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The Dalai Lama Says …

July 28, 2011

Originally posted 17 October 2007…

A few years ago, when I was first discovering and investigating Buddhism, I read several books about and by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Much to the chagrin of, I assume, everyone I spoke to, I started beginning every other sentence with, “the Dalai Lama says ….”. It became a bit of a joke among my friends. The subject didn’t matter – we could have been discussing toupees or politics, or cheese. In my mind, the Dalai Lama had said something that somehow applied. What can I say? It was the beginning stages of love. Anything and everything he said was wonderful and amazing. Some time has passed now, and while I still occasionally whip out a “the Dalai Lama says …”, they are fewer and farther between.

 

The Dalai Lama was in NYC last week for several days of teaching. His talk on Sunday was about Peace (the inner kind) and Prosperity (the non-material kind). It was my first time in his presence and I was struck by his obvious humility and joy. He emanated both equally. At the end of his talk, his interpreter read him questions that had been emailed in advance of the talk. One of them made reference to how H.H. has said in the past that NYC is a wonderful place to practice compassion, tolerance, patience, etc. due to the many opportunities that present themselves on a daily basis. This person said they were having trouble with those things – what should they do? H.H. reiterated the need for practice, practice, practice and then finally suggested that if NYC was proving itself a difficult place to live, this person should consider moving. After all, “I think America is a big land, no?”, he said. Another person asked what we could do to help the situation in Burma. After a brief, almost imperceptible look of pain crossed his face, he told us what he himself had done, but then readdressed the question and answered simply, “I don’t know”.
Of the many lessons that I will carry with me from this particular Sunday afternoon, the greatest may perhaps be that if the Dalai Lama can say, “I don’t know”, it’s sure as hell okay for me to say and to feel and to sit with not knowing.
And thus, the name of this blog. This is where I will go on, probably endlessly as that is my style, about things that I don’t know. It will be obvious to you, gentle readers, that I don’t know. Perhaps you will know, and perhaps you will share what you know. That is my hope, though not my expectation, because as the Dalai Lama might say … there is no blog.
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