“ Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive” His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Yesterday Bracken and I went to hear the Dalai Lama give a public talk titled ‘Real Change Happens in the Heart’. He’s only giving one talk in Leeds and London and three in Scotland, but we had three days of them here in Manchester. What a fantastic opportunity to see and hear such an inspirational person in the flesh, it’s bit like being in the presence a living saint!
The Dalai Lama was welcomed on stage with a song of welcome sung by children of the Tibetan Community in Great Britain. Before they left the stage he posed for photos with them which was really nice of him. He gave a short talk about how to bring compassion into your life, and so on to the community, to start. Then there was a question and answer session, with the questions picked from those submitted by audience members beforehand. Given that Buddhism often seems to be about distancing yourself from the world and becoming unattached to thoughts and things, the answers he gave to the questions posed were surprisingly down to earth. (I have paraphrased these quite a bit!)
“What can we do to care for the Earth?’
“Shower instead of taking a bath and turn your lights off when you leave a room’ – it’s the small actions that add up.
“My sister died 29 years ago when I was a teenager and I haven’t got over it, what can I do?”
‘That’s very sad …very sad ….but it was along time ago. Don’t drag your sister down by associating failures with her memory ……. and go get some therapy”
‘Can you say a prayer for…..’
“Prayers are just words (showing them going up out of his mouth with a gesture) what you need to use are these, (showing us his hands)
I don’t know if the questioners were expecting some nuggets of esoteric wisdom from His Holiness, and whether they were disappointed in his straight forward and practical answers or not but Bracken and I thought he was wonderful.
He was hot on being present and engaged with the world, making a difference by your actions and aspiring to live your life in a thoughtful and ethical manner. He advised us to analyse what we heard him say and if any of it struck a chord then to go away and look into it further, but if there was something that we didn’t agree with then to ignore it! A lot of what he said was pertinent to the Druidic path and certainly resonated with the studies in the Gwersi. In a week – following the Summer Assembly – where we’ve been pondering Identity, this was another opportunity to consider who we are, and whether how we live reflects our true selves.
With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
until I reach full enlightenment.
Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddha’s presence
I generate the mind for Full Awakening
for the benefit of all sentient beings.
as long as space remains,
as long as sentient beings remain,
so may I too remain
and dispel the miseries of the world.
(from the Programme notes)
“ Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that”