09.30.08

HH the Dalai Lama

Posted in Buddhism, Events at 7:59 am by Marion

In October 2007 I traveled to Atlanta to see His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. He spoke at Emory University and at the downtown Centennial Park during two days of teachings. It was profoundly moving to experience the presence of this great man of peace and compassion.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama
His Holiness
Posted 22 October 2007

I spent yesterday listening to His Holiness and it was probably one of the best days of my life. He does radiate joy, peace and love — I was prepared for disappointment, because really, no hero is genuine, right? The difference with His Holiness is that he’s a hero for his humanity, and not because of other reasons, like so many of our heroes, who are presented as flawless, beautiful, unerring demi-gods.

No, His Holiness is simply a human being and arrived at his place of wisdom through a lifetime of hard work. That work has allowed him to develop deep understanding and acceptance for the world and all of us sharing it.

A few moments before he was scheduled to appear, the gymnasium fell silent,the colored lights that were twirling everywhere stopped and no one moved.

I hardly knew how to prepare myself, so I just said let me have a clear mind to understand this great man of peace.

When His Holiness walked onto the stage, I knew my fears that I would somehow be disappointed were groundless. How could I be disappointed?

He walked with a gait that reminded me of my grandmother, only quicker and more steady. Still, there was a sense of age to his step. He smiled constantly as he held the hands and hugged the monks there, bowing to them, as if they were the honored guests and he just an ordinary visitor.

He wore the saffron yellow and burgundy robes of a monk and on his feet, flip flops. They made no noise, however, as he walked around the stage greeting everyone.

I felt warm inside, deeply reassured not only that my hero was genuine, but somehow that the entire world wasn’t such a bad place after all.

In the afternoon a peacebuilding summit took place … more tomorrow … but when I left the gymnasium, I walked into a bright, crisp autumn afternoon. Everywhere I looked, I saw joy — people playing soccer in a field, friends walking together to the Tibetan bazaar that’s set up under the white tents, people carrying their small children. I felt awed by the beauty of everything.

Tibet for a Day
Posted 23 October 2007

The clouds came down to turn Atlanta into a little Tibet, and Centennial Park into Lhasa. A fresh, cool day, the buildings surrounding the park shrouded in mist became mountains, shedding their concrete nature for a few hours and giving us a break from the known world.

More than 7,000 people crowded the park and they sat on blankets, many with their children, other couples and people of all ages and walks of life.

His Holiness spoke of love and the importance of inner values, compassion and kindness, and said he would serve others until his death.

I have been in the presence of an enlightened human being. It gives me hope of what is possible by strengthening inner values and positive human emotions — compassion, affection, love — and discouraging the bad ones.

Today I pack up and head home, the long, eight-hour drive back to Greenville.

TOMORROW:
Seeing Jack Kerouac’s original scroll MS of On the Road.

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