The Dalai Lama has been visiting New York for the past few days, sharing his expertise in Buddhist philosophy, words of wisdom, and his world-renowned laugh with the American community.
CBS host Norah O'Donnell interviewed the exiled spiritual leader on Monday about the changing attitude of the Chinese government towards him, the possibility of him being the last Dalai Lama, as well as his "weakness for beautiful women," which he initially spoke about in a 1993 New York Times interview with Claudia Dreifus.
The candid and charming Buddhist leader, who insists that he is "a simple Buddhist monk -- no more, no less," is open about his own struggles and temptations, and his frankness contributes to his popular appeal.
He starts getting personal around the 3 minute mark:
NORAH O'DONNELL: No wine. No tobacco or anything like that.
DALAI LAMA: No.
NORAH O'DONNELL: And you are celibate, right?
DALAI LAMA: Well, yes.
NORAH O'DONNELL: What do you do-- what do you do for fun?
DALAI LAMA: Fun? Use our intelligence and think many things. And that also-- sometimes, some kind of fun.
NORAH O'DONNELL: You've also said one of your weaknesses is beautiful women.
DALAI LAMA: Seeing-- beautiful women, yes. Oh. So beautiful. But then, as a monk, thinking-- the children. Many of my friend-- American friend, also some European, each time, I think between few years’ time, you see, they meet new wife. (LAUGHTER) Second new wife, third wife—
NORAH O'DONNELL: Really?
DALAI LAMA: --like that. So-- so married people not necessarily very happy. (LAUGHTER) Lot of worry, lot of concern and also, I think-- I think husband-- I think-- much portion of his money, I think used by lady (LAUGHTER)
NORAH O'DONNELL: But you know, many-- many married women also work, so they don't need their husbands' money, yeah.
DALAI LAMA: Oh, oh, that's good. That's good. More independence.
The celibate Dalai Lama was even more forthcoming about his attachment to beautiful women in Dreifus' 1993 interview, in response to a question about his weaknesses:
Other weaknesses are, I think, anger and attachments. I'm attached to my watch and my prayer beads. Then, of course, sometimes beautiful women. . . . But then, many monks have the same experience. Some of it is curiosity: If you use this, what is the feeling? [ Points to his groin. ]
Then, of course, there is the feeling that something sexual must be something very happy, a marvelous experience. When this develops, I always see the negative side. There's an expression from Nagurajuna, one of the Indian masters: "If you itch, it's nice to scratch it. But it's better to have no itch at all." Similarly with the sexual desire. If it is possible to be without that feeling, there is much peace. [ Smiles. ] And without sex, there's no worry about abortion, condoms, things like that.
See the full O'Donnell interview here
Transcript courtesy of CBS.