Musings from the Moonroom

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A Most Auspicious Day

dalai-lama

Today was the realization of a dream.  Today I attended two lectures by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The event was sponsored by the Tibetan Association of Boston. It was a wonderful experience.

I have admired the Dalai Lama for many years. He is a wonderful spiritual leader who embodies so many traits that I try to embody: compassion, empathy, wisdom, humor, realism.

The day started with an introduction by Dr. Lobsang Sangay and a performance by Nawang Khechog. Then with a traditional Tibetan welcome, the Dalai Lama entered Gillette Stadium. As he entered the stadium I felt tears of joy fill my eyes. The love, admiration and respect that filled the stadium was palpable. The drone of horns in the Tibetan welcome music vibrated throughout my body.

Following a welcome address by Congressman Bill Delahunt and the presentation of gifts, the Dalai Lama began his first teaching on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.  For this first teaching, the Dalai Lama sat upon a Tibetan throne constructed especially for him. The throne was hand carved by Kunga according to traditional Tibetan Buddhist standards.  It was detailed with intricate Tibetan motifs and symbols of good wishes.  It took Kunga two weeks to construct half of the throne.  In its completed state for today, the throne measured 9 feet high from the ground and four feet wide.  It was adorned with silk brocade.

His Holiness sat on the throne cross-legged. It was overcast and a little windy, so the Dalai Lama took part of his robe and pulled it over his head like a hood. Then he affectionately told those in the front rows how windy it was and recommended they put their hats on as well.

Prior to discussing the Four Noble Truths, the Dalai Lama posed three questions for examination: “What is the Self or I?” “Is there a beginning?” and “What is the conscious mind?”  As he spoke I found myself nodding my head in agreement several times.  At other times I was a bit overwhelmed with the discussion and wished we could take more time to parse the words in order to understand his wisdom.

Following his presentation on the Four Noble Truths, a prayer was offered. The Dalai Lama explained the seven steps that those who are Buddhist practitioners must follow as part of the offering of gratitude, including prostration. He requested that those in attendance who were not Buddhist practitioners be witnesses to this ritual, to ensure that it was followed by the practitioners including himself.

The we took a lunch and entertainment break.

The afternoon was a public talk on The Path to Peace and Happiness.  Here the Dalai Lama sat on a large, comfy chair near the front of the stage. He endeared himself to the audience once more by donning a baseball cap with the Patriot’s logo on it (Gillette Stadium is the “home” of the Patriot’s football team.) By now the sun has come out and it was becoming warmer. So warm in fact that an aide to the Dalai Lama brought him an umbrella for shade. And the Dalai Lama paused momentarily to find his sunglasses in his bag.

In the public talk, the Dalai Lama made several pertinent statements:

Everyone has the same right to a happy life.

Spirituality can be defined in two ways; faith and religion or the basis of a universal value not necessarily in a religious faith.

We create our own problems.

And the path to peace and happiness is found in universal values such as compassion, respect, affection, and warmheartedness.

A clip of the Dalai Lama’s visit can be seen here

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The Dalai Lama truly embodies these universal values. Yet he is also human and admits to his foibles such as frustration and moments of anger. He encouraged us, when we are in times of frustration, fear, and doubt, to look within ourselves. To find the positive alongside of the negative. To see the beauty and similarities in each other, for we are all one people.  We are, in our essence, all the same.

Compassion can be put into practice if one recognizes the fact that every human being is a member of humanity and the human family regardless of differences in religion, culture, color and creed. Deep down there is no difference.

-His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

Namaste

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