Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Dalai Lama Debates

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is just now visiting my country.

In light of this, I watched one of his speeches, and also one of the speeches of his precious few western opponents, Colin Goldner.

I won't go into the details here. Goldner, to me, comes across as intensely missionary, rigidly in search of anything he can criticize. I was rather shocked when I googled him to find that he's actually 59 years old. To me, he seemed like the archetypical young rebel. Especially when I compare him to the 70-something year old Dalai Lama. In a direct confrontation, Goldner wouldn't last a minute against the always wisecracking world-renowned uberdaddy with his constant smile and self-irony.

As for what he says, I guess he has a point here and there, while most of it is somewhat contrived and far-fetched.

But anyway. This is not so much about whether Goldner is right or not.

I think that the debate about the Dalai Lama and tibetan buddhism suffers tremendously from polarisation and confusion.

In short, I think that three rather distinct topics are constantly being whipped together in one large swoop:

  1. Tibetan buddhism as a religious and political system
  2. Chinese politics regarding Tibet
  3. The person of Tenzin Gyatso

Sadly, His Holiness' followers fall into the same trap as his opponents.

In order to have a useful debate, we need to learn to keep those factors apart. Only then can we hope to discover their interrelations and contribute something useful to the debate.


  1. brent.mosher@yahoo.comAugust 14, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Have you seen this?


    1. AFAIK, the Trimondis are Colin Goldner's primary source. So yeah, indirectly I've seen it...