Discover more from Caitlin’s Newsletter
The Dalai Lama Is A Creepy Asshole
(Readers sensitive to discussion of inappropriate adult behavior toward children may want to skip this one.)
There's a really gross video going around of the Dalai Lama kissing a young boy on the lips and telling him to suck his tongue while an adult audience looks on approvingly. A tweet from Tibet.net last month shows a video clip of the Tibetan spiritual leader with the child and says the encounter took place during his "meeting with students and members of M3M Foundation," though Tibet.net's clip cuts out the sexually inappropriate part of the encounter.
The Dalai Lama has raised eyebrows after kissing a young Indian boy on the lips and asking him to “suck” his tongue at a recent event.
Footage of the bizarre interaction, which occurred last month during an event for India’s M3M Foundation, has gone viral on social media.
The leader of Tibetan Buddhism, Tenzin Gyatso, was hosting students and members of the foundation at his temple in Dharamshala, India, where he lives in exile.
In the video, the boy approaches the microphone and asks, “Can I hug you?”
The 87-year-old says “OK, come” and invites him on stage.
The Dalai Lama motions to his cheek and says “first here” and the boy gives him a hug and kiss.
He holds the boy’s arm and turns to him, saying “then I think fine here also” as he points to his lips.
The spiritual leader then grabs the boy’s chin and kisses him on the mouth as the audience laughs.
“And suck my tongue,” the Dalai Lama tells the boy, sticking out his tongue.
They press their foreheads together and the boy briefly pokes out his tongue before backing away, as the Dalai Lama gives him a playful slap on the chest and laughs.
What is it with power-adjacent clergymen and child molestation, anyway? As Michael Parenti noted in 2003, sexual abuse was commonplace in the tyrannical environment of feudal Tibet, over which the 14th Dalai Lama would still preside had it not been forcibly annexed by the PRC in the 1950s. While the slogan of "Free Tibet" has long been used as a propaganda bludgeon by the west against China particularly and against communism generally, the truth of the matter is that Tibet was quantifiably a far more tyrannical and oppressive place to live back when it was supposedly "free".
I went to see the Dalai Lama a long time ago when he came to speak at Melbourne, and I remember what stood out the most for me was how completely lacking in depth or profundity it was. As someone with an intense interest in spirituality and enlightenment I always found it perplexing that someone so highly regarded in the circles I moved in had nothing to say on such matters besides superficial, Sesame Street-level remarks about being nice and trying to make the world a better place. Probably no one alive today is more commonly associated with Buddhism and spiritual awakening in western consciousness than the Dalai Lama, yet everything I've ever read or heard from him has struck me as unskillful, unhelpful and vapid when compared to the words of other spiritual teachers.
That confusing discrepancy cleared up after I got into political analysis and learned that the Dalai Lama is probably not someone who should be looked to for spiritual guidance, and is actually far too messed up inside to have accomplished much inner development as a person.
Take an interview he did back in September 2003, a solid six months after the invasion of Iraq. The Dalai Lama told AP that he believed the US invasion of Afghanistan was "perhaps some kind of liberation" that could "protect the rest of civilization," as was the USA's brutal intervention in Korea, and that the US invasion of Iraq was "complicated" and would take more time before its morality could be determined. In 2005, years after the invasion, after normal mainstream members of the public had realized the war was a disaster, the Dalai Lama still said "The Iraq war — it's too early to say, right or wrong."
This is plainly someone with a broken moral compass. These are basic, bare-minimum assessments that any normal person with any degree of psychological and emotional health can quickly sort out for themselves, and he still winds up basically on the same side of these issues as some of the worst people on earth.
But I guess that's about the best anyone could expect from a literal CIA asset. His administration received $1.7 million a year from the Central Intelligence Agency through the 1960s, and it's reported that he himself personally received $180,000 a year from the CIA for decades.
Many friends of Tibet and admirers of the Dalai Lama, who has always advocated nonviolence, believe he knew nothing about the CIA program. But Gyalo Thondup, one of the Dalai Lama’s brothers, was closely involved in the operations, and [CIA veteran John Kenneth] Knaus, who took part in the operation, writes that “Gyalo Thondup kept his brother the Dalai Lama informed of the general terms of the CIA support.” According to Knaus, starting in the late 1950s, the Agency paid the Dalai Lama $15,000 a month. Those payments came to an end in 1974.
The CIA is easily the most depraved institution in the world today, so it would be reasonable to expect the moral development of someone so intimately involved with it to be a bit stunted. Ten or fifteen years ago it would've surprised me to learn that I would one day type these words, but it turns out the Dalai Lama is a real asshole.
It's rare to find a spiritual teacher who has expanded their consciousness inwardly enough to have useful things to say about enlightenment, and of those who do it's extremely rare to find one who has also expanded their consciousness outwardly enough to discuss world events from a place of wisdom and understanding as well. The Dalai Lama is as far from this as you could possibly get: he has lived his life in cooperation with the most unwise institutions on earth, and he is less inwardly developed than most people you might pass on the street.
People should stop looking up to this freak.
UPDATE: The Dalai Lama has issued a statement on the "suck my tongue" incident. Here it is in full:
A video clip has been circulating that shows a recent meeting when a young boy asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama if he could give him a hug. His Holiness wishes to apologize to the boy and his family, as well as his many friends across the world, for the hurt his words may have caused.
His Holiness often teases people he meets in an innocent and playful way, even in public and before cameras. He regrets the incident.
Caitlin’s Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon, Paypal, or Substack, buying an issue of my monthly zine, and following me on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud or YouTube. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.