By XIAO YUNYU
DEHLI (China Daily Show) – Former anointed leader of Tibet and spiritual guru of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama yesterday shocked onlookers by announcing his imminent retirement from public life.
Speaking at a press conference in Delhi, India, the Dalai Lama answered a routine question about Burma by telling world media that it was “probably time to throw in the towel.”
“As far as [Tibetan] independence goes, we’ve done all we can. God knows, we’ve tried: from armed uprisings to paintings to Richard Gere, we’ve done all we possibly can,” the exiled Tibetan religious leader told assembled press. “Maybe it’s time to focus on what’s really important in life.”
Sipping from a can of 7-Up and wearing a pair of shades, the Tibetan spiritual leader seemed calm and relaxed, refusing to be drawn any further on the subject.
But appearing an hour later, having changed from his usual saffron robes into a checked shirt, corduroy flat cap and stonewashed chinos, the Dalai Lama answered media questions in rapid-fire succession.
Chinese President Hu Jintao? “No hard feelings. As they say, don’t look for me in the morning, baby, as I’ll be gone, solid gone.” Asked about Nobel Prize-winning jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the Dalai Lama shrugged.
“Shit happens. He’ll be out in ten years. After that, who knows?”
Asked if he would miss his role as leader of the Tibetan Buddhist community, the charismatic spiritual leader said to laughter, “Certainly not those butter candles. They reek worse than a yak’s tuckus. And on the bright side, no more Richard Gere, obviously.”
The words came as a surprise, despite having told a CNN reporter in Florida late October that “I’m a human being. … Retirement is my right.” It also marks a major career change for the Dalai Lama, since he was declared the living incarnation of the highest power in Tibetan Buddhism and made de facto spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people seventy years ago.
The grey-haired and much-admired face of Tibetan liberation has remained a thorn in the Chinese government’s side since his flight from the troubled region following a failed uprising against Communist rule in 1959.
The Dalai Lama insisted that the plight of the Tibetan people remains close to his heart, but that he also felt it was important to devote his time to other causes.
“It’s all been happening while I’ve been busy: Facebook, Hot Pockets, Simon Cowell, Team Edward… where to even begin? I’ve got a lot to catch up on. What am I going to be doing?” He smiled. “Having some serious me-time.”
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