Why the Dalai Lama Gets Social Media


Last Saturday, a momentous event took place. Yes, it was Archbishop Desmund Tutu’s 80th birthday. BUT the momentous event that I’m referring to is that the Dalai Lama used the Hangout feature of Google Plus to be able to celebrate with his dear friend, despite being denied a visa by the South African government.

All of us who spend our days in the digital world understand what a gift it is to have technology bridge the miles between our friends and and loved ones. We know the joy of discovering new friends online — as platforms facilitate our coming together through shared interests and passions.

As odd as it is to think of two of the world’s great spiritual leaders “hanging out online,” it really isn’t surprising. I loved that the Dalai Lama was truly just “hanging out,” in a simple space that could very well be his living room.

When I heard his “opening remarks” (if they can even be called such a formal thing), I realized that this man was made for social media:

When I meet people, first I consider the other just another human being. From my side also, whenever I meet someone I always see that I’m another human being. So the quality on that level, I consider the most important level. Now you, Archbishop Tutu, I consider you yourself completely free. You act as a human being. So on that level, we can develop genuine trust. On that basis, genuine friendship comes. So you sometimes discount me as a mischievous person, as you just mentioned. And I return that you are also a mischievous person. But then logically two mischievous people automatically develop a special friendship.

Isn’t that the truth? Like the emcee mentions, these two found each other — that’s not too surprising or unlikely. I mean, how many peers does the Dalai Lama have to joke with about the souls of humanity, right?

But every day, every minute… like attracts like on Twitter, on Instragram, on the blogosphere, and on various other online platforms. For that, I thank Buddha and the sweet baby Jesus! :)