Here we have two cities really close together, Darwin and Palmerston. The mayor of Palmerston read that the Dalai Lama was to come to Australia for a speaking tour, so he wrote and invited His Holiness to visit Palmerston. The Dalai Lama agreed and said he wanted to meet ordinary people. Before long the entire visit was organised so that as many people as possible could see and hear this wonderful man in both Darwin and Palmerston. Tickets have been on sale for about six months and were not at all expensive. $33 for an adult, about the same as a meal in a mid-priced restaurant.
You probably know much about the Dalai Lama already, how he left his family as a toddler, was educated, became a religious leader, and became involved in politics.
|With local celebrity Charlie Brown.|
His Holiness spoke at several venues, strolled around the two cities, met politicians and dignitaries, conducted interviews for the press, and met as many ordinary people as possible. All who met him or heard him are impressed by his message of making the world a better place through peaceful behaviours.
Most people have a basic understanding of Buddhism, and so 8000 tickets were sold quite quickly. Yes, we do have practising Buddhists in our community but only a few thousand. Of course the talks were not all about Buddhism but more about facing the world through the Buddhist philosophy of peace.
The Dalai Lama spoke specifically about the Four Noble truths. I am sure you know about these. Firstly, Life involves suffering. Secondly, Desire is the source of our suffering. Thirdly, there is a way to end our desire. Fourthly, the way out of desire is to live according to basic principles.
Did I see him? Not really. I have been working unusual hours and do not get weekends off while this military exercise is in progress. Nevertheless, as I was driving to work yesterday morning I passed his entourage apparently heading for breakfast with the Administrator - four motorcycles and three police cars accompanying one car. Very safe, no fuss, no problems.