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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

The Dalai Lama and Monica Lewinsky

October 9th, 2007

I’m a bit slow about things, and it’s taken me this long to realise that a blog can also be a ‘Commonplace Book’. I was concerned that dropping in interesting stuff I find along the way was ‘cheating’ – avoiding the serious task of ‘deep articulation’ (sounds ghastly doesn’t it? Like some sort of dentistry…) But this morning walking the dog on the Downs I had a flash-back to a previous life as a Victorian. There was Aunt Matilda playing the piano, which had doylies on its legs so that we wouldn’t be embarrassed by seeing its ankles. And there I was on the settee sharing my Commonplace Book with my sister…

Yesterday I was researching the Potala Palace for a book I am writing on sacred places, and I found this story which I’m sticking into my book with this pot of glue:

The day I interviewed the Dalai Lama happened to be the day after President Clinton admitted to having an improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky. This was before the U.S. had split down the middle, before the partisanship, the hatred, the petty slandering and questioning and distrust. We knew only that the news had reached even the mountaintop in Dharamsala and that we felt betrayed and disappointed and hurt by our president. In my second question, I’d begun with Clinton, intending to ask about his visit to China. Before I could finish, the Dalai Lama drew his head back in surprise and looked at me incredulously. “You mean with Lewinsky?” he shouted. Read more