Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Dalai Lama: The Jury is Still Out

. . . As far as I'm concerned. I have heard HHDL speak once, and will be hearing him speak again later this spring. And I'm just as excited as I was before. I have read quite a few of HHDL's books, and think that they are excellent resources, because of 1) their strong message of compassion, and 2) even the most difficult concepts are beautifully explained.

But I do not consider him my 'spiritual leader'. In fact, during the first time I heard him speak I was alarmed that he called himself a 'Marxist'. I have listened to many people paint a rosy picture of communism, often saying things like, "Well, it sounds wonderful, but it just doesn't work in practice." I happen to believe they are only right in the latter part of the statement. Anyway, my point is that such a revelation might not be beneficial to someone who knows a lot about communism, or has experienced it first hand.

Far be it from me to assume what the DL thinks, but I often wonder if his comment was a way to demonstrate compassion in the face of what he and his followers experienced in Tibet.  Regardless, I am not one to follow blindly behind someone just because their name is preceded by "His Holiness", they wear robes, or they have written many books. To me, the Dalai Lama is a fellow human being- and a very learned, compassionate, and accomplished one at that. And I respect his advice and general message.


  1. "Of all the modern economic theories, the economic system of Marxism is founded on moral principles, while capitalism is concerned only with gain and profitability. Marxism is concerned with the distribution of wealth on an equal basis and the equitable utilization of the means of production. It is also concerned with the fate of the working classes–that is, the majority–as well as with the fate of those who are underprivileged and in need, and Marxism cares about the victims of minority-imposed exploitation. For those reasons the system appeals to me, and it seems fair. I just recently read an article in a paper where His Holiness the Pope also pointed out some positive aspects of Marxism.

    As for the failure of the Marxist regimes, first of all I do not consider the former USSR, or China, or even Vietnam, to have been true Marxist regimes, for they were far more concerned with their narrow national interests than with the Workers’ International; this is why there were conflicts, for example, between China and the USSR, or between China and Vietnam. If those three regimes had truly been based upon Marxist principles, those conflicts would never have occurred.

    I think the major flaw of the Marxist regimes is that they have placed too much emphasis on the need to destroy the ruling class, on class struggle, and this causes them to encourage hatred and to neglect compassion. Although their initial aim might have been to serve the cause of the majority, when they try to implement it all their energy is deflected into destructive activities. Once the revolution is over and the ruling class is destroyed, there is not much left to offer the people; at this point the entire country is impoverished and unfortunately it is almost as if the initial aim were to become poor. I think that this is due to the lack of human solidarity and compassion. The principal disadvantage of such a regime is the insistence placed on hatred to the detriment of compassion.

    The failure of the regime in the former Soviet Union was, for me, not the failure of Marxism but the failure of totalitarianism. For this reason I still think of myself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist."

    That is the full quote from HHDL that I found. I talked about HHDL's Marxist beliefs on my first blog at

    My main point was that he views the collapse of the Soviet Union a failure of totalitarianism not Marxism. So I wonder if HHDL is more of a libertarian-socialist than a marxist. The Wikipedia article an libertarian-socialism is interesting:

    Particularly it's relationship to Marxism:

  2. Thanks for your comment- and for the information that accompanied it. I don't reject HHDL because of his statement, but some who have direct experience with communist regimes may not agree with it. And you can't change someone's own human experience. Compassion is the key, and I think that this is what HH was attempting to emphasize by his comment.

    HH has also made other comments, regarding women, gays, etc. that while offhand, made me wonder. I really like HH's general message, but also feel the right to reserve my judgment.

    Thanks again for visiting!


Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! If you enjoyed this post, please share with others. -With Metta, Renata