Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Dalai Lama

He's easy to love. He is friendly, humorous, humble and cuddly. He wears a visor and laughs often. The Pope he's not -- the Dalai Lama is way more popular. And the house was packed at the Rogers Centre Friday afternoon to prove it.

Before he gave us one hour and twenty-four minutes of his holy time, we were graced with some great dance and music from Tibet. While in town, the Dalai also inaugurated the new Canadian Tibetan Cultural Centre. Toronto is home to a large number of Tibetans in exile.

When the "Ocean of Wisdom" took his throne, his message was simple. Maybe a little too simple. Talk of peace, truth, justice, tolerance, even though a necessity, has become almost commonplace. His speech wasn't too different from what the Pope would deliver, for instance. His key word is compassion, and yes the world is in need of that more than ever right now. But we hear that so many times, that the message risks getting diluted and losing its effectiveness.

But he did deliver a few pearls too. He told us that too much self-centeredness creates fear, the demarcation between "us" and "them" in humankind is silly and how important it is to maintain enthusiasm and optimism.

Yes, the message is, and should be, simple -- but by turning it into a cliché, it risks becoming meaningless. As The Holy One himself told us, "words are empty without action."

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