Just now I was doing my little exercises with my weights here in my office and my eye happened to fall upon a small wall hanging with some words of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Buddhists. Twice I have been fortunate enough to have been in his presence at a public talk, once some years ago and once just this past November.
Just being in his presence is cheering. He laughs, giggles even, a lot, and his whole being seems to radiant a benign and focused energy that is uplifting and encouraging. You can see in the image above, which I made at the sold-out Boston Garden arena this past fall, how he likes to be playful. Bothered by the bright lights, he whipped out a Boston Red Sox ball cap from somewhere in his robes and put it on, much to the delight of all present.
He has a translator with him, and although he himself speaks pretty good English, as he speaks he may turn to the translator for help, in order to get his words to convey exactly the meaning he intends. After his talk to the huge audience, there was time for questions. One of the children present asked if he had any pets. His Holiness said Well, there was a cat, but that cat was getting kind of old now, just as he was, and so was not as playful as it once had been. He laughed at the thought of him and the cat ageing together.
It will be a sad day when he re-enters the stream of life, perhaps to return in another way. He always speaks such simple truths. We need more truth-tellers.
Here are some of his words, from the two little scrolls that I have hanging in my office:
The True Meaning of Life
“We are visitors on this planet.
We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most.
During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives.
If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”
A Precious Human Life
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up.
I am alive, I have a precious human life.
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have kind thoughts towards others.
I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
Who could ask for more??