Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hopelessly In Love

Impatience reared its head last week and i could no longer wait to order my own Christmas present. I intended to wait another week or two so that it would arrive closer to Christmas, but i gave up after logging onto Amazon and looking at it several times a day, every day, three days in a row.

There are no public figures, anywhere in the world, of the stature of the Dalai Lama, who remain as humble and as full of compassion as the Dalai Lama himself. There are others who are as humble and as compassionate, but they don't have the public stature that the Dalai Lama has. It seems that when others attain this stature, power, adoration, and money eventually corrupt them.

I went to see the Dalai Lama back in the mid-90s when he came to speak in Chicago. That was before he was the superstar that he is today so i was both able to afford a ticket and get a ticket. Now ticket agencies buy all the tickets and resell them at ridiculous prices so even if you can get one, it's prohibitively expensive.

I wish i could say i remember everything about the talk i attended, but i can't. At the time i barely knew who he was; he was simply someone i had read about in my, then, twenty some years of studying Buddhism. He was supposed to be a great teacher and speaker so i went to see for myself.

What i do remember of the talk, though, was falling hopelessly in love. Not with Tibetan Buddhism, but with the man himself; his message, his bearing, his obvious compassion for all attendees, and his complete lack of self-importance. I remember being in awe.

I can think of no better role model than the Dalai Lama. He perfectly blends an academic study of his religion, a wholehearted and sincere practice of all its teachings, and the ability to show all of us that this can be done while leading a very public, non-monastic life. He shows us that compassion and love for all can be practiced even in the face of immense adversity. He demonstrates clearly what life can be like when self-cherishing is let go of and the Self is fully realized.

Imagine my happiness, then, when the mailman arrived this morning and dropped off my copy of more of his teachings in the 13-hour, 4-DVD set Compassion In Emptiness two days earlier than it was supposed to arrive. Oh happy days, oh happy days. I imagine tonight is going to be a fairly sleepless night.

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