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Cavorting with sex offenders - and how the Dalai Lama (probably) does not suffer from it


Have you ever felt that you just made a terrible mistake? Do you know the sinking feeling? Don´t be too harsh on yourself. It happens to the best and brightest. Anyone can fall victim to a sex offender.


One example is the Dalai Lama (the "governmental software" - (Fridman, 2020, min 52) , who - deplorably, for some people - has become something of a spiritual pop figure in the West.


This is not about cheap Dalai Lama bashing. The following examples for Dalai Lama failures are not meant to denigrate the positive sides of this work.


Here some examples for the positive sides.


Example 1: Buddhism and psychology


The Dalai Lama is deeply interested in Western science. In a groundbreaking way, he even sais that

If Western science disproves some theorems of Buddhism, Buddhism has to change (Mansfield & Dalai Lama, 2008)

This would open Buddhism up towards the ideas of Ken Wilber for a "fourth turning of the Dharma Wheel". Buddhism, in this turn, would include the new psychological insights of the last 100 years into stages of development and the unconscious. Ken Wilber calls these stages growing up and cleaning up.


Example 2: Buddhism, quantum physics and probability

Here is another area where core philosophical tenets of Bhuddism are at risk through the Dalai Lama:


It's often assumed that Buddhism aligns somehow with quantum physics.


In fact it doesn't: for example, there is a deep contradiction between the Buddhist understanding of causality ("everything is determined by causes and conditions") and the irreducible unknowability of probability in quantum physics (see Vic Mansfield).


Example 3: Buddhism and women

It should also be noted that since recently, women can obtain the degree of Geshe in Buddhism. This is which is an equivalent to a PhD and used to be reserved for men.


So, what were some of the Dalai Lama's missteps?


The Dalai Lama supports a convicted sex trafficker

in 2009, the Dalai lama let himself invite to an event by the later convicted sex offender Keith Raniere. The Dalai Lama gave him a white scarf on stage. This traditional Khata symbolises purity and compassion.


It must have been equally embarassing for the Dalai Lama that he wrote a foreword for a book authored by Keith Raniere. The book is as of the date of writing available on Amazon as collector´s item only, in 2 exemplars for the price of 690 USD and 1300 USD as of the time of writing.


I don´t want to speculate, but in the Dalai Lama´s position I would have tried to buy up all exemplars off the market!


Here is the book:


While the Dalai Lama at the time certainly wasn´t aware of the nature of Keith Raniere´s "female slavery ring", the Dalai Lama´s trusted intermediate person may have been well aware. This Buddhist monk was involved in the high society of the USA, collecting money for the Dalai Lama. It later turned out, that this trustee of the Dalai Lama had a sexual relationship to Sara Bronfman, the sister of the co-convicted Carla Bronfman. Both sisters are heirs of the famous Bronfman empire (of Seagram Whiskey), known as the largest charity in the world.


If you want to know more about Keith Raniere's sex cult watch the TV documentary series "The Vow".


As aside: Talking about Bronfman family heirs diffent takes of charity: another one of them, Jeffrey Bronfman, has been heading the US "Ayahuasca Defense Fund" .


The Dalai Lama Feels His Female Successor Has to Be Attractive or There’s “Not Much Use”

Is the Dalai Lama sexist or not?


How should one understand his public statement in a BBC interview, that any female successor to his lineage should be beautiful - for Buddhist marketing purposes?


It´s worth watching the interview, and the somewhat incredulous interviewer.


To be fair: the Dalai Lama later clarified, that his remark was meant humorously, and that this humor had gone lost in the Western culture.


Don't feel bad! Meditate the Dalai Lama way!

One might now assume that the Dalai Lama had some sleepless nights over those incidents.


But I don't think so. Why?


One desirable outcome of practically all meditation styles is the decreased stickiness of the mind, variously also called grab or clinging.


It means that without meditation, all arising mental events (thoughts, emotions..) have a stickiness which makes us hang on to the thought, elaborate it, make it into stories, and - eventually - let us toss and turn at night with sorrow and anguish!


Whereas, with meditation thoughts do not grab the mind.. Whatever arises is immediate seen as empty (as fabricated / constructed) by the mind, and - metaphorically - is like snowdrops melting into a warm ocean.


In the advanced Tibetan meditation terminology, this characteristic, when automated, is called self-liberation of thoughts.


From a modern contemplative neuroscience perspective, this is described by Daniel Goleman in relation to the Dalai Lama´s emotionality:


Paul Ekman, a world expert on emotions and their expression, says this remarkable affective flexibility in the Dalai Lama struck him as exceptional from their very first meeting. The Dalai Lama reflects in his own demeanor the emotions he feels from one person, and then immediately drops that feeling as the next moment brings him another emotional reality. The Dalai Lama’s emotional life seems to include a remarkably dynamic range of strong and colorful emotions, from intense sadness to powerful joy.
His rapid, seamless transitions from one to another are particularly unique—this swift shifting betokens a lack of stickiness. Stickiness seems to reflect the dynamics of the emotional circuitry of the brain, including the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens. These regions very likely underlie what traditional texts see as the root causes of suffering—attachment and aversion—where the mind becomes fixated on wanting something that seems rewarding or on getting rid of something unpleasant. The stickiness spectrum runs from being utterly stuck, unable to free ourselves from distressing emotions or addictive wants, to the Dalai Lama’s instant freedom from any given affect. One trait that emerges from living without getting stuck seems to be an ongoing positivity, even joy. When the Dalai Lama once was asked what had been the happiest point in his life, he answered, “I think right now.”
Goleman, Daniel; Davidson, Richard J.. Altered Traits (S.162-163). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle-Version.

So, I do not expect the Dalai Lama to have sleepless nights.


In case you want to listen to a wonderful classic text by Tilopa on this topic, listen here. It may help reduce the mind's stickiness.





Resources



Fridman, L. (2020, June 13). Joscha Bach: Artificial Consciousness and the Nature of Reality | Lex Fridman Podcast #101 [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 10 September 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-2P3MSZrBM+&feature=youtu.be



Mansfield, V., & Dalai Lama. (2008, March 1). Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge (1st ed.). Templeton Press. https://www.amazon.de/Tibetan-Buddhism-Modern-Physics-Knowledge/dp/159947137X



Wilber. (n.d.). Toward a Fourth Turning, Pt. 1, with Ken Wilber. ART19. Retrieved 10 September 2022, from https://art19.com/shows/buddhist-geeks/episodes/5c48588a-7d42-4c6e-b798-7b1aebac37c0



Samaneri Jayasāra - Wisdom of the Masters. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved 10 September 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/c/SamaneriJayasara


Smetham, G. (2021, January 29). Quantum Buddhism: Dancing in Emptiness: Reality Revealed in the Interface of Quantum Theory and Buddhist Metaphysics. Lulu.com. https://www.amazon.de/Quantum-Buddhism-Emptiness-Interface-Philosophy/dp/1445294303


Goleman, D., & Davidson, R. J. (2017, September 5). Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body (Illustrated). Avery. https://www.amazon.com/Altered-Traits-Science-Reveals-Meditation/dp/B075M1ZY2P


Wikipedia contributors. (2022c, August 29). The Vow (TV series). Wikipedia. Retrieved 10 September 2022, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vow_(TV_series)



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