Hell no, Dalai

The Dalai Lama got himself into some hot water last week, which is something he’s kind of been on a roll with lately.

In a 2019 interview with the BBC, he said if a female Dalai Lama should succeed him, she “should be more attractive.” In 2018, while speaking about African refugees entering the continent, he said, “I think Europe belongs to the Europeans.” And last week, the 87-year-old spiritual leader in exile told a child to suck his tongue after kissing him on the lips.

A spokesperson said the Dalai Lama’s actions were innocent and blamed China for the video of the incident going viral. Some Tibetans are also blaming the Dalai Lama’s “broken” English, which he started learning when he was 48.

And many of the nearly seven million Tibetans on this planet are saying that their language and culture are being misinterpreted. That could be true as here in the West, it’s best to not even pat a strange child on the head. If the kid isn’t yours, don’t touch it.

In the video, the boy is seen asking the Dalai Lama for a hug, which the leader did who then blessed him, then asked him to kiss him, and then stuck out his tongue saying, “Suck my tongue.” So yeah, there’s some explaining to do here. It was nearly as awkward as when my dad first met my future ex-wife and asked her to sit on his lap (I wish I was making that up).

Vice World News reports that Tibetans told the publication (that should hire a political cartoonist) the meaning of “suck my tongue” is a common expression used to teach and tease children in their culture. The correct phrase in Tibetan for this joke is “Che le sa,” which roughly translates to “Eat my tongue.”

Tibetans are pointing out that we’re viewing this through a Western lens. Yes, we are and that’s because here in the West, an adult doesn’t tell a child to suck his tongue. If you do that, men in uniforms and badges will soon be knocking on your door and you may also land on a special lifetime registration that’ll require you to inform all your neighbors of your presence anytime you move to a new neighborhood (I just did a search and there are THIRTY within a mile from my apartment). And while many in the West make jokes about pedophilia, it’s not something a spiritual leader should be doing.

I was watching an episode of The Neighborhood a few nights ago. It’s a show about a white family from the Midwest moving into a black neighborhood in Pasadena. Now this show isn’t an eye-opening critical analysis of race relations with brilliant writing and irreverent humor but is more of a typical laugh-track type of sitcom, but there are moments that can be educational. When the white guy uses the expression, “down low,” meaning to keep something a secret, his black neighbor informs him that in that neighborhood “down low” has an entirely different meaning, and one he really shouldn’t go about using in that neighborhood. I too was surprised several years ago when my best friend, who is black and isn’t homophobic at all, informed me of the different cultural definition of “down low.” I learned this while we were sitting at a bar when another white guy a couple of stools down said Gordon was “on the down low.” It did not go well.

Also, I haven’t filed my 2022 taxes yet and since I’m using my streaming services for blog research, I’m totally deducting them.

But, maybe Tibetans and the Dalai Lama should educate themselves if they’re going to produce content for social media in the Western world. There are nearly seven million Tibetans in the world while there are over two billion Catholics (and over one and a half billion Muslims). Tibetans don’t have to change their culture for us, but maybe learning some of the translations wouldn’t hurt. They should know that telling a child to “suck my tongue” wouldn’t go over well in Peoria. But when it comes to criticizing the Dalai Lama over this tongue-sucking business, it’s those two billion Catholics who might need to, borrowing from black culture again, slow their roll.

Gary McCoy is a very bad political cartoonist and a Catholic. He drew a cartoon criticizing the Dalai Lama but I don’t recall him going after the Catholic Church all that much other than to accuse the Pope of being too woke from to time. But while the Dalai Lama made news last week for something many are accusing of pedophilia, the Catholic Church has constantly been in the news for this for over the past two decades. While the first reports started to emerge in the 1990s, it was The Boston Globe that totally exposed the scandal in 2002 in a special report covering Catholic priests’ abuse of children in the Boston area. And it’s still in the news.

Just this week, it was reported that four men are suing priests in Maine over being sexually abused when they were children.

The New York Times did a piece on the Pope’s commission on sex abuse getting new offices to increase awareness of the scandal, which might be why Gary thinks the Pope is woke. Gary thinks “grooming” and pedophilia are bad except when Elvis did it.

Again, just this week, La Croix International talked about new measures the church is using to combat sexual abuse.

And just a few days ago, The Baltimore Sun reported that Maryland’s Attorney General released the names of over 150 priests in Baltimore who abused over 600 children over the past six decades.

I don’t think the Dalai Lama is a pedophile. I just think he’s gross. If he was actually a pedophile, I think we would have heard something over the past 87 years…unless the Tibetan Buddhist church is as good at covering up pedophilia as the Catholic Church is at covering it up.

And I say all this as a former Catholic.

Creative note: Proofreader Hilary unintentionally wrote today’s blog title/headline during a conversation on this subject. She’s a very creative and witty person I’ve known for about two decades.

Music note: I listened to Coheed and Cambria.

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  1. Hi Clay,

    The west and the east have very different interpretations of this loving kindness expressed from an elder to a youngster. While we may find it, odd, Tibetans do not. You can read a post about this on my Facebook page.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for this post. I’m so grateful to you for re-posting the Vice article. It was kind of sickening to hear the reports of what initially sounded like something really perverted…the additional research makes it all much more understandable as a translation gaffe. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Not a good thing, Dalai!! … “But when it comes to criticizing the Dalai Lama over this tongue-sucking business, it’s those two billion Catholics who might need to, borrowing from black culture again, slow their roll.”


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