Last week, American Jewish World newspaper editor Mordecai Specktor got to ask the semi-retired spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama, a question.
What has the Dalai Lama learned about Jewish continuity and its lessons for Tibetans?
The Dalai Lama, visiting the Twin Cities for his talk at the University of Minnesota, answered:
“Right from the beginning, we always thought, ‘Oh, Jewish community must have some secret to preserve their tradition, several centuries, in some cases under hostile surroundings.’ You very successfully [have] preserved,” the Dalai Lama responded to my question about what he has learned about Jewish continuity and its lessons for Tibetans.
He mentioned that Tibetan and Jewish scholars and religious leaders have engaged in dialogue over the “last few decades.” From his “close contact” with Jews, the Dalai Lama has concluded that the Jewish preservation of traditions has depended “not on institutions, but on family-level” influence.