At the Mind & Life Institute, we are saddened and dismayed by the allegations of impropriety that emerged from a viral video of our co-founder, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. As many of you have seen, the issue concerns an exchange between the Dalai Lama and a young boy at an event honoring students at His Holiness’ temple in Dharamsala, India. As the days have passed, a fuller picture has emerged about the Dalai Lama’s actions and their intent. When viewed through the lens of Tibetan culture and His Holiness’ use of what he refers to as his “broken English,” a different story emerges than that conveyed by the 20-second edited clip from a longer exchange. We invite you to learn more in the links below.
We take seriously the devastating reality of child sexual abuse, as well as the abuse and exploitation that has occurred in spiritual communities, and stand with those who fight against this in all its forms. We also stand by the Dalai Lama, now 87, who for six decades has lived a life of service to humanity, and who has been a tireless advocate of children and educating the heart. The Dalai Lama has served as an ethical standard-bearer and a moral leader who has invited us all to rise to our better selves through service to others and in recognition of our fundamental interconnection.
His Holiness has achieved an enduring legacy and served as a positive role model for millions of people around the world through his actions and words. Throughout his life, he has been guided by the North Star of compassion, which we now exercise in his honor and with deepest gratitude for his example and unwavering commitment to the values of peace, love, forgiveness, and kindness toward others.
This incident also shines a light on how digital content is increasingly manipulated to evoke strong emotional responses and drive division. May we all be ever mindful of the impact of the information we take in, including digital media, on how we perceive the people and world around us.
- A Message from Mind & Life Board Member Jack Kornfield
- Stop Sensationalizing the Dalai Lama’s Innocent Interactions: A Tibetan Perspective (Part 1)
- Stop Sensationalizing the Dalai Lama’s Innocent Interactions: A Tibetan Perspective (Part 2)
- Opinion: We Need to Think About the Dalai Lama’s Actions Very Carefully
Mind & Life & Related Resources
- Humane Technology, an interview with Randima Fernando on the Mind & Life podcast
- A conversation with Amishi Jha and Jon Kabat-Zinn, The Role of Attention and Awareness in an Era of Misinformation and Digital Seduction
- How Social Learning Amplifies Moral Outrage Expression in Online Social Networks by William J. Brady, Killian McLoughlin, Tuan N. Doan, and Molly J. Crockett