Thursday, April 10, 2008

I've been meaning to link to this story by Pico Iyer about the Dalai Lama that was published in TIME several weeks ago. Iyer gives an insightful report on a man he apparently knows personally:

As soon as you start talking to the Dalai Lama, as I have been doing for 33 years, you notice that his favorite adjectives are logical and realistic and the verbs he returns to are investigate, analyze and explore. The Buddha was a "scientist," he said the last time I saw him, which means that a true Buddhist should follow the course of reason (recalling, perhaps, that anger most harms the person who feels it)....

Always stressing that the Buddha's own words should be thrown out if they are shown by scientific inquiry to be flawed, the Dalai Lama is the rare religious figure who tells people not to get needlessly confused or distracted by religion ("Even without a religion, we can become a good human being"). No believer in absolute truth—he eagerly seeks out Catholics, neuroscientists, even regular travelers to Tibet who can instruct him—he is also the rare Tibetan who will suggest that old Tibet may have contributed in part to its current predicament, the rare Buddhist to tell foreigners not to take up Buddhism but to study within their own traditions, where their roots are deepest.

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