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"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Habs could use some of Lama's good vibrations

October 8, 2009

His Holiness the Dalai Lama gets honourary jersey

Dave Stubbs, Canwest News Service
October 05, 2009

MONTREAL - Kundun read the nameplate on the Montreal Canadiens jersey
presented Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre to His Holiness the 14th
Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet.

Translated in his native Tibetan, Kundun means "Presence,'' the title by
which His Holiness is addressed.

Some 14,000 listeners were buoyed by the Dalai Lama's inspiring words of
peace, delivered from a stage erected over the boarded ice surface not far
inside a blue-line in the home of the Canadiens. The arena's primary tenant
was in Buffalo to play the Sabres that night in a game that would include 38
penalty minutes, 20 of them for roughing.

The closest the Canadiens have come to Kundun on their 101-year-old roster
is Les Kuntar, a goalie chosen in the sixth round of the NHL entry draft,
the Habs' eighth pick, 122nd overall. Kuntar forgettably appeared in a total
of six NHL games, all with the Canadiens in 1993-94, winning two and losing
two with a save percentage of .877.

Kundun has had a more remarkable career, to be sure.

There should have been a C stitched on the front of the Dalai Lama's jersey;
he'd be the most worthy and selfless captain of the Canadiens since Jean
Beliveau.

His Holiness views himself as "a simple Buddhist monk," which is not unlike
the late Rocket Richard having seen himself as "just a hockey player.''

I have profound admiration for the Dalai Lama, especially after having spent
a month in Beijing a year ago at the Olympic Games and been at arm's length
from the decades-old Tibet-China conflict. The 74-year-old has spent his
entire adult life travelling the world to promote the ideals of peace,
tolerance and compassion, having authored more than 70 books on the subject.

He assumed full power in Tibet in 1950, a year after China's invasion.
Failed peace talks with the Chinese and the brutality inflicted upon
Tibetans who arose in protest sent him into exile in 1959. He has been
living in northern India for the past 50 years.

His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 20 years ago this December,
recognized for his work in "the struggle of the liberation of Tibet and the
efforts for a peaceful resolution instead of using violence.''

Three years ago, the Dalai Lama was named an honourary citizen of Canada,
one of 84 special honours bestowed upon him since he was named Doctor of
Letters by India's Denares Hindu University in 1957.

He can now add CH to those letters, his wardrobe complete with a Canadiens
jersey.

By all accounts, the Dalai Lama is a warm, sensitive engaging human being, a
man with a delicious sense of humour and even a little mischief in his soul.

So it was with a bashful grin that he accepted the Canadiens sweater, a
jersey that would have cost him about $500 had he visited the Habs Zone
boutique to buy the authentic-model RBK Edge with sewn cresting.

His Holiness might even have use for it during daily workouts that would
exhaust many professional athletes.

He awakens at 3:30 a.m. for his daily prostrations and confessions -- from
standing to lying positions and back up three times -- then does his cardio
on the treadmill before sitting down to breakfast at 5:30 and heading out
into a full day and evening of activities.

With only blissful blood in his veins, you hope the Dalai Lama was steered
away from Bell Centre photos of the late John Ferguson while being told that
Georges Laraque is vegan.

And of course, none of his talk alluded to his alleged prowess on a golf
course, as magnificently described in the 1980 movie classic Caddyshack.

Bill Murray, playing Bushwood Country Club assistant greenskeeper Carl
Spackler, tells a pitchfork-threatened caddy that he once was a looper for
the Dalai Lama, a "big hitter'' with shallow pockets in his flowing robes
who tipped not with cash but with the gift of death-bed "total
consciousness.''

In The Book of Caddyshack, his 2007 study of the movie, former Montrealer
Scott Martin publishes his letter to the Dalai Lama's office in India,
asking among other things for the true meaning of "gunga galunga,'' which
His Holiness is claimed by Murray to have uttered after his round of golf
(the scorecard undisclosed).

The reply received a month later said the Dalai Lama wasn't aware of this
reference in Caddyshack, nor did His Holiness even play golf. As for "gunga
galunga,'' Martin was directed to the Office of Tibet in New York.

Apparently gibberish, the phrase is available on bumper-stickers and
T-shirts at cafepress.com,though not at dalailama.com.With injured Canadiens
dropping like flies, the club could use a few of His Holiness's good vibes.
Meanwhile, watch for the Habs' new Kundun jersey -- big seller, the Lama -- 
to be on souvenir racks any day.

Tens of thousands more people are following the Dalai Lama at
twitter.com/OHHDLInfo,although His Holiness is now following Stubbs' Habs
coverage. Honestly, he is.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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