Home' Nova West : July 2010 Contents Hero of the
On July 6,
of our most
esteemed living spiritual
leader. Jeremy Ball urges us
to stop and reflect on our
own lives on that day.
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai
Lama of Tibet -- it is an honour
for me to type those words
and conjure in my mind the
being this name represents. Soon His
Holiness will be marking his 75th birthday.
In the three quarters of a century since his
birth, the Dalai Lama has been transported
from his simple hamlet in Eastern Tibet
to the country's capital, then to India and
now to a place of prominence in world
society where my guess is the average
man in the street holds His Holiness as the
world spiritual and ethical leader.
The Dalai Lama's face is one of the
'His Holiness has grown in this past half a century from a spiritual
leader to six million Tibetan people to the ethical leader of many of
the world's six billion.'
most recognisable in the world and I am
sure if there were ever a popular election
for World President His Holiness would
be atop many people's list.
So what is the appeal of His Holiness?
I recently read a quote by Maya Angelou,
the great American inspirational writer.
She said that in the years to come, people
would not remember you for what you
said or what you did, but for how you
made them feel. This as much as anything
encapsulates the appeal of the Dalai Lama.
People from all walks of life flock to
hear him speak and to be in his presence,
and apart from delivering specific Buddhist
teachings to ardent students, His Holiness
speaks in simple terms as if addressing
dear friends without a hint of arrogance or
condescension. I have had the privilege of
hearing the Dalai Lama talk on a few dozen
occasions and I am always left feeling
special and acknowledged (albeit that I
am among a crowd of several thousand)
as if His Holiness is speaking only to me.
And I have heard this same sentiment
echoed by many other people, some of
whom don't consider themselves to be
His Holiness will often be called to
speak on topics such as global warming
and how to achieve peace in our world.
Rather than waffle on in "grand speak",
he brings the talk down to the simplest of
levels of love and affection between
humans, one being to another. Spirituality
is suddenly very accessible and real, for
while it is great to know about the chakras
and their significance, it is greater still
to know about the pain or joy in your
neighbour 's heart.
In the West, we have read about many
saintly beings through the Bible and other
texts, yet these people are of long ago and
are almost myth or fable. Very few people
have risen to prominence in our world
today through peace and spiritual purity;
our recent history is marked by leaders
who have mainly used violence or force to
bring themselves to prominence or to keep
their nation alive.
Our focus for the past several hundred
years has been on nation building and
what we have called peace has merely
been the absence of war through threat of
violence or temporary victory and crushing
of the enemy, until more hate arises. Here,
in daily contact, we have access to a true
hero of the heart who before our very eyes
has met the angriest of oppressors with
patience, compassion and forgiveness. In
these times of the disintegration of nation
states, when we realise that violence,
even if in support of a grand idea, is still
violence and penetrates the world with
that vibration, here we have a man who
radiates healing and peace.
His Holiness will turn 75 on July 6, a
tender nurturing Cancerian. I feel sure
to the Dalai Lama the day will be just as
empty of significance as any other. But for
us, students on the path of virtue, it is of
great moment. Even if you read this once
the day has already passed, mark it with
a few moments of reflection as to how
you would leave your thumbprint on the
Will it be a blaze of ego seeking
significance at any cost, a superior career
proving to yourself and others you are
the best? It's not that significance or
achievement are lacking in virtue, but
obsession with them will cause yourself
and others harm. I think the greatest way
to mark His Holiness' birthday, and any
day, is to show understanding and
kindness to your neighbours. Let this
ripple through the world like a grand
Australia, a country of a little over 20
million people, has played host to His
Holiness on many occasions and the Dalai
Lama will once again return to Australia
in June 2011 for a tour taking in several
cities. Be sure to take your friends and
family to see him.
The Dalai Lama's 75th year is also his
51st year in exile since fleeing Tibet at the
insistence of his countrymen to safeguard
his life. His Holiness has grown in this
past half a century from a spiritual leader
to six million Tibetan people to the ethical
leader of many of the world's six billion.
Yet he is still unable to return to or visit his
beloved Tibet. What has been Tibet's loss
has surely been the world's gain. I pray
that one day the suffering of the people
of Tibet will end and their offering to the
world will be returned with gratitude.
His Holiness' actions and decisions
are not based around what is best for
him, but rather for the world at large. In
fact, I am sure His Holiness would see
that what is best for him is what is best for
the world at large, being one and the
I remember attending a teaching in
Amarawati, India in January 2006. Security
was high and rumours swept among the
crowd that Chinese secret police and
spies may make an attempt upon his life
and both the Dalai Lama's personal
bodyguard and the Indian army were
determined not to let any such incident
happen. I was among a crowd of around
100,000 attending the teaching and I
remember His Holiness break the flow of
his teaching for a few moments to point
something out in the crowd and then
return to his teaching. Apparently a man
at the back of the huge crowd had a
weapon and was planning on assassinating
His Holiness. This incredible being is so
aware that he knew the man's motivations
without him coming anywhere near him.
His Holiness later said in regard to the
extensive security arrangements: "I cannot
be killed, I have benefited too many
people in too many lives, it is not possible.
"We all same human being, different
colour, different race, different national-
ities, different religion. Doesn't matter, we
all same human being. In fact entire six
billion human beings are same, mentally,
emotionally, physically same....You want
happy life, you want your successful
life. The reality, your successful life, your
happy life rely on others. Therefore you
have to take care of others."
'Even if you read this once the day has already passed,
mark it with a few moments of reflection as to how you would
leave your thumbprint on the world.'
2013 AND BEYOND
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