The Dalai Lama’s Dialogues

The purpose of this paper is to construct and critique the Dalai Lama’s conception and practices related to dialogue. I shall attempt to construct his ‘theory’ by simultaneously looking at both his practice and his writings. I will then offer a critique of his views. I hope to be able to show that His Holiness offers a profound understanding of dialogue-which, if put into practice, offers a number of fruitful consequences. The central thesis of this paper is that one of the best ways to understand and make sense of the Dalai Lama’s approach to dialogue is to see his beliefs and practices as particular instantiations of broader Buddhist teachings. In other words, one way of thinking about the Dalai Lama’s approach to dialogue is to see his practices as instances of some basic Buddhist beliefs. Without going into an exhaustive account of these various beliefs, I want to suggest that four of them, in particular, are useful for understanding His Holiness’s approach to dialogue. The four are: meditative practice, interdependent arising, compassion, and expedient or skillful means.
Stephen J. Laumakis

Stephen J. Laumakis

Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN

Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN