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Hello Dalai! New Orleans Hosts Tibetan High Holy Man

Well, I can cross that off my bucket list. Although I did not actually meet the Dalai Lama I was close enough to him that I could have shook his hand had it not been for the state department guys that got in my way. But actually they were really nice guys, I spoke to them and they were very friendly.

Hello Dalai! New Orleans Hosts Tibetan High Holy Man

At first I thought they were Secret Service the way they were standing around in their dark suits. When I inquired into that one of them said, “No, we’re better.” Are you with a bodyguard agency or something? And the tall guy in front of me said, “John Kerry signs my checks.” Oh duh, I thought, of course, the State Department. Although the guy was standing in my way I got a good enough view of the Dalai Lama as he made his way to the front to shake a few hands and snuggle a baby then up the steps her went.

He wore a baseball cap through most of his talk, which was extemporaneous in his halting yet very effective English. He basically reiterated pretty much everything he’s said over the years familiar to anyone who knows anything about him.

His message of peace, love, forgiveness and compassion has never changed and it’s something that the world cannot hear often enough. It resonates with most Christians and anyone who sees love as the way to go in making a difference.

He told us how much he loves George W. Bush because he was one of the few leaders who didn’t go into any of the pomp and circumstance that the Lama is used to. He was immediately familiar to him and treated him as an equal, not as someone to be revered. He liked that about him.

Of course, the more liberal, politically correct people in the audience laughed derisively and groaned whenever Bush was mentioned as if the Dalai Lama was sharing some kind of inside joke. I mean come on, haven’t we had enough of Bush bashing? But he didn’t appear to be joking at all, I think he was being genuine about his feelings for Bush and indicated he just disagreed with the way he went about doing certain things.

Anyway, one take away I got from was this, that people can do all the praying they want for peace but real peace comes about through action, what you do in your family and communities and the way you treat people.

During the question and answer time someone wanted to know what makes him happy. He said that he gets up at 3 in the morning, meditates for a couple hours, does some chanting and some exercise and has breakfast. That first meal makes him happy because he has not eaten since lunch the day before as he only eats two times a day. He gets nine hours sleep and goes to bed around 6 in the evening.

So I can say that seeing the Dalai Lama was not especially spectacular or inspiring at least not in a grand way. But there was something about the simplicity of the person and his very simple unpretentious manner that was thought provoking. I guess that really is the best way to describe his presence: simple, unpretentious and thought provoking. And as someone who truly walks the walk of peace and compassion I think other than Jesus, there is no better example.

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