The Art of Giving and Receiving – the 14th Dalai Lama, Perth
I try to treat whoever I meet as an old friend. This gives me a genuine feeling of happiness. It is the practice of compassion.
On Sunday 14 June 2015, I attended the talk given by the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, at the Perth Arena. After an introduction and a “Welcome to Country” and a traditional dance with the didgeridoo and the clap-sticks, Rick Ardon hosted the talk. There was an interpreter and a Sign Language translator also.
Although I was sitting fairly close to the Stage – in the floor area ( on a plastic chair – chairs were not staggered or tiered so I couldn’t see his Holiness on the stage, when he was seated ), I could not clearly hear his Holiness at all times, due to the acoustic set up and to the Dalai Lama’s voice being very soft and a little choppy, i.e. speaking in short sentences ( with waves of his arms from time to time ) and / or speaking a little fast. This is not a criticism but just an observation or my personal experience, and honesty is the best “policy”.
Anyhow, luckily I had taken a little Notebook with me and I found that as I stared at the Dalai Lama trying to tune in energetically to what he was conveying, and wrote down some of his words, this process helped me to get the gist of what he was saying.
The Dalai Lama stood up for about one hour giving his talk, then he sat down and answered 3 questions with long answers to them. After that, the President of the Buddhist Association outlined his Holiness’ 2015 Australian visit, and the Dalai Lama was presented with a Birthday gift ( for his upcoming 80th birthday ) – an amazing book with a couple thousand messages in it for his birthday ( and the presenter said that many more messages had been received )!!
Two singers from the musical “Wicked” sang – one sang Happy Birthday and the other sang a song specially written as a thank you to His Holiness. All in all, it was really wonderful for me to actually see the Dalai Lama, even if from a distance! I have written a precis of what he spoke of, which follows below.
The Dalai Lama began by saying he is the same as us, he sometimes also has a disturbed mind. He suggested to try to calm down the troubled mind, and to teach people this from the start ( when they are a baby ).
All want a happy life, all have this right. The purpose of life is to be Happy.
We are all the SAME – with same potential, desires, functions, etc.
The Dalai Lama lost his freedom at age 16.
He lost his country ( exiled ) at age 24.
[ Today he is 79 years of age – turns 80 on 6 July 2015 ]
A lot of sadness in this world including his. The Authorities said TRUST ME.
One’s best advisers are the –
Brain ( think ) & the
Heart ( forgive )
Even though you may be very sad or go through a tragic thing, if you look at it from a different angle ( using your brain ) you could see something good.
It takes a state of determination – makes things more realistic, brings out your inner strength.
An example is the Australian Aborigines – and the new generation – in a state of shock and upset ( crying even ).
[ KEEP GOING ] Realized with the Brain
The MENTAL STATE can “subdue” the Body. Need a wider perspective.
For example, his Holiness’ exile brought new opportunities, e.g. fewer formalities. He considers everyone as his brothers & sisters and hate formalities.
We are “social animals” but are dis-connected. His Holiness feels sadness everywhere – because our one-ness has gone.
If you are fully committed to the promotion of Unity, need serious intent & communication.
All sentient beings have the right to Happiness.
This is the REAL MEANING OF TAKING & GIVING.
Try to shift yourself as much as possible. The physical body needs nutrition and exercise, the mind can manage the body – healthy positive mind equals a healthy body. The Ego is a strong feeling of Self, not bad in itself, but if Ego is used negatively then it is bad.
Someone may be nasty to you, but visualise the person having a problem:
- Feel compassion – ( giving )
- Give them positive motivation, love, forgiveness ( giving )
You can do this mentally. We have thousands of emotions, some contradictory, need more love.
We have the CHOICE. If angry, think of people around you – they cannot relax, [ worried / on alert – don’t know what you will do ]
Anger can be constructive but it is energy which is volatile and might not know what you will do with it.
CHOOSE A MENTAL STATE OF CALM
Think more about your inner world.
Introduce people to modern secular education – to cultivate peace of mind – and necessary SOCIAL SKILLS.
Social institutions tend to have a lack of forgiveness now.
Scientists can help through the science of the mind – to train peace of mind – through being open minded, un-biased, and through experimenting.
A QUESTION ASKED OF THE DALAI LAMA
How do we forgive people like terrorists?
If you do wrong, you would confess / affirm your action is wrong, then accept it. Do this to others, and then have contemplation with compassion, and and do what you can with compassion to improve the situation. Peace comes within, starts with one individual. You are the “master” of yourself. No-one can tell anyone what to do. Everyone is the master of themselves.
The world-view of the 14th Dalai Lama is, as many know, that of being Compassionate. To me, compassion means understanding others feelings including sorrow or sadness and distress, and where it is needed, forgiving others for perceived & actual transgressions. Compassion also applies to oneself. On the following page of his website, the Dalai Lama elaborates more about compassion, especially toward those who one observes as carrying out very negative actions.
His suggestion is that if you need to, tell the other how you feel and take strong countermeasures but WITHOUT anger or ill intent, and this I feel, is CRUCIAL to developing & maintaining COMPASSION.
To quote from “How can we Start”
So, when a problem first arises, try to remain humble and maintain a sincere attitude and be concerned that the outcome is fair. Of course, others may try to take advantage of you, and if your remaining detached only encourages unjust aggression, adopt a strong stand, This, however, should be done with compassion, and if it is necessary to express your views and take strong countermeasures, do so without anger or ill-intent.
You should realize that even though your opponents appear to be harming you, in the end, their destructive activity will damage only themselves. In order to check your own selfish impulse to retaliate, you should recall your desire to practice compassion and assume responsibility for helping prevent the other person from suffering the consequences of his or her acts.
To quote from “Developing Compassion”
Of course, developing this kind of compassion is not at all easy! As a start, let us consider the following facts:
Whether people are beautiful and friendly or unattractive and disruptive, ultimately they are human beings, just like oneself. Like oneself, they want happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, their right to overcome suffering and be happy is equal to one’s own.
Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems. Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all. As long as they are human beings experiencing pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.
In my opinion, the Dalai Lama’s Perth talk was an outline or sketch of his mode or his strategy, being secular education from kindergarten and training the mind to manage the vagaries of Life. Anyone who knows a bit about Buddhism is aware of its rich field of “knowledge” or information about “mindfulness”. A lot of very helpful information can be found on the Dalai Lama’s website. Click on the Link above to start exploring.
What was great about this talk for me personally, was the “spirit” and the “ethos” that emanated from the Dalai Lama. I got it – even though he only spoke once about the actual topic ( “the art of giving and receiving” ) he used the phrase “the art of taking and giving”, effectively saying that:
Compassion is the art of taking and giving or of “giving and receiving”.
To me, this was not just a sweeping statement or a vague sentiment, but means that a compassionate approach to life may forge re-connections to our underlying one-ness, and brings about the receiving of happiness because of the inner peace that comes with it.
I also bought two books at the event – the 2nd & 3rd books in the series by David Michie about the Dalai Lama’s cat. Information about the first book can be found HERE. Power to the “Meow” ( I’m a Cat person ! )
Namaste – I see the Divine in You
Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related