Dalai Lama

I don’t know if the Dalai Lama actually said this, but if he did, he is a condescending prick towards men and a nasty chauvinist towards women:

Don’t people get tired of posting these saccharine “messages from Dalai Lama”? I don’t use Facebook or Tumblr, I don’t keep in touch with idiots, yet every once in a while this boring and insipid pseudo-motivational poster makes it into my mailbox.

This time, it has been sent to me by a student whom I now suspect of despising my intellectual capacities.

 

38 thoughts on “Dalai Lama”

  1. I don’t know if this really comes from Dalai Lama, but reading some of his books and being somewhat familiar with buddhism principles, I suspect that if he did indeed say something this, he very likely meant Man = humanity in general, so that this applies to all people. It could be just a bad translation that put this in gendered way and probably not his exact words at all. Based on buddhism the point of this is more on living without being present for your life in every single moment rather than anything else (and particularly not related to gender).

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  2. I heard it before and too was 100% sure man = human. In general, people often use “man” as interchangeable with “person”. F.e. mankind = the human species.

    What do you think of it, if man = person?

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    1. Googled and found the quote in Russian. It’s человек, human, not a man, as I thought.

      – ЧТО ВАС БОЛЬШЕ ВСЕГО УДИВЛЯЕТ В ЛЮДЯХ?

      Ответ Далай Ламы:

      ” – Сам человек.
      Вначале он жертвует своим здоровьем для того, чтобы заработать деньги.
      Потом он тратит деньги на восстановление здоровья.
      При этом он настолько беспокоится о своем будущем, что никогда не наслаждается настоящим.
      В результате он не живет ни в настоящем, ни в будущем.
      Он живет так, как будто никогда не умрет, а умирая сожалеет о том, что не жил.”

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  3. Yeah. I think he means man as in “mankind” and I don’t think he is even talking about literally about work. I think he is commenting that people forget to just “be” and enjoy the moment. It’s not particularly profound. But I don’t think this was a gendered thing about men and women and work.

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  4. I still fail to see what the left sees in this feudal, archaic figure trying to extend a theistic monarchy in one of the most backward places on earth.

    I condemn the occupation of Tibet as much as the same guy, but that doesn’t mean that to spite the Chinese communist government I have to defend Duvalier^H^H^H^H^H the Dalai Lama.

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    1. Excuse me, Culture Club? Are you having a laugh?! I take it from your comment that you haven’t exactly familiarized yourself with the teachings of the Dalai Lama, because if you had done, you would be embarrassed (to say the least) for coming out with such bigoted rubbish. The Dalai Lama brings fundamental and much-needed teachings to the world and has personally changed mine with his teachings of kindness towards one another in a world that is being destroyed by rampant materialism, rooted in exploiting people’s essential unhappiness and disatisfied states. Also, Clarissa, I’m offended by you referring to the Dalai Lama as a ‘condescending prick’, even if he did use the word ‘man’ to refer to humankind. This seems to be deliberately missing the point of what his message was (if indeed he did say it at all) and I would question why you so strongly push against what seemed to me a profound point about the way that many of us in the West live. Why are you so hung up on the minor point of a single word and throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

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      1. “This seems to be deliberately missing the point of what his message was (if indeed he did say it at all) and I would question why you so strongly push against what seemed to me a profound point about the way that many of us in the West live.”

        – What is profound about this wholesale condemnation of people he doesn’t even try to understand? Do you feel this comment describes you? Do you sacrifice your health because you are obsessed with making money for the sake of money? Are you incapable of enjoying the present? Do you feel like your life is worthless?

        I don’t identify with a single word of this quote. This is nothing but a ranting of an angry old man who can’t stop being judgmental and condescending to others. The philosophic value of this saccharine pile of rubbish is nil.

        “lso, Clarissa, I’m offended by you referring to the Dalai Lama as a ‘condescending prick”

        – And I’m offended by this quote that condemns me and my life as useless because I work and contribute to the world by my labor instead of sitting there and hating everybody for having a life.

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      2. such bigoted rubbish.

        You can go and put your facile accusations of racism back where you took them out from.

        has personally changed mine

        In as much as it has given you an object of devotion. You might as well worship snooky for all I care.

        and what does a leftist person say when they run out of arguments:

        I’m offended by you

        I don’t care much if you are offended. For example, when I state my belief that blacks are equal to whites, half of the deep south is offended. Do I care anymore than I do with you? no I do not.

        If you have an argument, put it forward and save us the “I’m offended by your opinion” bit.

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    2. I agree with Culture Club completely. A while ago, I saw another quote from DL bemoaning the bad, nasty progress that changed the world for the worse.

      Do people honestly think there is a slightest chance the DL is not sexist?

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      1. Do people honestly think there is a slightest chance the DL is not sexist?
        If you read any kind of buddhist text, you would see that this question doesn’t make sense at all. Buddhism is based on the principle that everyone is equal, regardless of who you are and what you are. Very different from any other religion (and in fact in my opinion is not a religion at all, more a philosophy of living that encourages everyone to look for truth on their own).

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        1. I didn’t say anything about buddhism in general. I was talking specifically about Dalai Lama. I think you will have to agree that irrespective of what the New testament says, there have been crowds of people-hating, mean, nasty, greedy, disgusting popes. A text and a person who waves this text about don;t need to have anything in common.

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      2. Well, if you read his real works, you could see for yourself that he is pretty much the most buddhist person possible.

        Also, if you haven’t yet checked the link from Jonathan’s comment below, this quote is a FB hoax.

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      3. he is pretty much the most buddhist person possible.

        Funny you say that because as things stand right now he is the latest representative of a highly non-buddhist (in practice) feudal state.

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  5. I think Dalai-Lama fetishism serves two purposes: It gives bored, upper-class Westerners the chance to feel “in touch” with their spiritual side with the benefit of adding in their two favourite activities: misunderstanding other cultures and exoticizing them. As a bonus, they can get gung-ho about “Free Tibet” movements and conveniently forget all of the ways they benefit from colonialism’s history in North America.
    Note: Buddhism is just as sexist as any other religion. It varies from sect to sect, but here are a few examples from my academic readings of Buddhism that show it’s not some magical sexism-free paradise religion/mentality/outlook:
    + In some Buddhist traditions, when Buddha was born, he was born out of his mother’s side, because he would have been made impure by passing through her vagina.
    + In certain schools of Buddhism, it is considered a curse to be born a woman, because only (human) men can reach enlightenment in their lifetimes, women have to be reborn as men to hope for that. One story tells of a Buddhist nun who was nearly raped by a robber gang, but was saved by Buddha. In return for her loyalty, he promised her that in her next life she would be reborn as a male, so she could reach enlightenment.
    + Nuns are always subservient to monks in Buddhism, and even the most senior Abbess is subservient to a younger, less experienced monk.

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    1. “I think Dalai-Lama fetishism serves two purposes: It gives bored, upper-class Westerners the chance to feel “in touch” with their spiritual side with the benefit of adding in their two favourite activities: misunderstanding other cultures and exoticizing them. As a bonus, they can get gung-ho about “Free Tibet” movements and conveniently forget all of the ways they benefit from colonialism’s history in North America.”

      – EXACTLY!!!! Slavoj Zizek made fun of the silly pseudo-Liberals with their Western brand of Buddhism beautifully:

      “The ultimate postmodern irony is thus the strange exchange between Europe and Asia: at the very moment when, at the level of the “economic infrastructure,” “European” technology and capitalism are triumphing world-wide, at the level of “ideological superstructure,” the Judeo-Christian legacy is threatened in the European space itself by the onslaught of the New Age “Asiatic” thought, which, in its different guises, from the “Western Buddhism” (today’s counterpoint to Western Marxism, as opposed to the “Asiatic” Marxism–Leninism) to different “Taos,” is establishing itself as the hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. Therein resides the highest speculative identity of the opposites in today’s global civilization: although “Western Buddhism” presents itself as the remedy against the stressful tension of the capitalist dynamics, allowing us to uncouple and retain inner peace and Gelassenheit, it actually functions as its perfect ideological supplement.”

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    2. Sure, we Westerners certainly misunderstand buddhism and other Eastern religions, we only take out from it what we want, and use their techniques as a remedy against stress.

      But where is the problem with that? Why is this something that Zizek finds so funny and pseudo? Mindfulness meditation and yoga absolutely great against the problems that arise due to our current lifestyles and have helped me personally more than Western approaches for problems like sleeplessness and physical pain.

      I think it is great if people in South-East Asia have electricity if they want it, and it is great that we have yoga if we want it. Both are great inventions by humanity. Western people who are seriously into yoga are to me not any more ridiculous than an Indian electrical engineer. Why is it not possible that buddhism has produced some ideas and concepts that can be extremely helpful to many people in the world?

      I fail to see what Zizek finds ironic: Why is it ironic that different cultures exchange knowledge and ideas, and that the Western world learns something from the Eastern world too? Isn’t seeing this as ironic pretty condescending to both Asian religions and techniques?

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      1. Zizek is talking about a very specific example of Western pseudo-Liberal who bandies about the word “spiritual” on every given occasion, sends out these meaningless fake Dalai Lama statements, and considers him or herself especially enlightened because s/he burns a couple of joss sticks every weekend.

        I know a person like that. “Eastern people are so profound. . .” he sighs often. “We are all spoiled and materialistic in the West, but the Eastern people know the true meaning of life.”

        I have experienced a desire to strangle him on more than one occasion. And I’m not even one of these mysterious “Eastern people.” Or maybe I am, who knows.

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      2. “We are all spoiled and materialistic in the West, but the Eastern people know the true meaning of life.”

        Which is nothing but an expression of racism. The noble savage who, because of an implied lower technological development is incapable of committing any of our modern sins.

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        1. “Which is nothing but an expression of racism. The noble savage who, because of an implied lower technological development is incapable of committing any of our modern sins.”

          – Of course! Orientalism and exoticization of other cultures is not a sign of appreciating them, contrary to many people’s opinion. They are offensive and annoying. Besides, who are these “Eastern people”? The use of this over-generalizing terminology is extremely dismissive.

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      3. // Zizek is talking about a very specific example of Western pseudo-Liberal who …

        And DL is talking (as I understood) about a specific & easy to find (both in East & West) type of person. Nowhere in the quote it’s East vs West, that’s what readers here added themselves.

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  6. All this talk of ultra – material West vs spiritual East reminded me of this Robert Frost poem on the matter:

    An Importer

    Mrs. Someone’s been to Asia,
    What she brought back would amaze ye.
    Bamboos, ivories, jades, and lacquers,
    Devil-scaring firecrackers,
    Recipes for tea with butter,
    Sacred rigmaroles to mutter,
    Subterfuge for saving faces,
    A developed taste in vases,
    Arguments too stale to mention
    ‘Gainst American intervention;
    Most of all the mass production
    Destined to prove our destruction.
    What are telephones, skyscrapers,
    Safety razors, Sunday papers,
    But the silliest evasion
    Of the truths we owe an Asian?
    But the best of her exhibit
    Was a prayer machine from Tibet
    That by brook power in the garden
    Kept repeating Pardon, pardon;
    And as picturesque machinery
    Beat a sundial in the scenery –
    The most primitive of engines
    Mass producing with a vengeance.
    Teach those Asians mass production?
    Teach your grandmother egg suction.

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  7. I don’t identify with a single word of this quote. This is nothing but a ranting of an angry old man who can’t stop being judgmental and condescending to others. The philosophic value of this saccharine pile of rubbish is nil.(Clarissa)

    Funny, but this line of thought reminds me of some other people, can you say pussy riot, trashing someone else’s belief system. Unfortunately for them they did it in public and in the wrong country. 😉

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    1. This is actually very insulting. I’m expressing my opinion in my own space. If you have any evidence that I invaded anybody else’s space and started “trashing” anything, please bring that evidence. Otherwise, try to concentrate and realize how offensive and meaningless this comment of yours is.

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      1. This is a public forum, until you make it “private” I suggest you grow a thicker skin(I already thought you had one). I stand by the comparison. If you would like, just call me a “condescending prick” too.

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      2. I’m with Titfortat on the ‘grow at thicker skin comment’. I think the discussion has indeed turned into an unreasonable slating of something that you don’t have any idea about. It is unreasonably extreme to call the Dalai Lama a ‘condescending prick’ and hey, if we’re going on the whole ‘concentrate and realize how offensive and meaningless this comment of yours is’ school-of-thought, then why don’t you take a look at the last few comments about a religion that you quite clearly don’t have a clue about.

        I’m now happy to join the ranks of the ‘condescending pricks’ of the world too. But perhaps I should just pipe down, seeming that one has to keep one’s opinions to oneself if they don’t fit with the status quo of Clarissa’s blog. Call that an intellectual discussion? I don’t.

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        1. “I’m with Titfortat on the ‘grow at thicker skin comment’. I think the discussion has indeed turned into an unreasonable slating of something that you don’t have any idea about. It is unreasonably extreme to call the Dalai Lama a ‘condescending prick’ ”

          – We have already established that this statement was not made by the Dalai Lama. Try to keep up, OK?

          ” why don’t you take a look at the last few comments about a religion that you quite clearly don’t have a clue about”

          – Which religion are you talking about?

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  8. Actually… my aunt gave me a book about “The Dalai Lama’s message to today’s women” just yesterday. I started reading it this morning when at 6:30 I couldn’t sleep anymore after just 5 hours of sleep. I didn’t get far though. After 1 1/2 chapters, I had a headache and threw the book to the other side of the room.

    In TDL’s defense though – he didn’t write the book himself, it was written by a French Buddhist, based on his writings and interviews. In this book of all books, statements like “Love is my only religion” pass as deep philosophy and women will save the world because we are “naturally more moral and kind than men”. And these statements are both from the same page! I can’t be bothered to sum up the rest of what I have read (there isn’t much content anyway) and would have to be paid its weight in gold to finish the book.

    But perhaps the worst sentence so far was: “Today, many women suffer from low self-esteem because of the increasing decay of morality in our society”. What does that even mean?!

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