Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Simple Monk

I left work a little early because I was expecting it to be a little bit of a frenzy downtown. As it turned out we didn’t need to be quite so fast but I’m glad we did. Aaron reviewed the history that he’d learned today in school. So I got to hear all about Egyptian history and theology on my train ride downtown.
We got to the park so early that we were able to get front row seats. I mean that literally. If we’d have sat any closer we’d have had to stand up to look over the barricade. The weather started out looking a bit gloomy but I think it helped to keep the crowds small and we could sure use the rain in Georgia so I didn’t complain.
Apparently the Dalai Lama likes jazz music. Along with some traditional Tibetan groups, he asked a really nice jazz trio to play before his speech, The Gary Motley trio.
During his speech I took a few notes on my blackberry. I was most struck with how universal most of the concepts he spoke about were. They seemed to apply to almost any religion. He even stated that these concepts where essential human concepts and they were more important than any specific theology. Here are a few of the notes I took:

We should all strive to see each other as brothers and sisters
I am nothing special. I am just a simple monk.
Identify destructive emotions and reduce them.
We are born with the seeds of compassion. We get it from our mothers. At birth we are entirely dependent upon the care of others. We need to remember this and help care for others. He learned more from his mother than he did from Buddhism.
World peace must come first from inner peace. It will then flow from us to those around us and eventually the world.
Give your children maximum affection. Of course I'm a monk so I'll leave that up to you to do.
Modern education alone is not adequate to develop warm-heartedness. I want to educate entire humanity the importance of love and compassion.
It is a mistake to try to relegate love and compassion to religion alone. We need to apply it in all aspects of our lives.
As much as you love God you must also love your fellow beings.
Compassion is the foundation of self-confidence. Self confidence reducers fear. Reduced fear brings peace of mind and health.
If you do this there's not much else for me to talk about.
First we need Inner disarmament. That will lead to outer disarmament. The concept of war is outdated. Destruction of enemy is destruction of yourself. Let's leave bloodshed in the last century. Make this, the 21st century, a century of dialog. Commit to a non-violent way. Work for the middle way even in world events. Not a compromise but a true win-win situation for all.

I must say that I really felt what Paul Ekman was speaking about. This man honestly felt every emotion and his countenance showed it. At one point during his introduction Dr. Martin Luther King’s name was mentioned. The Dalai Lama reached next to him and grabbed the arm of John Lewis. The look on his face was so honest and caring that you could see the true compassion that he had for both Dr. King and Mr. Lewis. It wasn’t some photo-op. It was real. I need to work much harder to develop this kind of love and compassion for those around me.
I found it more than a little ironic that as I listened to this man of peace I was sitting only a few feet from an act of violence. In 1996 Eric Rudolf set off a bomb at this park during the first night of the Atlanta Olympics.
The only real damper on the event was as we were leaving. A couple women were handing Christian witness cards. (I use the term Christian only to indicate their confessed belief and not their behavior, which was anything but.) I took the card and started to read it. It had a gory image of a mangled body and car after a traffic accident. The text said that if I got into a car accident and died on the way home that I would go to hell. Then there was a paragraph written in much smaller type that I didn’t bother to read. I simply crumbled the card and placed it in the garbage can near the two women. It really saddens me that these two could listen to this man speak the same truths that the Bible teaches and still think the way they do. I could find Biblical support for nearly every sentence that he said yet since they seem to feel that since he is a Buddhist that he is from the devil.
I had heard that security was going to be very strict. They advertised no backpack or even umbrellas. I was worried that they would confiscate it so I left the camera at home. Ultimately his words will mean more to me than his image. Still, It would have been nice to have the images too.
I continue to admire and look up to this humble man, who refers to himself as just a monk. His example and loving nature are best described as Christ-like.

The best part of the event was just hanging out with my social conscious 13-year-old for half a day. Thanks for going with me Aaron.


  1. Granny Sue12:03 PM

    I am glad you got to go and that it was as good as you had anticipated. As Brigham Young taught, we should take truth where ever we find it. He has good taste in music if he asked for a Jazz Trio. I was able to find someone to use the tickets at Emory. I did keep one ticket as a souvenir for Aaron.

  2. Canisunis4:35 PM

    your blackbery notes show him as a "dimple monk" Interestng that the typo holds as much meaning as the correctly typed statement. His expressions are covered in your blog, so I wont cover those. His dimple is visible. Something that you dont often see when people are angry or full of hate. He has the laugh lines of someone that smiles a LOT. Thanks for pointing out his dimple...