Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Answers Questions from Prayer to Dying

On Saturday, 13 October, His Holiness (H. H.) gave a thirty minute talk at Middlebury College as part of his Cultivating Hope, Wisdom, and Compassion tour. His simple message, there is “one humanity.”

He then sat down, put on his red visor and answered questions for an hour. These questions ranged over prayer, ideology, hospice, spirituality in a material world, and tourism in Tibet.

Advertisement

I was particularly intrigued by his response to the efficacy of prayer. He told the audience that prayer is something you do to make yourself feel good, not to achieve desired results. Only action can bring results he chided with his infectious laughter. He told a story of two Indian politicians who beseeched his prayers before an election. How absurd, H.H. mused. One of them was bound to feel disappointed and blame him.

He told another story of a chief minister in Bodhgaya India, the place where the Buddha became awake and the most important of Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Bodhgaya is located in Bihar, the poorest state in India. They were dedicating a new temple and the minister was confident the Dalai Lama’s blessings would bring prosperity to Bihar. HH laughed again. “Really?” he thought. If Buddhist blessings brought prosperity, Bihar would have been prosperous since 2500 years ago. Only action brings prosperity. A refreshing perspective from a religious leader. One you won’t find duplicated by many others.

Advertisement

Another uproarious anecdote came in response to the question of how to live a meaningful spiritual life in our materialistic culture. He was on tour and was the guest in someone’s home. Sounded more like a mansion of some kind. In the guest bathroom, he noticed the medicine cabinet ajar. He confessed, with an impish playfulness, that he peaked inside the cabinet to find sleeping pills and tranquilizers. To paraphrase, “these people were wealthy but they needed tranquilizers to sleep.” H. H. reported that he sleeps quite well without the aid of tranquilizers. He was telling us to do make our spiritual efforts in the context of the material world and to not look for the material world to bring happiness.

As with his talk, laughter and self-effacing humor were the vehicles for communicating what was most important. If you’ve never seen The Dalai Lama and have a chance to catch him in his tour, it might be worth your while. You can see his tour schedule here.

  • http://louellabryant.com Ellie

    I must smile at what sticks with us from H.H.’s talk. I streamed Saturday’s presentation on the computer and heard what you did. But I took away a different message. I was struck by his admonition to reject hurtful action but recognize the person acting as a sentient being the same as I and to respond with kindness (no small challenge). I guess we hear what we need to hear, Dr. K. What a gift these two talks were. Mostly I was delighted at the end of Saturday’s session when H.H. asked Pat Leahy, “Are you coming to lunch?” Talk over. Time to eat. How delightful to know H.H., like me, was born in the year of the Pig, always aware of our next meal. 😉

Previous Posts

Everything Essential Buddhism Book
I was recently on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV in Vermont. We spoke about the Buddha and Buddhism themes that are covered in my new book, The Everything Essential Buddhism Book. It's always a pleasure to talk with mark and a touch of sadness to ...

posted 10:05:58am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Don't Own Your Mind
Our brains are little factories. Their chief product is, of course, thoughts. They also manufacture images, memories, and emotions. Best of all, they fabricate stories. Our brains can do this unbidden, without any direction from us. Given the ...

posted 6:36:24pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Relationships 2.0 Interview August 11
Tune in Tuesday August 11 at 6 PM (3 PM PST) for my radio conversation with Dr. Michelle Skeen, host of Relationships 2.0. We'll be discussing relationship challenges for introverts and guidance from my book, The Awakened Introvert. If you ...

posted 9:00:13pm Aug. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Coming Soon: Mindfulness A to Z
2015 has been a busy year for me publishing books. In May, The Awakened Introvert came out (New Harbinger). In July, The Everything Essential Buddhism Book came out (Adams Media). Soon, Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now (Wisdom ...

posted 12:46:02pm Aug. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Life Interrupted
I've been thinking a lot about interruptions lately. When I meditate in the mornings, I prefer to do it at a time when I won't be interrupted by others. Yet, even in the most protected environment, interruptions are inevitable. My mind will ...

posted 4:50:31pm Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.