Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Conversation with His Holiness

"If you find what I have said today interesting then go home and think more on it. Otherwise, just forget it." - Tenzin Gyatso

I don't think any of us knew really what to expect out of it, but it was still surreal to see the 13th Dalai Lama place a scarf around President Faulkner, who gave the introduction, only several hundred feet in front of my eyes. What was neat about his whole lecture was that he was totally calm, cool, and casual the whole time despite having an audience of over 8,000 people. In fact, he even stated in the beginning that sitting in front of us would be just like having a conversation with someone. Indeed, he was right as his whole talk was a smorgasboard of random ideas centered around human emotion and compassion, which is only fitting given that he's the reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion. He sat Indian-style on a big, cushioned chair alongside a member of his entourage to aid sometimes in translation with two microphones pointed directly at him at a big screen overhead showing his face. There was so much light on him, in fact, that he put on a red cap so that he could see the audience! Aside from the cap, he looks exactly like he does in the picture I have here that was printed on our ticket. I had forgotten my ticket actually and had to go home to get it (luckily my morning class was EE 316, which is self-paced) as soon as I reached campus in the morning, and I made it to the Erwin Center a little over an hour before doors opened. A few hundred other people gathered at our side of the Center alone (there are gates all around it) as it grew nearer to 2:00 PM, but the line was pretty poorly organized until about 1:30 PM. I hate the Erwin Center management because they even outlaw outside food and drink so they can sell it to you at disgustingly high prices.

Anyway, we managed to get seats on the main floor itself and by 4:00 PM the whole main floor was filled, as well as the lower level auditorium seats and probably nearly half of the mezzanine level seats. Crazy, huh? The Lama even expressed that he was just people like us and really didn't have anything special to share, but he would tell of his experiences. He spoke English as an Indian would, and the other language he spoke was some hybrid of Hindi and Chinese (understandable given his refugee status). Much as you couldn't explain everything that happened to you in the past month in order I cannot accurately relate the lecture because it was a random mesh of ideas about the good of emotions like affection and compassion as opposed to negative emotions like anger and fear. He emphasized that you needed peace of mind to guard yourself against being too swayed by crises and tragedies that occur in our lives and that inner peace also leads to more confidence and a happier life. Happiness requires affection though, and he noted that a lot of kids who grew up without enough affection (divorced or abusive parents) have problems when they grow up because of how necessary it is. As he would say, the whole point of life is to pursue happiness, and more importantly it's best if humanity is happy as a whole. He also spent some time to address the issues of global violence, but given his peaceful disposition you can guess at what he said.

It was kind of neat to laugh at jokes from a 70-year-old monk, and it was definitely inspiring to ponder the stuff he says as it puts a whole different perspective at life. We should really be seeking what's best for the general good, not just for ourselves. I'm sure that many people left disappointed, but in all fairness some people hyped it up to be more than it was. It's just a lecture from a very prominent person in the world. I felt it as fulfilling as reading Herman Hesse's Siddartha, and I think I'll try not to "forget it." As you can tell, I personally enjoyed it and despite being as tired as I was (several reasons, long story) I was hooked to the whole thing. It's crazy for a man so important to be so humble even admitting when asked what our government should do about the Iraq world that it was beyond his wisdom. The best part is how secular the whole thing was and it really shows that despite what denomination we associate ourselves with we should all be seeking the same ideals and following the same ethics. I think I've spoken enough about it, but comment if you have questions I didn't answer.

Given how much I splurged on the Dalai Lama, I'll keep the tech news very very brief. My alternate theme for today would've been more about the music industry. Steve Jobs has announced that he's staying firm on his iTunes pricing despite pressures from the industry citing that they're greedy. He's right, too, and he's even stating that there won't be any evolutions to the iPod in the near future (such as Bluetooth or Video) as had been hoped, which is understandable given the leap with the Nano. The RIAA is really pushing it by clamoring for copy protected digital radio, which is ridiculous given that analog radio never required this. Lastly, I find it really cool that there's a guy making a board game to help encourage kids towards Computer Science with boolean algebra. The game isn't as boring as it would sound, so give it a quick read-through.

There are only two movie items of interest. There's a pretty sweet new trailer for Saw II up showing promise for the quickly produced sequel. I personally thought the original was a neat horror movie. The other thing is that Rosario Dawson joined the cast of Clerks 2, which is notable because I like Kevin Smith's movies and she's hot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask you all to pray for my hometown, Houston. Hurricane Rita is giving it the evil eye and though I may not like the city all my stuff is there and a lot of my family is, too.

Now for the Ten on Tuesday:

10 Ways Your Country Can Change for the Better (the U.S. of A.)
10. Better disaster relief programs.
9. More information available to voters about who they vote for.
8. Better laid out voter registration system (i.e. easier to do).
7. More promotion of free trade.
6. Lower national debt.
5. Congressmen who actually work for their constituencies.
4. Better management at the INS.
3. Less coverups and feeding nonsense to the public.
2. Separation of church and state.
1. A smarter president with a better cabinet.

1 comment:

aberrated said...

Hi I just wanted to make a correction .. Tenzin Gyatso happens to eb the 14th Dalai Lama and he must have been speaking in Tibetan and not Chinese because he is a Tibetan Refugee and not a Chinese one. Thanks and happy blogging