Friday, February 17, 2006

Visit to Israel of the Dalai Lama

Once again the Dalai Lama is visiting Israel and it seems to be creating a huge buzz. Even though I have only briefly looked at the television news and the newspapers in the last few days, the amount of attention that is giving to this man's visit seems amazing.

I admit that my connection to the Buddhist peace camp in Israel in these last few years, mostly through the Middleway NGO does increase my interest in and awareness of this remarkable man. Even (or maybe especially) in a cynical society, it seems that he touches some parts that rational and emotional argument do not reach.

A friend of mine in Jerusalem was due to participate in a meeting yesterday with the Dalai Lama which was "sold out" ahead of time. Apparently, the last time he came to Israel a few years ago he filled the Cinerama in Tel Aviv - quite a large hall.

The buzz that I feel exists around his current visit leads me to think that, beneath the layer of self-confidence that so many Jewish Israelis profess, there is deep yearning for a saviour, a Messiah. The religious are literally waiting for a Messiah, for some it maybe was the Lubavitcher Rabbi Meyer Schneerson founder of the Chabad movement who died a few years ago. Us "secular" Jews will not admit that we seek salvation. The disappearance of our father figure Ariel Sharon and the victory of the Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections do not add to our inner peace.

For more about the Dalai Lama, see