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A Virtual Breakfast with the Dalai Lama

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

July 8th 2020

The alarm clock buzzed at 04:30, but this was not to get ready for an early start at work. This was for a special occasion, so I warmly welcomed, with excitement, this opportunity. A virtual breakfast meeting with the Dalai Lama. Wow! The question, “How did you manage that?” is probably going through your mind. Well it was not down to me; I was just one of several persons to have registered in time for this amazing event.

Introduction & Format

We would hear the thoughts from the Dalia Lama, in response to an opening question and then ten pre-selected questions which would be asked by the audience. The question we asked was:

How do we develop compassion in uncertain times?

Dalai Lama opening speech and my thoughts

The Dalai Lama, whose religious name is Tenzin Gyatso, shortened from Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, born Lhamo Dhondup, is the 14th monk to have been invested into the position of the Dalai Lama. He celebrated his 85th birthday, just two days ago.

I felt even in this virtual world, that I was in the presence of a kind and sincere man. It was a humbling experience to witness him speak and share his wisdom.

The Dalai Lama started by saying he treats everyday as if it is his birthday. It is a gift to have life. One of his passions is the education of the mind. If you learn to control your mind, you will find inner peace. His command of the English language is very good, and he opened on the close links his country has with the UK and it was clear to me he enjoyed our relationship. The Dalia Lama starts every year with the expectation that there will be non-violence and compassion across the world. He spoke about the importance of time, “Do we use time wisely or not?” He said that the younger generation are too focused and competitive on acquiring things of material value and they have a lack of patience.

One must control their inner world to stand any chance of controlling their outer world. More intention must be to focus on your inner peace. It is difficult at first; you will feel a sense of emptiness, as you close off some of your senses. For the last 50 years, he meditates with compassion and he sleeps very well every night, has a great digestive system and very low blood pressure. He said this with a very warm smile.

In the later part of the 20th century scientists had the theory it was the brain that controlled our body. However, in the 21st century they now believe that the mind exists, and this effects our body.

Quantum physics studies the difference between appearance and reality distinctions. Emotions are based on appearance, not reality. When you investigate fully beyond the appearance, you will find nothing to fear. Compassion, positive emotions will be achieved through meditation and in this practise, you will gain more strength. Make sure you do it with a smile.

The Dalai Lama spoke about today’s world being more peaceful. Yet since the Second World War, scientists have been creating more destructive weapons that can destroy the planet than at any time in history. This is changing thankfully. Violence produces violence. It delivers more suffering and is certainly no way to gain anything. He believes the world can be de-militarised and we could have one global community. A world dialogue will solve our problems and global warming effects the entire planet, so we must all work as one.

We are social animals after all. We need one another to grow and learn. The education of the mind must start in the classroom, alongside conventional learning. Let us teach our children how to control their minds, control their emotions. How to tackle fear, anger jealousy. These negative emotions do not serve us well.

Therefore, when you receive an education of the mind you can share this learning on compassion, non-violence and spread this across the world. This is his daily prayer.

Q&A Session

I will not list all 10 questions, but I will just give you a flavour of the wisdom he imparted in answering them.

It is all too easy to blame history and negligent decisions of our ancestors. Learn from it of course but do not look to blame it for who you are. Do not carry it, shed yourself of this burden, it does not serve you or others.

Show compassion to troublemakers and your enemies. They will offer you some of your greatest opportunities to learn.

The Dalai Lama spoke about the history between Germany and France and the fighting of the past. Forgiveness is an important lesson for us all. Now they are friends in a European union. We must have immense will power for positive change; otherwise, there is no future for the world.

In a very humble way, he stated how he was just one human being on this planet of almost 7 billion. He had the opportunity to study the mind, visit many countries, experience different worlds and cultures and studied many religions. All religions must carry a message of love.

One question that showed his empathy, was in response to the question, “How does someone remain positive when we are criticised by the actions of the few?”

The Dalai Lama’s response. “I don’t know” followed by a very infectious laugh, which in turn made me laugh aloud. He then composed himself and said that media only mention negative stories. Positive things are taken for granted. They should just tell the truth. There are different ways of telling the story, be strong, your self-discipline is needed.

All humans have potential. It is your duty to fulfil yours.

Namaste was his final word and how fitting a word that is from such a wonderful man and experience. It literally means “bowing to you”

It was an honour and a privilege to listen and speak with the Dalai Lama, an experience I will remember forever. I pray that some of his words may influence you too.

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