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Lions Roar : July 2017
or culture. Skillfully, the Dalai Lama teaches his “common human religion of kindness,” anchor- ing it in science and insisting that others can follow parallel paths in their own ways to the same good effect. Called the “Ocean Teacher,” the Dalai Lama is the most prominent in an ocean of emana- tions of compassionate beings who represent the peaceful, joyous way we could be living and taking care of each other and our planet. For those who recognize him (he staunchly rejects the claim), he is an incarnation of Avalokitesh- vara (“God who Cares”), a divine bodhisattva who deploys countless emanation bodies to help beings free themselves from suffering. Avalok- iteshvara is like a living Jesus, a Jesus who keeps coming back, generation after generation. But unlike Jesus as a sole incarnation, Avalokitesh- vara comes as many beings, recognized or not, and not only as Tibetan lamas, not only as Bud- dhists, and not only as males. The world’s people and the world’s leaders sense the Dalai Lama’s presence in their lives, and he ranks high in global popularity. Sadly, though, they don’t follow his advice, being too preoccupied with power and money to imple- ment his plan for “world peace through inner peace.” Luckily, he and his bodhisattva team- mates maintain their common sense and vision of hope, and patiently point to a better way for- ward for this planet. ROBERT THURMAN is professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University and president of Tibet House U.S. The Voice of Tibetan Freedom Thupten Jinpa As one of the world’s most enduring and revered figures, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is, for millions around the globe, a powerful voice of humanity’s conscience and its aspiration for a more peaceful and a just world. For we Tibetans, both inside Tibet as well as without, he serves as the bond that unites us in our aspiration for peace, freedom, and dignity. As the voice for the Tibetan people and their aspiration for freedom and dignity, he has kept the fate of Tibet, its people, and its culture in the forefront of the world’s consciousness for over five decades. His unwavering insistence on nonviolence as the means of freedom struggle and his active engagement with modernity, rather than choosing cultural isolationism, have powerfully shaped the way in which traditional Tibetan Buddhist cultures and societies engage with the challenges of modernity and globalization. Through ongoing collaboration with scientists from a wide range of disciplines, the Dalai Lama has encouraged the integra- tion of insights from the Tibetan tradition into modern scientific research. This creative marriage of ancient East and modern West leads to genuine offerings beneficial to humanity at large. For Tibetans, this vision has helped create a mindset in which they are empowered by the knowledge that their culture is an important spiritual heritage of the world. This vision has offered a way for people of the Tibetan cultural world, while taking pride in their distinct heritage, to contribute to the larger well-being of humanity. PHOTOBYTHOMASIMO/ALAMYSTOCKPHOTO LION’S ROAR | JULY 2017 53