The Eight Temperaments of the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama. A global beacon of warmth and kindness. As the present reincarnation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhissatva of compassion, he’s got a lot on his mind. I mean, the guy’s been looked to as a Buddhist leader and compassion incarnate since he was two. That’s more than you can say.

All this responsibility to be kind in the face of global horrors can weigh heavily on a genteman’s mind, silk robes or no silk robes. But still, the guy gets up every day, poses for a magazine or two, checks out a couple of world summits and still has the energy to look like this all the freaking time:

A Happy Dalai Lama
A clever ploy by the media, and one you so readily fell for. Here, for your education, I have compiled the eight basic yet chiefly unseen emotions of His Holiness. They may be subtle, but remember, this man is a much, much better person than you are.


Emotion the First: Desperate Sorrow

DalaiLamaohshit.jpgYeah, I know. A guy’s got no children, no wife, he’s been showered with jewels since he was a toddler, what’s he got to lose? Nothing you would care about, but, then again, no one logged online to find out what your eight temperaments were, did they?

Ever heard of a little thing called human suffering? How about the subjugation of Tibet? These aren’t things your average person thinks about on their way to Best Buy to purchase season four of Three’s Company. But to a Dalai Lama, they’re as important as that first moment when Mr. Furley steps through the door as new landlord. So have a bit of sympathy before somebody breaks your femur.






Emotion the Second: Carsick

dalaicarsick.JPGIn this photo believed to have long vanished, we get a exceptionally rare chance to see His Holiness about to wretch. Taken during a particularly bumpy drive through the Himalayas, the Dalai Lama was unable to prevent his rice from “reincarnating”. Look, a guy can be a living god, be surrounded by shurpas holding his bowels gently in place, but when reverse peristalsis calls, you gotta accept the charges.









Emotion the Third: Disappointment

Dalai_Lama_diss.jpgYou haven’t really been on the receiving end of a disappointed glare until you’ve had the Dalai Lama disappointed with you, such as this reporter did in Boston last May. I mean, shit man, you must have really dropped the bomb for the supreme incarnation of compassion to think you’re a maladroit fuckup. At this point, you have only two options: become a monk, yourself, in the hopes of becoming less of a bungling shit, or join a vaudeville act, in the hopes that your skills of dropping babies and accidentally spilling exposed film out of cameras will have some sort of commercial appeal.






Emotion the Fouth: Steppin’ Out!

Hey, a guy’s gotta drop his robes sometimes, throw on a Cole Hann blazer, a spritz of Dolce and Gabbana, and hit the town bodhissatva style. Ladies, come on, if you had the wisdom of a thousand ages staring deeply in to your eyes, wouldn’t you be on your back? You may say you won’t, but that’s a bet His Holiness is willing to make.







dalaipissed.jpgEmotion the Fifth: “Excuse me?

Don’t front the Dalai Lama; that’s something he’ll make clear very quickly. How? By dropping an expression like this one. It conveys a heavenly restraint coupled with a clear warning: you take one more step, and ages of Buddhist wisdom will be channeled into a martial display so powerful, compassion will turn into contempt, kindness will burn down into kinetic rage, and your spirit will be forever blasted into an unbreakable samsara so infinite, it makes PI look like the number 2.


TeDalai Lama boiling.jpgmperament the Sixth: Skull-crushing Rage

Notice the nostrils flaring, inhaling the wind and ghosts of a thousand generations. The eyes bead up, in a focus not unlike that of a rabid wolverine preparing to strike. And the lips purse and tighten in an all-too-late indication that, at this point, words will no longer be of any service.

The best part about this picture is that the guy in the background has no idea that he’s about to see somebody’s spinal column pulled through his ocular cavity. He’s just happy that the Dalai Lama could make it to his Lion’s Club meeting.


dalaipensive.jpgTemperament the Final: Pensive

Even someone reincarnated from gods has to wash the blood out of his robes and ground himself. This is His Holiness recalibrating his emotions, connecting with all the midichlorians flowing inside him, building up the walls of kindness, wisdom and compassion that are his calling cards.

Unknown to many, this is also the time when the Dalai gets a chance to think about his personal stuff. What kind of stuff is that? I don’t know. Sudoku? I’m not the Dalai Lama.

This all brings him back to his number one disposition: happiness. Because that’s what we’re paying for.

Let us now part, remembering that when the world gets crazy, there’s still someone out there looking out for us. He may not be able to fly or freeze water with his breath, but he’s still out there, eating rice, breathing in the sorrow of the world and breathing out the path to Nirvana. Bless you, you jolly little soul. Bless you somethin’ big.

A Happy Dalai Lama


4 Responses to “The Eight Temperaments of the Dalai Lama”

  1. April 15, 2006 at 5:44 pm

    whatever the little guy’s cute

  2. April 19, 2006 at 12:21 pm

    I stumbled over here from your comment on cristina’s blog. This stuff is hilarious and I am going to become a regular reader. Thanks for the laugh!

  3. May 19, 2006 at 9:35 am

    Thanks Peter,

    I’m sure you know I enjoy your work a fair bit, myself.

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