This week along with about 12,000 other people I saw the Dali Lama. He spoke on the 8 verses of Training the Mind, Awakening the Heart of Compassion.
I wore a dress.
I took notes.
The doors opened at noon and the event actually began at 2 so there was plenty of time for me to wonder things like... I wonder if he ever gets tired of wearing red and gold? I wonder if he wakes up and thinks- damn jeans would be really nice today. I wonder if he's ever worn jeans? I bet he'd wear Tom's shoes. Does he say damn? Or fuck for that matter? I bet he does, I bet he's one of those normal extraordinary kind of fellas. I bet he's really funny. And what kind of underwear is happening under those robes? Are we talking fruit of the looms or red with gold trim to match. I think matching would be nice. I betcha he'd tell me.
Yeap- I'm waiting to hear His Holiness The Dali Lama speak and I'm wondering what kind of underwear he's wearing. That folks is totally lacylike! And of course I am sitting next to a stranger who also knows that I wonder these things because I couldn't possibly wonder in silence now could I? I think it helped him pass the time too.
I kept thinking of Bart and how he'd probably talk my ear off after. How he'd totally delight in the experience and then give me flowering comparisons to How Yoga Works. He is coming to visit soon and I can't wait to hug him, I can't wait for Cliff to meet him and I can't wait for him to talk my ear off.
Then it happens. The Dali Lama enters. And like a bride coming down the isle we all stand. We wait as he performs the rituals that he's performed time and time again. He bows 3 times and then he ascends to his seat of honor and he sits. And we wait. Over 12,00 people in total silence wait.
He pulls a mic from a red bag that matches his garment, he is in no hurry as he unwraps the cords from the battery pack and places it on his ear. He tests it discreetly and then he speaks.
And I smile, I'm happy too.
I open my notebook and I begin to write.
I don't speak again until he has finished speaking. I know that I am in the presence of something special. At times it's hard to understand him and another man chimes in to give him the English word(s). I'd love to spend an hour talking with that man! Oh the stories he must know. What must his life be like? How long has he been this living Tibetan/ English dictionary?
The Dali Lama pulls a red visor from his red bag and says "strong light" as he places it on his head. The crowd giggles. I knew it, he is a normal dude. He has my attention as he speaks of ultimate truth, of human happiness, of the self. My very favorite moments are when he laughs. He laughs when the truth resonates deeply in him. It's as if pure truth is easily absorbed fact that validates the words he's just spoken. It's that resonating moment of YES!
I watch him as he waits for his translator (I wish I had a better word, this man is clearly much more) to deliver the message he's just spoken about. The Dali Lama rocks gently forward and back, hands pressed together in prayer at his heart center. He investigates his microphone battery, picks unassuming at his finger nails, glances out at the audience and then sits and waits. He's clearly a normal guy with an unreal and deeply powerful understanding of pure love and the power and potential of real human change.
Nikki said it perfectly at her blog and I am super glad she typed all 8 of them out so I didn't have to, thanks Nikki (no seriously, thank you)!
From Nikki's blog:
The text teaches us to focus on developing appropriate respect for the self and others (even those who are the pain in our rears and the scums of society), embracing challenges and challenging people as opportunities for positive change, offering our services to others as a simple act of giving and receiving like breathing in and breathing out, and cultivating compassion for all beings. When we practice compassion and respect in this regard, happiness is within reach. Inner peace is available. When we are at peace in our hearts, our minds are calm. When our minds are calm, our bodies are healthy.
Here are the eight verses to start training your mind:
“Eight Verses for Training the Mind is a classic text in the genre of lojong, or mind training. Lojong focuses on purifying one’s thoughts, developing appropriate regard for self and others, turning obstacles into opportunities for positive change, and cultivating compassion. Engaging in these practices generates bodhichitta: the altruistic mind that seeks to awaken for the benefit of all beings and truly perceives reality. The Dalai Lama recites this work daily and describes it as one of his main sources of inspiration.” (Original text by Geshe Langri Tangpa).
With a determination to achieve the highest aim
For the benefit of all sentient beings,
Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem,
May I hold them dear at all times.
Whenever I interact with someone,
May I view myself as the lowest among all,
And, from the very depths of my heart,
Respectfully hold others as superior.
In all my deeds may I probe into my mind,
And as soon as mental and emotional afflictions arise -
As they endanger myself or others -
May I strongly confront and avert them.
When I see beings of unpleasant character
Oppressed by strong negativity and suffering,
May I hold them dear – for they are rare to find -
As if I have discovered a jewel treasure!
When others, out of jealousy,
Treat me wrongly with abuse, slander or scorn,
May I take upon myself the defeat
And offer to others the victory.
When someone whom I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes,
Mistreats me in extremely hurtful ways,
May I regard him still as my precious teacher.
In brief, may I offer benefit and joy
to all my mothers, both directly and indirectly,
May I quietly take upon myself
All hurts and pains of my mothers.
May all this remain undefiled
By the stains of the eight mundane concerns;
And may I, recognizing all things as illusion,
Devoid of clinging, be released from bondage.
Happy Friday everyone! Go out there and love!