Each of us in our own way can try to spread compassion into people’s hearts. Western civilizations these days place great importance on filling the human brain with knowledge, but no one seems to care about filling the human heart with compassion. This is what the real role of religion is – Dalai Lama
A few days ago I was idly watching a morning current affairs programme when to my pleasant surprise an interview with the Dalai Lama was shown. He had been in the UK, and the good old BBC had recorded an interview that he gave with Andrew Marr. Mr Marr is renowned for taking no prisoners, especially when he is interviewing politicians.
Two things struck me about the Dalai Lama during the course of that brief interview. Firstly, I was really surprised that his command of the English language was not to the standard that I had assumed it would be. Having said that, I don’t speak Tibetan, so we can safely say that his English blows my command of his own Mother Tongue completely out of the water. The other thing was that he didn’t seem to have much of a personality. These are not judgements you understand, but merely observations. I was actually a bit disappointed that I could not imagine myself enjoying witty banter with him over a mug of green tea and a plate of Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers.
Andrew Marr seemed to be having difficulty understanding him, and although more restrained than normal, he managed to ask His Holiness one very leading question during this all-too-brief interview. Well, I suppose he had to, didn’t he? Otherwise he wouldn’t have been Andrew Marr. Mr Marr asked His Holiness if it was true that he’d enjoyed a very cordial relationship with the late Mau Tse-Tung (or Chairman Mau as he was know), the Chinese Communist revolutionary and founding father of The People’s Republic of China. Mr Marr offered that it seemed rather unusual for the Tibetan leader of the Buddhist religion to be “snuggling” up with the leader of a country that was responsible for inflicting such terrible suffering on his own. I must admit that it certainly was news to me and I also thought it to be strange to say the least. Unruffled, His Holiness simply answered rather enthusiastically in the affirmative, and then went on to share an anecdote with the now rather bewildered looking Mr Marr. He went on to say that the relationship between him and Mau was so good in fact that when, on occasion, they met up for meals, he had food served to him by Mau personally. Not only that, the good Chairman would use his own chopsticks to put food in the Dalai Lama’s bowl. His Holiness went on to say that in his mind he would be privately horrified that the Chairman might also have been serving up some of his germs too. This little anecdote was completely lost on Andrew Marr who greeted the revelation with all the enthusiasm of a turkey waiting for Christmas.
……. And then it was all over. Mr Marr said “thank you” and The Dalai Lama, ever cordial, raised his hands towards him in the namaskar position as they exchanged polite goodbyes.
The whole thing seemed a bit surreal to me, and I actually felt quite disappointed that the holy man was not how I imagined him to be. Not only that, he was also prone to “doing lunch” with a tyrant. Let’s face it, China’s record on human rights, to this day, does leave something to be desired. However, it was either the next day or the day after when I had one of those eureka moments. The penny dropped! How could I have been so blind to have missed what was actually going on right before my eyes. One of the most important and basic fundamental principles of Buddhism is non-judgementalism. The Dalai Lama was simply demonstrating that he was true to his religion and himself. It reminded me a bit of what Gandhi said just prior to India gaining independence. There were those who wanted to go down the terrorist route and were trying to encourage Gandhi to side with them. But even though he had been beaten and unjustly thrown into jail on countless occasions by the British, he said “no, we want the British to leave as our friends”.
What the Dalai Lama did during that interview was actually to demonstrate why some people (him for instance) are spiritual leaders, and others (me for instance) are spiritual aspirants. He of course was, and is, well aware of the plight of his country and its people, caused solely by the actions of the Chinese. But he did not pass judgement on Mau Tse-Tung. Instead, he accepted the friendship of someone he simply saw as another human being. Yes, they don’t call him The Dalai Lama for nothing.
If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding – The Dalai Lama
I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed – The Dalai Lama
I saw this quoted by someone on Twitter earlier today, and it does kind of make you wonder what moves people to do the things they do. For me it just about summed up how people in differnet parts of the world have different priorities.
”The youth in the Middle East are rioting for basic human rights, whilst the youth in London are rioting for a 42” Plasma HD ready TV”
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Let us fall in love again
and scatter gold dust all over the world.
Let us become a new spring
and feel the breeze drift in the heavens’ scent.
Let us dress the earth in green,
and like the sap of a young tree
let the grace from within sustain us.
Let us carve gems out of our stony hearts
and let them light our path to Love.
The glance of Love is crystal clear
and we are blessed by its light.
Since publishing my post All Religion Is Man-Made, I have been asked by a dear friend who regularly attends a Christian church if I am saying to people that you do not need to belong to an organised religious group, and do not need to visit establishments such as churches. Essentially, I am saying “yes” to that. However, I also realise that we are all individuals on a pathway of enlightenment, and we are all at different stages of our spiritual development; so it is for this reason that I will endevour to give further clarification.
God dwells within our physical bodies, our hearts; therefore our body is a temple (church) that we should respect and look after. If God is constantly within, above, below and around us, why do we need to travel somewhere to embrace what we already have? But having said that, there is no right or wrong in celebrating the Divine principle, or God, in any way that feels right to us as individuals. So, whether you attend a church, a mosque, a temple or synagogue, as long as you are able to connect with your God in that place, as long as you enjoy the experience and as long as you enjoy the fellowship of other worshippers, then continue with this practice because it is right for you; and remember, wherever you are at this very moment in time is exactly where you need to be in accordance with God’s Divine plan.
The person who asked me that question is someone who is a particualarly sweet soul who shines their light wherever they go. I will not mention the person by name because I do not want to embarrass them, but I will say this as I know they will read this post. They need you in your church dear soul, God has put you there because you touch the hearts of those in need. Continue to go to your church until your inner guidance tells you it is time to seek pastures new.
Much Love and Light.
I awoke this morning to the news of the terrible atrocities carried out yesterday in Norway, and as ever when something like this happens, I had great difficulty in getting my head around it all. I always feel a kind of surreality about occurrences such as this; as I watched from the comfort of my living room (that I often complain about as being too small) I simply couldn’t comprehend the horror experienced first hand by all those concerned. These awful deeds were apparently perpetrated by a Christian fundamentalist; which probably raised a few eyebrows, for in the West, with our tunnel vision and selective eyesight and hearing, we nearly always expect such perpetrators to be so-called Muslim fundamentalists. But why should anyone be surprised that this atrocity was carried out by a right-wing Christian activist? All this man did was confirm what has been known for a long time by all those who walk a pathway of light; that is, that ALL religion as we know it is man-made and has no place in modern-day spirituality. For thousands of years humans have taken the names of various religions, that the early pioneers sweated blood to found, and have simply put their own stamp on them for the sake of their own egos and greed.
Not so long ago I was listening to a programme on the radio, it was one of those programmes where they invite a panel on to take part in a discussion. Basically, one of the panel was a lady who was quite high up in the Christian church here in the UK and she was accusing Islam of being a political organisation; this it seemed was the crux of the discussion. It was probably the only time I have been tempted to call into one of these phone-in type shows. The lady in question came across as being nothing more than a racist bigot, and she was certainly not representative of me or any of my spiritual views. Another panel member was a very polite and humble Muslim man from the North West of England who conducted himself with great humility. It was suggested to him that his religion was a political organisation with a sinister hidden agenda. I had to laugh, because you can’t get more political than Christianity; just ask any woman who has ever applied to become a priest.
But the purpose of this article is not to have a go at Christians per say; the purpose is actually two-fold. Firstly, it serves as a reminder to the Western world that there are two sides to every coin. It has almost become fashionable to assume that all Muslims are terrorists, when we forget that, apart from the man who carried out the slaughter in Norway, there are also organisations such as the Ku-Klux-Klan for example, who profess to be Christians and have been carrying out acts of atrocity for years. Secondly, it also serves as a reminder to us all, regardless of which side of the fence we come from, of who we are NOT.
The true nature of human beings is that of love; but in this world of paradox it stands to reason that we will experience the opposite of who we are. By experiencing who we are not we are able to know who we are and realise our true identity. From time to time during human incarnation we most certainly will encounter that which makes us think and that which makes us feel uncomfortable; and it is in such moments that we are experiencing who we are not. Anyway, back to religion.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which ”club” we join and which label we choose to stick on ourselves; we are all inter-connected. I’ve said it before many times, and I’ll say it again, the beauty of the human race is its unity in diversity. On the surface we are all different colours, races and creeds…. and yes… religions. We are all different shapes and sizes, but underneath we are all Divine spirit. That is the pure, unsullied beauty of it all; no matter what anyone does to try to separate themselves from the caste of humanity, any such separation will only ever be a figment of the imagination. I’m going to finish by reproducing a section of a discourse by Sri Sathya Sai Baba that I’ve taken from the February 2002 edition of the ashram magazine Sanathana Sarathi.
WHAT DOES RELIGION MEAN
Religion today has been rendered meaningless and valueless by all kinds of misinterpretations given by sectarian and perverse exponents. The basic meaning of religion is to lead man to his source. The word “religion” consists of two parts: “re” meaning “again” and ”ligio” meaning ”to come together”. That is to say, ”reuniting with God is religion”. People consider religion as a bundle of do’s and dont’s to be followed strictly. This is totally wrong. The sacred aim of religion is to remind man of his Divine origin and help him to reunite with God.