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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 50 Centered at the Summit Over the decades that PICO IYER has known His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he has pondered the essence of the man and his importance to the world. He concludes that only the Dalai Lama brings true spiritual peace to the summit of world affairs. SO MANY DEPICTIONS and images of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama present him as serenely unmoved, a very beacon of silence and self-possession. And of course his calm, his optimism, his unwavering warmth, the solidity that Thomas Merton stressed when he went to visit him almost forty years ago, are a large part of what makes his presence so emancipating to many people, regardless of their tradition—and so steadying. He sits amidst the changes and convulsions of the world, focused on what counts (while attentive to every moment), just as a rock, a buddha, a meditating mind might sit, centered on essentials. Recently coming upon an article written by my father, who visited the Dalai Lama in 1960 during his first year in exile, I was stunned and moved to see that the twenty-four-year-old with the strik- ingly fresh face and brush cut sounded—in what he said and in what my father saw in him—almost identical to the man of seventy-two we see today. The body has changed, the sense of how best to speak to the West has grown, he has adapted as he has registered changes and new needs in his audi- ence, but the heart of what he’s saying remains as constant as the image of the man he sometimes calls his “boss,” seated under the Bodhi tree, eyes turned away from the outer world to explore the inner home that sits behind all projections and delusions. PICO IYER’s book on the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and globalism, The Open Road, comes out in April. The Dalai Lama with India’s Jawaharlal Nehru and China’s Chou En-lai, New Delhi, 1956 PHOTOFROM:CAMERACHRONICLESOFHOMAIVYARAWALA,MAPINPUBLISHING MAR 50-51.indd 50 MAR 50-51.indd 50 12/19/07 2:14:05 PM 12/19/07 2:14:05 PM