‘Just live in peace’
His Holiness the Dalai Lama was in Calgary for the first time in 30 years on Sept. 30 spreading a message of compassion at
The appearance was part of a two-day NOW conference put on by the University of Calgary to “encourage and foster community engagement.”
“The Dalai Lama is seen worldwide as a significant thinker and promoter of peace and compassion,” said U of C president Harvey Weingarten in a U of C press release.
“It’s important for us to share his insight and engagement with our students and the larger Calgary community as well.”
Those sentiments were echoed by emcee, former Olympian Mark Tewksbury before His Holiness took the stage. Tewksbury said the conference was, “about connecting with each other as Calgarians.”
Tewksbury was joined by Canadian actress Sandrah Oh of Grey’s Anatomy fame.
“Today is for you,” Oh said referring to the youth of the crowd, as the audience was treated to performances including the Canadian national anthem sung in Cree, French and English, a Blackfoot prayer, a visually stunning shadow play and a traditional Tibetan dance.
After waiting over an hour and putting on the traditional Tibetan scarves that draped the seats of the Saddledome, the audience watched with rapt attention as the Dalai Lama took the stage before they burst into applause.
Looking younger than his 74 years the Dalai Lama grasped the hands of U of C bigwigs as he accepted the University’s highest honoured degree.
“A special thanks, because I am a lazy student,” he joked after receiving the degree.
Then the “simple monk” as he was called throughout introductions began his talk about the meaning of peace and the importance of compassion, every now and then turning to the interpreter at his side when the English word escaped him, in order to better present his point to the audience.
“No violence, no destruction,” he said. “Just live in peace.”
He elaborated saying that peace comes from the inside; from self-confidence and that it is “the effort of compassion”.
Speaking of the violence that has perpetrated from wars throughout time His Holiness always came back to the same idea that peace was the answer and that “world peace leads to inner peace.”
He then answered several questions including one from a six-year-old asking whether or not the Dalai Lama had ever worn pants? With a gentle smile, the Dalai Lama said yes, when he wears his pajamas, and once when he was exiled from Tibet and escaped, disguised as a soldier.
One could almost hear a pin drop in the expanse of the Saddledome with the way His Holiness held the crowd in the palm of his hand, he even went so far as to have the lights turned on in order to better see all the faces he was speaking to.
“We can make common effort for better world,” he said.
Inspiring words from a man who is so much more than a self proclaimed, “simple monk”.