Posts Tagged “asecticism”

The widely-exalted Dalai Lama, considered one of the wisest people in the world, has come up with a solution to human ills. It’s a solution one might expect of him — given his personal history and vocation — but I’m not sure how realistic this advice is. If everyone followed the Dalai Lama’s advice, humanity would be doomed — not saved — because that advice is not to have sex:

The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual and temporal leader, on Friday said sex spelt fleeting satisfaction and trouble later, while chastity offered a better life and “more freedom.”

“Sexual pressure, sexual desire, actually I think is short period satisfaction and often, that leads to more complication,” the Dalai Lama told reporters in a Lagos hotel, speaking in English without a translator.

He said conjugal life caused “too much ups and downs.

“Naturally as a human being … some kind of desire for sex comes, but then you use human intelligence to make comprehension that those couples always full of trouble. And in some cases there is suicide, murder cases,” the Dalai Lama said.

He said the “consolation” in celibacy is that although “we miss something, but at the same time, compare whole life, it’s better, more independence, more freedom.”

Celibacy as a spiritual ideal is widely observed, and in more places than just in Tibetan Buddhism … many Greco-Roman mystics, such as the Pythagoreans, had ascetic and celibate lifestyles. Christianity itself adopted something of a celibacy ethic early in its history, as found in the New Testament:

For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it. (Matthew 19:12)

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. (1 Corinthians 1:7)

However, becoming a eunuch or remaining celibate was never an expectation of all Christians, as Paul acknowledges later, himself:

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:7-8)

So celibacy — while still viewed as a kind of ideal spiritual state — has never been a requirement, even in otherwise-furiously doctrinaire Christianity.

Yet the Dalai Lama never acknowledges this, and happily declares it to be a universal goal.

As I said, this is not unexpected, since the Dalai Lama was raised a monk from the age of 2 and knows no other life. For him, sex perhaps truly is optional. Aside from his travels and public-speaking, he was raised in, and remains in, isolation. Which only exemplifies how “out-of-touch” with reality he is — through no fault of his own.

As an aside, the manner in which he was selected for his exalted spiritual (and political) office is a curious and somewhat hilarious tale. After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama (Thubten Gyatso) in 1933, monks followed various omens throughout the land, in search of his successor. (The Dalai Lama at any given moment is believed to be the reincarnation of the first Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup, who was the reincarnation of Chenresig, a bodhisattva or an “enlightened” soul who could ascend to Nirvana but chooses, out of compassion for others, to reincarnate and guide the unascended masses). These monks found a house in a village which matched one that a monk had seen in a vision; inside was a two-year-old Lhamo Thondup, who — upon seeing some of the most recent Dalai Lama’s things that the monks had brought with them — exclaimed “That’s mine!”

The rest, as they say, is history.

When I first heard this story, I found it difficult not to laugh. This is no way to select a nation’s sovereign (which the Dalai Lama was, prior to the PRC’s invasion and annexation of Tibet in the 1950s)! It reminds me far too much of this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Can you imagine a similar dialog being played out in Tibet? Instead of, “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government,” you’d have, “Little kids claiming ownership of trinkets is no basis for choosing the Fount of All Buddhist Wisdom!”) If by chance you’ve never seen it before, this movie scene is available on YouTube.

At any rate, if everyone followed the Dalai Lama’s advice, I suppose contention among human beings would end … because within a generation there would be no more human beings to contend with one another! It’s not a solution to a problem, any more than amputating a limb is the way to heal one if it breaks.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments Comments Off on The Answer To All The World’s Ills Is …