The current issue of The New Yorker features a lengthy profile of the Dalai Lama entitled “The Next Incarnation,” written by Evan Osnos. After listening to a podcast with Osnos in which he talks about the piece and what it was like to meet the Dalai Lama, I had to go out and find a copy of the magazine so that I could read it (the online article is available only to subscribers). It’s a solid profile overall and it concisely describes the Dalai Lama’s current relationship with China. Osnos also does a good job of painting a picture of what Tibet looks like today.
Here’s an excerpt describing the taxi driver that Osnos hired to drive him to the birthplace of the Dalai Lama, a small town known in Tibetan as Taktser:
In his comments and appearance, Jigme seemed to be constantly negotiating what it means to be both Tibetan and Chinese. When I asked how the Han Chinese and the Tibetans were getting along, he said, “In some ways, the Communist Party has been good to us. It has fed us and made sure we have a roof over our heads. And, where it does things right, we should acknowledge that.” After a pause, he added, “But Tibetans want their own country. That’s a fact. I graduated from a Chinese school. I can’t read Tibetan.”
My favorite part of the profile, of course, is when Osnos references an interview with the Dalai Lama conducted by Spalding Gray for the first issue of Tricycle (unfortunately we didn’t get a shout out) where Gray asks him about “women in bikini bathing suits.” Read the Tricycle Gray interview with the Dalai Lama here.
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