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Lions Roar : July 2017
The Inspiration Richard Gere I remember having an intimate conversation with His Holiness many years ago. At one point he touched the tip of his tongue and quietly said, “This tongue has never lied.” What a simple and astonishing statement. It cut right through me. It would be quite unthinkable to believe such a clear and dignified declaration from anyone these days. Decep- tion, self-interest, greed, violence, corruption, and alternate truths are all sadly deemed acceptable, and even expected. Even the President of the United States stands naked in his foolish- ness. Language has become hollow. Words themselves have lost their sacredness. Grace, kindness, and simple dignity are ridi- culed as politically correct. But there are a few giants such as the Dalai Lama remaining among us—giants who with heartbreaking humility speak and act with sensitivity and concern for all beings without bias. The dark forces that would divide us, that would shrink our world into tribal self-interest and indifference, or outright cru- elty and hatred at its worst, are manifesting in frightening ways all over the world today. The Dalai Lama and his influence are needed more than ever now. His Holiness wakes us from our dreadful sleep. He is the radi- ant sun of the universal embrace. He is inclusion, service, and self-sacrifice. He is genuine love. He is interconnectedness. He reminds us who we really are. He makes us larger. He makes us care. He delights us with his wisdom, his joy, his laughter, and his optimism. He carries us. How impossible it is to be proud and pretentious around someone so utterly simple and kind. We want to be better. We want to be good. We want to find solutions that work for everyone—that bring happiness and the causes of future happiness to ourselves and all beings without the merest speck of discrimination. Gazing at the Dalai Lama’s face, hearing his words, receiving his blessings, we want to love more deeply, forgive more completely, and serve others more selflessly. And we can. In His Holiness’ loving presence, we know that all good things are attainable. We know that the darkness of this moment is not permanent. It is completely transformable—if we do the work, if we want it badly enough. We have this extraordinary opportunity now, right now. Beings such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama rarely come to our world. But they do most certainly come when we need them the most. How foolish it would be for us not to embrace this amazing gift and not do the work to free ourselves and all our brothers and sisters beings from this craziness. It’s up to us. I once half-jokingly asked His Holiness if I could stop with all my commitments. I was tired. He smiled and said, “You can stop when I stop.” I laughed. Because of course that meant never. RICHARD GERE is an actor, activist, and chair of the International Campaign for Tibet. The Unifier Krista Tippett We need the Dalai Lama more than ever because he keeps secu- lar and spiritual complexity alive in his being. All of humanity is richer for his modeling of authority and contemplation uni- fied. Science has been deepened by the questions he has put to it. The calculus of geopolitics is redemptively confounded by his chosen presence toward those who would be his enemies. His Holiness is at once an icon of ancient and particular belief faithfully attended, and a forward-thinking teacher dem- onstrating that faith can be a peaceable, compassionate, and creative companion to a world of difference. Most of all, we need the Dalai Lama because he radiates the most humanizing paradox of all—an insistence that delight is not merely possible but essential amid the seriousness of life and its inevitable sufferings. As much as his words and his actions, his smile and his laughter imprint his wisdom on the world. KRISTA TIPPETT is creator of the public radio show and podcast “On Being” and the author of Becoming Wise. The Teacher for All God’s Children Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell The life of the Dalai Lama is a witness to the power of loving- kindness. His teachings touch every land and are respected in every language. He will long be one who surprises the world with his generosity of spirit. The inclusiveness of his embrace is for those of every faith and, yes, for those of no faith. The life of the Dalai Lama is a call to unity. His expressions of the divine resonate with the deepest thinking of all religions. His teachings are richly ecumenical and offer open space for each and every child of God. As his work has progressed over many years, he has deepened his engagement with the faiths of the world. Only when we have deep respect for one another’s faiths will peace be possible. Never has the Dalai Lama placed one belief LION’S ROAR | JULY 2017 51