It is fashionable to like and respect the Dalai Lama. He travels worldwide to promote peace, compassion and harmony. So why was I disappointed in his remarks at the California Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women yesterday?
His Holiness spoke about human compassion, and how we have it “biologically.” Mothers love and care for their children from the moment they are born. Mothers are more sensitive to the suffering of others. The mother’s role is to create a nurturing environment for the family.
This is all well and good, but what about the women who aren’t mothers? Are they somehow ‘less woman’ because they haven’t had children? Are they less sensitive?
It seemed that the Dalai Lama hadn’t prepared any remarks at all, so when he got out there he began to free associate. His first thought about women? His mother. So what does he talk about? Motherhood. Gee, I’ve always wanted to hear the Dalai Lama’s thoughts about motherhood!
He did speak against the war in Iraq, and this is the snippet one can find on his web site. (By the way, he seems to indicate here that he wasn’t opposed to the war in the beginning, that he had a “wait and see” attitude. That doesn’t seem to jive with the whole Buddhist thing.)
All the remembering of his own mother and talking about motherhood rendered His Holiness quite childlike. There were a couple of moments during which, in response to Maria Shriver’s well-put questions, he shrugged, half-answered and giggled. It was apparent that he had no clue what to say when she asked him how women with busy lives can make the time to find stillness. He even said something about his limited experience with this problem (at least he was honest).
It would have been nice to hear him espouse some Buddhist principles, or provide some reassurance that IF one makes the time for stillness, it’s worth the effort because the blah blah blah in the blah blah yields blah blah blah. (I’m not a student of Buddhism, so I’ve resorted to blah.)
Oh my. Looks like Buddhist women have their own ordination issue. Yet another women’s issue!
I mean no disrespect to His Holiness. Free Tibet!