Thursday, May 22, 2008


Feeling uplifted this evening, having spent the afternoon at Royal Albert Hall hearing a talk by the Dalai Lama who is in London this week.

He started off his address by pausing to remove his shoes, explaining the importance of comfort. Then he produced a saffron visor from the depths of his robes and plunked it jauntily on his head (a modern adddition to his monks attire to combat ultra bright stage lights).

One thing about the Dalai Lama--the man does not exactly project his voice. And, although his English is very good, it isn't always clear. This combination makes him difficult to follow at times. But the 50% I did understand was very inspiring.

I learned or was reminded that:

1. All people need affection and love. When they have it they lead happy, peaceful lives. When they don't, they act crappily. Apparently, according to His Holiness, even lab rats are better off when they can lick each other (at least I think that's what he said).
2. We must separate the wrong doer from the wrong deed. Despise the wrong deed, but have compassion for the wrong doer because he is acting that way because he's not had love and understanding.

3. To achieve world peace, each of us must first commit to cultivating inner peace through "inner disarmament," letting go of jealousy, suspicion, hatred, etc. in favor of compassion, patience and understanding.

4. The Dalai Lama carries a man purse.

5. The Dalai Lama attracts a lot of wack jobs. A LOT. I wasn't sure what was worse--the angry anti Dalai Lama protestors thronging the streets outside the venue (wtf?), or the annoying white people unfurling gigantic Tibetan flags inside the venue and hollering Pro Tibet slogans with all the enthusiasm of football hooligans. I almost lost it after watching two middle aged English women, apparently strangers, pause on a stairwell to bow smugly to one another, hands folded in prayer.

I don't know why I'm so bothered by the groupie mentality, or the cultish way some people adopt causes so removed from their daily lives. I guess it strikes me as false, naive, needy, and self-satisfied all at once.

That's not to say I don't feel affection for Tibetans (a lovely, lively people) and deep sympathy for their plight. I spent years helping Tibeten monks win asylum in the US, and have listened to many chilling accounts of their oppression under the Chinese. I attended Tibetan celebrations, was invited to a makeshift Tibetan nightclub, and even saw the Dalai Lama in Central Park while picnicking with clients. But I never felt the urge to romanticize them. To the contrary, I was secretly tickled that, once in America, many took lovers, drank beer, ate spare ribs, and acquired mobile phones among other un-monkly activities.

6. Google returns a lot of weird shit when all you're looking for is a picture of the Dalai Lama for your blog post. Here's my favorite find (see point 5, above):


Stephen Mejias said...

The Dalai Lama attracts a lot of wack jobs. A LOT.

When I read this, I thought you meant that he, like, had to wash dishes and mop floors or paint houses or mow lawns, or some shit.

CC said...

Yes, I suppose wackjob -- all one word -- is more correct. Out of curiosity I checked and it did not return any entries., however, is deliciously full of these kinds of words. Wackjob displays on the same page as: wackid, wackidextrous, wackin ass,, wackitude, Wackitus Tobaccitus, wackity schmackity doo, wackmento, and wacknugget, among other faintly vulgar examples which I have omitted as my mother reads this blog.