The Dalai Lama was in town yesterday and today.
I just came across it by accident on Sunday night. But hey, the Dalai Lama, one of THE spiritual leaders of our century, how many opportunities would I have to listen to what he has to say in person? Guess not too many!
One of the leaders I admire the most, passed away last year. It has been a big loss not only for South Africa, and Africa, it has been a big loss for the entire world. Nelson Mandela. How much I admire him! If I can only become a little bit like him, as wise, as tolerant, as forgiving, I would be grateful! It has been a BIG dream, a hearts desire to meet him in person, to listen to his wise words, to feel the energy, the way he was able to inspire people. I didn't have the honor in this life to meet him in person, I shall see if there will be another opportunity.
Back to this world. I am in New York City, so is the Dalai Lama. Maybe I should put it the other way round. Anyway, I was asking my dear classmates who would like to join. And 2 of them were in. Ordering the tickets online was a bit tricky, since none of us has a permanent address in the US. Calling the ticket reseller was interesting, as they would send you etickets, but those need to be printed. Where's the biggie, you are asking? Well being in class on Monday from 9am til 7pm with 2 times a 30 minutes break, where you need to grab a bite to eat, read through your text again, use the bathroom...I mean clearly 30 minutes is not that much. Especially when you are working on a dialogue in one class and presenting a monologue in the next class. Focus was on class, of course.
Anyhow. After class we had dinner nearby and the I went to Beacon Theater on my way home. The Dalai Lama spoke in Beacon Theater yesterday and today. Of course, the theater including the ticket box were closed. So I went next door, to the bar of Beacon Hotel. At least I had an excuse to have a nightcap at the bar. I asked the bartender, if he knows where to buy tickets. He has been very nice, checking with the front desk, if there is another way to get tickets at that time. Answer: NO! Oh well. We didn't have class today. So I got up, had a coffee, a nice chit-chat with my roommates and went to Beacon Theater again. This time it was open. And there were already loooots of people with Tibet flags, praising their leader Dalai Lama. "Free Tibet". Yes, I agree. Every country, every person should be free, as long as they didn't harm anybody, or are about to. There was a group as large who has been in opposition. Interesting! There is always a flipside, right?!
But the tickets: "sold out"
Oh well. I was about to give up, and have breakfast, and then go back to my scripts and memorize and work on my text. Then my dear classmate came across a reseller online. I called, went to Beacon Hotel Lobby to print the tickets. That happened at 12:20pm today. His holiness was on stage at 2:00pm. Well, it worked. I was very very excited, to have the opportunity to listening to the Dalai Lama live, in Beacon Theater, New York City on November 4, 2014.
The Beacon theater is beautiful. It's one of this old charming theaters. On stage was a huuuuuge chair, like a thron. And left and right Tibetan monks in their colorful red, orange, yellow robes. The audience was standing. So we kept standing. I guess it was out of respect. When the Dalai Lama came on stage, he was joking with the audience. I have seen that before, watching him in TV. He tries to keep things normal, not take himself too serious, and I believed him. Didn't think he just 'acted' to be humble. Great leaders in my opinion don't take themselves to serious and don't think of themselves as too important. They take their responsibility, their duty and their people very serious, but not themselves. That was always the kind of leader I wanted to become! People who take themselves too serious or think of themselves as f...ing important, usually stand in their own way, if you ask me. And cannot distinguish between the importance of their duties and their egos. Met too many of them. Ego too me is a roadblocker of being a truly excellent leader. No matter if it's politics, kingdoms, corporates or families.
Back to his holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.
There he was, in front of me, joking, then sitting down on his incredibly huge throne. After some welcoming words, he started reading from a book. In his language. Sounded inspiring to me. But of course I had no clou about what he was talking about! Then one of the guys sitting to the right translated. I am honest, partly I had a very hard time to concentrate. For different reasons. I just wrote about how hard it is for me too concentrate on anything I read today, compared to how it was 10-15 years ago. I believe part of it is our attitude to maximize multitasking to a very unhealthy extend, and the other negative effect is our 24/7 online thing. Be honest, how long do you sit still, without a phone, reading emails, watching TV... anything. Most of the time, we combine all of it. That's why really sitting still, and being with our own inner self, can be so difficult. Although it's so important. It's our source of strength and energy.
Other reasons that made it partly hard for me to listen to his holiness and the translations, were that many people got in and out to the theater. I am not used to that. Normally during a play or an opera you are simply not allowed to get in once it has started. And I prefer that. And of course, the interruption of the story flow by switching the languages didn't help. Neither my not too profound knowledge of Buddhism.
And still. There were some very inspiring thoughts he shared, I wish I would have taken notes. Moments I was very very close with my own inner me. Forgetting the crowd, the disturbing in and out or baby screaming, the translation part. Moments he really hit me.
And I must say, his appearance, his attitude is very impressing. Charisma!
In those moments, I had trouble to be with them, listen and follow, I wondered how it's like, to live his life? Did he ever question his role and his duties? Does he sometimes wish just to be a normal person? Have a wife and children or a husband, whatever but a life companion? Does he miss Tibet? Does he even remember? What are his dreams? His regrets? Can he truly be himself, or is he always on duty like the Queen? Personal feelings are not part of a duty that big? Whats the reason behind the Dorje Shugdens deviation, and why have the 3 monks been murdered in 1997?
I am grateful, to have had the opportunity to listen to the 14th Dalai Lama today! I wish to all Tibetians freedom and the liberty to live without any restrictions in a free country in a free world. I wish them as well the tolerance or broad-mindedness to not fight about religion. Instead they fight over this Dorje Shugdens, and I have a very hard time to understanding the point.
It's very sad that this is still something we have to wish and hope for. Didn't humans learn over the centuries? Why can't we just live, let others live and get along with each other?
Think about it! How often are we greedy or envy so? If we cannot cope in our little backyard how are we supposed to make it in the big universe?
Thanks for your time!