As soon as we pulled into the venue you could hear the chants and drum beats of the anti-supporters. I just observed them and the commotion they created without reacting realizing that in all likelihood, His Holiness would hold the same compassion for them as he does everyone else. After we parked the car and made our way to the venue, there were the real supporters, the every day people and those who silently explained what the anti-supporters were about. There was no hatred for the anti-supporters in return and I’m reminded that here in the U.S., we do have freedom of speech. Although why we would speak out against compassion is still something I struggle with a bit. I have much learning to do.
The events within the event we witnessed were simply put, amazing. Wonderful performances of various kinds in celebration of our having the Dalai Lama with us here for 80 years! Truly it is a blessing. If there is anything I’ve learned in this life it is to reach for compassion no matter what you face for in so doing you can alleviate much self-imposed suffering as well as beginning to ease the suffering of others.
The event presented wonderful and famous leaders, entertainers, academics and fellow Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Again, I’m reminded that while His Holiness is a great supporter and leader of Buddhist doctrine, he is also the head political leader of his nation, Tibet. It is interesting how politics and religion seem always to clash and yet here we have it in one individual and this individual supports and holds compassion for those who follow all paths whether or not they are his own and whether or not he personally believes in those paths. His personal belief is not forcefully imposed on people. His compassion seems endless and that is miraculous in this world. Yet another lesson learned.
We are faced with choices in everything we encounter. For a very long time I have tried very hard to stay A-political publicly. I do have my own opinions and have been called an “F-ing liberal” on more than one occasion with much ire. I don’t begrudge the labelers as long as they do not force me to live against my truth (and I fully understand that my free will ends at my person – a personal rule of thumb). I try instead to understand their perspectives whether they are name-calling, belittling or attacking.
I’ve tried to stay quiet mostly because I’ve seen people torn apart by religion and politics and frankly I just wasn’t strong enough to deal with it. Now I realize it isn’t a matter of strength so much as it is a matter of holding compassion no matter what you face or how it comes to you. So, I had to think very hard about what it is that I truly stand for because I can no longer silently just think and wish or hope that things will change. As I learned yesterday, we have to take action.
The things I care about most in this world relate to humanity and providing for it despite borders, cultures or religious beliefs. I’m an American by birth but in my blood there are so many countries, Ireland, Scotland, England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, India, Slovenia, Slovakia, German and that is just one side of my family. You see, although I was born in North America, I cannot find myself saying just “God Bless America” and be satisfied with that. Why not “Bless all of Humanity?” I’m grateful to have been born where I was born, I’m incredibly grateful for all of those who help us maintain the constitutional freedoms we enjoy here and I deeply respect every single soul who fought for freedom throughout the ages against any form of oppression. I willingly pay my taxes even if sometimes a bit begrudgingly because I don’t necessarily agree with the majority in terms of how that money is spent. I’d prefer it not be spent on so many wars I’m not behind but I’m part of a country and I must stand with it or decide to find peaceable and compassionate ways to influence more positive outcomes.
I think no matter where you were born you will find good things and not so good things about the soil on which you were born. “Be grateful any way,” is how I think. But I go back to something that I learned again and I go back to what I stand for again. I stand for humanity. I stand for all cultures. I stand for equal rights. I stand for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I very strongly stand for uplifting rather than degrading human beings in any way shape or form.
I realize that every human being across the planet has their beliefs and all will take action on those beliefs as they see fit. I believe in protecting humanity, uplifting humanity, healing humanity, feeding humanity, sheltering humanity and supporting humanity. So now I think enough with good thoughts alone. It is time now for action. I write, I inform, and try to point out that no matter what degree of a circle you stand upon with your belief, there are 359 more degrees. I prefer to teach people to look at their beliefs and truly understand them, all of them. If we could learn about and understand what blocks our ability to love ourselves and each other, hold compassion for ourselves and each other and to support ourselves and each other, I think we could change the world.
The Dalai Lama wants to see compassion in this world – much more of it. I have to say that I stand with him with every cell of my being and every shred of all that comprises my consciousness. The events of the day yesterday, his words and presence, and the love inspired in the thousands in attendance were proof to me of just how effective and powerful love and compassion can be. It doesn’t require any dogma or money and it doesn’t require blood. It just requires an openness of heart and spirit. To me that is something that seems so simple. I wish that every human could feel this beautiful thing and realize no matter what soil you were born upon, no matter your culture or your beliefs, when you can find the heart of compassion you have become among the richest of human beings in the world. When you find it, share it. That’s what I learned in all of my years and saw summarized in a wonderful tribute to a great spiritual/political leader yesterday. I’m just in awe and will be forever grateful for the opportunity. Thank you His Holiness the Dalai Lama for all the compassion you embody and for sharing your special day with us in the West. We love you. Blessings of great love and compassion for all.
© 2015 Jaie Hart (photo/words)