20 Sep 2015
The lecture by the Dalai Lama was organised in London Colesium, somewhere near Trafalgar Square. I got down at Piccadilly Circus and somehow reached the place. At the entrance, there was this Tibetan sect the Dalai Lama frowned upon because of it’s divisive attitude. Being the head of the largest Buddhist sect and being a onetime political head of Tibet, his word created much troubles for the sect. They were in force at the entrance chanting Stop Your Lies False Dalai Lama.
Now inside. A sitar tabla duo was being played till his arrival, which was delayed due to traffic.
He came some twenty minutes late. Just past eighty, he slowly ambled towards the seat. Instead of sitting comfortably, he sat to a corner making people laugh. People stood up in respect, one by one, and then everyone. They sat only after he asked to. An introduction, and then when he was to give his lecture, he declined to sit and gave the whole one hour speech standing. The topic was Ahimsa – Non Violence. He noticed the lady translating the speech into sign language and told her, my English is very weak, making everyone laugh.
The main points he stressed over – importance of love in human life and global peace. Some main things he said, I follow the Indian secular way – respect all religions, not the European way – shun all religions. The last century was full of bloodshed; this century, let’s make it a century of dialogue. Islam is not evil; it’s the way it is being interpreted in Syria and other areas is. Indian Muslims are the most open minded of all and they should take a leading role in clearing the misunderstandings. But, surprisingly, his English is much weaker than I expected.
My impression of this old man is this – in a true Indian fashion, he talks about nonviolence, forgiveness and fatalism in life and asks us to continue with our lives without brooding over the past. His way of speaking and his attitude proves the Caesar is Caesar with or without his crown. He was an Emperor and his concern for well being of his people is clearly visible and so is his longing for his lost kingdom. But whatever his faults, listen to him for half an hour, you will start liking him for sure. May be that power is what China fears in him.
If there are protests happening outside, it is but natural that a sampling of it is bound to trickle inside. And it happened during the questionnaire at the end – a lady harped on the topic. He explained the case clearly and silenced her. And her language. If you don’t respect the authority of a person, at least respect his age…And the booing she got and the encouragement he got was overwhelming. All this is on one side and on the other side is the veneration in every act of his aide, surely, a high ranking Lama. And time for the vote of thanks and another time for people to stand in respect. After that, I don’t know what rankled him, he took the mike again and explained his stand. Is it because of ego or resignation or compassion or whatever feeling, who should tell?