This past weekend, my boyfriend, Tony, and I took a road trip to LA to visit some family and friends. We also spent a day and half at Disneyland and on Sunday we got to see the Dalai Lama, something that had been on my bucket list for ages.
After we parked our car in the parking lot across the street from the arena, we noticed several protests. I commented, “What in the heck? Are there really protestors against the Dalai Lama?”
Tony responded, “I guess there really is no one in the world that everyone can like…”
It blew my mind that there were groups of people – non-denominational, Christian, Muslim – that had the guts to stand outside the arena and preach about how their religious beliefs were better than someone else’s. And to make it even more ironic, the Dalai Lama opened by saying that all people, all ages, all races, all religions, all ethnicities, were welcome and he was glad to have us.
It was his 80th birthday celebration and there were a number of speakers who spoke on his behalf, including (to name a few) actors and actresses from “How I Met Your Mother” and “That Seventies Show,” comedian George Lopez, and my favorite, MC Hammer. Can’t Touch This…
He also brought another younger Tibetan monk who spoke. This particular monk spoke of his upbringing and what an incredible spiritual leader the Dalai Lama had been. It was an emotional experience for him, with tears and moments that caused the entire audience to sit silent and still, thinking of the bond he must have with the Dalai Lama.
There was a group of Tibetan refugee children who were living in San Francisco that gave a musical performance for us as well as a few other musicians. The celebration was really quite the production!
After about two hours of speakers, after which the Dalai Lama stood up and gave his thanks each time (at 80 years old!), we got to hear from the Dalai Lama. His message was simple – compassion. He said that we cannot just dream about compassion, or worry about our future, but that we must take action. It was a powerful message…instead of worrying, we need to do something, to help ourselves and do something about the things we want to change, so that we can create compassion around the world.
His birthday wish is that the world will be full of compassion. That we will all find the compassion in our hearts for everyone around us. And while his speech was short and the message simple, it was powerful. And in so many ways, a short powerful message is much more meaningful than a two-hour speech.
I checked this event off of my bucket list today, but more importantly, the next time I’m seeing someone struggle with a door, or looking a little sad, I think I’m going to find the compassion deep in my heart to help them. I know that at the end of it all, we will both smile a little more than we were before. What have you done today to spread compassion?