Dharamsala: More than two million people across the globe religiously follow him on microblogging site Twitter, giving Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama an unprecedented reach, the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) reported.
The Dalai Lama has outstripped the following of many icons of cinema and sports, as he disseminates his teachings, speaks on various issues concerning his people and even reaches out to the Chinese people.
“To control negative physical and verbal actions, it is necessary to get at their root, the mind, and tame it,” is a spiritual lesson from him on Twitter.
As on 1.40 p.m. on Monday, the Dalai Lama’s Twitter account @DalaiLama had 2,075,807 followers, having added over 6,000 followers since 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Next in following is cricketer Sachin Tendulkar (sachin_rt), being followed by 1,239,638 people, and in the third place, was Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra (1,209, 115).
Following quite some distance behind were other Bollywood stars – Shah Rukh Khan at 1,029,611, Amitabh Bachchan at 938,719, Aamir Khan at 888,974, Deepika Padukone at 867,065, Salman Khan at 849,532, Preity Zinta at 722,051 and Hrithik Roshan at 663,293.
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s SriSriOnTour Twitter account has 9,740 followers while yoga guru Baba Ramdev has a following of 5,420 people. Pope Benedict’s Twitter page is news_va_en with a 70,688 following.
Thubten Samphel, spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration, said: “The aim of His Holiness to join Twitter is to reach out to the followers.
“The more important is to explain to Chinese youngsters about the nature of Tibetan struggle – not anti-China, not anti-Chinese, and just to fight it out with the wrong policies of the China government. In his tweets, he also preaches to Chinese scholars.”
In his interactions, His Holiness the Dalai Lama touches upon various topics concerning Tibetan exiles, Samphel added.
According to a post on the Dalai Lama’s official website, he began tweeting soon after his meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House (in February last year). During his US visit, the Tibetan spiritual leader met Twitter founder Evan Williams, who suggested he use the medium too.
On Feb 22, 2010, Williams tweeted: “Met the Dalai Lama today in LA. Pitched him on using Twitter. He laughed.”
Most of the Dalai Lama’s tweets link to webcasts on his official website where he talks about the life story of the Buddha.
Ramandeep Bajwa, a journalist by profession and follower of the Dalai Lama on the Twitter, said: “I am following him as he often talks on universal responsibility, love and compassion.”