05/21/2010 10:13 pm ET Updated 5 days ago

The Greening of the Dalai Lama

Would the Dalai Lama shed his saffron and cranberry robes for green?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama said Thursday that America should start a Green Party and when we do, he will join. But, your Holiness, guess what? There is an American Green Party and they'd be honored to have you as a member.

A man of wisdom and an avid reader of current events, one might wonder why His Holiness didn't know about The Green Party of the United States. He isn't alone. Other than being aware that Ralph Nader ran on a Green Party ticket for President of the United States in 2000, I haven't heard much about it either. These days, it's Tea Party talk. And a lot of it.

So I called a spokesperson at the Green Party to ask if he'd heard that the Dalai Lama wanted to join. Taken by surprise at the Dalai Lama's statement, Scott McLarty who is the National media coordinator for the Green Party said, "This is certainly an opportunity to challenge him and to challenge the media to be responsible about reporting beyond the limitations of the pro-corporation, pro-war two party system."

Great, but challenge the Dalai Lama? The 74-year old man speaks of patience and compassion as a way to make the world a better place. Think about it. Rather than blame the media, Wall Street, the Democrats and the Republicans, the Green Party might do better to heed the Dalai Lama's practical advice.

The Dalai Lama is in New York City for three days of Buddhist teachings followed by a public talk and conversation on Sunday. Actor Richard Gere, founder of Healing the Divide, and The Tibet Center, are hosting the Dalai Lama's visit.

The Dalai Lama said that in the mid-1950's and 60's, there was a genuine desire for peace. By the end of the 20th century, the additional responsibility of looking after our planet came into being. Hence the Green Party commentary. Read more about the Dalai Lama's commitment here.

Citing the immense relief efforts following natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti and international support of the election of Barack Obama as the first Black President, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people said that these are signs that "human beings are becoming more mature."

His Holiness also had a message for the press. He asked that we promote human compassion. He spoke on religion, the subject of his new book, and concluded by telling the media that they should have a long nose, like an elephant, and use it to smell. "You must be honest, truthful, objective and make clear to the public what is going on," he said.

The difference though between the Dalai Lama's mention of the press and McLarty's was that His Holiness asked the media to pay attention whereas McLarty, speaking on behalf of the Green Party, wagged a finger. Gaining followers is all in the delivery.