Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Stance with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Response to Recent Allegations and Defamation

Stance with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Response to Recent Allegations and Defamation

I wish to address the recent incident involving His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a child. Some have raised doubts about the nature of this incident, particularly with regard to the sexual implications that have been suggested. I would like to address these doubts by emphasizing a few key points.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama always says “I am a simple Buddhist monk”. It is important to remember that His Holiness has taken a vow of celibacy, which he strictly adheres to. He has gone so far as to state that even in his dreams, he would never violate this vow and is at the core of his identity. Given that he is a monk approaching ninety who upholds this vow, it seems highly unlikely that he would conduct himself in a sexual manner towards a child.

For us Tibetans, His Holiness is regarded as an embodiment of “Chenrezig” the Buddha of Compassion. We believe that he is far from being attached to worldly desires, and that his actions are always guided by his compassion for others. The incident in question occurred in front of a large audience, including many students and members of the media. It seems unlikely that someone as revered and respected as His Holiness would risk his reputation and legacy by engaging in such inappropriate behavior.
The perception of this incident as sexual misconduct is a result of impure thoughts and degenerate times. In Tibetan culture, stretching one’s tongue out as a sign of affection is an old tradition that is seen as innocent. A mother breastfeeding in common view or two individuals holding hands are not considered absurd and offensive, and far from having any sexual connotation. There is also a Tibetan cultural tradition and phrase “Che le sa”, where children will playfully barter for affection from grandparents and elder Tibetans. Starting with a kiss on the cheek, then a kiss on the lips, at which point, with nothing else left to give, the elder will say “Che le sa”, “eat my tongue”, as a reference to having nothing left to give the child. However, these may be misunderstood by those who are not familiar with our traditions.
It is crucial to consider the intention behind His Holiness's actions. His way of showing kindness and affection towards the child is simply an old tradition in play. His Holiness is known for his playful ways and loves to connect with the general public in a lighthearted and friendly manner. For example, he may pull someone’s long beard or pat someone's bald head. Far from being serious, these actions are intended to break down barriers and promote his fundamental belief that we are all same human being.
The doubts surrounding this incident are unfounded. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a revered figure who has dedicated his life to promoting compassion, kindness, and understanding. We should remember that cultural differences and misunderstandings can easily lead to misinterpretations of innocent actions. Instead, we can focus on His Holiness's lifelong commitment to promoting peace and understanding among all people.
The news about the incident involving His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a child surfaced a month and ten days after the event. The event was attended in person by more than 100 people, and thousands of people via zoom all over the world, on February 28, 2023. Everyone, including the child and his parents, had positive comments about it to the media. However, without any context to the entire event, the media clipped a small section of the footage and presented it as explosive news without conducting any investigation. There may be an element of the Communist government's hand in this, as there have been many proven instances of their attempts to defame His Holiness over the past 60 years.
Despite their ongoing efforts, the Communist government has been unsuccessful in defaming His Holiness due to his transparent and straightforward approach. The edited footage was widely shown inside Tibet, but it had the opposite effect of what the government hoped to achieve. Instead of changing the hearts and minds of the Tibetans inside Tibet, it gave them the opportunity to see His Holiness multiple times, which they had not had in the past. This resulted in an incident where a student was arrested for expressing his great happiness.
From a Buddhist perspective, we are living in degenerate times, where our attachment, jealousy, and negative emotions are at their peak. War, disease, and environmental degradation are all results of such negativities. If we continue to move away from truth, love, and compassion, and embrace these negative emotions, we are paving the way for more unwanted consequences for all of humankind. It is up to each of us to choose our actions and pass on to the next generation the values of honesty, love, and kindness while eliminating negative qualities.
In these degenerate times, the best example we have is His Holiness and other such beings. Despite being an ordinary refugee, his vision for kindness and compassion towards all sentient beings is as vast as the sky. His Holiness is not only a savior of the Tibetans but is also considered a champion of world peace by the world. Opposing and defaming him is not only wrong but also destroys world peace and democracy. He represents these values today.
All his life, His Holiness has worked solely for the benefit of others. He has made great contributions towards religious harmony, world peace, and compassion. This incident has not affected him, but it has had a painful impact on Tibetans and people in the Himalayan region, who have always looked up to him as their spiritual leader and guide.
Media and content creators must avoid oversexualizing and sensationalizing an innocent event for ratings and clicks without researching and investigating the background and context. This can mislead audiences and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Responsible reporting requires accuracy, ethics, and respect for the people involved. Prioritizing these values promotes a more informed and compassionate media landscape.
I write this to caution those who do not know His Holiness against falling prey to sensationalized media content that prioritizes quick ratings over accuracy and ethics, and often takes things out of context by resorting to video clipping. It's essential to watch the whole video of the event and learn more about His Holiness works and vision before forming an opinion.

I, Khenpo Karten Rinpoche, dictated this message on Earth Day, April 22 2023, which was subsequently translated by my dear students


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