his holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am fascinated by the Dalai Lama and all things buddhist/chinese/tibetan. One of my first trips abroad was to China where I fell in love with monks and buddhist temples. When I first came to India, one of my first stops was to Dharmsala where the Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959. My friend Melissa and I were present during a rally for the Panchan lama (which I am sure you can read about here in the archives of March/April 2004) who has been missing for many years. The Panchan lama is the successor of the Dalai Lama in the way that he is the one who carries out the search for the new Dalai Lama incarnation. Since he has been missing (captured by the Chinese govt) it is wondered and been said that this Dalai Lama could be the last. I don’t know if this means the end of Buddhism how we know it or not. But it often fills me with great sadness to know that this could be the end of the line. The Dalai Lama is so peaceful and tries to bring all people together with the principles he knows are present in all religions.
Anyway, you can imagine my excitement upon hearing that the Dalai Lama would be speaking in Mumbai. Yesterday I had the opportunity to go hear him speak. He’s really a lovable guy – just like I had seen on tv and heard. He laughs all the time, smiles and is just a regular person who happens to also be extraordinary. His talk focused on inner peace, talking a lot about education and its importance. He believes that secular ethics needs to be taught in schools – that most religions believe in the same practices of honesty, compassion, etc and that these need to be taught to all not just in a religious frame of mind. During the answer and question series, he was faced with some difficult questions on the rail link to tibet, the current status of secularism in India, how to deal with personal anger, etc. He was very honest in saying he didn’t know the answer to many, but would give his perspective on most. It was quite good, but long and hot! It was unfortunate that the talk was given in the middle of the day – meaning that many people were unable to attend due to work committments. But nevertheless, it was filled with tons of foreigners, upper class Indians and tibetans. I don’t know if the Tibetans were able to understand the talk though as it was given in English. He will be speaking throughout the World in the coming year, so if he is close to your town you should go listen!
I didn’t come away filled with peace, but was excited that I had the opportunity to see him in person at least once in my life. Now I must get to Tibet before it is too badly corroded with the new train line.
Its been a busy an active week. Now I must focus on work and get back into the swing of things there before time gets away from me!

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