If you've got the Beastie Boys' and Richard Gere's emails, please make sure they see this.
"Still I am a Marxist," the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.
"(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits," the Dalai Lama, 74, said.
However, he credited China's embrace of market economics for breaking communism's grip over the world's most populous country and forcing the ruling Communist Party to "represent all sorts of classes".
"(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people's living standards improved," he said.
Can I suggest this sort of dumb statement—Marxism has "moral" ethics yet drives down everyone's standard of living; capitalism has no ethics, yet makes everyone life better?—is yet one more sign that the Dalai Lama is not a serious thinker or observer of life?
There is no question that communist (!) China (not capitalist China) invaded his country wrongly, robbing him of his right to an antiquated throne based on a system of beliefs far more fanciful than anything Jimmy Swaggart, say, ever trotted out. The communists shouldn't have done that and they have visited horrors not just of Tibet but on all of China and elsewhere.
Yet this sort of confusion of the Dalai Lama's part is completely of a piece with his pronouncements on gay sex ("From a Buddhist point of view, [gay sex] is generally considered sexual misconduct") and reincarnation. Which is to say they are the products of a fanciful religion, not any sort of great wisdom that is particularly worth listening to when it comes to politics, ideology, or even ethics.
One final question: Based upon his own religion, isn't the Dalai Lama getting exactly what he deserves in this life?
Beware of maya. And beware of George Harrison songs called "Beware of Darkness."