The Dalai Lama has effectively been turned into a cartoon good guy. In America and western Europe, where backward anti-modern sentiments are widespread amongst self-loathing sections of the educated and the elite, the Dalai Lama has been embraced as a living, breathing representative of unsullied goodness. Despite the fact that he advertises Apple, guest-edits Vogue and drives a Land Rover, he is held up as evidence that living the simple eastern life is preferable to, in the words of Philip Rawson, westerners' "gradually more pointless pursuit of material satisfactions". Just as earlier generations of disillusioned aristocrats fell in love with a fictional version of Tibet (Shangri-La), so contemporary un-progressives idolise a fictional image of the Dalai Lama.
- Brendan O'Neill, 'Down with the Dalai Lama', guardian.co.uk, Thursday May 29 2008
Labels: America, Asia, Europe, Monasticism, O Tempore O Mores