Monday, July 28, 2008

Meeting His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

Every once in awhile, fortune shines upon us and we receive a remarkable opportunity. This last week was extraordinary as we spent time with His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. In Madison, WI for a Tenshug, or Long Life Ceremony, His Holiness provided us with an amazing glimpse into Tibetan Buddhism.

The week was filled with Tibetan food (momos and beef), language, dances, songs, ceremonies, customs, crafts, artwork – almost all the aspects of culture. The AP later reported that it was the largest gathering of Tibetans in the United States and Canada, ever.

As part of the ceremony we received the

Bodhisattva vows, teachings on Kamalashila, lectures on Santideva (pronounced Shawn-tee-de-va), long-life blessings, and questions and answers with His Holiness. We learned about the connection between Karma and Connectedness. That if you believe in Karma, then you must also acknowledge the dependent phenomena aspect, as well. Since one person’s actions bring about good or bad Karma, that resultant/ return Karma usually comes from another person. Thereby, Karma is connectedness since others’ return actions arise from our own Karma. (Get it?)

At the very end of the ceremony, we set up our crew close to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. His Holiness has very good skin tone, he looks very tan and fit. Most of the time, on TV, he looks extremely pale. But, he looked good. We spent the next several hours filming the Tibetan-only lectures and program. We heard from the Karshag or Tibetan Parliament, we heard from the Prime Minister on the state of Ministerial Departments, and we heard about the future of this great culture and people. It was a nascent democracy-in-action, it was a stepping stone for freedom as a small group of leaders met and planned the future for their struggling country. I thought about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1789, the Magna Carta in 1215, and Ancient Greece - all places where democracy was formed and basic human rights flourished.

Religion, democracy, spirituality, culture, reincarnation, transcendence of the Soul – all these were discussed at the Tenshug. At the very end, His Holiness rose, he greeted us personally, and we greeted him. I had very interesting dreams that night. And that was the day we met the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet . . .

Tashi Delek!


- Omar W. Rosales

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