If you were to go lululemon.com today, you'd see a photo of the Dalai Lama with a quote from His Holiness: "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." Presumably, pricey yoga clothes are not in the same category.
Am I being snarky? Yes. lululemon athletica inc. on Tuesday announced
that it is partnering with the Dalai Lama Center "on a variety of
initiatives including researching the connection between
mind-body-heart, sharing the work globally, and expanding the reach of
the Center's Heart-Mind education initiatives."
The company will donate $250,000 Canadian in each of the next three years to support the center's work.
Is that a good thing? Quite likely.
"At the Dalai Lama Center, our mission is to educate the hearts of
children by informing, inspiring, and engaging the communities around
them. We...look forward to working together to promote 'education of the
heart,' which results in more peaceful, secure, engaged and
compassionate children," said Fiona Douglas-Crampton, president and CEO of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.
The center, a secular, non-political, not-for-profit organization, was established in 2005, cofounded by HHDL and Victor Chan.
Still, seeing the Dalai Lama on a website identified as "yoga clothes
and running gear for sweaty workouts" gives me pause. There's no
indication that they'll be offering a line of running tights with HHDL's
face on the butt, or that he'll start showing up in slightly
see-through yoga pants, but it feels icky to have his image, bowing, on
shop.lululemon.com. Click on the "learn more about our partnership" link and you get to a page headlined, "psst! we're in a new relationship."
lululemon is a company in need of good will. Its co-founder stepped down
last year after saying that the company's clothes weren't intended to
work on women with large thighs. But the way they're handling their "new
relationship" doesn't make me like them more.
sells T-shirts with TNH's calligraphy to raise money. That's straightforward fundraising, not filtered through a for-profit company that's made some questionable choices in the past.
It reminds me of the corrupt Thai police official in John Burdett's books who makes donations at the local temple to buy merit so he can go on behaving badly.
What do you think?