An Ocean Of Wisdom: The Dalai Lama Teaches At Lehigh University
Uploaded on July 6, 2007by FerneMillen licensed under Creative Commons
Today I had the good fortune of hearing the Dalai Lama speak on Tibetan Buddhist concepts at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was amazing to be in the presence of this great leader, educator, statesman, human rights advocate, and gentle, humorous, and warm human being. Also fascinating was the crowd of people assembled to hear him speak. I talked to people from as far away as Alaska and Florida who were enamored with his teachings and sought the great honor of being taught by him.
Initially he spoke of the interdependence of all of reality, everything is connected on many levels, from economics to politics to ecology. Realizing this, and fostering an altruistic attitude leads to sustained peace of mind.
The heart of his talk today was generating an awakened mind, or bodichitta. The principal element and key to the awakened mind is compassion. First one realizes the truth of suffering and desires the cessation of this condition. One develops a compassionate mind, a sense of affection towards all other beings and holds all others as dear to one's heart. Arising naturally from this attitude is the wish to help all sentient beings and bring about a relief from their suffering.
In order to cultivate this affection, we must first realize a sense of connection. Initially, we learn to perceive all other beings as related to us in some way. This enables us to recognize the fundamental equality of ourselves and others, we are able to "exchange and equalize" our own being for others. This attitude is based on the realization that just as we wish to be happy, all other beings wish to be happy and free from suffering. This is the cultivation of genuine compassion which is completely independent of how others act towards us. We desire their well being and happiness regardless of their attitude or behavior towards us.
I feel blessed to have the privilege of hearing this great man speak and absorb some of his teachings. His speech is punctuated with laughter and joy. He exudes not only wisdom but also warmth and gentleness and a genuine interest in the welfare of others. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is an advocate not only of human rights and global interdependence, but also of the warmth of human compassion and affection for all beings interwoven in the daily fabric of our lives.