On Sunday night’s “Last Week Tonight”, John Oliver visited Dharamsala, India, for a side-splitting and enlightening interview with the Dalai Lama, the original “woke bae” as Oliver calls him.
They discussed, among other things, the turmoil in Tibet, the Dalai Lama’s future reincarnation, and self-immolations, an act done by more than 140 Tibetans since 2009, which the 81-year-old spiritual leader described as a “difficult situation.”
“In the meantime, if I say [the immolation] is wrong, then their family will feel very sad, [because they’ll think] their family member did something against the Dalai Lama’s wish,” he said. “I don’t want to create that. But then, certainly, I cannot support that… from a Buddhist viewpoint… killing is not good… the best thing is to remain silent.”
The two also talked about how the Chinese government calls him a demon and a “wolf wrapped in monk’s robes.”
“You don’t, to me, look like an evil wolf,” Oliver said, to which the Dalai Lama laughed and put his arms above his head in imitation of horns.
“As far as my own rebirth is concerned, the final authority is my say, no one else’s. And obviously not Chinese communists’… Whatever they want to say, that’s their freedom. I have no negative feeling, I just feel a love,” the Dalai Lama said. “I practice taking others’ anger, suspicion, and distrust, and give them patience, tolerance, and compassion. I practice that.”
They went on to talk about how the Dalai Lama apparently cured alcoholism in Mongolia.
“Wait, hold on. You tried to wean them off vodka by giving them horse milk?” Oliver asked.
When asked if he might be the last reincarnation ever, the Dalai Lama replied that it’s “very possible,” adding with a smile that he would feel “very happy” and he’s “quite intelligent.”
Oliver then pointed out that China may appoint their own Dalai Lama when he dies, just as they did with the Panchen Lama.
“That’s also, one of the foolish acts. Short-sighted. Without using human brain properly. It’s harmful. Our brain usually has the ability to create common sense. The Chinese hardliners, in their brains, that part of the brain is missing,” His Holiness said.
Check out the entire interview below, starting at the 10:24 mark:
In 2014, former Tibet governor Padma Choling said the Dalai Lama was “profaning religion and Tibetan Buddhism” by saying there won’t be a reincarnation when he dies, according to Shanghaiist.
“If he says no reincarnation then no reincarnation? Impossible. Nobody in Tibetan Buddhism would agree to that,” Choling added. “We must respect history, respect and not profane Tibetan Buddhism.“