Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I went to see the Dalai Lama Today!

Now, let me begin by saying, that I have a notoriously bad memory, and the Dalai Lama speaks with a rather pronounced accent….

But here is my account of the Lecture by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama:

At noon, on the day of the lecture, I was promptly kicked out of my office so I could get a decent seat.  I'm rather glad of that.  My social anxiety-laden self managed to get a seat that wasn't too high up, and on an aisle.  Bu 1:30 the place was full.  8,200 people.  5,000 from the William and Mary community.

First, the reaction that he got from the crowd is usually reserved for rock stars.  There was thunderous applause, hooting and hollering….

Until he said, in that quiet way, for us to all sit down.

The first half of the program was a lecture about Human Compassion.

The Dalai Lama welcomed us, his brothers and sisters, today.  That is the basis for his talk on Human Compassion.  That we are all brothers and sisters.  We are all human.  Here’s the highlights:
  • All living beings have compassion.  Human compassion entails empathy, and concern for others well being.  We have to love our enemies.  That is the test of Human Compassion. 
  • He acknowledged that no one wants any problems.  People don’t willingly seek out conflict.
  • Fear and anger are linked.  They also lead to stress
  • Religion can create walls between people
  • Calm minds can think objectively, and compassion keeps the mind calm
  • Everyone has the right to life a happy life, and others are the source of our happiness, since we live in a community
  • We need to value others well being… which will leave no room for bullying
  • Now… too much compassion can overwhelm you.  Help yourself, so you can then help others.
  • Compassion has religious roots, but since religion can divide as much as it brings people together…. A secular approach to human compassion must be used.
His Holiness then answered questions that were submitted by the campus community last week.

The first was about living in a multifaith world, and the faiths not getting along.  He started by saying that often it is best to stay the religion you were brought up in, but if you chose another path, you should respect the faith you came from. He also mentioned that India is getting the living together in harmony right…. But I’m not so sure he’s taking Kashmir into account.  He also mentioned that we shouldn’t base the acts of a few as a reflection on the faith as a whole, and we should make an effort to reach out to people of other faiths.  And like a true Buddhist, he stressed investigation and experimentation over blind faith.

In the end, he gave scarves to people, the president of the student body, the professor that moderated, and, my favorite, the sign language interpreters.

What an amazing man.. seriously….

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