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Lions Roar : May 2010
51 SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2010 “When I Was your age,” the Fourteenth Dalai Lama is telling a group of six hundred or so young female students at Chikushi Jagakoen school in Fukuoka, Japan, “I was a quite lazy student. I didn’t have much enthusiasm for studying.” Though sitting politely, their hands in their laps, the girls almost visibly come to attention, drawing closer as he says this (they weren’t expecting such words from a celebrated visitor). “so my tutor always kept a whip,” he goes on, as naturally as if he were talking to his oldest friend. “I was studying with my elder brother, so the tutor kept two whips. one was yellow—a ‘holy Whip!’ But I think if you use the ‘holy Whip,’ the effect is the same as from the other one, ‘holy Pain.’” even the girls, trained to be reserved and demure since birth, cannot contain their laughter—and delight, perhaps, and relief. even this man regarded as an incarnation of a god by his followers is, at some level, just like them. even he has been in need of dis- cipline at times, and is in the lifelong business of finding an answer to suffering, or “holy Pain,” as it might be. I scribble down his every word and notice how seamlessly he’s transmitting certain funda- mental truths of Buddhism. Don’t be distracted by externals, or signs of ceremony—a yellow whip hurts just the same as any other whip. Don’t think of holiness as something separate from the realm For thirty-five years Pico iyer has been a friend, observer, and student of the Dalai Lama. In this heartfelt personal essay, he reveals the simple human secret that makes His Holiness the most beloved spiritual figure in the world. Heart of the Dalai Lama Opposite: The Dalai Lama greets a member of the audience at a teaching in Hamburg, Germany, July 2009. PhoTo©WWW.PhaThue.De