Make yourself at home, Your Holiness

The Dalai Lama holds court tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Radio City Music Hall.

The first three days, he will teach Nagarjuna’s Commentary on Bodhicitta and A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life by Shantideva.

The last day, he will give a talk called “Awakening the Heart of Selfishness.” Huh?

The description: “His Holiness will discuss the process of realizing true selflessness and how this realization awakens a genuine caring for others. This is how we achieve inner peace for ourselves, a feeling of responsibility for the happiness of others, and ultimately a more compassionate world for everyone.”

In the picture, he is speaking yesterday at the University of Northern Iowa.

New York magazine has a “Guide to the Tibetocracy” — those groups in NY that support the DL and and Tibetan cause.

The guide, for instance, notes that Tibet House, the “primary New York cultural outpost for all things Tibet,” had a hard time getting going in 1987. “Even the Grateful Dead wouldn’t do a benefit concert for us because they hoped to tour in China,” says Robert Thurman, its well-known boss.

I got an email yesterday with a subject line reading: “Dalai Lama Propagates Spiritual Errors on his U.S. Tour.”

I thought it was odd that some Buddhist group or other was critiquing the Dalai Lama’s teachings.

But it was only an email refuting all of Buddhism by a group called ChristianInvestigator.

It noted, for instance, “Tibetan Buddhism teaches reincarnation. However, the Bible teaches that reincarnation is not a possibility. The Bible clearly teaches that there is one life and then comes judgment.”

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Still a charmer after all these months

I’ve lost track of how many people have sent me links to New York magazine’s profile of Archbishop Dolan in the current issue.

I read it a few days ago, but don’t really know what to say about it.

It’s a fine piece, well written and researched. But it pretty much covers the same ground that everyone covered a few months ago when the big guy showed up in town.

The headline is “The Archbishop of Charm.” Well, yeah.

Robert Kolker writes:

*****

His entire career, Dolan, 59, has approached the job of being a priest not as a daunting paterfamilias but as that heckuva-nice-guy you meet at some wedding who turns out to be a priest. He is what other priests call a “lifer,” someone who found his calling early and steered a course to the seminary right after grammar school (last spring, his first-grade teacher flew in to do the reading at his installation in Manhattan). He grew up in Ballwin, Missouri, the oldest of five children. His mother still lives in the St. Louis area, but his father, an aircraft engineer, died of a heart attack, in 1977—just nine months after Dolan was ordained. “He doesn’t have to put on any kind of show,” says Monsignor Michael Curran, a Brooklyn priest who has known Dolan for two decades. “He’s very comfortable with who he is and what he’s been called to be. And he uses his personality, his human gifts, to communicate a very powerful spiritual message. Maybe a psychologist could put it better, but I think there’s probably not a trace of an identity crisis in the man.”

*****

Yeah, that’s Dolan alright.

The most interesting aspect of the profile, it seems to me, is how to shows Dolan’s ambivalence about the Great Gay Debate. Of course, he opposes gay marriage. He is Roman Catholic archbishop, after all.

But I get the feeling that Dolan would really rather talk about other things.

When I interviewed Dolan shortly after his arrival, I asked if he believed that homosexuality was inborn. He said that he didn’t know and would leave it up to the experts.

He tells Kolker:

“If you have been gay your whole life and feel that that’s the way God made you, God bless you. But I would still say that that doesn’t mean you should act on that. I would happen to say, for instance, that God made me with a pretty short temper. Now, I still think God loves me, but I can’t act on that. I would think that God made me with a particular soft spot in my heart for a martini. Now, I’d better be careful about that.”