ON THE WEB, 2 July 2019
Who doesn’t want to look attractive? Don’t we all? Are the trolls saying that they don’t care if they don’t look ‘attractive’?
The Dalai Lama in an interview with a BBC journalist said, “If a female Dalai Lama comes, she should be more attractive.” When the interviewer told him that he could be seen as objectifying women and that beauty is who you are inside, the Dalai Lama said, “Yes, I think both. Real beauty is inner beauty. That is true. But we, human beings, appearance is also important.”
The journalist reminded him that he had made a similar statement in 2015, and to her that seemed at odds for a man who preaches a message of tolerance and inner confidence, she later wrote. The journalist said that the Dalai Lama reaffirmed his belief that beauty matters as much as brains. He told her that in Buddhism both inner and outer beauty matters. He also said that equality was important and was keen to stress that he supported women’s rights and equal pay in the workplace.
The “attractive woman” reference by the Dalai Lama has gone viral and he has been facing a lot of criticism, with people calling him out for his sexist comments. Some even changed the word from ‘attractive’ to ‘hot’, implying that the Dalai Lama is saying he wants a woman to succeed him only if she is ‘hot’.
Sexist Dalai Lama
One website said , “With thousands around the world looking up to him for inspiration, it could be hoped that he would refrain from making statements that demeans half of the world’s population. But, alas.” Right below that writing was a link promoting “Top 30 Most Beautiful Women In The World”. Alas! Not all the half of the world’s population are equally beautiful after all. And, that kind of attention does not promote sexism, and it’s ok to accept. What an irony!
It would be good to understand the complex issue of reincarnation, which is a system of believing in the continuity of the consciousness from the previous to the next life. As such, the next Dalai Lama will be the descendant of the previous Dalai Lama. He or she will not be elected. When the Dalai Lama says the next one comes, what he means is that a new baby will be born, and that will be the continuation of his current self. He (or she, if the current Dalai Lama chooses to be woman in the next incarnation), will then be trained according to the traditions, as well as with modern education, to take the role of the the Dalai Lama to spread the message of love and compassion.
Whether someone is attractive or not, or however their form is, is related to ones karma, a concept that’s not easy to comprehend unless one has a certain level of understanding and faith. An attractive Dalai Lama will have more attention, which he could use to promote those values to a wider audience. That is exactly where the Dalai Lama is coming from. Does that imply sexism? It just doesn’t make sense why the Dalai Lama, a person who has all his life promoted equality, human values, and compassion, would have sexism as his intention.
Then, the same BBC journalist has written “In an age where celebrity is worshiped, the Dalai Lama is a faith leader who has become a spiritual superstar.” She has acknowledged that celebrities are worshiped, but nobody criticises that when it’s generally about attractive people (mostly physically good-looking). Or are those star-struck people worshiping the celebrities’ great intellects?
Hollywood, the cultural altar of the western world, looks only for physically-appealing people for their million-dollar salaries. Nobody’s pointing fingers at that. Is there no sexism there? Could the hypocrisy get any more obvious?
The Shanghaiist website has a collection of what some self-styled critics say to the Dalai Lama’s statements. Their reactions perfectly reflect their lack of class and low mentality, let alone their lack of understanding of the issues. One has shared a morphed image of the Dalai Lama in long blond hair. These trolls don’t have even the basic knowledge that if the Dalai Lama comes as a female, she will be a nun — that is to say that she will have a shaved head all the time. And to imagine that “attractive” must be blonde, in itself shows an adherence to racial superiority.
Racist Dalai Lama
Another question the BBC journalist asked was about a speech the Dalai Lama made last year when he said that refugees to the European Union should ultimately return home, adding that “Europe is for Europeans”. The Dalai Lama stood by the statement when she challenged him on it.
The Dalai Lama has said that the European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training, and the aim is for the refugees to return to their own land with the skills they have learned to rebuild their countries once the problems in their countries are solved, if they so love their country and their “rich” culture.
What is not sensible here? He himself is one of those refugees, who has been fighting for the last 60 years to be able to go back to his home, which was annexed by Communist China.
What if people want to stay? Stay if they want. But one cannot just misconstrue the Dalai Lama’s views, and his well-intended suggestions.
In fact, there’s nothing new in the BBC interview. He has been asked these questions over and over again, and he has said the same things every time. It’s more confusing why the journalist repeated the same questions, when a lot of important questions could have been asked, such as about global warming.
Now, the self-righteous nonsense with shallow understanding have raised more questions, that need answers. Trolls need not show such tantrums towards someone who has given his life for the good of the whole world.
About the author
Lobsang Wangyal lives in McLeod Ganj, India, and edits the Tibet Sun website.
More articles by Lobsang Wangyal on Tibet Sun.