The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, is on a mission to build a bridge between western science and eastern faith. The Tibetan Buddhist leader is scheduled to spend the rest of 2013 in Mexico, the United States, Japan, and India, teaching Buddhism and speaking about compassion and happiness. Many heads of State refuse to schedule a meeting with the holy Tibetan leader, fearing that such a meeting would anger the Chinese government. China refuses to acknowledge Tibet as an independent Buddhist nation and feels that any world leader who deigns to speak with the Dalai Lama is in favor of a non-unified China.
The current Dalai Lama, who is the fourteenth Lama, was forced to secede control of his territory to China in 1950 before he went into exile. Sovereignty of the tiny mountain nation of Tibet has been a hard point of controversy since that time. Although the Dalai Lama, a leader chosen by the Tibetan Buddhists, practices no real political control in Tibet, the Chinese government believes that his existence is a threat to their sovereignty. In an effort to spread spiritual wisdom, the high-profile Buddhist has turned his attention to enlightening the rest of the world and remaining peaceful. His public appearances and speeches are always given freely, as he will not accept payment except to cover the costs of venue rental.
This week in Mexico, the Dalai Lama was welcomed by members of the Buddhist faith and he will be supported by members of the Catholic Church as well. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, however, did not greet the Tibetan leader upon arrival in Mexico, nor does he have any plans to meet with him. This is the first time in several Mexican administrations that a President or government representative has not come forward to greet the Dalai Lama and the snub is believed to be Peña Nieto’s way of appeasing China. Being politically ignored, however, is nothing new for the 78-year old Buddhist, who was snubbed by US President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper during visits in 2009.
Since his exile in 1959, the Dalai Lama, considered by his followers to be the reincarnation of the very first Tibetan leader, has lived in India. From his headquarters in his adoptive country, the monk has petitioned heartily for the rights of his fellow Tibetans and even set up immigration avenues for his countrymen in India. During his 2013 world tour, the leader who has inspired millions of people worldwide hopes to create a stronger bridge between his own eastern philosophies and western science. Never one to shame modern science, the Dalai Lama instead follows a spiritual path that deems all pursuits of knowledge worthwhile.
His Holiness does, however, feel that to be successful, science must be guided by ethics. He says in his book The Universe in a Single Atom, “unless the direction of science is guided by a consciously ethical motivation, especially compassion, its effects may fail to bring benefit. They may indeed cause great harm.”
Written by: Mandy Gardner