I can’t remember exactly when he started fascinating me, but I’m pretty sure it would have been from the first time I heard the 14th Dalai Lama speak. I keep thinking I saw him for the first time on Oprah when I was a little, but then again, maybe I’m thinking of Barbara Walters. If you’re confused as to how I can mistake one of those women for the other, well, consider that I don’t remember my high school graduation. I figure that’s a pretty clear example of how bad my memory can be.
Regardless of when I first saw him, hearing him speak in person has been on my Life List for ages. Back in May, I was lazily reading the newspaper when I came across a full-page ad for the Dalai Lama’s visit in September.
The tickets were expensive and usually I debate at least 24 hours before deciding on a big purchase. I didn’t waste any time with this one though and the second after I saw the ad, I was on my computer selecting seats. Apparently the tickets had been on sale for a little while, so the seats that were left were slim pickings, but I didn’t care. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t sit right in front of him.
Yesterday, Darryl picked me up and off we went. I was so excited. I woke up with my stomach in a bundle because a dream of a lifetime was about to happen. The last time His Holiness had been in Calgary was 30 years ago. I doubt he’ll be back any time soon.
It turns out journalism school did indeed have an effect on me. When the address started, I pulled the last of my leftover steno pads out and started taking notes. These are my favourite quotes:
“Eternal, long-lasting peace must come through inner peace.”
“Violence, firstly, is against human nature.”
“Destruction of your neighbour is destruction of yourself.” (This one was my favourite and actually appeared on the front-page of the Herald this morning).
“Aways keep optimism.”
His words were so simple and that was entirely his intention. As the Dalai Lama said, war and violence are complicated things, but peace and compassion are simple concepts. By typing ourselves into categories, we are separating ourselves from each other and we forget that we’re all the same in the end. As he said, we all are just human beings trying to be happy.