Recently, I had the supreme honor of being in the presence of the 14th Dalai Lama. The strength of his Presence and the tenderness and compassion for all people were so evident in everything he did and said. He revealed a mischievous sense of humor, evident in his orchestrations between the other panelists that was refreshing and in a strange way reassuring.
Having had the privilege of sitting with my own Teacher for the past 24+ years, I am quite used to the Eastern way of teaching. Always, always the same message: Work hard; Connect in Love; Forgive yourself and others; Have Compassion for your neighbor; Be a good person. He was quite simple in the things he said. He radiated love, compassion and affection for all.
There was, of course a phalanx of irritants and distractions that are common with great Teachers. Language issues — volume and accent are ever present challenges. There was much moving about, changing of chairs, seating order, problems with the sound (a very common one with my Teacher as well), stopping and distracting on small details in the crowd, hecklers and general distractions. All of these things are so familiar to me and carry such purpose and serve to activate an individual’s issues. A reminder, perhaps, that even here, in the face of one of the world’s great Spiritual Leaders are small, mundane opportunities to stay centered and calm in the face of seeming randomness.
Throughout he delivered a consistent, positive message. His main focus, repeated over and over, was to understand that at the heart of all great philosophies and religions is the same message — LOVE. He also emphasised the importance of Happiness in Life. His keys to this were a loving household, tenderness, always, towards children and a strong moral center. He gently reminded us all that we need to work hard and this is both in our life pursuits and also in developing ourselves as good people. He quietly urged us to return to this “hard work” when it comes to conducting ourselves as individuals (inner cultivation), in society (being good neighbors) and in the world (finding and building commonality rather than focusing on our differences).
I took notes as I could in the spaces between paragraphs and around the edges of some brochures and flyers I had with me. Somehow, even this seemed significant, as how we work with the spaces between our life distractions, what we find in the marrow of the bones of our lives is what truly feeds us and helps us survive and thrive through our lives. I have included here, a transcript of my notes. These are not perfect quotes, but more the feverish writing in the half-dark as I tried to stay present and listen, while grabbing hold of the things that stood out to me.
Quote/Notes from the Dalai Lama, October, 2014
“Everyone wants to be Happy. This is common to all peoples. Everyone wants to be Happy and everyone has a right to happiness.”
How do we find commonality? “We look for the ways we are the same.”
How can we be Happy? “As a child, I never saw an angry face on my mother. I never saw her angry. I only saw love on her face. She never showed me anger no matter what I did. Once, when some people were traveling through my village, maybe Chinese people, they were very hungry. Then I saw tears on my mother’s face. She was sad as she handed out food. Tears fell as she handed out food. So Human Beings need compassionate attitude in the family. They need to have Love, Tolerance, Forgiveness. They must have Values and need common core of Beliefs, Inner Beliefs that all in the family can share.”
When considering the choice between practicing Patience vs Impatience in attempting to create an outcome or fight for a cause (social change):
“You must first assess the “Reality” of the outcome you seek. It is very important to understand the reality of the possibility of your outcome. You must be realistic about what you can accomplish. Then you decide. If the outcome is possible or easy to accomplish, then you take action and push forward, perhaps a little impatience works in this case. If the action is not easy or probable in the immediate future, then you practice patience and continue to take steps that are possible.”
“You must NEVER lose your moral compass.”
“Sometimes as you practice patience and wait, you let some time pass. You are seen to be consistent and Trust is developed. This then, creates support for your cause or outcome.”
“Likewise, sometimes impatience leads to failure. Force causes mistakes and resentment and Distrust is the result.”
To create a secure individual:
“We all have the Desire and the Right to live with Peace and Happiness.”
“Inner struggle is essential to develop a happy, strong, secure person.”
“Happy Mind is very important for Happy Body.”
“The opposite of Fear is Trust.”
“Trust comes if an individual is given affection (love, acceptance, tolerance, consistent values and morals) as a child. There must be affection between 2 people.”
“Affection develops Trust in Life.”
“Anger develops Suspicion in Life.”
“When you come home at the end of the day, take an interest in your wife, in your child. Give affection and loving kindness as this is the key to creating a happy family, a social individual.”
“Ask, who is my neighbor? My neighbor is like me. All the great religions or philosophies have at their heart the same message… that of LOVE. 7 Billion people and no one wants trouble. 7 Billion people and all of them want Happiness.”
“Even non-believers (in a Religion) must think properly. All must cultivate Compassion. A Compassionate mind is better for Health. Even if no Belief, one can find commonality in the desire for Happiness and the belief in Love. Respect Non-believers so all can live together.”
“Anger eats the Immune System.”
“If I Isolate, I suffer. Genuine Love is not depending on circumstance but from what is in a person’s Heart and Compassion.”
What about Jihad? “Jihad original meaning is “Battle with the self — battle with inner demons, not battle with others who are different.”
At the end of the talk, he came to the front of the stage. Again, in the way of great teachers, he ignored the dignitaries and his own handlers. Instead, he focused on a child. He reached and blessed her, stepped away for a moment, then reached out for her again. He invited her up on stage. He blessed her again, hugged her, mugged for the camera in a perfect photo op. Then, he tugged on her pigtails and told her that she is the future. He asked her if she knew she is the future. She said yes and laughed and told her to be strong, work hard, be the future. It was a wonderful reminder to see that our children grown up Strong, Secure, Well Adjusted, and yes, Happy. When we raise our children well, we create the Future.
Well, I hope that these things help you as much as they helped me. I leave my weekend filled with Love and a sense of Calm and Peace. I feel blessed and honored and so very, very grateful. ~deb paradise~