quinta-feira, 3 de maio de 2012


Two monks, two conversations. Soon after meeting the Dalai Lama, James Astill interviews a monk MP in Sri Lanka. He comes away feeling distressed about the country's war and dazed by the breadth of Buddhism ... 

Dalai LamaWhen it comes to being nice, few people would enjoy comparison with the Dalai Lama. So, it is bad luck on the Venerable Athuraliye Rathana, a Sri Lankan politician known as the "war monk", that he is the second Buddhist monk I have interviewed in recent days.The first, the DL, seems--no kidding--little less than saintly. I visited him in Dharamsala, his refuge in northern India, with The Economist's China correspondent, who saw more of last month's uprising in Tibet than any other foreign journalist. The Dalai Lama wanted to hear precisely what my colleague had seen. And where it contradicted what he thought he knew--generally, where the Chinese response had been less beastly than the Dalai Lama had been told--he listened extra hard, and he tried to understand.It was humbling. So, too, was his tremendous good humour in the face of so much destruction and personal injury. "The situation, unfortunately, looks hopeless," he said, and deeply chuckled. And then: "The Chinese media...the Chinese government site...they denounce me as a demon, as a wolf in a monk's robe, all these things, it doesn't matter. Some people call me a God-king; some people call me a living Buddha; some people call me a demon--it doesn't matter..."

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