I’ve been thinking about the Dalai Lama the past few days, ever since I heard him speak at his 80th birthday celebration last Sunday. One of the questions he was asked is how he handles criticism. You can hear his answer on the following video.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk, but according to Mahayana Buddhist belief, he comes from a long line of (reincarnated) Dalai Lamas believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.
That being said, he is still human and all that that implies. He’s got to have the same thoughts we do, including negative ones. Right? I’m no expert on bodhisattvas, so maybe he doesn’t. It’s just that my simple human brain has trouble wrapping itself around that. Maybe he stays quiet because it would look really bad if he let his temper get the best of him. Can you imagine him calling someone an asshole? Me neither. If for some crazy reason he did, it would be trending on Twitter in seconds. Then again, if I meditated as long as he does everyday, I might have a calmer vibe.
The Dalai Lama has been surrounded by people all his life, shielding him from a lot of the daily “stuff” people like you and me deal with on a daily basis. Then again he has the Chinese government to contend with, like them occupying Tibet. That’s got to be aggravating. The biggest problem I have is dealing with someone acting like a jerk. I’ve never had to flee a country, but then again, the day isn’t over.
Another spiritual leader I admire and want to emulate is Deepak Chopra. When he’s in the public eye, he walks his talk but in a documentary made by his son, Gotham, we see another side of him; his human side that I can relate to. He gets pissed off. He checks his social media too much. He does things we all do…because he is human but that doesn’t delete all the good work he does. Here is a video from ABC News that captures what I mean.
Both men want to make the world a better place. They both have their critics. One is a bodhisattva and the other, bodhisattva-like.
Who cares if the Dalai Lama does or doesn’t show anger? Deepak Chopra does and that’s ok. I choose to focus on their message and follow their examples the best I can. I’m human and have my flaws, and am now aware of them. It’s spiritual leaders like these two, who help me become a better version of myself. They give me things to think about and see the world from a different perspective.
Russell Brand explains how he understands the Dalai Lama’s message which makes perfect sense to me.