Monday, June 3, 2013

The Dalai Lama in Portland: 5 Things I Learned

The Oregonian, May 17, 2013
By Nancy Haught
The whirlwind that was the Dalai Lama's Portland visit has subsided. Like many people who heard him speak, I'm sifting through what I heard him say.
A creature of lists, I've come up with five things I learned during his visit:

1.  His official Twitter account, @DalaiLama, has, as of today, 6,997,345 followers. He follows 0.

2.  He sleeps the way I dream of sleeping ("eight, nine hours" a night). He eats the way I wish I ate (breakfast and lunch, no dinner, sometimes in the evening "two biscuits") and meditates more than I'll ever manage (five hours each morning).

3.  His quotations are deceptively simple: tiny words convey big ideas too large to embrace with ease: "Compassion is the key factor to one's own well-being . . . . We are social animals . . . . those dogs always barking often remain lonely."

4.  There can be calm in the eye of a storm: Amidst constantly shifting timelines, barking dogs, the steely gaze of cookie-cutter security agents, standing ovations and awkward bows, the Dalai Lama moves unperturbed. As 10,000 people waited patiently, he took the time to dig through his cloth bag to find a trinket for the child who didn't seem all that impressed with him in the first place.

5.  Love, he prefers the word "compassion," is not spontaneous. It's cultivated through practice. As it grows, compassion crowds out anger, bitterness, betrayal and selfishness. Attachment is easier and always fatal.


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