“Everything You Need to Know About the Dalai Lama” via Dr. David Gray

By Joseph Short

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On Monday night  Santa Clara Professor Dr. David Gray explained “everything” we need to know about the Dalai Lama before he comes to campus on Monday. Though Dr. Gray speaks several languages of ancient Buddhist scripture, he was able to break down the Dalai Lama’s faith and backgrounded for a packed Benson Parlor. Here’s what you need to know:

Buddhist principles:

Impermanence: Everything is constantly changing. Because everything changes, suffering is an inevitable part of life and we must embrace it.

Interdependence: Our well-being is linked to the well-being of every one and every thing.

Nirvana: The goal of Buddhist practice. A state of mind where one is free from  suffering caused by ignorance of impermanence and interdependence.

Meditation: The practice of clearing ones mind to see clearly ones motivations and the root of ones suffering.

Tibetan Buddhism:

Strongly emphasizes compassion and remaining an active part of the world to help others as “Bodhisattvas—” those who help free all living beings from suffering.

The lineage of the Dalai Lama is passed down through reincarnation (the soul of the dying Dalai Lama takes form in a newborn child anywhere in the world soon after the death).

There is a committee of Tibetans who look for clues as to the Lama’s location of rebirth and put the child through a series of tests like picking the past Lama’s possessions out of a group of objects.

The 14th Dalai Lama himself:

Real name: Tenzin Gyatso

Age: 79

Chosen as the future Dalai Lama at age 2, and he was given the official position at age 15.

As part of Dalai Lama training he went on a 3-year meditation retreat early in life.

Three years ago he stepped down as head of state in Tibet, and is currently living in exile in India because of Chinese occupation. He is calling for Tibetan cultural autonomy from China, not independence.

Visited President Obama yesterday to the dismay of the Chinese:http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/20/world/asia/china-us-dalai-lama/

Has authored dozens of books and on Monday will address Santa Clara about “compassion and business ethics.”

For the lucky 1,000 who got tickets for Monday’s talk, I hope this context helps, and that we all leave a little more compassionate.  I’ll see you there!

 

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