Although he describes himself as a ‘simple Buddhist monk’, last week’s events in the Tibetan plateau have underlined the Dalai Lama’s importance as a symbol of peaceful protests and a struggle for cultural freedom. For Tibetans, he is the Ocean of Wisdom, a god-king who engenders intense devotion – his name was chanted repeatedly by protesters across the roof of the world.Chinese officials have a different view, one rooted in the feeling that the Dalai Lama has used his moral and religious authority to destabilise Tibet. In an extraordinarily vituperative attack, state-run media said that the Chinese leadership is engaged in a ‘life and death struggle’ with the Dalai Lama, who is ‘a wolf in a monk’s robe, a monster with a human face but the heart of a beast’.
To anyone standing in McLeod Ganj, a British Raj hill station above Dharamsala last week, where he has lived in exile since 1959, the rhetoric seems faintly absurd – a Chinese dragon scared by a mouse that prayed.
Ahh, wait…so it’s the uh, “God-king”, that gets to fight the dragon, eh? The big, nuclear, 5-million-man
army, err, dragon. Riiight.
I’m sure he’ll be right on that. In a “monk’s second” (i.e. eternity…damn, those monks are lazy).