It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. The New York Times reports that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, is threatening not to reincarnate after he dies.
In response, the Communist Chinese government is saying, “Oh, yes you will.”
Most of us in the West don’t believe in reincarnation, so on the surface it sounds absurd. Can a man – even one as exalted as the Dalai Lama – control what happens to him after he dies? Can a government – an atheistic one at that – dictate how he exerts that control?
If it sounds absurd to us, it’s deadly serious to the people who are directly involved. And while I don’t believe in reincarnation, I do believe in genuine, sacrificial leadership.
That belief was reinforced recently as I read No Enemies, No Hatred, the anthology of essays and poems by Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner who wasn’t allowed to accept his award. Continue reading →
A short while ago, my colleague Ellis Pratt wrote about censorship and asked what it might mean for technical writers. I can’t stop thinking about what he said — surprisingly, since it’s something I rarely thought about in more than 30 years as a technical communicator.