Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Just what we all needed... the Dalai Lama coming to read the riot act

His Buddhisticular Holiness has spoken. Yea, and indeed lo, yonder Dalai Lama has been shooting his mouth off again, this time about last summer's riots in Englandshire.

Although he's a religious man, the Dalai sometimes has lucid intervals, and on this occasion took advantage of one of these to ululate thus: "Life isn't easy."

This, taking into account all the evidence and consulting our astrological charts, is broadly speaking correct. However, Mr Lama was orating particularly in the context of the riots that swept Englandshire last year.

He expressed his shock, yada-yada, and also his bewilderment as he'd thought the English "mature" and "sensible". How we laughed. Clearly, he doesn't read the Daily Mail, house journal of Middle England's deranged and disturbed.

The Dalai's point - and somebody's got to make it for him - was that the young fellows who went off their onions last summer had expected life to be easy. And, lo, it was not. It was rubbish.

It could be easier, of course. We could imprison the rich and redistribute their wealth. But everybody loves the rich nowadays, and the tumbril industry is deep in recession.

Mr Lama, one of the world's leading baldies, showed there was another way. He was in Londonshire to be awarded the £1.1m Templeton prize (for his engagement with science and ability to cross religious boundaries), and immediately gave £900,000 towards Save the Children's work with malnourished children in India.

Many of his fellow Tibetans wish he'd give the rest towards taking up arms against the occupying Chinese. But the Dalai has set his face against violence, believing the Tibetans should wait until the Chinese see the error of their ways. Good luck with that. Maybe we should have done the same with Hitler.

In the meantime, patriotic Tibetan monks have been setting fire to themselves. Yes, well that sounds like a plan.

Jeez, the world's such a complicated place. And at least the Dalai has been giving matters some thought. He said that when he heard about the riots in England, "I really thought 'oh'." Oh, indeed. Well, at least 'oh' is a starting point.

He went on to discuss the recession, claiming it was made by man and not by wotsisname: God. And he added: "Please don't feel hopeless." Oh, all right.

The Dalai's enlightened 'oh' signified that, in the past, he's associated such scenes as last summer's with the Third World, where at least they were understandable, given the poverty an' all.

But, in England, where everybody has an iPhone and a large country estate? It is a bit odd, right enough.

The trouble with last year's riots is that they were really just about crime. They'd no noble purpose. It's interesting that in France, Spain, Greece and other Third World countries even the middle classes take readily to the streets, chanting and whatnot.

I've never believed chanting achieves anything, but it's arguably better than sitting back and watching hope quietly expire, as British people tend to do. Things are coming to a pretty pass when we have to wait on the Dalai Lama coming here and speaking up for us.

While in the UK, he met with David Cameron, Prime Minister of England and the Other Bits, but refrained from poking him in the eye. Remarkable. Apart from his baldness, he's an example to us all.

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