Thursday, March 26, 2009

Should the Dalai Lama Retire?

The 14th Dalai Lama is now in his 70's. He's given indications that he's pretty much given up on Tibetan cause, but is still helping to give support to Tibetans in exile. Keep in mind that China invaded Tibet in 1959. That's a long time to be pounding your head against a brick wall.

So, in some interviews, His Holiness has recently mentioned that he'd like to retire and do some gardening. He's even suggested that there be no more Dalai Lamas after him and that Tibetans should be able to vote him out of the Dalai Lama position whenever they are unhappy with him. That hasn't gone down too well with the Tibetans. They still need him, I guess.

There are very few people I really admire, but the Dalai Lama is one of them. I like that he keeps telling people that he's not a god and that if you don't like Buddhism, it's no big deal. I also find it amazing that he can keep smiling after the life he's had. He still seems to have that Anne Frank optimism about humans being genuinely good at heart that in one way I'd like to have.

But he's worked very hard and I think he deserves to have some time to himself. Although his astrologers have predicted that he will die when he is 92, we can't rely on that. Part of Buddhism is about appreciating the moment and retirement can be just as personally rewarding as work.

Smehow, though, I can't picture him going bowling.

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