• In an interview with the Guardian the Dalai Lama touched on many points, but spoke most about the importance of environmentalism
  • He also talked of political unity, even with old enemies like China
  • The Dalai Lama is believed by adherents to be an enlightened soul that returns to earth after each death, but this time he has not said how a successor would be found. There are fears the child would be taken by China to manipulate Tibet

The Dalai Lama says that the world needs to take drastic action on climate change, stating that if Buddha were to return today, “Buddha would be green.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the Guardian, he both emphasized the importance of mitigating climate change and talked about finding world unity, even with historic opponents like China.

The Dalai Lama has been a consistent proponent of environmentalism despite retiring from political life in 2011. He says that these days, ecology is what’s “very, very important” to him.

The Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia may have resulted in China blocking its border.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama addresses those gathered at Buyant Ukhaa sport palace in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Nov. 20, 2016. REUTERS/B. Rentsendorj

The planet has reached a particularly crucial point, as scientists warn we have passed the point of no return and can now only look to blunt the effects of a radically changing world. Leaders from around the globe would have met this week for the Cop26 summit, but were delayed due to COVID-19.

The election of Joe Biden, and the promise of a U.S. return to the Paris climate accords, has also highlighted the issue.

“The United Nations should take a more active role in this field,” the Dalai Lama says. “The big nations should pay more attention to ecology. I hope you see those big nations who spent a lot of money for weapons or war turn their resources to the preservation of the climate.”

He also said that if he were to join a political party today, it would be the green party. He endorsed large-scale tree planting and advocated reducing meat consumption. The Dalai Lama turned to vegetarianism in 1965 but has since begun eating small amounts of meat on the advice of his doctors following medical problems.

His interview touched on more conceptual topics, such as compassion. Despite being a religious figure, the Dalai Lama told the Guardian he wishes people wouldn’t focus so much on what divides us.

“We see too much emphasis on my nation, my religion, their religion. That really is causing all these problems due to different religions and different nations are fighting. So now we really need oneness,” he said.

When asked if his one-ness extended even to China, a historical enemy in his old cause of Tibetan freedom, he said yes: China today is "the biggest Buddhist population."

It’s still unknown how the passing of this elderly figure will affect the world once it comes to pass. He is the 14th Dalai Lama, believed by followers to be an enlightened soul that chooses to return after death to help the world. He was selected for the role at only 2 years old and has not told the public how his next incarnation should be found or even if one should be selected at all.

There are concerns that if he did, the Chinese government would intervene and use the child to manipulate Tibet. The Dalai Lama has thus far chosen to leave the decision to his adherents.

“As long as I live I should be useful to help other people,” he said. “Then after that, not my business. These are the concerns of other people.”