What’s it like to be the Dalai Lama’s brother? Pretty much the same, just less filter. Witness Giant Robot 52, where kid sib Tenzin Choegyal goes awesomely blunt:
GR: At a young age, you, too, were recognized as a reincarnate of an important man, right?
TC: Oh, that’s bullshit. I don’t believe it. From a Buddhist perspective, we are all reborn. But choosing a particular person as someone special and saying he’s a reincarnation of so-and-so is bullshit.
Got that? We all know the 14th Dalai Lama (aka Tenzin Gyatso) and his thoughtful talks about compassion in the modern world (moreso today as he stands in the middle of a renewed Tibetan conflict). Having seen him speak in Central Park and having a Mom who spent a day with him as part of the Buffalo Delegation, I know how easy it is to feel connected to the guy. But you also sense a wry sense of humor lurking just under the surface. For the Dalai Lama, it serves to humanize him. For Choegyal, it makes him hilarious:
Richard Gere is a wonderful person — very simple, modest, and natural with whomever he meets. He’s done a lot for the Tibetan community. And then on the other side of the scale, there’s Steven Seagal. Oh my god. I met him when he came here. He was wearing a funny coat, a Chinese brocade, funny trousers, and funny shoes with a ponytail. I asked him, “Why do you dress in such a peculiar manner?” He didn’t say anything. He’s arrogant and pretends to be a Tibetan reincarnate. But why? He’s a strange man.
Snap. You gotta love this guy. And it makes me totally wish I could be a fly on the wall at the next Tenzin family dinner. Well, there’s always reincarnation!