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Lions Roar : March 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2007 110 golden Maitreya statue at its center and thangkas and manda- las all around. As listeners packed the courtyard and the temple where the Dalai Lama was speaking, and the days dawned cloud- less and blithe, it felt again as if Dharmasala itself had come to Japan, among the Tibetans with their white scarves extended, the large Mongolian sumo wrestlers excitedly coming into the temple for a photograph with their spiritual leader, and the foreign Bud- dhists and travelers scattered among the hundreds of quiet Japa- nese women and fashionable young girls with their Vuitton bags. The Dalai Lama consecrated the temple on his first afternoon in Miyajima—a group of twelve monks from Drepung Monastery in southern India taking care of all the preparations, and then sitting beside a line of Japanese monks, all in lustrous purple robes, first the Japanese sharing their chants, then the Tibetans. Over the next two days he spoke about basic Buddhist ideas, especially shunyata and the interdependence it suggests. The audience, seated cross- legged before him in the temple and on gray folding chairs in the autumn sunshine all around, sat so quietly and attentively that at one point he joked that he had forgotten that they could not follow the Tibetan he was speaking. The next three days were devoted to empowerments and initia- tions, of a special kind that drew scholars from around the world. For someone like myself, an Indian from England raised in Cali- fornia and living now in Japan for its mix of energy and serenity, it was a remarkable gift to feel that Tibet and its traditions were flooding into our midst, so that we might feel that Tibet was part of the world, and the world part of Tibet. Listening to the Dalai Lama in the piercing, aromatic, bright-blue autumn days remind- ed one that Japan and Tibet share a tradition that Japan is in a unique position to support and to share with the rest of the world, one young rinpoche from California offering simultaneous Chi- nese translation to an excited group from Beijing, someone else delivering the teachings into Korean (and someone else, of course, into English). And as people brought their daily concerns and problems to the Dalai Lama, as they do at every stop on his travels, he always offered immediate solutions, meeting—and blessing—a young woman who was angrily shouting his name out at a temple and screaming that she needed to confront him; calling on Japan as well as India to recall where it came from, spiritually and philo- sophically, so as better, perhaps, to see where it is going. As the Tibetan returned to Dharamsala and prepared for his next big trip and set of teachings, it seemed possible to entertain the hope that Japan—and all of us—might wake up a little to our deeper potential, and that the principles of kindness, self- confidence, and hard work that he had stressed (and embod- ied) might shine a little more strongly and clearly within. As I returned to my desk near another deer park in Japan, where the Dalai Lama had come three years before, it was possible to believe that the warm and cloudless sunshine that was still in the skies might now be found somewhere inside the heart as well. ♦ Dalai Lama continued from page 39 Zen Home & Gift www.chopa.com Since 1994, Chopa has offered uplifting, Zen inspired gifts for you and your home. Please view our ever-changing collection of over 600 items online at www.chopa.com • Tatami & Goza Mats • Shoji Room Dividers • Meditation Supplies • Kimonos • Zen Gifts 1.800.961.2555 Create your own sacred space for meditation. Tenzin Palmo May 5th and 6th, 2007 May 12th and 13th, 2007 Shambhala Meditation Center of New York 118 West 22nd Street - 6th floor (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues) Phone: 212-675-6544 Registration: www.ny.shambhala.org Information: