When it comes to spiritual leaders, there's very few who command the same amount of respect as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The exiled leader of Tibet and of Tibetan Buddhism has witnessed 11 American presidencies and massive cultural and political shifts since he became a spiritual leader in 1950. Having fled his country almost 60 years ago, he's no stranger to political turmoil — and the Dalai Lama's recent statements regarding President-elect Donald Trump and his incendiary campaign rhetoric offer a heartening perspective. The Dalai Lama actually has hopeful things to say about Trump and it's honestly pretty comforting.
During a visit to the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, the Dalai Lama said he has "no worries" about Trump's election. He expounded on his statement by reportedly saying that Trump's campaign rhetoric was of no concern to him. Reuters reported that the Tibetan leader also plans on visiting the president-elect after his inauguration.
"I think there are some problems to go to United States, so I will go to see the new president," said the Dalai Lama, although he didn't elaborate on what problems he's referring to specifically.
Despite declining to give his opinion of the then-Republican candidate in March, the Dalai Lama poked fun at the president-elect's appearance during an interview on "Good Morning Britain" in September, proving that if nothing else, he can see the humor in Trump's boisterous manner (and his hair).
While it may seem incredulous that a man who's spent most of his life in political exile is unconcerned about Trump's hateful ramblings and an election that's threatening to split United States in two, some historical perspective on the Dalai Lama's life and beliefs is necessary to provide context for his statements. He is a man and a leader who has been the subject of serious Chinese ire since his rule began, and his mere presence in Ulaanbaatar was enough to threaten Mongolian-Chinese relations.
He does not view the world through a Western lens. And through his relationships with various world powers in both the East and West, he has seen history unfold in ways that most of our history books cannot document. He's also led his own people on their struggle for independence from China, which is perhaps one interpretation of his statement about the "problems" in the United States — he might indeed urge Trump to heed the calls for civil rights from the many groups who his presidency may threaten.
With as many famous people and world leaders the Dalai Lama has met with, it's somewhat surprising that Trump has not held audience with His Holiness. Soon, he will do so in the most unlikely setting, and we can only hope he will heed the spiritual leader's words of peace and tolerance.