Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014
Having the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama truly was an experience of a lifetime. For a man so world renowned, he interacted with all those around him with incredible humility and patience. Despite an audience of thousands of people clinging to every word he spoke and eagerly soaking in his message of compassion and peace, Hi s Holiness presented himself in a way that made you feel as if he was speaking directly to you.
Following his presentation I was given the opportunity to meet him personally as part of a group of students selected to represent Santa Clara University. Anxiously awaiting his arrival, I wondered what he would be like without the stage, the microphone and thousands of people. Regardless of what I was expecting, he was simply normal. The Dalai Lama was refreshingly and humbly normal. Despite his religious, political and cultural significance, he interacted with the group of students as if we were equals. He shared a special message with us, reminding us that it is our generation that must act to spread compassion and peace to all parts of the world.
This compassion, he emphasized, can best be achieved through education. The knowledge we gain through education creates understanding between cultures and society, destroying barriers that prevent the spread of compassion. Feeling empowered, I eagerly shook his hand before leaving. Much to my surprise His Holiness took his hand and reached up to my face. His finger landed on a small stud in my nose and he broke out into a lively chuckle. He then walked away, surrounded by security, leaving our group in laughter. I think I’ll be leaving that stud in for a while.