Words Coming Between People

by magnus26

I find myself beginning a book about the Dalai Lama at a time when my interest in him, never all that intense to begin with, was pretty well sated. I picked it up largely on the strength of the author, Pico Iyer, whose work seems to come up with great frequency in those Best Essays of 20xx books. And I’m a sucker for an essayist. (Perhaps my favorite in that vein is E. B. White’s One Man’s Meat. Or, if you want the big essay, there’s John McPhee.) But back to the Dalai Lama. The book is The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Here’s the quote:

“We are not talking about Nirvana. We are only talking about how to become a more compassionate human being.” The very words “Tibetan” or “Buddhist” or “monk” can only come between people; his interest, clearly, is in what someone can do who has no interest in terms or theories.

Well, now my interest has kicked up. That bit about words coming between people. Really nice, I think.