Today Mark and I were honored to be able to attend a talk given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Divinity School, at the Memorial Church in Cambridge.  Being in the presence of the Dalai Lama has been on my life list, and ticking it off in this way was truly a remarkable experience.

Full video of his talk can be seen here.

He entered in his red robes, not even five feet tall.  He is old but child-like and strong, sharp and sincere but bold and straightforward in his speaking.  He has a kindness and calmness about him.  You could sit with him for hours listening to him speak.  Or not speaking too, just sitting with him quietly you’d still feel his wisdom. He sat in a carved wooden chair, first removing his shoes and then pulling his feet under him before beginning his talk.  He spoke on teaching love and compassion.  On the similarities in all of us being more infinite than the differences.  How violence is not the solution but discourse, compromise and love can lead to positive action.

There was a moment where he spoke about the love and affection given by mothers, and how it shapes a child and how they show love and compassion towards others as they grow older.  He told a story of when he was a child his mother would hold him up on her shoulders, and he would pull on her ears to get her to go left or right.  He thought it was very kind of her to let him pull on her ears, but that her love and affection towards him shaped who he is today.  Someone from the audience asked if he ever doubted his faith, and he answered “No.” Full stop.  He went on to say that faith is not something that he just believes blindly, but that he questions constantly, and is something for which he is always seeking and learning about, and in so doing he becomes stronger in it.  Another question from the audience asked: “How do we know God?” And he answered that God is too big for us to ever comprehend.  God is bigger than all of us and every thing.  He is wise beyond anything I will ever understand.  I am truly amazed that I had this experience today.  Thankful.  Honored.

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Afterward we were able to watch him plant a tree with President Faust outside of the church.  It is a birch tree.  He heaved in several heaps of dirt, and then took a bottle of water and poured it over top.  He spoke for a moment.  Here is a short moment of him speaking about nature (my apologies for the poor quality):

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