not going to show that person in a positive light. This will cause people to not want to support them. These articles can be very biased because there is only the bad reported to everyone. If you look through the bias you can normally find some good. Reporting that should be neutral not bias leading to personal or political views which tend to be negative towards a person or subject.

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In conclusion, the Dalai Lama has had some backlash with people saying he is not a Buddhist and his actions are destroying Buddhism in this world. Some believe that to be true, while others believe he is a great influence on the West. He gives messages that help people who are religious and those who are not. It is very hard to find a religion in this day and age that accepts everyone for who they are and what they believe. For the Dalai Lama to get back on good terms with people in China accepting him going to Norway, I believe he needs to return to his homeland for a while and be in his temple to focus on new issues that need to be addressed.

Work Cited:
Gladstone, Rick. “Norway’s Leaders Snub Dalai Lama in Deference to China.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 May 2014. Web. 26 May 2014.
“China Warns Again Ahead of Dalai Lama’s Norway Trip.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 23 Apr. 2014. Web. 26 May 2014.
“Dalai Lama Celebrates Tibetan New Year in Twin Cities.” StarTribune.com: News, Weather, Sports from Minneapolis, St. Paul and Minnesota. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
“Business, Ethics and Compassion at Santa Clara University.” News. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
“Western Shugden Society.” Buddhism Dalai Lama. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.
“Global Events to Mark 25 Years of Dalai Lama’s Nobel Prize.” Firstpost. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2014.

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