The "Daley" Lama | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

The "Daley" Lama

The Daley Lama…

Consider, if you will, our mayor as a Buddhist. “But he's got the Irish,” you might say. Nonetheless, a focused meditation on the possibility will eventually float the realization that he transcends his visage as mayor into something greater… even beyond politics. (music under) For me, my thinking suddenly became clear… and I was awed by the reality: he's the Daley Lama. (music up) It makes sense: the mayor is the chosen incarnation of the first Daley Lama, also known as “Boss,” who ascended in 1955, when he was chosen by the inner circle of learned elders of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee.

The second Daley Lama, like the first, leads the Democratic sect of Chicago… not to enrich himself, of course, but rather those friends and family who are also selflessly dedicated to the future of the city. While it is certainly true that their profits are indeed your money, they make Chicago better for us all. How they do it is none of your business.

The Daley Lama is a man of obvious enlightenment: he dispenses with much of Chicago's material goods and assets, nearly giving them away for the austerity of his people: the Chicago Skyway, downtown parking garages, parking meters… whatever an investment group will buy. Consider his implacable effort to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago… It is his vision of Nirvana… to be built for his citizens:

“Those who plan for the future, and actively look ahead for bigger opportunities, will not only survive, but also thrive.”, (04:03 - 04:15)

Indeed. With such precious wisdom in his dharma talks -- ingeniously presented as mere press conferences -- you might think the Daley Lama is more a disciple of Lao Tzu and Taoism, with its tactical strategies. But it's really a unique style of Buddhism, adhering closely, for example, to Atisha, the eleventh-century Tibetan master who said, “The greatest effort is not concerned with results.”

I appreciate the mayor as an intriguing Buddhist. (music under) I see him as an exemplar of several characters depicted in the Dhammapada, an anthology of verses considered among the masterpieces of Buddhist literature. There's one character in particular, who says:

“'Let them know my work, Let everyone look to me for direction.'”

And the narrator intones:

“Such are his desires, Such is his swelling pride.”

And then the narrator concludes for the rest of us:

“Look not for recognition But follow the awakened And set yourself free.” (stop music)

And so I follow Our Mayorness, The Daley Lama.

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