May 16th, 2001 (10:26 am)
current mood: jubilant
current song: "A Hundred Million Miracles"
I'm so glad I was still able to go over to Portland with my friends to see the Dalai Lama at the Memorial Coliseum yesterday evening.
This was the event of a lifetime in my mind. I consider him to be more important in world affairs than the President of the United States, or any one world leader of any given nation. The only other person on the level of this great man would be the Pope, I guess.
So as he came out on stage everyone rose to their feet and I stood with tears just streaming down my face -- I was so overjoyed by the moment. To know that I was in the same room (even if that room was a huge venue) with one of the greatest men who has ever lived -- and truly one of the greatest men of our current time -- it was really incredible.
He is 66, and has a youthful and animated face just full of love and joy. He kept shielding his eyes as he tried to stare into the audience. He wanted to see the faces of the people he was speaking to.
He spoke of the 'power of vision' and of how each one person can make a difference. He encouraged us to be more peaceful inside ourselves, so that we could spread that peace to others. He made jokes and made us laugh and he spoke of world changes that made us applaud. I will never forget this special time as long as I live.
It put my recently burdened and difficult life into much better perspective for me. It made me realize how foolish I've been and how trivial my petty worries are in light of my looming future -- and in light of this big world I live in. (It made me reflect on how the internet has the means to make this world smaller -- and to bring us closer to one another -- if we can avoid the same conflicts that are in our face to face contacts.)
He spoke of violence and peace in ways that were enlightening for me on a personal level. And he spoke of love in ways that made me realize that it IS okay for me to love unconditionally and without expectations of what I might receive in return. I found that reassuring in light of my own desires to go on loving individuals (like my deceased friend, Jack) when there is no possibility of knowing that my love is being reciprocated.
I was uplifted and humbled by this experience. He spoke specifically about educators, and I was moved by that. I've always tried to do what he spoke of -- to impart ethics along with learning. I feel that his words will encourage me to continue doing so in spite of the difficulties involved.
Again, I felt love for someone who stood on a stage and inspired me. It was far different in many ways from watching a Backstreet Boys concert -- and yet interestingly enough, it was also the same in many ways. I came away from both experiences feeling happy, feeling renewed and feeling inspired. I wonder how the BSB would feel about being compared to the Dalai Lama? (And the greatest Dalai Lama to ever live. The man who has won so many awards they are too numerous to list, but include the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award and eighteen honorary doctorate degrees.) I suppose it's silly to make a comparison -- but if someone impacts your life in a positive way then they are great. Even if they are musical performers!
Of course I've read about the Dalai Lama, but seeing him made me want to find a book filled with his inspirational thoughts. I'll have to search at a bookstore the next time I get there.
I hope I can work to avoid conflicts and to be even more supportive of human rights and environmental issues after hearing his words. I'd like to be more tolerant of others, express even greater respect and feel even more compassion in light of this experience.
I bought the souvenir canvas bag -- corny, I know, but I wanted a physical reminder which would bring the event to mind whenever I glanced at it. I guess I'll use it to carry my schoolbooks in from now on. And I'm sitting staring at my bookmark commemorating the occasion and feeling awed. I got to see the Dalai Lama in person! I am so lucky.
The small program they provided contains his picture and it was interesting that they included inside a small message asking that this program be treated with respect, as any images of the Dalai Lama are considered sacred. I think of how we attend events and people just toss their programs to the floor, and am hopeful that others saw this small print note and paid heed...
We who live in this great nation are so fortunate -- and yet so wasteful. I'm as bad as anyone else. I hope I CAN find a way to stir my students to really CARE about world events. Leo and I were discussing it, and he mentioned how the one time he did bring up an important event online (the school shooting that took place in San Diego), I was the only one on that entire list who even responded to it. He said it concerned him that online lists rarely (if ever) seem to care about what's going on in their countries or in the world (or if they do, they certainly never discuss it). We both feel that the internet should make us all more cognizant -- and not less so -- of these things!
This is a huge post, but I'm still home from school (supposedly writing Jack's eulogy) and pondering my life -- especially the past several days. I wish I'd seen the Dalai Lama before certain things happened. I feel I might have dealt differently with those things and the people involved. Hindsight is great -- isn't it? LOL.
Well, maybe I can make up for those mistakes in the future. I certainly plan to try. I don't kid myself that I'll be a different person -- but we can all make subtle changes for the better in our lives, after all.