Why this Western infatuation with the Dalai Lama? For [Andy] Lemey [writing in Macleans] it’s because the Dalai Lama’s persona solves a specifically Western problem. He puts it this way: In the 19th century the shared religious values that once permeated civilization began a ‘long withdrawing roar’... Any religion one adopts now is merely one possibility among many, a reality that drains each of its explanatory value and force. An infatuation with the Dalai Lama is the Goldilocks solution for a culture that finds its traditional religion too hot and atheism too cold. His exoticism marks him as authentic, and subjecting his teaching to critical scrutiny is beside the point, as there is never any chance we are going to engage his teachings seriously enough to be challenged by them. We instead want to bask in his distant spiritual glow.
Alan Roxburgh, in a blog post, 29.11.09 on the Roxburgh Missional Network.