Saturday, March 29, 2008

His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

In recent weeks, the eyes of the world have turned toward His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the increasingly strained conflict between his country of Tibet and its neighbor and occupier, China. The forthcoming Olympics this summer, in Beijing, present a complex situation, with the Chinese intent upon showing the world the depth and breadth of their potential and power as a leader of the 21st century and the Tibetans committed to their ongoing struggle for national independence and religious freedom and campaign for global support.

The yoga community has long demonstrated a collective reverence for the Dalai Lama (who is widely regarded as an incarnation of Buddha) and justifiably so; however, it's important to have a thorough understanding of our own sympathies, beliefs, and ideals. We should make certain that they are our own and that they are informed. The Buddha, himself, once implored his students not to follow blindly even the noblest of paths, by saying, "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumored by many . . . But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it, and live up to it."

If you have an interest in learning more about the Dalai Lama, here are three of my favorite insightful and informative resources (listed in chronological order).*

The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings By and About the Dalai Lama

Kundun (1997), a film directed by Martin Scorsese

A Monk's Struggle (TIME, March 31, 2008)

*There are plenty more out there, and I encourage you to share your own recommendations for resources on the topic of the Dalai Lama or any other topics that you find relevant to the themes addressed on this site.

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