Thursday, September 14, 2006

Literary Lama


I spent the last three days in the presence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. I, and three thousand others, listened to His Holiness interpret ancient Buddhist text. It was on the second day that I looked up from my notebook and realised--holy cow! I'm getting instruction on compassion and altruism by a Nobel Prize Winner in Peace!

Let me tell you receiving Dharma, or Buddha's instruction, is no easy task. I confess that I was proud of myself. I only nodded off once or twice during the three days.

As the days passed, I noticed the audience would get slightly smaller each day. Some people had no idea of how hard it can be to learn Dharma. It was difficult wrapping your brain around text that went:

"Either within or likewise without
Or somewhere in between the two
The conquerors have never found the mind
So the mind has the nature of illusion."

There were a hundred and 12 of these stanzas we had to wade through. His Holiness would speak in Tibetan, then an interpreter would take over. I was reminded of old school days, having to interpret William Shakespeare's Sonnets. This task was far more exhausting.

Regardless, it was special to witness His Holiness live. Reading sacred text and hearing the Dalai Lama's interpretation of them was a highlight in my life. It was even more amazing that His Holiness would say that these teachings from A Commentary of the Awakening Mind by Nagarjuna was difficult and that even he gets confused. I became more humbled--see, you don't have to know everything.

I was able to put these lessons of love and compassion to the test on the last day of the teaching. There were so-called Christians across the street from where the Dalai Lama was screaming at us, yelling epithets, and saying we're going to hell unless we choose Jesus.

Normally, I would have yelled back or atleast shot them the finger. Instead, I just started laughing. They simply looked ridiculous.

4 comments:

circuitmouse said...

As they used to say in the sixties, "each one teach one." Or as we more commonly hear nowadays, "pass it on."
You're one of the good guys, Noel. Remember that.

Jason Phoon said...

That must have been a profound experience.

And boo to those christians. They were acting very un-christian like.

Liz said...

What an inspiring experience. I saw the Dalai Lama in '93 at the Parliament of the World's Regions in Chicago. It was quite memorable.

Sundry said...

Wonderful. What a nice reward you gave yourself after all the intense work on the book!