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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama speaks at the Rogers Centre, Toronto

October 25, 2010

The Dalai Lama at the Rogers Centre October 22, 2010

Great people rarely are seen for what they truly are; they have our expectations encrusting them like barnacles. Some who came to see the Dalai Lama had their own agendas pasted to their foreheads, hanging on his every word until they perceived some personal validation in His Holiness’ address. Unfortunately their agendas did not let any other thoughts through, and their minds remained just as closed after as they were before. The words of great people are often used to support agendas, but the failure is in the thoughts of the user, not in the thoughts behind the words. The words of the Dalai Lama are simple, but the thoughts behind his words are not.

In his speech at the Rogers Centre Friday the message was concise and clear: in order to have peace in the world and peace in the self mankind must embrace the quality of compassion. This is not a new thing that His Holiness has said but the message does not wear itself out with repetition. It is a clear statement, but considering the obstacles it encounters on its path to the heart of the listener it cannot be anything else but clear and simple. His Holiness drew on news stories from science and medicine in order to illustrate the concept that peace is the natural state of mankind but this was not intended as an exercise in logic or scientific method, he was attempting to put the spiritual message into a form that was natural for western industrial ears to hear, a form that would bypass the defences that our mind creates and let the concept go straight to the heart. At the core he was acutely aware that most of those that heard his message would not understand it in any way that would immediately accomplish its intent.

The substance of His Holiness’ speech is a theme that he has spoken of before. YouTube has a version of his Cincinnati speech here: and at U of C Berkeley here: (the speech starts after 27 minutes of speeches and awards) that puts his viewpoint forward just as well as his Rogers Centre speech.

What was different from these earlier speeches was that at the Rogers Centre he took care to say only that which was necessary and showed more introspection than on the previous occasions.

Perhaps his ending words put this speech in context, when he said, “If I have human rights, I should have the right to retire.”

The world and his destiny, of course, will not let him.

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