By BRIAN ETTKIN ALBANY TIMES UNION
May 21, 2009, 5:46PM
ALBANY, N.Y. — The 14th Dalai Lama cuts a familiar figure, with his shorn head, hedgerow-thick eyebrows, tinted eyeglasses, smiling visage and loose-fitting maroon and saffron robes.
“I am just a simple Buddhist monk — no more, nor less,” he has said.
But likening the Dalai Lama to “a simple Buddhist monk” is akin to saying the Pope is just another priest.
The Dalai Lama is the political and spiritual leader of Tibet-in-exile, in Dharamsala, India — and a pop-culture icon whose cause is championed by U.S. celebrities such as Richard Gere.
Tenzin Gyatso (the name he assumed after he was installed as Tibet’s spiritual leader in 1940), has written best-selling books, and even appeared in an advertisement for Apple. This year marks the 50th year the Dalai Lama has lived in exile.
Many of us would recognize him on the street, and yet we know little about him.
Check out the new book by His Holiness, The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason.