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Word Count: 698
There is a burgeoning group in the West who are sceptical about Tibetan Buddhism and its most prominent member the Dalai Lama They say they are suspicious of the increasing number of wealthy and glamorous people who flock to teachings by an ever more visible number of Tibetan lamas around the globe Surely they reason there must be something rotten in the state of Denmark Perhaps pre-invasion Tibet was an oppressed feudal society headed by a devious band of monks who hoarded power and privilege in their centuries old monasteries And arent todays lamas pandering to celebrities a bit too much to be authentic Is Richard Gere really a Buddhist Criticism is no bad thing In fact the Tibetans with their monastic tradition of logic and dialectic debating would welcome these sceptics with open arms But given that the debates are now held on the forecourt of monasteries supplanted from Tibet to India and Nepal it may be more convenient to sit on the couch and watch The Teacher In it His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama talks about the most simple tenets of Buddhas teachings - which will perhaps explain the lamas egalitarian attitude towards the wealthy and the less privileged Put simply the first of the Four Noble Truths the first recorded teaching by Buddha is that suffering exists in all our lives whether we are wealthy or poor beautiful or ugly privileged or disadvantaged This happens largely because we have trained our minds to discriminate between good or bad events depending upon their effect on the most important person in our lives us Once we get a touch of what we think will make us happy we strive to make it permanent Some do it by acquiring a house or a car or a lover Some do it by giving away all their possessions and harping on about how free they
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