Posts tagged dalai lama

(More) Messages from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mcleod Ganj – 5th March 2015

Holed up in cosy cafe in Mcleod Ganj, decorated with prayer flags and embroideries of the Potala palace, monks slap tables and play with their mobile phones, the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ is played quietly from a giant, flashing speaker.  I’m sipping a special teas, Tibetan in origin it has dried lychees, plums, goji berries and some unknown foreign fruits floating around in it.  More of a fruity soup than a tea really.  As the rain lashes down in the narrow streets and freshly snow capped peaks are cloaked by by a swirling silver mist, I am left a window from which to reflect on my times so far up here in the heart of the Tibetan community in exile.  An wonderfully homely and inspiring place.  Mcleod Ganj is a place that cannot help but capture and challenge your heart equally, when the reality of the situation here sinks in,  humanities light and dark sides are finely exhibited.  This is especially true when you hear individuals tales of suffering and incredible human feats of courage, grief and resilience.  Every Tibetan citizen here has seen their lives violently uprooted and have suffered great loss and torment.  

Being in Mcleod Ganj feels a long way away from India at large, it’s like being in the centre point of the most vital page of an ancient cultures history.  History seems to move slowly at  the moment, too slowly for some of the younger Tibetans, but the Dalai Lama stands firmly within the peaceful, middle way, the way of Guatama Buddha.  The only way form him and Tibet.  Their way.  

In Mcleod Ganj we witness a displaced and gloriously elaborate community re-establishing its culture, proudly maintaining its unique identity in a melting pot of craft, cooking, music, literature, art and worship; whilst attempting to face up to incredible and almost impossible circumstances.  Dealing with the Chinese Government, a real life David versus Goliath situation, with peace and re-conciliation as their only weapon.  An awesome feat, led by an awesome human being….

Today I watched the Dalai Lama teaching from the eight verses of mind control.  The discourse related directly to esoteric Tibetan teachings but His Holiness always kept (and keeps) things contemporary and relevant to the audience, mainly the Tibetan lay community.  The Dalai Lama embodies ancient Tibetan ritual, ceremony and scripture and yet remains focused on moving Tibet forward, assimilating Western practices and technology.  

Witnessing the veneration of H.H. by Tibetans is a deeply moving and humbling experience.  The Dalai Lama speaks like an empassioned father, amazingly forceful and yet tender at the same time, the audience is utterly rapt to his every word, you could hear a pin drop, if you could find an empty scrap of floor space to drop one.  The large courtyard is a sea of shaven heads, wide eyes, craned necks and the occasional cluster of hairy Western travelers, highly incongruous and yet warmly very welcomed.  A little FM radio was offered up by a friendly nun sitting on my foot and I was able to catch bits and pieces of the English translation.  The Dalai Lama is irrepressible, radiant and a wonderfully pleasant person.  Being in his presence brings a sense of peace and always a chuckle or two.  This goes for the Tibetan community at large, when they weep and angst fills their faces, it seems like the world is filled with the deepest woe, all hearts lie broken and bereft; but when they smile, its as if sunshine and joy were never ending.  Gladly, in Mcleod Ganj, you will mainly see Tibet’s lighting up the streets with the broadest grins and much hearty laughter.   

After yesterdays post, I started to read more of H.H.’s quotes  and couldn’t help but share more.  The Dalai Lama is 80 years old, but is still the worlds most outspoken advocate of peace, tolerance and compassion.  Our only options for a better world.  

Spending time in the presence of His Holiness and so many softly spoken and devote Tibetan Monks and Nuns emphasises the importance of not only kind words, but practice, discipline and action infused with good intention.  I am a great one for talking about peace and spirituality, but in practice; the actual daily experience of living, well lets just say that things can be a very different matter!

The Dalai Lama brings sometimes complex philosophy and metaphors into such simple and profound phrases.  He speaks to us from a universal space of love and a sense of deep rooted humanity.  He shares his own life experiences and subsequent revelations.  He claims to be a simple monk, but we all know that he is much, much more……  

The words we need for dramatic evolution and end to the travails of existence  and  harmonious new dawns are all below.  They are simple and yet profound.  The big challenge is can we put them into action?  Can we stick to them?  Do we really want to make the sacrifice, change, give it a try?  We are at a point in human history where something needs to give, we either destroy ourselves, our planet and everything that we share it with, or, we wake up to our current situation.  Ignorance rules.  Money and material gains do not bring peace or happiness of oneself or ones society.  Can we individually break down cultural, religious and all mind based delusions of separateness?  Can we realise true happiness?  Can we embrace our precious human life?  Can we see the light and potential that shines within us all?  The Dalai Lama would smile an indefatigable yes.  Then he’d concisely show you how…….Be loving, be fearless, be free.

 Long life H.H. the Dalai Lama!


You can find the official account of yesterdays ‘Long Life Ceremony’ here.

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Messages from His Holiness the Dalai Lama – 4th March 2015

I am travelling around India at the moment and had the luck and great pleasure of spending time at the Long Life Offering today for H.H. The Dalai Lama in Mcleod Ganj, the home of the Tibetan community and government in exile. Pictures and messages from the Dalai Lama are found everywhere here and I thought I’d share a few that I read whilst having a coffee and reflecting on the wonderful ceremony.

The peaceful and compassionate attitude that the Dalai Lama embodies gives us all hope for a brighter tomorrow.  If he can forgive the Chinese government for their atrocities in Tibet, then forgiveness must be an option for all of us (at all times). 

For more on my travels in India, have a look at the ‘The Jalebi Express’.

Free Tibet!

“If you think that you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend – or a meaningful day.”

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity cannot survive.”

“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.”

“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.”

“I think that true religion is the kind heart.”

Today the Dalai Lama finished the ceremony with these words:

In short, may all the vast prayers of aspiration
The lord Avalokiteshvara made for the land of Tibet
In the presence of the Buddhas and their bodhisattva heirs,
Swiftly come to positive fruition here and now!

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Lessons for Living – The Dalai Lama

I read this list of rules when living and working in London, I had them posted near a light switch in my bedroom.  London is a place that sometimes seems inhumane (inhuman) and certainly a little immoral, especially when you are trying to earn a living.

Guidelines/ wisdom from great teachers are a huge boost to my spirit, they remind me that the grey concrete world is out of line, not myself.  They focus the mind on the way that I’m are interacting with it all, from thought to action to stillness.

His famous quote:

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Always made me smile, as I was working in catering and am constantly in love with something or other.  It also conjured up an image of the Dalai Lama in my kitchen cooking dinner!

I was so blessed to actually be around the Dalai Lama for a short time in India (see my post here); regardless of his position as a ‘God King’ or whatever you feel about him, you cannot argue with the wisdom that he bestows upon us, his non-violent approach and the karma that he is making his way through.

I love the simplicity of these lessons, they had a profound effect on the way that I viewed my actions and came along at just the right time.  They certainly help me navigate the turbulent big city environment and emerge relatively unscathed.  I hope they resonate in your space, bring light and perspective:

1.Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three R’s:
– Respect for self,
– Respect for others and
– Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone every day.

9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and
think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.

20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

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An Audience with H.H. Dalai Lama, Manali and Mcleod Ganj, 28/8/10

There is a radiant man, His Holiness (H.H.) the Dalai Lama, sitting beneath a giant golden Sakyamuni Buddha and I’m surrounded by nuns.  Offering me biscuits and warm smiles.  My mind should be at rest, open to the teachings, but my eyes are drawn to the ornate golden Buddha, the exquisite wall hangings, the elaborately decorated ceiling.  I’m thinking, is this it?  Is this all necessary?  Why a large golden Buddha?

I have been fortunate to see the Dalai Lama on three seperate occasions recently.  Once in Manali, where he was addressing the local Tibetan community and the other time in Mcleod Ganj, teaching the Diamond Sutras to a group of Korean Monks and Nuns.   In Manali I sat right in front of him amongst white shirted school children, in Dharamasala I joined the huge international crowd  at the Tuglakan Temple (you’ll have to forgive these spellings).  A temple attached to the Dalai Lamas official residence and the Tibetan Government in Exile building.  One intimate encounter, one that resembled a rock concert.  Both highly enjoyable and enriching.

On both occasions I lacked a radio, or a working radio, to listen to the translations.  The language was mainly Tibetan and Korean and after a while I found both rather therapeutic.  I mainly gazed at H.H., regularly closing my eyes and drifting off.  He’s such a lovely chap.  Watching the reaction of the Tibetans gathered warmed the soul.

Most Buddhist Ceremonies I have attended are conducted with free flowing sweet chai then a salted butter chai, accompanied by Tibetan bread and Tsampa balls.  These were no exception, young monks working tiredlessly to dish out hundreds of teas and nibbles.  The scramble for Tsampa balls in Manali, turned into a scrum, with much shouting and pushing.  The poor monks taking some serious stick.  All this for a small ball of barley.  One poor monk was wrestled to the ground by a group of women in bright traditional dress.  H.H. looked across and cracked a joke, immediately lightening the mood.  I nibbled my ball discreetly due to fear of reprisals.

So, the Golden Buddhas and all religions seemingly endless interest in money and shiny idols.  I was hoping that Tibetan Buddhism would be different, it turns out in mostly ways it is, but the giant Golden Buddhas!?  What waste and at what cost?  Build schools, hospitals etc etc.  I am yet to find a  suitable reason for such lavish idol worship.  I have a feeling Buddha would welcome the large golden Buddhas as much as Jesus would welcome his followers wearing the cross (as a reminder of what?).  We seem to be missing the point here.  Worship me, but not for free.  I would like to formally distance the Dalai Lama and Jesus from any wrong doing at this stage.  Generally people are the problem, creating the problems, but are also the solution.  This is good news.

I am seeking a religious doctrine that is not based on shiny palaces of idol worship.  I’m yet to find a religion that is totally disinterested in wealth.  Where there is wealth, there can be no purity, no truth.  It all seems tainted.  The truly enlightened, spiritual few pass away and then its handed over to more normal people to distort, generally unintentionally.  Where is the purity?  When I meet this individual, they will have nothing.  Of this I am certain.

The Dalai Lama shines in a packed room of grey robed Korean monks.  Glowing brighter than the Golden Buddha and surrounding pageantry.  Glowing with joy and positive energy.  He makes me smile and laugh regularly.  Carrying his karma with dignity and love.  He chuckles regularly like a naughty schoolboy, 75 years young.  At one stage he hits his head on the microphone and I almost fall off my prayer mat with laughter.  Sitting before me is the talisman for non-violence, an energy that has changed the world forever and always will.  Tibetans regard H.H. as a living god, he’s very special.  The incarnation of the Buddha of Infinite Compassion.

He passes close to me on occasion, surrounded by square headed security.  He blesses the crowd, shakes hands, changing us all in these moments.  I heard later that he talked of many things, deep philosophy, but judging by his body language he could have been reading a comic strip from the Times of India.  H.H. a man fighting for the existence of his culture, his people and his home.  Doing all of this and much more with a chuckle, full of love.

Over one million Tibetans killed, many more imprisoned or presumed dead.  Over 90% of Tibetan Buddhist sites destroyed, Chinese being taught in schools, cultural genocide in full effect.  The image of the Dalai Lama illegal.  Tibet is being used as a dumping ground for Chinese toxic waste, the list goes on.  FREE TIBET.   

Find out how below:

Good video about the future of Tibet:

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