Monday, March 31, 2014
His public appearances are planned with the precision of a military operation - organisation on the grand scale for huge events attended by thousands of people by an army of behind-the-scenes workers, mostly voluntary, there for the thrill of serving the exiled spiritual leader.
Australian international cycling champion Cadel Evans was one of them this time, turning his back on training for a day to travel to Hobart to be master of ceremonies for the two hour-long public lectures by the man he admires as one of the world's great leaders.
But such is the Dalai Lama's charm that despite a reputation as an international leader, the 74-year-old still speaks as a humble man.
While many of the more than 3500 people from around Tasmania sat in slow Hobart traffic jams for more than an hour to get to see him, the Dalai Lama told a pre-event media conference:
"I want to introduce myself to you as just a human being - you and I are the same," he said.
While his arrival in the Derwent Entertainment Centre press room was more tightly guarded than a visit by the Prime Minister, he described a spartan personal existence including five hours a day spent in private meditation.
And there is little in his appearance to tell a different story.
His shoes under the trademark maroon and yellow robes of a Buddhist monk are sturdy, brown, lace-ups.
One brown, well muscled arm is bare except for the international traveller's emblem - old vaccination marks.
Yet looks, even when you are the Dalai Lama, can be deceiving.
The plain-dressed, holy man is as contemporary in his knowledge of world issues as the young people of the 21st century whom he tries to advise:
• On climate change and the Copenhagen summit:
"I think that sometimes national economic issues are the most important so that the global issue sometimes becomes secondary and global responsibilities are lacking," he said. "But I think governments now take more seriously global warming."
He talked of research on his Tibetan homeland that describes it as the world's third polar region because of its potential effect on global warming.
The Dalai Lama said that the rivers that start in its high mountain plateaus provide water for a huge part of the world's population.
There have been predictions that if present conditions continued within 30-40 years, some of the rivers that start in Tibet will run dry.
"So now those major rivers that cover all of Asia from China to Pakistan, which are the basis of human beings' life - it is not just a concern for the local people but for all the people, it is something that needs protection from that (global warming)."
• On his hope for an improved relationship between Tibet and China, the country responsible for his exile more than 50 years ago:
"If we use common sense - Tibet and China have for 1000 years been a neighbour - sometimes very good relations, sometimes very bad relations - this moment, bad relations," he said.
"This bad relations is in nobody's interest so we must stop it.
"Many people particularly writers, intellectuals from both countries very, very eager to find a mutual solution. Chinese Government less willing to find a solution but China is changing, a little bit less arrogant so we will see."
The Dalai Lama says that he is sure he will see Tibet as a free country again in his lifetime.
"But that does depend on how long I live," he added, chuckling.
"If I live just two months then I can't see. If I live 10 years, I think this very possible."
• On his advice to today's young people:
"My generation belong to the 20th century - in that century more than 200 million human beings have been killed, that's a century of bloodshed and violence," he said.
"This century must be the century of peace - it does not mean that there will no longer be problems, that's bound to happen.
"But there will be no solution without dialogue so it must be a century of dialogue.
"It is up to the younger generation."
Denison Labor MHA Lisa Singh was one of a number of people to have a private meeting with the Dalai Lama before the community event.
An excited Ms Singh, a long-time admirer, said afterwards that they had talked about climate change and the Dalai Lama had presented her with a long, cream, Tibetan scarf.
Greens leader Bob Brown introduced the Dalai Lama to an auditorium packed with people.
Senator Brown said that the Dalai Lama came from a land of terrible repression with no freedom, a place where even having his photograph could see a citizen sent to jail.
"He comes from the great plateau of the planet - he won a Nobel Peace Prize which extends beyond peace to his love of this beautiful, blue planet," Senator Brown said.
St Helens District School English and social studies teacher Steven Park led a group of 20 students from the East Coast town to the event. The Dalai Lama and his entourage flew to Melbourne last night to continue his 10-day Australian lecture tour.
By Kirby Robinson
A Special Report
Jimmy Swaggart has trouble telling the truth and his wife Frances Swaggart has trouble grasping the truth.
For those who don't recall, back in the 1980s Jimmy Swaggart was the largest televangelist in the world. If he hadn't been caught with the ladies of the night, he might've become the leader of the conservative church political movement, overshadowing fellow evangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. [There's always been some talk that Falwell and Robertson had a hand in his downfall, as they also did with Jim Bakker.] The Swaggart scandal killed his ministry as did his public confession, "YES I SINNED BUT SEND ME YOUR MONEY." He faded from the spotlight until about four years ago he started the Sonlight Network beaming 24/7/365. It features only him, his family members, and his staff from his unaccredited Bible College that preaches his so-called Message of The Cross. He claims that only he and a few churches are preaching the only way to God. [Shades of the Westboro Baptist Church but without protesting at funerals?] According to Jimmy Swaggart, the rest of us are headed for hell.
Personally, I feel he's headed for a cult label. I tried to attend one of his yearly camp meetings but as time went by, I could see cracks showing in church. The last time there one of his staff members, who happens to be a reader of the EYE, started to feed me information, which I'll be sharing over time.
Mrs. Frances Swaggart has a daily weekday show called Frances & Friends. According to her site, "…we take a biblical approach to current issues facing the church today. Programs deal with false doctrine, world events, and answer viewer and listener questions." One of her favorite topics is welfare and its drain on the wealthy. A California man called in and said he couldn't go back to work even though he was offered his old job, which paid him $50,000 a year. Why not work? Because he was getting $70,000 a month in welfare benefits. For the remainder of her segment, Frances and her panel was just in arms about this.
$70,000 A MONTH? I was shocked. That adds up to $840,000 a year. Even OctoMom Nadya Suleman, the mother of 14, only gets $2,800 per month. The man had to be living in Beverly Hills or Santa Monica. Is this one of the reasons the state of California is having financial difficulties? Is every welfare recipient from all over the US moving to California to earn $840,000 a year and get that welfare Cadillac sung about in the 60s?
The only issue is – it's not true. In fact, California is one of the hardest states to file for welfare as they're trying to combat welfare fraud. They use many tools such as fingerprinting welfare recipients and computer searches for assets and duplicate applications.
So we have to ask why would they make such false statements? Jimmy and Frances claim to have three houses and six luxury cars. They have a staff of 300 including a Bible college, a private Christian academy, and even a preschool.
Guess there is never enough money when it comes to evangelistic organizations. And Jimmy Swaggart can't tell the truth about it.
A day after the March telethon in which Jimmy Swaggart Ministries [JSM] raises funds to pay for network airtime via cable and satellite, he stated that he wanted to thank the viewers for raising 3.2 million dollars.
Sounds nice huh? But it's not true - they raised 3.2 million in PLEDGES, not cash.
- The ministry requires people to send in cash or checks. They don't accept credit or debit cards.
- They know that 3.2 million won't be sent in. People forget to send it, or they were caught up in the begging that takes place and suddenly that generous $1,000 pledge turns into $100 or $50 or maybe it never is sent in at all. Plus, JSM doesn’t really need that 3.2 million dollars.
Only the family and accounting staff ever know how much they actually need. They know what percentage won't be sent and they know how much they need to cover the costs. If more than enough is sent in – that's fine and dandy.
It's also a way to make money for their separate business as they offer a token to the people who donate.
Give away a book the ministry buys it from the publishing/printing arm.
Give away a CD or DVD--no issue at all, as they produce their own. They press all CDs and DVDS and they even print the CD and DVD labels and covers. In fact, they've been known to print and wrap DVDs and CDs in the past so they make even more money for themselves.
In time, more secrets will be revealed.
Ask yourself this--if Jesus were alive today would He act this way?
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