Dalai Lama joins Kutcher and Fry on Twitter

Dalai Lama

Buddhist spiritual leader starts tweeting – after admitting he had never heard of Tiger Woods

BY Alex Lewis LAST UPDATED AT 14:40 ON Thu 4 Mar 2010

Buddhists around the world are in a state of shock - or perhaps nirvana - following the news that the latest celebrity to open a Twitter account is none other than the Dalai Lama.

But there are questions over the Tibetan spiritual leader's motives for joining the digital age. Is he hoping to inspire his followers with conveniently sized snippets of spiritual wisdom, promote his website or has he decided it's time to get up to speed on all the latest celebrity gossip?

His Holiness's sudden arrival on Twitter came two days after he was forced to admit that he had never heard of one of Buddhism's most famous (lapsed) devotees - Tiger Woods. He made the confession during a trip to Los Angeles, days after the golfer held a worldwide TV audience transfixed as he apologised to his wife and supporters for a string of affairs.

It was on the same trip that the Dalai Lama met one of Twitter's founders, Evan Williams. Unsurprisingly, Williams later tweeted: "Met the Dalai Lama today in LA. Pitched him on using Twitter. He laughed."

However, despite his initial response the Dalai Lama seems to have had a change of heart - and has already attracted an impressive 140,000 followers. Since there are 1.6 billion Buddhists around the world, it surely will not be long before His Holiness attains the coveted status of 'twillionaire' - a twitter user with more than a million followers - which will see him rub shoulders with the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry.

But some Twitter users have declared themselves disappointed with the Dalai Lama's output so far. His posts consist primarily of links to longer articles and photos on his own website. Whether or not this demonstrates a lack of willingness to adhere to Twitter's strict 140 character limit is unclear but it has put some users off. One in particular, using the pseudonym 'meathead', has declared that he was 'unfollowing' the Dalai Lama as he "thought he'd be funnier".

Others of his followers have been more forgiving and are overjoyed that the Tibetan spiritual leader has joined them, one saying: "Love it that he Tweets. Really makes me smile to think about it!" Another says: "sweet @DalaiLama is on twitter".

Of course the biggest benefit to them all, whether they realise it or not, is the huge increase in credibility he has afforded the site and its users, who are often criticised for their banal thoughts. · 

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