By Navjot Randhawa
It was disappointing to read so many remarks directed against the Dalai Lama in the past few days. The comment in the title is from one of Dalai Lama’s friends/students on facebook. His Holiness in an interview joked when asked about a female successor, that if female Dalai Lama comes, then should be more attractive !… clearly suggesting that he doesn’t consider himself attractive and clearly just making a joke that it would be more attractive to have a female Dalai Lama than he himself. His remark however led to a big debate & I read many unpleasant things about him over the internet in the past week …His Holiness has been an integral part of our journey here at The Mirage and in some way perhaps of every one who has made the Himalayas their home. His mere presence is healing, the purity of his being shining through his words, gestures, actions.
His team put up on facebook a clarification of his comments. If you are interested, here is the link:
His Holiness has always been a big supporter of giving women their rightful place with due respect in all kinds of fields/spaces. He always says women have more important role in promoting compassion as an important tool to deal with the world & its problems. Even in the spiritual world, he has spoken about equal rights for men & women. I read about this in Tenzin Palmo’s writings where she talks about H.H Dalai Lama’s support in her journey. Here is an excerpt from one of the panel discussions he attended as a speaker, where he talks about the importance of women. I transcripted this from a youtube video. He has a beautiful sense of humor & I wish people who are protesting could see that he is not promoting superficial beauty but perhaps just saying that a pleasant female leader could be great for the spiritual world. Many inspiring spiritual women like Pema Chodron come to my mind..I am sure you met quite a few in your life too?
”I have one belief..some people may call me feminist..I don’t know. In human history, I think millions of years ago, in human society, no idea of leadership. I feel, I think..I think I should ask you..learned people, I don’t know. I feel there was no idea of leadership..everybody was equal, working together, whatever they got, shared together. Then eventually population increased. Some mischievous people then started the concept of leadership. Then there was no education, therefore, the main sort of quality of leadership was physical strength. So I believe male dominance started from that. Then eventually education took an important role. So then that made more equal. Male female. But now we are 21st century. It’s quite clear, see even if you see some billionaire, plenty of money. and also because of the money, they also quite influential, but as an individual person, very unhappy person. I also met some of them. So money also failed to bring inner peace and those very powerful leaders, in deep insight, I think much anxiety, much fear, much distress. So their inner peace destroyed. So therefore now since modern education alone failed to bring inner peace, and money or wealth also failed to bring inner peace and systems, technology also I think failed to bring inner peace, so now here we need some effort, more effort, to promote basic human values. There is human compassion, human affection. In that respect, biological factor, females have more sensitivity about others’ pain or suffering. Scientists are also saying that. So firstly therefore I think I want to tell governor and then all those people here. Now 21st century, time we really need more effort for promotion of human compassion. In that respect, females have more important role to play. So therefore please take more active work..”
To me the whole debate points to the ignorance of those who are making offensive statements against Dalai Lama. I am writing this post based on following the teachings of His Holiness since a couple of decades now. He has positively influenced not only my life but of many friends. He is perhaps the most centred being walking our planet today. However, it will be unwise to not listen to others’ point of views. So I read all the negative comments with an open mind. Tried to see where those people were coming from. And my heart feels their heart is closed, that is why they are being so angry with Dalai Lama for a comment he made in a language which is not even his native language. HIs Holiness has a remarkably authentic personality. He is simple yet so wise. I am a woman and an actress. I am totally against objectifying women. And I feel sad when Bollywood does it time and again. But it almost feels a not thought out thought, a not thought out action, a not thought out karma to blame the Dalai Lama of objectifying women. I thought the whole issue was being blown out of proportion because the media was only highlighting a couple of minutes of the interview. I feel one should listen to the whole interview before using such harsh words for a man who has done more for promoting peace in this world than any of those using those words.
Here is the link if you have time. If you would like to join the debate, please do leave a comment here. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the debate.