Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Afternoon with The Dali Lama

His Holiness The 14th Dali Lama.

And so it happened! We finally got to cross off something of our rather extensive "Bucket List." His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama spoke at the Long Beach Arena to a crowd of 10,000 people and American Mishima was there. Thanks for the generosity of fellow Shingon Buddhist Tony Truong, we were able to attend H.H's lecture Peace of Mind in Troubled Times. He spoke for close to three hours offering his views on how to attain peace and happiness. We were unable to get a closer photo from the upper balcony where we sat but we do get to walk away with the words of advice and some rather amusing stories from his life. One such story involved a Japanese Buddhist who was chanting and counting his rosary beads when suddenly it broke and scattered to the floor. Rather than stop, the Japanese Buddhist continued on much to the amusement of His Holiness who admitted he wanted to stop what he was doing and help pick up the beads off the floor. Hearing him laugh was fun to hear. He said he enjoyed such human moments and he shared a few with us. From pulling the ears of his mother when he was a child to his meetings with Chairman Mao Tse-tung who oddly enough had nice things to say about the late Chinese Leader.  But what struck us was his wit as in one such recollection where he told us of an American Christian Monk who he had befriended who started using Buddhist techniques. He was quick to tell him;”That’s Buddhist Business! You leave that alone!” to the laughter of the faithful present and we were no exception.
H.H. was introduced by actor Richard Gere and was heavily attended by local Tibetans in elaborate traditional clothing you don't really get to see much of outside of Tibet. Buddhists of all denominations attended and a couple annoying animal rights people outside who came to protest. No one was interested in what those few misguided fools had to say for we were here to see and listen to one of the world’s most unique spiritual leader. And one with a sense of humor we might add. Is he a God King or have special healing powers? In his own words; "Nonsense!" He is human, albeit from our standpoint an extraordinary human being, one who is most humble embodying the very essence of peace. Though I particularly didn't walk away with any earth shattering revelation, I am happy to have been with my new family in his presence to hear his words and take in what I could as a blessing. To see him bow with his hands clasped in prayer in our direction was good enough.

Such opportunities will become rarer as His Holiness is now 77 years old with no legitimate successor. The Occupying People's Republic of China's Government may call him a demon. "Nonsense!" he would say. The PRC may even have their own appointed Dali Lama but for the rest of the world there is only one Dali Lama and there will be none like him once he leaves us.
We at American Mishima are blessed to have had this experience.

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