Richard Gere in raging controversy over kiss

By Walter Jayawardhana, Lanka Web, April 18, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Angered by the public embracing and kissing of India’s leading actresses Shilpa Shetty by Hollywood actor Richard Gere, furious mobs in India burnt effigies of him at several demonstrations across the country.

<< Gere kisses Shilpa repeatedly on stage at an Aids/HIV Awareness event in India

Observers said it was ironic for Richard Gere to be at the center of such anger in the country of Buddha’s birth. The actor is known as the most famous Buddhist in the United States who meditates daily, and as a compassionate man who is extremely keen in eradicating Aids/HIV from India

As pictures of Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty on her cheeks and embracing her was flashed across the country’s newspapers Shiv Sena, a conservative Hindu group burnt effigies of Richard Gere and set fire to glamorous pictures of Shetty.

Richarde Gere bent and swept the popular Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty into his arms and several times kissed on her cheeks before a cheering crowd at the Aids Awareness event in New Delhi.

While according to his American customs it was nothing wrong to embrace and kiss a lady in appreciation it is considered taboo in Indian culture.

Similar to the Mumbai demonstration anti-Gere demonstrations have been reported from Varanasi, a conservative Hindu town and the Northern town of Meerut.

The kiss got utmost publicity as it was done before a press conference which was held to spread AID /HIV awareness especially among the New Delhi truck drivers as the disease is spreading among them rapidly.

Although Shilpa Shetty was giggling when Gere kissed her hand after the embrace she said, “ This is bit too much.”

But when the controversy was spreading the country and effigies were being burnt Shilpa Shetty said, “"I understand this is his culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such manner," trying to mitigate the tension. She said it was bad to let a foreigner to carry bad memories of the country.

Shilpa Shetty became an international star after she appeared in the British TV reality show “Celebrity Big Brother.”

Presss Trust of India news agency quoted a spokesman of the Opposition Bharathiya Jantha Party as saying, “Such a public display is not part of Indian tradition.”

Richard Gere has been hailed as the second most famous Buddhist in the world , the first one being his spiritual guide, Dalai Lama.

In modern times no body else has done so much to spread Buddhism in the United States like Richard Gere. He provided the main financial support (together with other Hollywood celebrities such as Harrison Ford and Sharon Stone) for the Dalai Lama to visit America to give lectures on Buddhism to the American Public,which converted thousands each time to the Indian religion.

In spreading Buddhism to the West, he is performing the role of such pioneers like Anagarika Dharmapala and Henry Steele Olcott. He even influenced Latin star Jennifer Lopez to become a Buddhist. He has authored books on Buddhism with Dalai Lama and spent thousands of his earning hours to spread the word of the Buddha.

He once said, “Sponsoring dharma books is important to me-translation, publishing-but I think the most important thing I can do is help sponsor teachings. To work with His Holiness and help sponsor teachings in Mongolia, India, the United States and elsewhere-nothing gives me more joy.”

He was formerly married to Cindy Crawford (who said she got sick and tired of Buddhist rituals and sought divorce from Richard). His present companion is the pretty Carey Lowell, also a devoted Buddhist, who is a "Bond girl" for the James Bond movie License to Kill where she acted as a tough talking bush pilot.

He made a number of movies including An Officer and a Gentleman, American Gigolo, Pretty Woman and recently, Run Away Bride. He was also selected as the sexiest man in 1999 by Peoples Magazine .He has won a Golden Globe award for the best actor

Once again he is in a controversy like before. But by a mere kiss he has brought AID/HIV awareness to hundreds of thousands of people in India.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: