Global journey

The Dalai Lama is both the political and religious leader of the exiled Tibetans - and considered a god by some.

The conflicting issues this raises, both for the Tibetans and the rest of the world, are discussed in Pico Iyer's thoughtful and thought-provoking book, The Open Road: The global journey of the fourteenth Dalai Lama (Bloomsbury, pbk, $38).

With a global perspective and a profound ability to see several sides of a story (his parents were Oxford philosophers and friends of the Dalai Lama) Iyer examines the Dalai Lama's work and ideas and the paradoxes that surround him.

He preaches compassion, kindness and non-violence to his people, many of whom want to rebel against the Chinese occupying and absorbing their country.

He promotes globalism and technology, and yet is a Buddhist monk involved in meditation, rituals and mysticism.

Although selected as a reincarnation of his predecessor, he supports democracy and suggests his successor should be elected.

Iyer sees the Dalai Lama as a global figure and an agent for change, like Nelson Mandela or Vaclav Havel.

As he points out, and as the Dalai Lama preaches, everything changes and everything is interdependent, and sudden, totally unexpected things can happen, like the Berlin Wall suddenly coming down or apartheid collapsing - or Tibet's difficulties being resolved.

Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter