Me and the Dalai Lama – The Infinite Depth of Simplicity (Part 1)… or My Age of Enlightenment… Searching for Bliss and Happiness in a Crazy World.
Yesterday I saw the Dalai Lama live for the first time. My good friend Josh and his beautiful wife Danielle treated me to the ticket, which would have been enough… but their generous spirit also rewarded me with a gourmet breakfast that awaited my arrival and a beautiful lunch upon our return. Thanks, both!
On the drive down Josh and I spoke about Bin Laden, Israel, tolerance and acceptance, all in anticipation of what we would hear in just a short while in the Galen Center. Going to USC always brings back memories of the 1996 Rose Bowl, where the mean Trojans beat my beloved Wildcats… or I should say the really mean Keyshawn Johnson beat my Wildcats… but I was okay… I was going to be enlightened and given the promise, that “when I die, I will receive total consciousness… So I’ve got that goin’ for me, which is nice!” (Thank you Bill Murray, Douglas Kenney, Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis for that Caddyshack genius!)
They should have had the event in The Shrine, for it seemed like we were in a very holy place for the hour and a half or so… The irony, of course, was the almost immediate thrust back into real life and the daily frustrated LA reality, as we sat in traffic amongst those lesser enlightened beings who cannot drive, and we reluctantly, but perhaps automatically began discussing work, house repair and having no cash!
I’m working on it!!!
The Dalai Lama is a cute man. Sorry, he is. He is the kind of man you just want to hug and hold.
One of the first things he did was don a USC hat, saying he needed something to keep the lights out of his eyes. The crowd loved it… well, not all of the crowd, of course, but okay… he was at USC… FINE!!! But I’m sending him something purple. The gold and maroon (SC colors) robe needs to be purple.
We had great seats, just about ten rows off the floor and to the side. There he was, this gentle and thoughtful and remarkable man. He has a magnificent, hearty laugh, which we got to hear quite a bit, although the sound was not great and he may have still had some side effects from his sore throat… for at times he was hard to understand. And yes, his English is still broken… but the main message was always clear.
The title of the speech was “Secular Ethics, Human Values and Society,” but the obvious and eternal thought and wish is about Happiness.
Obviously certain ideas are timeless, but here is one of my favorite, contemporary quotes and a good life lesson:
“I don’t get upset over things I can’t control, because if I can’t control them there’s no use getting upset. And I don’t get upset over the things I can control, because if I can control them there’s no use in getting upset.”
– Mickey Rivers, former New York Yankees Outfielder
The Dalai Lama said something similar, in fact it was almost exactly the same, but his quote was attributed to an 8th Century Indian Buddhist… Go figure. The more things change, huh?
I always mention this story, but I remember when I first found myself interested in Buddhism and my mother, probably out of fear of me converting, said “I don’t get the Dalai Lama, everything he says is so simple.”
I looked at her and replied, “but think about how truly difficult it is to achieve the simplicity he speaks of.”
Needless to say I did not convert, but I find a great deal of value in Buddhist teachings and a lot of similarities to the best and more spiritual sides of Judaism.
If you have not already read it, I highly recommend The Jew In the Lotus.
Did not even know there was a film, but check it out here… Jew in the Lotus Doc.
So to end part one and send you easily on your way… let me also quote the great Bobby McFerrin with something simple but so necessary for humankind…
“Don’t worry, be happy.”