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What I learned in the slush with His Holiness
March 3, 2014 9:29 AM   Subscribe

The Dalai Lama says he isn’t tired and wants to go into the mountains to see skiing. What should I do? (Single link Slate article, sweet anecdote that's worth it for the really big question.)
posted by RedOrGreen (40 comments total) 73 users marked this as a favorite

 
A nice read for the day after Losar. Thanks.
posted by aught at 9:35 AM on March 3


oh my god they don't have the safety bar down.

i'm super paranoid about that because someone fell off at the ski place near me recently.

anyways...back to the article....
posted by sio42 at 9:38 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


For some reason I was moved not by the answer but by the question, asked sincerely, by an ordinary person going about her day.
posted by eugenen at 9:41 AM on March 3 [15 favorites]


The skier, who had no idea that the 14th incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion was crying out to save his life, made a crisp little check as he approached the pylon, altering his line of descent, and continued expertly down the hill.

I love this. Thanks for posting it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:41 AM on March 3 [11 favorites]


The chairlift was old and there were no safety bars that could be lowered for protection, but this didn’t seem to bother the Dalai Lama

guess i should RTFA first...
posted by sio42 at 9:44 AM on March 3


Oh man, that was the best article I've read in a long time. So much fun!
posted by letitrain at 9:46 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


wow. that was really an amazing story.
posted by sio42 at 9:46 AM on March 3


Thank You! That was a great story to read.
posted by nostrada at 9:48 AM on March 3


I want to go skiing with the Dalai Lama! I bet he'd like cross-country, too.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:50 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


How could I even think about being paid for the privilege of spending a week with His Holiness?

Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:50 AM on March 3 [12 favorites]


Girls and monks all collapsed into a tangle of arms, legs, skis, poles, and wingtip shoes.

This article is a corker. Thanks!
posted by iotic at 10:01 AM on March 3


Thank you! Loved this.
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:03 AM on March 3


I'm not sure why but the fact that monks wear wingtips surprises the heck out of me.
posted by Skorgu at 10:11 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


This article is wonderful.

And it seems to be immune to the 'metafilter hates everything' syndrome, too!
posted by Riton at 10:27 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I found it cloying, predictable new age hippie crap.

Naw just kidding. Someone with a talent for telling stories telling a story about a guy with a talent for living. Good stuff.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:45 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


fantastic. best thing i've read in a long time.
posted by photoslob at 10:57 AM on March 3


I've visited Tibet, and as a westerner there for a week I know I could only had a glimpse, but the beauty and power of everything about the place and its culture left a lasting impression on me. However, having been ultimately kicked out by the Chinese government, it's unlikely that I'll ever be able to go back.

So I can only imagine how the Dalai Lama must have felt in those mountains (which do have a similar beauty and power to the Himalayas) at the time compared to my own welling up at his and my own wistfulness. And it seems microcosmic in some way that that feeling should be immediately followed by laughing out loud at His Holiness being bowled over by a crowd of screaming teenage girls on skis.

What a great article.
posted by cmoj at 11:03 AM on March 3


I have no particular special respect for the leader of any religion and I don't really think of the Dalai Lama as "his holiness."

That said, he does seem to be someone I would like just as a person. Cool story.
posted by tdismukes at 11:11 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


So I was walking-running through the airport awhile back...I'm almost certain it was DTW, with the 3-mile-long terminal. I was late, my gimpy ankle was getting sore, and I was in a pretty awful mood.

I look up and here comes what I can only assume is a Buddhist monk, dressed like the Dalai Lama. It's not the Dalai Lama, of course, but the same yellow and red robes. He was wearing a hat, and he was by himself, walking in the other direction. For about 5 seconds, our eyes locked. You know what happened? He smiled and held my eyes. Not a smile/glance away sort of thing. A genuine I'm looking straight at you smile. You know what happened after that?

I wasn't crabby any more. Not instantly. It took a minute or two. But all of it sort of vanished. He didn't speak a word and I'm still learning from that moment. Call it BS if you want; I don't care.

I think about the guy every time I have to go through an airport now, and I work really hard at being as calm and positive as he was, because maybe some other poor slob is hauling ass through the terminal and needs to calm down for a few.

That's my Buddhist story. If I ever get the chance to meet the Dalai Lama, I'd like to tell him that one of his guys did all right in Detroit that one day.
posted by jquinby at 11:11 AM on March 3 [40 favorites]


I LOL'ed (literally) when he got bowled over by the teenage girls. Great story.
posted by COD at 11:32 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


“Hard question is not, ‘What is meaning of life?’ That is easy question to answer! No, hard question is what make happiness. Money? Big house? Accomplishment? Friends? Or …” He paused. “Compassion and good heart? This is question all human beings must try to answer: What make true happiness?”
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:45 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


As we stood, the Dalai Lama spoke enthusiastically about the view, the mountains, the snow and the desert. After a while he lapsed into silence and then, in a voice tinged with sadness, he said, “This look like Tibet.”

Well that's just heartbreaking.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:14 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


tdismukes: "I have no particular special respect for the leader of any religion and I don't really think of the Dalai Lama as "his holiness.""

Personally, I have great respect for any religious leader who can resist the temptation of using their religion as a cudgel and instead uses it to inspire. I don't believe in their religion, but that doesn't mean I can't respect them as people.
posted by wierdo at 12:21 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I've been told (by another religious leader, who met the Dalai Lama at the Parliament of World Religions one year) that he's kind of a prankster and loves to ditch whoever's supposed to be on security detail.
posted by Foosnark at 12:57 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


I don't believe in their religion, but that doesn't mean I can't respect them as people.

Yeah -- it doesn't really matter if he *is* holy or not, he's what you sort of hope holiness would look like if you encountered it.

Which raises a huge and unanswerable sociological question for me. How much (if any) did the Dalai Lama's ongoing success influence the ascension of the similarly modest and grounded Pope Francis?

It's clear that even after the death of Fred Rodgers -- or perhaps especially because of the death of Fred Rogers -- people who are both religious and genuine are in high demand. It's a trend I could stand to see a lot more of.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:06 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Buddhism is not really a religion, it's more of a lifestyle with deep philosophical roots.
posted by absentian at 1:24 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Why no skiing in Tibet?
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:52 PM on March 3


Buddhism is not really a religion, it's more of a lifestyle with deep philosophical roots.

It's actually both. There was a split fairly early on and one way went philosophical while the other went religious. That confused me for a long time (how did these Gods end up in the middle of a perfectly serviceable philosophy?) until finally someone pointed out that what the Buddha had to say had minimal supernatural content -- reincarnation being the big exception -- and that the religious elements were largely adopted from local religions at later dates.

Anyway for some people it's a philosophy, for others a religion, and for many it's both. It's all good.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:55 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Oxford wingtips!
posted by sawdustbear at 1:58 PM on March 3


Is it just me, or does the Dalai Lama act a little too much like Chauncey Gardiner from "Being There" for comfort? I'd love to hang out with him, but I just can't buy into his whole holiness through frivolity and his reluctance to speak to complex matters with any nuance whatsoever...
posted by pleem at 1:59 PM on March 3


Why no skiing in Tibet?

Infrastructure. It's still a boutique industry today, and considering that the base of the hill would be at 12,000+ feet I'm not thinking any major resorts will be setting up shop...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:04 PM on March 3


I loved the book Seven Years in Tibet - written by a westerner who was one of the Dalai Lama's teachers. Seems like he always had that effervescent, direct personality.
posted by leslies at 2:24 PM on March 3


Is it just me, or...

It's probably just you.

(Not being Buddhist, I don't necessarily believe the things his followers do about him, but I do think he's a pretty swell guy and I wish more religious leaders were like that.)
posted by Foosnark at 3:17 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Big hitter, the Lama.
Gunga galunga, gunga gunga lagunga, so I got that goin for me....
posted by djseafood at 3:46 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


The skier, who had no idea that the 14th incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion was crying out to save his life, made a crisp little check as he approached the pylon, altering his line of descent, and continued expertly down the hill.

I love this. Thanks for posting it.
I read the comments before reading the article, and I was terrified that the Dalai Lama met with a horrible skiing accident and was crying out for help while oblivious skiers passed him by.
posted by narain at 3:46 PM on March 3


I'd love to hang out with him, but I just can't buy into his whole holiness through frivolity and his reluctance to speak to complex matters with any nuance whatsoever...

What gives you that impression? He talks about such matters all the time. Just not when being given a guided tour and meeting people.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 11:47 PM on March 3


I saw him speak, about 25 years ago. I will always love him, and this is why. The audience could write down questions for him, and, after his talk, he answered some of them. One of them was something to the effect of "What is the most important thing that human beings should be working to accomplish on the planet at this time?" His answer: "How should I know that? There are lots of things they should be doing, all important".
posted by thelonius at 7:55 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure why but the fact that monks wear wingtips surprises the heck out of me.

Based on Tibetan monks I have met, I'd say it's likely someone donated those shoes to them.
posted by aught at 11:01 AM on March 4


and his reluctance to speak to complex matters with any nuance whatsoever...

If you want complexity and nuance you go to his teachings, not his PR photo ops.
posted by aught at 11:09 AM on March 4


The Dali Lama sitting cross-legged in a chair, with his shoes below him. He wears nice things from time to time, but also dons flip-flops in snowy winter time.

And I just now learned that the 1991 trip set in motion (Google books preview) a formal resettlement program that began in 1992.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:21 PM on March 6


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