Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dalai Lama, battling exhaustion, cancels trips

The Dalai Lama (L), France's first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (C) and Sogyal Rinpoche (R), director of the Buddhist temple Lerab Ling, attend the inauguration of the temple on 8/22/08 (REUTERS/Pascal Guyot/Pool/France).

Ashwini Bhatia (AP, 8/27/08)

DHARMSALA, India -- The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was suffering from exhaustion and has canceled two planned international trips to undergo medical tests, his office said Wednesday.

The 73-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner had been "experiencing some discomfort in the past couple of days," a statement from his office said, adding that his doctors had diagnosed "exhaustion."

The Dalai Lama just returned from an 11-day visit to France, capping an intense few months since the violent uprising against Chinese rule in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, in March and the subsequent harsh Chinese crackdown.

The Dalai Lama spends several months a year traveling the globe to highlight the struggle of Tibetans for greater freedom from China and to teach Buddhism.

He canceled two upcoming trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic and would rest over the next three weeks, said Thupten Samphel, the spokesman of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile.
Samphel said the Dalai Lama would travel to Mumbai for medical tests Thursday before returning to recuperate in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala, where he has had his headquarters since fleeing Tibet in 1959 after an abortive uprising against China.

"He has been going to Mumbai for regular health checkups on advice from his doctors for quite a long time," said Samphel. He said all appointments and visits would be canceled for three weeks.

While the Dalai Lama is generally thought to be in good health, this is not the first time exhaustion has laid him low. In 2006, the globe-trotting Buddhist leader was grounded by his doctors because of exhaustion and canceled all his engagements for a month.

Since the outbreak of violence in Tibet, China has stepped up its campaign to vilify him, blaming him for recent unrest which Beijing says was part of a campaign to split the Himalayan region from the rest of China.

He has denied the allegations and says he only wants greater autonomy for the Himalayan region to protect its Buddhist culture.
Dalai Lama during consecration ceremony of Lerab Ling Temple, Roqueredonde, southern France, 8/22/08 (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

1 comment:

pema said...

My sympthay goes out to HHDL, who pushes himself too hard for a man of his age. But I have to question his judgement in agreeing to attend the opening of the Lerab Ling temple in France -- a grandiose project launched by the *lama* Sogyal Lakar. In 1994 Sogyal was sued for sexual harrassment, coercion and physical abuse by an American woman known as Janice Doe. The suit was resolved with an out of court fianacial settlement. *Janice Doe* agreed to a gagging order under the terms of the settlement, but it seems likely that this has now expired. Recently, news of Sogyal's sex addiction has started to leak out from the 3 year retreat at present underway at Lerab Ling. Many people have left the retreat in disgust at Sogyal's behaviour. One of them wrote about this to Penor Rinpoche and to HHDL. She has not received a response. I wrote to Tsering Tashi, HHDL's representative in London, asking for comment on why HHDL legitimises Sogyal by having him as a guest speaker at Kalachakra ceremonies -- and by his vists to Lerab Ling. I have not received a reply. It is typical of the Tibetan administration to ignore awkward or embarrassing enquiries, in the hope that they will not be persued. But now I think enough people are angry enough about Sogyal to make it impossible to ignore this isssue. There will be more on this -- I am sure of that.