The Dalai Lama had an out of character interaction with one of his many followers in February. His Holiness went to an event in the city of Dharamshala to meet the people. During this event a boy went up to his holiness and asked for a hug to which the Dalai Lama instead kissed the boy and made contact with his lips. The Dalai Lama then said to the boy “suck my tongue” and proceeded to stick out his tongue. After some seconds go by, the Dalai Lama recoils and laughs it off. People are defending this behavior stating that it is just his holiness’s fun personality. It is clear however that his PR team saw this as a problem and were trying to keep it quiet as a video of this event did not surface for another two months. Many are calling this act a true look at what his holiness is like and that this is an abuse of power. One thing is for certain though that the way people look at his holiness has been forever changed.
The Unholy side of His Holiness, Dalai Lama
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6 thoughts on “The Unholy side of His Holiness, Dalai Lama”
As a society, we generally judge sexual misconduct to be a gross and heinous crime, and we treat perpetrators accordingly. Why are religious figures the exception to this rule? Wouldn’t it make sense for people to be more outraged by the betrayal from a trusted public figure? The recent behavior of the Dalai Lama is yet another example of a religious figure taking advantage of the trust that is placed in them, and then using their position to dismiss their offense. While some have cast his behavior off, saying that he was just joking, would we consider his behavior a joke if he wasn’t the Dalai Lama? Imagine if a random older man were to ask a young boy to suck his tongue, this behavior would likely lead to prosecution.
This is not the first time that the Dalai Lama has done something that we might consider an abuse of power. After the death of the current Dalai Lama, a new one is reincarnated and he said if it was a woman, she would need to be attractive. If she wasn’t attractive then she wouldn’t be as effective, he said. It’s interesting because that can be seen more as a joke and people do defend him in this way. They also point to all the good that he does in terms of fixing diplomatic tensions and such. Despite the defense he gets, it’s pretty inexcusable what he did to that boy. It’s an incredible abuse of power and should get some form of consequence.
This isn’t the first incident where a religious leader has taken inappropriate action on minors. It’s important to acknowledge the effects it will have on the little boy, regardless of the person in the position of power. It is possible that the Dalai Lama’s behavior was meant to be playful or affectionate; however, it is understandable to see why some might find it inappropriate. Religion can have a strong effect on people and create a fuzzy barrier between right and wrong. People never want to question the actions of the leaders in their religion, but it’s still important to keep their behavior in check as they hold a position of power and can exploit that power to create harm.
I want to start this comment by addressing Yalini’s remarks on the topic of the Dalai Lama’s apparent misconduct. While religion offers some individuals comfort and serenity, it has been historically exploited, particularly by men in power, to abuse the rights of others of lower standing. As such, the way this article continues to use his titles (i.e., Dalai Lama, His Holiness) perpetuates this idea that this man is too great or culturally significant to be seen as a normal person who needs to be viewed with a critical lens. Let’s say this was just a quirky mistake. Lhamo is an old man; maybe he just isn’t aware of the current times and how people like Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein have stirred controversy with their treatment of minors. A PR nightmare, but what should us ordinary people expect to be consequences of his actions? A slap on the wrist? A sendoff to a workplace harassment seminar? Media makes a spectacle of the wrongdoings of celebrities, politicians, and other significant people, but I think the real focus should be on how they are held accountable. Being the head of the Buddhist faith will complicate things, yes, but sweeping this incident under the proverbial rug only emphasizes the sentiment that people with power are somehow above the law.
Hello Griffen, hope all is well with you.
I enjoyed reading your article post. It’s interesting how people in power are able to easily take advantage of it. I remember reading somewhere about this story of Dalai Lama, however, I didn’t hear much after. It just shows how successful his Public Relations team was at silencing the whole story. It’s insane how this man is praised for being a great religious leader, however, this is happening behind the scenes. How can one defend his actions by claiming they were holy? It’s like a sexual offender claimed their offense holy so they could just get away with it? I think it’s stupid, however, I’ve realized that religion is one of the easiest ways to manipulate a mass population. However, I never knew it was manipulative enough to dictate morals. I feel like sexual assault within religion needs to be studies more because although Lama was caught in his actions. Is it possible that peers may have influenced him or has he influenced others?
There have been some men in history that were and are perceived as beyond criticism because of their dedication to religion and morality. The pope, Gandhi, and Dalai Lama come to mind when thinking of figures that have left golden legacies behind them and the thought in people’s minds that they could do no wrong. However, the guise of religion allows men in power to commit abuses like anyone else. They use religion as a mask, portraying themselves as godly or beyond worldly issues or topics. Sexual abuse in the catholic church is certainly one of those epidemics- no one expects to deal with such violence in a place of god. However, there have hundreds of cases of priests, nuns, and other religious figures and leaders abusing their power to take advantage of children. Addressing the Dalai Lama as “his Holiness” in a post describing him using his power to coerce a child is ironic, because no matter what these men do, they will always be seen as beyond human reach or criticism.