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Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says "I am Marxist"

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Raw Story is reporting this week that Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama publicly identified himself as a Marxist while speaking at a conference in Minnesota earlier this week.

“We must have a human approach,” The Dalai Lama said at the “A Human Approach to World Peace” lecture in Minneapolis. “As far as socioeconomic theory, I am a Marxist.”

This is not the first time he has admitted as such. In 2011, he said “I consider myself a Marxist … but not a Leninist.”

Addressing the growing concern about inequality throughout the world, he laid the blame at the feet of capitalism and said Marxism is the answer.

“In capitalist countries, there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor,” The Dalai Lama said. “In Marxism, there is emphasis on equal distribution,” adding that many former Marxist leaders moved to capitalist ways of thinking after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Thomas Piketty's recent book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (reviewed here) was a runaway success in 2014 because of the very real concern about income inequality and how capitalism has failed in many ways.

Addressing India, the country the exiled Tibetan Buddhist now calls home, economic and social inequality is still rife there, as discrimination against women and “castes” are still accepted. The Dalai Lama went on to say that those now 30 and younger are the hope for the 21st century calling on their “will, vision and wisdom” to bring about nuclear disarmament, and truly making the 21st a “century of peace.”

And perhaps it will be the 21st century when increasingly irrelevant “religion” makes way for enlightened spirituality?

It was in 1843, of course, that Karl Marx wrote: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

Does it surprise you that a seemingly religious man is aligning with Marxist thought? Don't forget that in 2012, the Dalai Lama told his followers on Facebook the following: "All the world's major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether."

But will the world listen, particularly as the Abrahamic faiths of the planet do battle on a daily basis?

And with more traditional Maoist-inspired communists making a comeback in China, it will be interesting to see if repression against the Tibetan people will lessen or grow. If The Tibet Post report, released this week and headlined “Freedom House report says repression is increasing in Tibet,” is any indication, the situation in Tibet may get worse before it gets better. The ideology of the Chinese Communists is more in line with the old Stalinist reactionary model than with true Marxism. For instance, Russian Revolution figure Leon Trotsky was Jewish, but essentially an atheist. As he famously said: "Religions are illogical primitive ignorance. There is nothing as ridiculous and tragic as a religious government."

Meanwhile, The Tibet Post says Tibetans are still following the Dalai Lama - and risking their lives in doing so.

“Large numbers of Tibetans continue to keep an image of the Dalai Lama in their possession despite the threat of punishment and ‘patriotic education’ campaigns that urge them to denounce their revered spiritual leader,” noted the report.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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