A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Not all Dalai Lamas are the same

Yesterday I mentioned the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. He is upheld by many westerners as the typical or ideal representation of a Buddhist. Part of this western perception stems from media portrayal of Tibet as a mythical place of serenity and peace, such as in the 1960s movie “The Lost Horizon”.  Yet in many ways he is atypical. His predecessor was known as the “Bodhisattva Warrior”. He raised armies to fight the Chinese and the British, as well as his own people during a revolution. There is a story chronicled in the Book Demystifying Tibet by Lee Feigon about this very human Dalai Lama. Upon hearing that an enemy had placed a hex on him, he ordered his army to capture his opponent and “that he immersed in a huge copper vat until he was dead.” This style of politics was quite common in Tibetan politics, and even to this day vestiges can be found in Tibetan nationalists.

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