Hello, Dalai Lama
I was up for some spiritual enlightenment Saturday morning, so I walked over to the Capitol building. The 76-year-old Dalai Lama is in town, doing a 10-day peace conference over at the Verizon Center, but this morning, he was giving “A Talk for World Peace” on the Capitol’s West Lawn. And it was free.
People were lining up at 7 a.m. to see the 1989 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the ceremony was scheduled to start at 9. I figured he wouldn’t show up until around 10, which was when I left my apartment to walk over. By the time I was a block away, I saw a motorcade heading down 8th Street NW, which told me I was going to be there before he was. I was right.
When I got to the Capitol, a woman was on stage, singing. I couldn’t get into the area to see the front of the stage, because, as I said, people had lined up at 7 a.m. to get good spots. So I stood by the wall, at the south side of the west lawn. The motorcade made its way around to that side of the Capitol. And there he was, waving to followers, shaking hands. I thought I heard Whoppi Goldberg, but told myself that wasn’t possible. Then I read this evening she was the one who introduced him. When he got to the stage, I couldn’t see anything because I was blocked by the speakers, so I walked along the fence to behind the stage.
This was the view I had, where I could see him:
Not bad for someone who got there just before he did. But like I said, I couldn’t hear a thing. A constant flow of traffic behind me, because the DC police didn’t close off the street. Every now and then a bullhorn from the cop cars nearby would go off and the officer would tell people to get out of the street because traffic was coming through. And for some reason, the speakers weren’t aimed in my direction. So I walked back over to the south side, where I couldn’t see him, but I could hear what he was saying. He spoke in fluent, but broken English, occasionally getting a verbal cue from a guy in a suit sitting next to him when he couldn’t quite find the right English word.
Overall, it wasn’t really a life-altering experience. There was no condemnation of nations or world leaders. It was a speech about the responsibility of the individual. Just the standard stuff you hear if you have decent parents. Be a good person. Don’t be selfish. Just because a person looks good on the outside doesn’t mean that’s a good person on the inside. Don’t stress because it makes you sick. Honestly, it was kind of like the stuff my grandmother would say years ago … someone who’s been around for 76 years (which I guess for me would be like listening to a parent, given my age), seen some tough times and figured out that the best things in life to do are not to be miserable and not to make others miserable.
There was one thing he said that was obvious, but I really found meaningful:
If you have a problem, but you know it can be solved, there’s no need to worry. And if you have a problem, but you know it can’t be solved, there’s no use in worrying.
I smiled and nodded in agreement. Then I realized the Zen of Bobby McFerrin: