Notes from My Day With the Dalai Lama

Notes from the Environmental Summit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

May 11, 2013 

These were the best photos I could get…Unfortunately I was by myself with no one to take pictures of me at the event, but I was grateful to be there and have an amazing interaction regardless. 



Here are some of the most beautiful statements I gleaned from the event. Enjoy: 

[On climate change]…”In early part of my life, not knowing enormity of the issue, then gradually as I had my own experience and meeting with specialists on the environment…it’s a very serious matter.” 

[On impermanence and taking care of the Earth]…”Taking care of the world simply means taking care of your own home. After all, the whole universe, the Milky Way, the galaxy itself is moving. The direction our galaxy is moving is the same direction another galaxy is moving. So after many years, CRASH! No moving. Impermanence. I don’t think any danger. So anyway, things are moving and changing different position. There’s no other place to escape. Moon? I think not for centuries. Dance in its light, but if we go up there [to the moon], that will be impossible.” 

[On his political views and creativity]…”Perhaps I am a socialist. As far as social economy is concerned, I am Marxist. Without freedom, no human creativity properly functions.” 

[On friendship and love]…”Human friendship, human affection–these are most important. Ultimately the source of joyful life is within ourselves…not money.” 

[On population growth] …”Ultimately there is too much precious life. I think smaller precious life.” 

[On stewardship]…”Buddha was born under a tree. He was enlightened under a tree. He died under a tree. Monastic precepts require monks to cultivate trees and the next monks take care of them.” 

[On codependent arising]…”Ultimately interconnectedness comes from Buddhism…you call ‘mothercentric’ thinking. The future of 7 billion people is interconnected we must increase the concept of ‘we’ to 7 billion people…not thinking about this life, heaven, or nirvana, just building a happy society. We have to act according to reality, even in religious belief.” 

[On research]…”Analytical recitation is based on critical thinking…that develops conviction. Realistically, your mind should be open and not biased.” 

[On compassion]…”Loving kindness is the wish for others to be happy. Karma means affection, action, and research.” 

[How can we keep ourselves from sinking into sadness or despair?]…”Be realistic. Realistically, now global warming and the position of the world is changing. When we face problems, tragedy, you must analyze it. If that tragedy you don’t overcome, don’t worry, make some effort. If you can’t overcome it, don’t worry too much. Just accept the situation. Trying to do some other things is better.” 

[On attachment]…”For the moment, you feel this is the reality, so detach. Then you are becoming objective.” 


I had a wonderful weekend in Portland (and San Francisco!). The things that HHDL said were applicable to my life more than anything else I’ve heard lately. The things he said about attachment, the earth, love, and friendship were so resonant in my mind. I was awestruck at the opportunity I had to be so close to such an important figure in the world…he is so gentle, funny, and well-demeanored…truly a humble individual. All I could feel when I looked into his eyes was joy…pure joy. I forgot everything that was wrong in my life–all the hurt or stress I’ve felt in the past few months–and it went away. I felt grateful for my own life, my family, my true friends, the landscape I live in, and the opportunity I have to experience so many amazing things in this world. All I wanted to do after listening to HHDL was go out in the world, explore, and do the things I was doing before I went to Missoula last winter. It was evident that I became out of touch with the things I love to do in order to complete school…and it was more evident that I need to keep doing the things I was doing last autumn in order to be happy and to give all I can to the world and its people. The things the Dalai Lama said touched my heart deeply and made me think about the things I am doing and the goals I have…everything fit seamlessly with all the research I’ve been doing and all the things I’ve been writing as of late. More importantly, the Dalai Lama made me think about the places I’ve been putting my heart lately…the wrong places. He made me realize that love and friendship should start within yourself and spread to those who deserve it…who need it–to yourself, the world, and people in need. The things you can’t change…don’t focus on them. Leave them alone. Focus on other things. That’s a better use of time, and time, as all of us know, isn’t infinite. 

The surprise Red Hot Chili Peppers show at the end of the event wasn’t too bad either! 

I love you all, 

J. Bird 


Listening to the Chili Peppers with a kata around my neck and a smile on my face! Happy as a lark!




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