Where two next?

Antipodean travelogue through the eyes of two - one textile and one building lover. It'll be hard to differentiate the two!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Holy Bag

We went to hear the 14th Dalai Lama speak in Wellington yesterday about "The Human Approach to World Peace". The talk marked the end of a 16 day Australian/ New Zealand tour which brought its own share of controversy.

The Chinese didn't like the fact that the Australian Prime Minister met with him and let their objections be known. Australia turned around and told the Chinese that the Dalai Lama was welcome in Australia at any time and asked China to respect their democracy.

The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clarke, refused to say whether she would meet with his holiness when he arrived in New Zealand. (New Zealand and Australia are currently in free trade negotiations with China.)

The talk was interesting in its own right and the Dalai Lama, was keen to show off his humour, stating that it plays an important role in one's happiness.

At the beginning of the talk he put on a sun visor and explained how it helped shade his eyes from the spotlights. He explained how at a previous talk someone had gifted him a visor which he wore. However some people took exception to the fact that the visor was branded so an American friend sent him a visor that matched his attire and had no branding.

He then proceeded to laugh at the amount of mystery that seemed to surround what he called "the holy bag." The bag he carries everywhere with him, asking if people would like to see what was in it. He proceeded to take out a tube of toothpaste and a pair of shades. He also said that he carried his breakfast in the bag explaining that on long haul flights the breakfasts might be nicely presented but lacked the desired quantity. It all got a good laugh and he kept the whole thing quite light.

He started his talk by talking about the individual and about approaching life with a calm mind and dealing with problems logically. He gave an example of the neighbour doing something to annoy you, which culminates in you feeling hatred towards them. This hatred makes you feel very unhappy and drives away people close to you. Ultimately you end up alone and vulnerable. All this time the neighbours state of happiness remains unaffected and if anything he will delight in your unhappiness. He finished the parable by saying that his message was not to walk away, but to deal with the matter calmly, if it meant bringing the neighbour to court then bring him to court, provided that you can remain calm and content.

He then broadened his talk to the world stage and said that he had met with the green party during his visit to New Zealand and he told them that the green party was his party. The green party understood that all issues were global issues and gave the example of global warming. He explained that years ago when one country invaded another country the affect remained more or less isolated between those countries but now everyone is connected by economics and so forth. (I wondered was he referring to the free trade negotiations mentioned earlier). His summary was more or less the same as before. The solution to world peace was similar to self peace or happiness and that every leader needed to approach a problem calmly and logically again stressing that a wrong must be corrected but that the manner in which it is dealt with is critical. (At least I think that is what he was saying I'm not the Dalai Lama!)

The talk ended with a questions and answers session after which the final speaker thanked him for coming and stated that he was more than welcome to New Zealand at any time but hoped the Prime Minister would be able to meet him on New Zealand soil the next time. Ms Clarke having met him in an Australian airport while their on official business the previous week.

We enjoyed it and might even buy his latest book, The Art of Happiness, on the back if it.

Hopefully some of the contents will rub off.


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