The Dalai Lama in Jurassic Park 0

Lydia Aran, a specialist in Buddhism, wrote an illuminating article on Tibet, published in Commentary magazine in January 2009.  Inventing Tibet needs to be read in full to be fully appreciated. Here we quote parts of it to support our comments on the shock and anger of the Dalai Lama’s admirers on learning that he is not to be received at the White House by its present incumbent.

In the 1960s and 70’s a new Tibet was born, not so much a country as a mental construct. Its progenitor was the Diaspora establishment headed by the Dalai Lama, centered in the Himalayan hill station of Dharamsala in North India. There, the leaders of a small community comprising no more that 5 percent of the Tibetan people as a whole undertook to construct a wholly new idea of Tibetan identity – and hugely succeeded. …

They did so by incorporating into Tibetan Buddhism [traditionally a cult of magic] a number of concepts and ideas that had never been part of Tibetan culture. These include the espousal of non-violence, concern with the environment, human rights, world peace, feminism, and the like …

This kind of Buddhist modernism [which also includes reconciliation with Western scientific thought], unknown in Tibet, was adopted by the Dalai Lama more or less simultaneously with his adoption of a philosophy of non-violence derived from Tolstoy, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. To this he eventually added the rhetoric of world peace, ecology, human rights, and the rest of the amorphous agenda that informs the liberal Western conscience. …

[But] nonviolence has never been a traditional Tibetan practice, or a societal norm, or, for that matter, a teaching of Tibetan Buddhism. …

She goes on to tell us of the maintenance of private armies to fight internal wars, and the frequent settlement of political rivalries by assassination in Tibetan history. Before 1960, Dalai Lamas did not preach or practice nonviolence.

Yet here is Robert Thurman, the well-known professor of Tibetan studies at Columbia University … declaring that the great 5th. Dalai Lama (1617-1682) was “a compassionate and peace-loving ruler who created in Tibet a unilaterally disarmed society.” And here, by way of contrast, are the instructions of the 5th. Dalai Lama himself to his commanders, who had been ordered to subdue a rebellion in Tsang in 1660:

‘Make their male line like trees that have had their roots cut; make the female lines like brooks that have dried up in winter; make the children and grandchildren like eggs smashed against rocks; make the servants and followers like heaps of grass consumed by fire; make their dominion like a lamp whose oil has been exhausted: in short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.’

Until the incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China in 1950, and the subsequent flight of the 14th. Dalai Lama to India, Tibet had ‘barely registered in the West’s consciousness’.  The Dalai Lama has made it his life’s mission to preserve ‘the Tibetan cultural heritage’. But what is being preserved is ‘an idealized and hybridized image of his culture for Western consumption’ – at which, the author concedes, he has been ‘spectacularly successful’.

That idealized image … has indeed succeeded in gathering much enthusiastic support, thereby keeping alive both the Tibetan issue [of its annexation by China] and the diaspora community embodying it [our italics].

It is not the real Tibet, but this idealized version of it, made to measure for them by the Dalai Lama and his esoteric circle, that Westerners are emotionally exercized about. To them Tibet is Shangri-La, the fictitious Himalayan community of James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, where unique spiritual wisdom is being preserved for the future benefit of the whole world. And they see this Tibet, ‘vague enough to serve as a kind of screen on which to project their own dreams and fantasies’, as ‘highly endangered, in need of urgent support and rescue by the West.’

It is almost as if the Dalai Lama has become for these pacifists and one-worlders, these New Agers and greens, these schizophrenics of the left, the personification of their dreams and fantasies, a living, breathing, symbol of all that they hold dear. As such, he is a thorn in the flesh, or at least a stone in the shoe, of China.

For their almost equally adored President Obama who, they trust, shares their dreams, to refuse to receive the Dalai Lama is incomprehensible even more than it is shocking. It does not compute. They grope for understanding. Yet it isn’t hard to find the reason why. Obama is confronted by China as a child in Jurassic Park is confronted by Tyrannosaurus Rex. ‘The Dalai Lama?’ he stammers at it. ‘No, no, he’s no friend of mine!’

To us, Communist China is an abomination, however economically successful it has become by allowing a degree of economic freedom. We would be happy to see such a regime thwarted by having territory wrested from its grasp. But we do not share the Shangri-La illusion, or believe that Tibet is the guardian of a ‘spiritual wisdom’ that will ultimately save the world. Whether Obama entertains the smiling gentleman or not, does not concern us. What we care about is that the West should continue to be prosperous, free, strong, and rational. The Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, New Agers, Greens, leftists, pacifists, feminists, environmentalists, and one-worlders do not. We watch with a cold eye to see how they fare in the Jurassic Park of international political and economic realities.