Reaction mixed to Lowery's "fist bump" with Dalai Lama - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reaction mixed to Lowery's "fist bump" with Dalai Lama

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

"Google" how to greet the Dalai Lama and you'll get hundreds of links, including an instructional video.

"Make sure you bow your head and never make eye contact," says the announcer.

Nowhere is there a mention of the manner in which Mayor Pro-Tem Myron Lowery chose to greet the spiritual leader Tuesday on his first trip to Memphis.

"I've always wanted to say "Hello Dalai," said Lowery before bumping fists with the Dalai Lama.

Not everyone is laughing at the informal fist-bump.  The editor of The Memphis Flyer writes on his blog of  Lowery, "...it will probably destroy what little shot he had at the mayor's office." 

Comments are mixed on the Commercial Appeal's web-site.  They include, "this is a disgrace," "WTF!!!," and "I think it was kind of cute."        

Apparently, the Dalai Lama thought it was cute as well. "He bumped back and laughed at it," said one aide.

"Wherever he goes," said a musician known as "Loten," who travels with the Dalai Lama.  "In the tradition of that land, people greet him," he adds.  Religious Studies professor Mark Muesse of Rhodes College cites a passage from The Dalai Lama's autobiography in which he writes of his dislike of protocol.

"This would not be the normal way, I suppose, of treating the Dalai Lama when he comes to town," said Muesse of the fist-bump. "But at the same time, the way he responded was quite consistent with who he is as a person and as the Dalai Lama," he added. And any criticism, he said, may be misguided.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly