His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to the Tibetan People, March 10, 2011

A young David Attenborough?

March 10, Year of the Female Iron-Hare

Children of Tibet,

It is with a heavy heart that I today announce my resignation from my position as spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan People in Exile. Rest assured that I will not leave you without a leader in these difficult times, but will seek to either appoint someone or get reincarnated as quickly as possible.

What will I be doing with my time now that I am less tied down by my obligations to meet with foreign leaders, write best-selling inspirational books, and tie those colorful flags onto string? I am pursuing a liveslong dream that is perhaps no less vital than the pursuit of the Tibetan people for independence in their homeland.

I have decided to accept a position as a television host for the National Geographic Channel’s “Deadliest Animals of India” program. My friend producer Russell Silver has been trying to poach me away from the world of conflict resolution for years. I already live in one of the most stunningly beautiful places in the world, and as my dear friend Richard Gere says, there is no business like show business.

Let’s face it. Would I really have agreed to be the Dalai Lama if I did not enjoy being in the public eye? Plus there’s the thrill of a cobra being right next to your face. What a rush!

Hey, I figure you only live once. Or in my case dozens of times.

With my prayers and good wishes,

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

 

Analysis:

The Dalai Lama’s shocking decision to step down from his position as leader of Tibet rocked the world. For generations, the Dalai Lama has held power in one form or another. Since he is reincarnated for eternity, the Lama has no conception of term limits. Rather, the Lama holds power until he dies, then gains it again when he is reincarnated. Tibetan monks search high and low for the next reincarnation. Luckily, he has recently come back solely as a person. Previous incarnations as (in order) a newt, three basketballs, a fruitfly, and a cobb salad at a Chili’s in Wisconsin all proved to be unwieldy vessels for holding such great spiritual and political responsibility.

The link between spirituality and cable nature shows is well-known. “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin started his career as a Hasidic Rabbi before deciding to pester large reptiles full time. David Attenborough served famously as the Archbishop of Canterbury, while French naturist Jacques Cousteau was both a high-ranking Bishop in the Catholic Church and a Japanese Shinto monk (he had to work two jobs to afford the down payment on his submarine).

The decline of educational nature programming was always one of the Dalai Lama’s pet causes, so in one sense it’s not very surprising he decided to pursue a job with the National Geographic Channel. Sadly, “Deadliest Animals of India” will not be shown on NGC in America. Instead, it has been preempted by such programming as “Deadliest Animals of Middle Earth, “Deadliest Angels of Heaven,” and “Shooting Nature’s Beauty in the Nuts with Ted Nugent.”

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