The Dalai Lama
Aunty delayed purchasing tickets, and they were soon sold out. Very sad, Aunty was almost resigned to not being able to go, and then good friend Ellie called out of the blue and asked, “Sistah, you like go with me to see the Dalai Lama?” Of course, of course! Uncle dropped us off before he went fishing that day.
We sat on the right side of the auditorium and had a fine view of the screen which ran subtitles of whatever was spoken. This helped a lot since hearing every word was important to Aunty.
The entertainment was very good. Jerry Santos of Olomana, Willie K (awesome awesome), Amy Hanaiali’i, Jeff Paterson, Henry Kapono together with Michael McDonald (sounded great together) and some video entertainment of Lanai school kids singing a song of peace and Jake Shimabukuro playing an original ukulele piece using only 3 strings.
When the Dalai Lama entered onto the stage as Michael McDonald and Henry Kapono’s last song was ending, there was a collective moment of goosebumps and everyone rose to their feet in applause.
He looked delighted, rather old and so very cute. With hands clasped together, he greeted us and everyone fell silent and was ready to be enlightened.
To tell the truth, Aunty fell asleep a few times while the Dalai Lama spoke at the podium about “Advancing Peace through the Power of Aloha.” He is not a dynamic speaker that keeps everyone charged in their seats, but rather a speaker that one strains to hear and understand just because of who he is. He is a leader of peace, love, and understanding and the way he carries himself is with humility and joy.
He had us entranced with his simple stories. One of them was about President Bush. He said he really loved Mr Bush, and when he was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal he held hands with then President Bush on one side, and Nancy Pelosi on the other. President Bush whispered to him about Nancy, “She always makes a problem for me.” Which made all of us laugh and whoop. Being a man of peace, he repeated how he really loved Mr Bush, a very nice man, but he didn’t love his policies (of war).
He spoke about the world in disorder and how difficult it is to find peace and to be able to love others that hate you. His solution to all of this was to be warm hearted to others.
What a beautiful and simple solution. Truly, if someone is warm hearted to me, I will be warm hearted to them, and vice versa.
During a question and answer period, most of the questions were from people asking the same thing – how do I deal with people who aren’t willing to forgive, or have hatred, or are negative. His answer to each was very similar – it begins with ones own self. Forgiveness is not the same as forgetness. Allowing the person to be who they are is love.
A question about dealing with anger as an indigenous people who had their land taken from them (this is an issue that Hawaiian people and the Tibetan people have in common) made the Dalai Lama reflect on his own situation. I do not remember his exact answer but in summary it was that one must move on rather than dwell on the past and its wrongs.
When asked if he always smiled, even when he was alone, his answer was an instant and loud, “Yes!” He expanded on that and said that he also smiles in the bathroom (much laughter). However, he said, when when he has a hard time in the bathroom, he is not smiling (big laughter from everyone). He then turned to his well dressed suited translator and asked him if he also had that problem (explosive laughter!)
After a keiki hula performance and some gift giving, the Dalai Lama waved to the left and waved to the right, left the stage and was whisked away in a security car. We all then slowly moved to the exits, found our transportation, and went home.
We did not see miracles. We did not participate in a life changing turnabout rah rah kumbaya experience. Instead, we were enchanted by a charming warm hearted man in maroon robes, maroon foam visor and red socks who truly walked the path of a man of peace and love.
Aunty had a wonderful day, and with each recall of something the Dalai Lama did or said, a smile and the remembrance of his smile lightens my spirit and recharges my joy.
May your days and life be blessed, and if the Dalai Lama ever comes to town again, Aunty is getting her tickets the very first day.