31 March 2009
Dalai Lama meets Evil Cult?
The Dalai Lama, spiritual heir to the former rulers of Tibet, visits the State University of New York Albany campus in April. The visit is gradually becoming controversial because of the involvement of the Ethical Humanitarian Foundation. This organization is bankrolled by the Bronfman sisters, heirs to the Seagrams fortune, but was masterminded by Keith Raniere, once an alleged pyramid scheme operator and now accused of being a kind of cult leader. From one perspective, I suppose, these are not such strange bedfellows. But since the Dalai is beloved worldwide as a personification of selfless benevolence, even this indirect association with a man who supposedly likes to be called "Vanguard" will probably raise questions among some fans in these parts. SUNY-Albany only agreed to host the event after two other local colleges turned the opportunity down, reportedly because of worries over Raniere's involvement. Beyond that, I can only imagine what the Chinese government would make of their longtime foe's apparent alliance with a group that some people around here regard the same way the Chinese themselves regard the Falun Gong movement. More on this as it develops next month.