Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starstruck By The Dalai Lama

Here is another new interview with Sandra Oh where she elaborates on her thoughts on the Dalai Lama, whom she will get to meet for the first time tomorrow at an event at the University of Calgary.

In a world that reveres hot young stars and red-carpet glamour, it can be difficult to describe the relevance of a 74-year-old Tibetan monk.

Unless it's the Dalai Lama.

"He's a rock star! Rock star! Seriously, a rock star!" gushes actress Sandra Oh in a recent interview with the Herald about the Dalai Lama's visit to Calgary this week. "I'm going to be laying there prostrate and just bringing white scarves."

As the co-host of the University of Calgary's Connect Now event, Oh may be kidding about the ceremonial accessories, but she's not joking about being star-struck by the Dalai Lama. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Buddhist monk, who has lived in exile from Tibet since 1959, has that affect on a lot of people, including many celebrities such as Bryan Adams and k. d. lang who will perform as part of the Now Conference.

Throughout the years, the Dalai Lama's effect on pop culture has been marked by a growing cross-section of people in the western world-- such as U. S. presidents and activists including Richard Gere and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys--who have spoken out in support of his work to free Tibet from Chinese rule.

But it doesn't stop there. The Dalai Lama has somehow managed to defy age and fashion restrictions to make it into the pages of tabloid magazines.

Photos of the Dalai Lama interacting with celebrities can be found on gossip websites, and earlier this year someone set up a Twitter account in his name which garnered 20,000 followers in just two days before his representatives said it was run by an imposter. You don't hear that about the Pope.

Those who follow the Dalai Lama's teachings have mixed feelings about his celebrity status. While they welcome his high profile for the attention it brings Buddhism and the cause to free Tibet, they worry that it detracts from a deeper understanding of his message.

"Buddhism was once so insular and now look at its global reach from this one Dalai Lama's efforts," says Oh. "For 70 years he's been the Dalai Lama and at this point, probably the winter of his life, he has such an impact. For me, I think that speaks to a very positive outlook on the consciousness of where we're at.

"I would never say that the Dalai Lama was a celebrity in any way because right now the word celebrity is very negative. . . who is presenting celebrity as the new religion? Basically, the corporate overlords of the world. It's not like people won't try to make money off the Dalai Lama, but that has nothing to do with him, his image or what he's really about."


1 comment :

Real estate Toronto said...

Dalai Lama and his cause have always my sympathy. I only wish I could meet him in person one day. But it is truly sad that many people are only interested in him because he is so famous and they don't really care about the things Dalai Lama stands for. Julie

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