The Dalai Lama: A Spiritual Conundrum

I was trying to think of a title for this post.  I settled on the title after I read these definitions of conundrum:

A confusing and difficult problem or question
an intricate and difficult problem

What is the problem?

Well, what do you think about these spiritual quotations?

If we make a steady effort, I think we can overcome any form of negative conditioning and make positive changes in our lives.

Compassion and love give meaning to our activities and makes them constructive.
It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible.

Due to the fundamental interconnectedness that lies at the heart of reality, your interest is also my interest.

Of course, they all makes sense and are correct.  They would be worthy of remembering and of contemplation. The problem I have is that they were all taken from the Dalai Lama’s Twitter page.  As spiritual truths, of course they make perfect sense but we’ve also got to put them in context:  They were written or spoken by a Spiritual Teacher who has inflicted the greatest harm on the greatest number of people in modern times.  We have to put those valid sentiments in the context of a person who has turned his back on their Root and Lineage Gurus over the matter of Dorje Shugden, who has created a schism in not only the Tibetan community over this issue, but in the worldwide Buddhist community at large.  The Dalai Lama has been responsible for expelling monks from their monasteries and for ostracising Shugden practitioners from their families and communities.

Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama: sweet words, harmful actions

Therefore, when I see these spiritual sentiments, which I would normally agree with and ‘re-tweet’, I hesitate: do I really want to encourage people to make a connection with someone who, although very popular and renowned for compassion and championing human rights, has nonetheless created the biggest and most divisive controversy in modern Buddhism?  Do I want people to connect with someone who says very sweet words but whose actions cause pain and suffering to millions?

I have to say no.

If these teachings were given by any other Buddhist Teacher,  I could accept and promote them, but in this case I cannot.  At the end of the day, it’s what you do rather than what you say that has power and determines your trustworthiness. Actions, not words, determine whether people have faith in you.  It’s a Spiritual Teacher’s example we should check first and then their words.


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