Walter Mencken 9:52 a.m., Oct. 27
Dalai Lama Announces Pilgrimage to East County's "Buddha McDonald"
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the supreme religious head of Tibet, has announced his intention to visit San Diego this April. Publicly, he is journeying to America's Finest City for Drinking Lots of Beer in order to give a series of talks sponsored by UCSD, SDSU, USD, Cal State San Marcos, San Diego City College the University of Phoenix, Coleman College, Great News! Cooking School, and the National Bartending Academy in La Mesa. But privately, according to sources inside the Nobel Laureate's inner circle, his real interest in the region is the huge Ronald McDonald Buddha in Lakeside.
The Buddha sits serenely atop the Los Coches Road exit McDonald's PlayPlace, cheerfully welcoming all who long to meld Western habits of passionate consumption with Eastern habits of relaxation and acceptance. "The Lama is fascinated," says SD on the QT's source. "Ronald McDonald is the kid-friendly face of a worldwide force for mass consumerism and self-gratification at the expense of the environment, local culture, and even one's physical health. And yet, here he is, untroubled, rejoicing in his status as clown. It is as if he is in on some grand, cosmic joke that we have not yet been able to fathom. What is the Buddha McDonald's secret wisdom? The Lama is eager to pay a visit to this mysteriously holy shrine."
"He better get here quick," says store manager Earl Mingus. "I don't know how much longer corporate is going to let us keep selling the McRib, and it'd be a shame if he missed out on that."
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