Holistic Living - Spring of joy
by Life Positive
It turned out that the Dalai Lama had told Rajiv that, although he was a guest of the Indian people, he had never met and initiated a purely Indian group. He wished to do so and asked Rajiv to get some people together.
As a result of Rajiv's quiet efficiency, some 18 of us soon found ourselves on a bus headed for the picturesque hill station. The long day journey from Delhi was very pleasant and all of us got to know each other.
In Dharamsala, a hill town in northern India which is also headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, we had the luxury of a lazy morning sitting out on the lawn and admiring the scenery over cups of coffee. Our session with the Dalai Lama, later that day, was one of the most memorable afternoons in my life.
I had been rather unusually occupied with, and intensely curious about, where I came from and why since early childhood; the question 'Who am I' was one of the reverberating and recurring resonances of my life on planet earth for three decades. But what happened within me the moment I walked into the room where His Holiness sat was something phenomenal.
It was awesome, yet simple; most unique, yet reassuringly familiar. Though the feeling was so elemental, simple and pure, it is very difficult to put it in words. Zen masters say: When I point at the moon, look at the moon, don't grab my finger. If the statement is taken as a Zen pointer, the best way I can put it is: the moment my eyes met His Holiness' eyes, I felt a bubbling, rapturous spring of joy well up from deep within me, permeate my being and radiate outwards in all directions. The words are approximations and cannot even begin to describe the happiness that flowed through me on that beautiful afternoon.
And it was not only on that occasion. The same feeling of joy bubbling up arises every time I have the good fortune of being in the presence of His Holiness. I always feel that he is talking especially to me and that he is in a deeply sensitive and symbiotic relationship with my consciousness. This is not just my experience, but also the experience of number of people who have also been graced by his presence.
Over the three afternoon sessions, His Holiness talked to us about the human being, his predicament, the origin of self-enquiry, the art of discrimination, perception, thought, consciousness, presence and absence, and many wonderful things. Speaking sometimes in English, but largely in Tibetan, which was instantly translated, he talked about Tibetan Buddhism. He also gave us some special mantras, taught us visualizations and acquainted us with some meditation techniques.
There were question-and-answer sessions, too, where the audience could clarify their understanding or ask His Holiness to shed light on some subject. I remember asking only one question: Your Holiness, can't we forget about all this and laugh our way to nirvana? His Holiness looked quizzically at the Tibetan translator as he translated my question, looked straight at me and laughed his beautiful deep belly laugh.
It was one of the most profound answers to a deeply felt question I have ever received, all the more because it was non-verbal. In fact, I sometimes wonder whether it was an answer at all, or a deep insight into the question—an intense understanding, which nevertheless left the question a question, completely preserving the sanctity and grandeur of the mysteriousness that surrounds and permeates the unknown, the indefinable.
Those three days were days of transmutation and absorption for me. Though words and images do fascinate me, I have always taken a cordial dislike to things of the so-called intellect, and the word 'intellectual' has always had a supercilious ring in my lexicon. The notion that an ability to juggle concepts and ideas in your head makes you superior to someone who can't is surely a laughable idea, and something a person of intelligence should be able to see through in seconds.
I listened less to His Holiness' words than to the spaces between them, focused less on the sound and more on the silence. Mostly, I absorbed the energy, the radiance and the vitality of those hours with him and let the beauty permeate my very pores. This may sound like poetic exaggeration, especially in one with credentials as dubious as mine, but it wasn't. It was as practical, as rooted in daily life, as any tangible experience, perhaps more so.
That is another beautiful thing about His Holiness. Though he seems imbued with an ineffable fragrance from the beyond, he is firmly on the ground and speaks about tangible things in a practical way; in him, roots and wings give strength and sustenance to each other.
And, despite the fact that he is a temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people in whose life protocol must have a major role, he is amazingly informal, casual and friendly. I have rarely seen His Holiness unsmiling: whether it is his deep and resounding laugh, his sparkling smile or, on occasion, his dancing eyes when he addresses an important issue. Happiness runs through him like a sutra in a mala, binding, uniting, and integrating—yet all but invisible.
I have had the good fortune to meet His Holiness on many occasions, sometimes in small and intimate groups. I have had the privilege of making my talents, such as they are, available to him. I have also had the pleasure of trans-creating his poem on the environment in English and the honor of creating a biography of his in poems and pictures. But I have always tried to stay in my place and have never made any attempt to engage his attention on a one-to-one basis. This is both because of a great sense of humility His Holiness always inspires in me and because I feel his is a life of a thousand demands and pressures, which I don't want to add to in any way.
On one occasion, I had gone to Dharamsala with a small group to be part of an audience to attend a video recording of His Holiness' discourse on secular meditation. Imagine my surprise when His Holiness, while waiting for the cameras to get ready, looked at me and said that he had seen me before. He then looked at me a little speculatively and said: "First short, now long". He was referring to the fact that my hair, once short, was proceeding apace to becoming a ponytail, and that too in a man who has hundreds of things to do every day.
But that was not all. After the discourse, His Holiness, with the grace and kindness that distinguish him, went from person to person in the audience, holding their hands within his. When he came to me, he held my hands, pulled me towards him, put his cheek against mine and said:"Old friend, old friend."
I was walking on a pink cloud for months after that.
The really important thing is that a man as eminent as him, with such onerous responsibilities and duties, should even be able to remember such a thing. But such is his presence, his inner vitality and his unassailable equanimity, that even minute attention to detail becomes possible, may be even effortless.
People who have worked with His Holiness say that his pace is very brisk and his energy without limit. Young people have been ready to collapse at the end of a grueling day, but His Holiness appears to be just as fresh, enthusiastic and radiant.
Every time I meet His Holiness, I feel as though I have been in communion with an energy that is boundless and comes from an eternal and infinite source whose resources seem to multiply with every giving. It is a communion that invariably refreshes me, rejuvenates me, revitalizes me and, most importantly, fills me with joy.
If someone were to ask me to tell him what His Holiness means to me in one words, I would say, without any hesitation: happiness.
Amit Jayaram, India
|HOME | SUBSCRIBE | WALLPAPERS | ADVERTISING | POLICY | PRACTITIONERS | WRITERS | PEOPLE | ABOUT | CONTACT|