One of the great fortunes in my life was being a student of the Dalai Lama in classes and in initiations. By sweet “chance” in 1979 I was at the grand Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York, while Philip Glass set a mesmerizing tone for the Dali Lama’s first US visit. For decades after, I attended and hoped to learn from his teachings of compassion and emptiness and often marched on behalf of freedom for the Tibetans.
In Arizona, I was not quite ready for his instruction on “patience”.Impatiently, I wondered when he’d get to the topic, but instead he kept talking for days about love and compassion! I didn’t “get it” until some time after. Through love and care for others patience is naturally engendered. I thought my years of working in India had annihilated my American style need to cut-to-the-case fast, but for me patience is slowly learned.
I had many experiences listening and learning with His Holiness and meeting him with hands held while being blessed with his sweet smile. There have been shifts and gifts too personal to post, but after one meeting with him I felt a blanket of insecurity I wasn’t even aware I had, lift away leaving me with a feeling of sweet lightness.
And there are the fun stories. I sat with many under a blazing sun in near hundred degree, dead-still temperatures at a Maitreya (Buddha of the future) festival waiting for the Dalai Lama to come out and speak. The moment he appeared and for the duration of his teaching we were wafted with cool breezes. And just as abruptly, when he departed so did the breezes! Giggling and looking around at each other for confirmation, we asked “did you notice that breeze coming and disappearing too?”
His birth name, Tenzin Gyatso means “Ocean of Wisdom” yet this compassionate sweet-hearted teacher calls himself a “simple monk” and he walks with head bowed before others. He is one of the world’s greatest Wisdom Guides, beloved by his people and respected around the world by peoples of all faiths. Humor and a smile accompany his message that loving kindness is the antidote to suffering. He keeps his message simple, yet at the same time the meaning is most profound.