You are being asked to explain the ideas that lie behind the question and response in the passage. What are the assumptions that the questioner and the Dalai Lama share and that make this exchange meaningful for them? Since this is an exchange between two Tibetans, in order to carry out this task you will need to think primarily about the Dalai Lama’s reputation from a Tibetan perspective. You could start by asking yourself why the questioner thinks that, for the Dalai Lama, training in Buddhist philosophy would be like teaching a car mechanic basic car maintenance. One effective way of structuring your answer would be to select two or three phrases from the passage and explain them using material in Chapter 7. How might you approach this? You could work on the phrases one by one or you could explain the Tibetan understanding of the Dalai Lama’s reputation in a continuous piece of prose being careful to make reference to the passage as you do that. Your tutor wants to know whether you have understood the traditional Tibetan aspect of the Dalai Lama’s reputation. He or she is not interested in whether you think this is ‘true’ or reasonable: this is not the place to discuss your own religious or non-religious views.
This question is intended to test your ability to understand a primary source. In particular it asks you to study a newspaper article in the light of what you have learned in Book 1, Chapter 7 and to test your ability to understand and interpret different and unfamiliar points of view. One of the benefits of studying religion is that it can help us to understand events in the contemporary world with greater clarity. This article from The Times newspaper was written in March 2008 at a time when there were fresh uprisings in Tibet. This article is clearly written from a western perspective but it makes reference to the Dalai Lama’s reputation among Tibetans. You are asked to clarify these references in the light of what you learned in Chapter 7. Don’t forget that your tutor is interested in whether you have understood the material in the chapter and whether you can appreciate the implications of the Tibetan world view for understanding the role of the Dalai Lama and the situation in Tibet explained in this article. He or she is not interested in whether you think that the Tibetan world view is ‘true’ or reasonable: this is not the place to discuss your own religious views. You only have 600 words at your disposal so you cannot go into too much detail and you cannot be comprehensive in your explanation. To keep the task manageable you might like to select from the article two or three allusions to the Dalai Lama’s reputation among Tibetans and explain the background to each of these in your essay. Whichever aspects you choose to cover you need to make sure that you clarify their significance in the context of this article.
How does the newspaper review help us to understand Callas's reputation as a diva?
Tutorial on dalai lama
Reading reputationCrawley, 21 April 2012
Aims of the Session• Determine what we are being asked to do• Think about primary source materials• Close textual analysis – of a non-literary variety
Analysing the question• What do you think TMA03 is asking you to do? – keywords – must have content – skills to demonstrate – boundaries (in scope/out of scope?)• Why do you think this?• How do you feel about this task?
Argument: what does it tell us?• Overview: what is the author communicating?• What is the explicit point of the article?• How is the argument constructed? – itemise the individual points which make the whole• Evaluate: how convincing is that argument?
Evidence: how does it tell us?• What supports the author’s argument?• Is the evidence convincing?• Does the evidence support the implicit assumptions?• Does the evidence allow alternative interpretations – how is this conflict managed?
Perspective/bias/propaganda?• What doesn’t it tell us?• What does it tell us without making it explicit that that is what it’s telling us? What can be inferred?• What is assumed?• What perspective does the author have?• Does the author assume that we share their perspective?• How does the explicit argument fit with the implicit argument?
What aspects of reputation are assumed here? Tibetan Questioner: Your Holiness, as the recognized reincarnation of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama… perhaps you could explain for what purpose you, as a realised being,1 had to go through various schools of training and take examinations, and so on, when your knowledge of these things could be likened to a skilled mechanic learning basic car maintenance again! Dalai Lama: I could not have acquired my present level of knowledge without engaging in serious study, so I had to study. This is a reality, and there is no point in pretending otherwise. Perhaps there were a few occasions when I found I could understand, without much effort and hardship, certain philosophical points that are normally considered difficult. In relatively little time and with little effort I am usually able to understand difficult subjects. This indicates that perhaps in my past lives I may have pursued some studies. Otherwise I am just an ordinary person, like you – so that is that! The Dalai Lama (1995) The World of Tibetan Buddhism, Boston, Wisdom Publications, p. 51.
Defiant people yearn for the ‘political monk in Gucci shoes’, Jane Macartney Photographs of the Dalai Lama have been banned for years in Tibet. And yet thisweekend house-to-house searches began across Lhasa to confiscate images concealed in theirhomes by Tibetans who revere their exiled god-king. Vilification of the monk, said to be the 14th reincarnation in a line identified in the 16thcentury, has been state policy in China for more than a decade. For Tibetans, however,government condemnation of the monk regarded as the incarnation of the Buddha’s body hasfailed to erode their faith. Even government officials yearn privately for his return. The searchesthis weekend began in the homes of party cadres and state employees. In a recent visit to the Jokhang Temple, the holiest of shrines in the heart of Lhasa,thumbnail-size photographs of the Dalai Lama could be glimpsed in the dormitories of somemonks. Ordinary Tibetans and young monks may sidle up to foreigners and request a picture oftheir temporal leader who fled into exile 49 years ago during a failed uprising against Chinese rule.Time has failed to diminish his influence among Tibetans. Many have prospered from Chineserule but while they may say they want to keep the system that has brought them a morecomfortable life, they want the return of the Dalai Lama, too. Beijing condemns him regularly as a secessionist bent on dividing the Himalayan regionfrom China. The Dalai Lama says that he wants only autonomy and not independence. Among Tibetans his word remains law. Speaking in his native language, he can besevere, even prescriptive, about behaviour and beliefs. In English, he has developed a moregenial style. It is a charismatic combination that has transformed him into a figure of veneration,and even of worship, around the world. When he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 he described himself as ‘a simple monk fromfaraway Tibet’. His existence as a symbol of the struggle for freedom have won him a hugefollowing in the West. But his position is complicated; he has been described as ‘a very politicalold monk shuffling around in Gucci shoes’. (The Times, 17 March 2008.)
SoMaria Meneghini Callas is an actress but not much of a singer? You have heard the rumor since theonetime pride and joy of Chicago’s Lyric came to sing at the Metropolitan? Take it with a large grain of salt.The beautiful Maria is still an actress, to be sure. Still a singer, too. A singer in trouble, even more last nightthan in Vienna last spring where some less critical notes of Donizetti’s ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ died in herthroat. But essentially a singer of such superlative quality that even her ‘flawed’ Lucia is incomparable inour time. […] The trouble is that a treacherous dryness seems to be plaguing her throat. Her top notes are not what theywere because of it, her singing line is sometimes unsteady, and last night a ‘Mad Scene’ marvelously sungended in anticlimax because she amputated the climactic note before it could utterly betray her. The finer the singer the more terrifying this kind of thing can be. I am told by a source that doesn’t give mealibis that Callas had such a bad throat at the dress rehearsal they weren’t even sure she could go on. […]Callas went on, and most of the time she was radiantly herself. Ina red wig this time, the same red wig she wore in Vienna […] Even more slender, I think, with a handspanwaistline, those great myopic eyes, those long, lovely hands, that drifting serenity on stage and, that one ofthe kind Callas voice. Itstill sounds like an oboe to me – that strange, lovely voice that can command an ensemble but because ofthe mystery never drowns other voices out. She sang the first act beautifully, though her top notes werealmost as insecure as her tenor, Giuseppe Campora […] She sang the ‘Sextette’ as well as I have ever heard her do it, with that muted oboe luster at its warmest andmost beautiful. And up to that unfortunate curtain her ‘Mad Scene’ was magnificent. I don’t know where 1 2