His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the world’s most famous Buddhist1, and is heralded as a shining example of wisdom, compassion, understand and peace. Some have even regarded him as the most beloved and recognized leader of our time2.

By convention, he is the ‘head’ of the Tibetan Buddhist church and many regard him as the “Pontiff of Buddhism”3. Therefore, it is only to be expected for the Dalai Lama to act in a proper manner, have decorum and an air of sanctity because he is regarded as an example to follow for millions in the world. However, the Dalai Lama was very recently seen taking pleasure in mocking someone he has never met, which is unprecedented behaviour for a spiritual leader especially when the Dalai Lama’s main activities revolve around teaching Buddhism to large public audiences all over the world as a Buddhist monk.

The Dalai Lama is also known for his humor, and why shouldn’t he be allowed to tell a joke or two, but there is a big difference between telling a funny joke in a parody where it is appropriate and poking fun at someone especially when it is about someone’s appearance.

But this is precisely what the Dalai Lama did during an interview with Piers Morgan4 which was aired on British television channel ITV on 22 September 2016. In it, the Dalai Lama brazenly ridiculed the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. A clip of this interview was posted on to YouTube by CNN5 and has been watched over 162,000 times, and has garnered many negative comments about the Dalai Lama’s actions.

This cannot be good for the Tibetan people in exile and for the religion that the Dalai Lama is supposed to represent. It implies the religious leader is prone to public relations gaffes and it redirects attention away from his message, instead compelling the audience to focus on the inappropriate remarks. After all, this is not the first time the Dalai Lama has received negative and widespread media coverage over his flippant comments about physical appearance that Buddhism counsels its adherents to look beyond.

Some of the negative remarks by netizens about the Dalai Lama’s act of mocking the President-elect Trump. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the negative remarks by netizens about the Dalai Lama’s act of mocking the President-elect Trump. Click on image to enlarge.

Some of the negative remarks by netizens about the Dalai Lama’s act of mocking the President-elect Trump. Click on image to enlarge.

This negative backlash against the Dalai Lama’s actions mirrors what occurred in September 2015, when many expressed shock and disapproval of the Dalai Lama’s sexist and boorish comments about women.6 In yet another interview the Dalai Lama inferred that a woman, and especially his successor (were she to be female), must be attractive otherwise she would be ‘not much use’. In other words, as far as the ‘head’ of Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, you judge a woman by her looks and you place values in looks and nothing else. Notwithstanding that Buddhism teaches the emptiness and impermanence of all things, the Dalai Lama validated chauvinism and a shallow perception of people’s qualities.

Shocked, people all over the world responded by firm criticisms of the Dalai Lama’s comments and this gave rise to a now popular hashtag #DalaiLamaSexist on the social media platform Twitter. Again, this does not augur well for the Tibetan people and Tibetan Buddhism and there will be harmful repercussions.

The race for the White House is now over and the person that the Dalai Lama recklessly mocked is the President of the most powerful nation in the world. It also happens to be the country that is the closest ally of the Tibetan cause. It is widely known that the majority of Tibetans living in America supported Hillary Clinton, and those Tibetans who were entitled to vote, cast their votes for her. We see this preference clearly in the way the International Campaign for Tibet blog proudly posted a picture of the Dalai Lama and Hillary Clinton, endorsing Clinton as ‘The Next American President’7. The reason is easy to see – Clinton as US President is more likely than Trump to maintain support for the Tibetans in exile and allow the Tibetan leadership to stay its course of 50 years and counting, of doing nothing and making no effort to procure real Tibetan freedom.

Hillary Clinton, the choice of the Tibetans? Click on image to enlarge.

After mocking Donald Trump in such a public and belittling way, the Tibetan leadership obviously panicked and was amongst the first to jump in to congratulate President-elect Donald Trump following the election results8. Perhaps the Tibetan leadership did not expect Donald Trump to win and hence they thought they could afford to poke fun of someone who was of little use to them.

But the fact is that the United States has been providing the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) with millions of dollars in aid on an annual basis. With Donald Trump winning the election, the CTA rice bowl may be in jeopardy and hence they had to make amends for what could be a political and financial loss to the Tibetan leadership. That would explain Prime Minster Lobsang Sangay’s letter of congratulation to President-elect Donald Trump, groveling to cover for the mistake that the Dalai Lama made. This faux pas has become characteristic of the Tibetan leadership. If they cannot hoodwink or intimidate you, they resort to boot-licking. The Tibetan leadership does not seem to have a firm set of policies or even principles in place that govern their purpose and direction. Instead they send an aged Dalai Lama to charm the world but all charms wear thin and then the true character of the leadership shows.

Tibetan leadership reminding Trump to continue America’s support to Tibet in their congratulatory message. Click on image to enlarge.

Half a century after the Tibetans went into exile, the CTA is still not self-sufficient but continues to receive aid generously bestowed on them by various governments and individuals. For example in 2014, US$19 million was spent by the United States government on various projects related to the Tibetan people, while at least US$6 million was allocated for Tibetan use in 2016. In Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s letter dated 1 February 2016, he stated that the United States government also grants the CTA its assistance to alleviate poverty within the Tibetan refugee populace and for the promotion of democratic ideals and governance9. These sums do not even take into account the vast private donations that the CTA and their associated bodies receive from wealthy, private donors. Yet the Tibetans refugees are still nowhere close to their goal and the majority of Tibetan people continue to languish in the exile settlements with a bleak future facing them. After 50 years of global support and aid to the CTA, the Tibetan leadership in exile still has to depend on handouts and this shows their incapability to manage their own affairs and chart a future for themselves. And yet, the same group of corrupt politicians claims to be able to manage 6 million Tibetans and engage in complex statecraft with powerful neighbors and enter sophisticated trade agreements with the world.

As the Dalai Lama continues to create public relations disasters, the CTA’s gravy train may be coming to an end. As the Tibetans in exile hope that The Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (TPA)10, a core legislative measure guiding United States policy toward Tibet, will continue to provide support to alleviate their woes, the new US President may have other ideas. In an interview with New York Times in July, President-elect Donald Trump said that he prefers to focus on the problems in his own country and that it is hard to get involved in other countries when Americans “can’t see straight in our own country”.11 During yet another occasion, Trump referred to the Chinese government’s crackdown of the Tiananmen Square protest as the Chinese authorities demonstrating the power of a government in putting down a “riot” with strength. Loosely translated, it means the CTA is becoming irrelevant and less important and that the Tibetan leadership may need to look elsewhere for friends but there are no more friends who wish to ignore and oppose China. America was the CTA’s closest ally but that was before the Tibetan leadership made fun of America’s new boss.

Trump wants to focus on fixing ‘our own mess’. Click on image to enlarge.

Trump wants to focus on fixing ‘our own mess’. Click on image to enlarge.



  1. Worldwide popularity of Dalai Lama demonstrated in poll before 80th birthday
  2. The Best of the Dalai Lama: Life, Quotes, Teachings, and Books
  3. A Visit with His Holiness The Dalai Lama
  4. Piers Morgan meets the Dalai Lama
  5. Watch the Dalai Lama impersonate Donald Trump
  6. Dalai Lama’s ‘sexist’ quip ruffles equality activists
  7. The Next American President and Tibet
  8. Dalai Lama, CTA congratulate US President-elect Trump
  9. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s Warning Over Unethical Tibetan Elections
  10. Tibetan Policy Act
  11. Transcript: Donald Trump on NATO, Turkey’s Coup Attempt and the World
Continue Reading


  1. Sascha

    November 14, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    May vajrakilaya destroy all harmful powers that are hostile against wisdom and compassion – outer, inner and secret – and may the wrath of wisdom and compassion of the three kayas protect all lineages, all teachers and all students of dharma, may their wisdom and compassion increase further and further and stay forever firm.

    May all dharmapalas protect all mind direct and all oral transmissions of dharma from sambhogakaya to nirmanakaya and may all buddhas of sambhogakaya hide and transmit all dharma teachings for all beings within nirmanakaya of present and future that they can enter their conciousnesscontinuum for the benifit of all beings.

    May I take rebirth to nirmanakya as an buddha to teach all beings dharma and to help them with wisdom and compassion to liberate themself from all suffering and all causes of suffering.

  2. Sierra

    November 15, 2016 at 10:15 am

    It is sad that the Dalai Lama is making one faux pas after another discrediting himself in the eyes of the west. On the secular level, he is losing the respect and following of the west. After being the darling of the west, this is a very hard fall.

    What will happen to the CTA once the respect and funding dries up? Are they ready to face the world on their own rather than riding on the Dalai Lama’s coat tail. as now there may be no more coat tails for them to ride on.

    I hope that Dalai Lama gets to bring in someone who can advise him better on the ways of the world.

  3. An Historian

    November 15, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Clearly the CTA’s biasness has resulted in them suffering from the “foot in mouth” disease (Re: Calling Hillary Clinton the next US President). How are you going to cultivate President-to-be Trump’s support I don’t know.

    I observe that the fractious nature of Tibetan society has not changed since the days of tribal wars. Only now, it is happening outside of Tibet rather than inside.

    Please India, don’t get conned into joining the CTA’s Game Of Thrones.

  4. Solomon Lang

    November 15, 2016 at 11:40 am

    For more context as to why HH Dalai Lama went to the extent of mocking President-to-be Trump and the CTA echoed a similar sentiment by endorsing Hillary Clinton as the next President of the USA, one just has to look at who HH Dalai Lama’s biggest American supporters are – the husband and wife team of Senator Diane Feinstein and investment banker Richard Blum.

    From Wikipedia on Senator Diane Feinstein:

    Presidential politics

    As a superdelegate, Feinstein had declared that she would support Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. However, once Barack Obama became the presumptive nominee for the party, she fully backed his candidacy. Days after Obama amassed enough delegates to win the Democratic Party nomination,

    Feinstein lent her Washington, D. C., home to both Clinton and Obama to have a private one-on-one meeting.[46] Feinstein did not attend the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver because she had fallen and broken her ankle earlier in the month.[47]

    She chaired the United States Congress Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and acted as mistress of ceremonies, introducing each participant at the 2009 presidential inauguration.[48]

    Heading into the 2016 Presidential Election, Senator Feinstein was one of sixteen Democratic female senators to sign a letter, on October 20, 2013, endorsing Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.

    Here’s a nice picture of HH Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton and Senator Diane Feinstein together featured on the International Campaign for Tibet’s website:

  5. Anonymous

    November 22, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Why dont those hipocrites that ceiticise the dalai lama go fuck them selves they cleary are trump followers

  6. Camillia

    November 27, 2016 at 4:49 am

    I am a fan of many Dalai Lama’s quotes and his zen-like sharings to apply Buddhist teachings on day-to-day life, hence I can certainly imagine that His Holiness might have gotten carried away at this instance. In the world at large, it is common for certain expectation to be associated with people who have don the robes or hold religious role. This is similar to the expectation upon country leaders. They are expected not to openly make negative remarks of other leaders simply for the fact to have respect for others, especially the leader or potential leader of another country. If the leader, i.e. Dalai Lama is seen or heard as disrespectful, no matter how insignificant the remark or how true the remark may be, he is indirectly validating chauvinism and condoning shallow perception of people’s qualities. That does not jave with His Holiness’ teaching at all.

  7. Elibuchen

    November 27, 2016 at 6:28 am

    I wonder if the Dalai Lama can have a discussion with the Dalai Lama with a straight face? hmmm.

    It is possible the whole world is shocked by Trump winning, even Hilary made several overtures to celebrate her win, yet the inevitable has happened.

    I can only hope that the Trump administration will take the CTA to task in their handling of funds for the Tibetans and a greater transparency and checks on how CTA spends hard earned American dollars.

  8. Sherabz

    December 1, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    After reading this, I learned to be more mindful especially to avoid hurtful speech and idle speech. For this instance, HH Dalai Lama brazenly ridiculed the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was only within 10 seconds, but the result was, many negative remarks received about the Dalai Lama’s act.

    Although we might not as famous as His Holiness tO receive such huge amount in negative remarks, but wise speech is necessary and requires our effort to avoid harming others as well as ourselves.

  9. Ernest Oelofse

    December 4, 2016 at 5:05 am

    If that’s the extent of it, then it is surely the writer of this verbosity that is full of shit, and not the Dalai Lama.

  10. Rene Mayo

    December 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Ernest Oelofse – say what you want. Your vulgarities serve no purpose in validating your comment or giving it any kind of credibility. The fact remains the Dalai Lama made fun of Trump, thinking he would not win and now the Tibetan leadership are scrambling to undo the damage. Trump is a businessman and his first and foremost priority is to make money. Can he make money by aligning himself with the Tibetan leadership? Absolutely not. Will Trump let the American government continue to keep wasting money on the Tibetan leadership with their annual sponsorship? I don’t think so, not when there is no benefit for himself. So good luck trying to keep the cash cow happy, Dharamsala. Under the Trump administration, there is no room for beggars and thieves.

  11. Pema

    January 17, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Too bad for the CTA, now they have to bootlick the new president but with even lower chances. As it has been said before, Trump will not spend money easily. So good luck CTA … the good days are over…

  12. Tenzin Paljor

    January 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    The Shugden groups can dare defy the Dalai Lama because they don’t have a country. The Tibetans are scattered all over the world and they have their various power basis from their various countries. I’ve spoken to Ms. Dhardon Sharling about this. If all the Tibetans were back in Tibet, they would have no chance to defy the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama’s government would crush them into silence. How dare they defy the Dalai Lama. Democracy is not for the backwards and illiterate Tibetans. They need a strong, smart and able ruler like the Dalai Lama and his ministers to tell them what is good or bad for them. The Dorje Shugden practice should be banned completely from the Tibetans and Tibetan nation because it is a harmful practice. And no religious freedom should be allowed to let this Dorje Shugden religion arise. In history, many other harmful religions were suppressed for the good of mankind. Shugden should be suppressed and all people who practice him should be forced to give up the practice.

  13. Tenzin Paljor

    January 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Everyone should go and take a picture with the Dalai Lama and post it. It will boost ‘business’. It’s made me look really valid and more people trust what I am saying simply because I have my picture taken with the Dalai Lama. I’ve roped in Carole MccQuirre and gang to do the same things. You see because I am from East Germany and we don’t believe in any sort of religious freedom. Whatever the regime in the past told you to do, you do it without question. The Shugden groups should not be allowed to practice their religion because the Dalai lama says so. We shouldn’t question the Dalai Lama or defy him. After all he is not human but a god. So if Dalai Lama says don’t practice Dorje Shugden, just follow along without question because why should there be religious freedom. The populace are too stupid to see what religion is good and what is harmful.

  14. Carol McQuirre

    January 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    I agree with you Paljor. The Tibetans do not need democracy, but a strong firm hand to tell them what to do. They are not like we educated English people who can handle and know what to do with democracy. The fact that Tibetans have no real elected leaders and the leader is really the Dalai Lama for the last 60 years is good news. Tibetans cannot elect their own leaders. When the Dalai Lama dies, we wait for him to reincarnate back and take over again because he is the only leader that can handle Tibetans.

  15. Sascha

    February 3, 2017 at 5:19 am

    For any nation it would be most benificial and in everyones interest within any nation itself as well as any nation around the world, when in any nation a child would be put on a throne, raised and educated in wisdom and compassion in order to be able to do a wise and compassionate “job ” for the benifit of the nation itself and all nations around the world.

    It had a reason why in tibet they took a child, put it on the throne raised and educated it in wisdom and compassion! Not a bad idea to do so within any nation, isn’t it?

    What would Mr. Trump don’t do and do, if he would have been raised and educated in wisdom and compassion? The USA has many noble price people, now they have something within their casa blanca that not only is in contradiction with reatliy but also turning the whole thing more and more into an american nightmare.

    So what about the quality of our education systems around the world? Just training for producing impermanent luck – regardless of the freedom and wellbeing of human beings, nature and animals?

    Is all the mambo jambo of mankind also because of the ignorant education systems that are not based on wisdom and compassion and not educating and training human beings in their inherent dignity?

    What would have happend if someone like Hitler would have been raised and educated in wisdom and compassion? Hitler was elected via democratic election system. So if democracy is not based on dignity and not about dignity and the education is not about training people in their dignity, well democracy doesn’t make sense at all and is just a criminal game that sooner or later will lead to big trouble.

    Let dharma rule the world, the leaders of the world are just not able to do so, they only cause and effect one trouble after another. Let dharma take over the world by dharma and turn it in into a dharma world as it is by nature anyway and will happen sooner or later anyway.

  16. Sascha

    February 23, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Ignoring that reality is non-duality and causes duality, the drug that mankind and animals are suffering from. The only enemy and only can be conquered by wisdom and compassion (non-duality/non-violence) because reality is free of duality, regeneration and healing.

    So what about the First Nation and First Nation First? What about the illegal immigrants from europe that occupy the region of the First Nation since?

    When you listen to their wisdom teachings you can hear the sound of dharma (non-duality).

    Ignorance and the illusion duality is a harmful desease of the mind. God and Devil is a deases. To trust in God and Devil, in duality is only betraying yourself.

    Look, all the war in the name of duality, all the national law in the name of duality, it’s extremism.

    The so called Civilisation is a desease that harms mankind, animals and nature.

    Look what happend to tibet, the same that happend to the first nation of north america.

    Duality is a desease that only can be cured with wisdom and compassion/non-duality, because reality is non-duality.


  17. Chris pan

    February 25, 2017 at 3:52 am

    He is a bull shit.

  18. TseringD, Delhi

    October 29, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    Nechung is ZUMA 👎 before I m think he is one of d best when I m watch dis video By Geshe Dorjee la but now I m think is not d truth n he is lie to Tibet people we r not back to Tibet yt Chithue Tenpa Yarphel la tq for talk about truth of Nechung . I m watch to this video many time la n after I hear you talk I m not belief to Nechung

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