Author: Kateřina Erlebachová (CzechFolks.com PLUS)
“What? The Dalai Lama arrives? I have not heard about that!” That was the answer to the SMS sent to a friend from Slovakia who texted me a week before the Dalai Lama arrived in Prague. I immediately began to search the Internet to see if this is correct, because it seemed impossible to me, that such news is not published publicly. I found almost nothing except for pages of Vaclav Havel:
However, I found out that he will have a discussion about human rights at Charles University and after that, a lecture at the Congress Centre in Prague. Tickets were to be available at Ticketpro agency.
I was right on Wenceslas Square, so I went to ticket agency. “What! The Dalai Lama?” The lady behind the counter asked me incredulously. She was shaking her head and looked at me with eyes full of inspection: “Where have you fallen from, my dear? They have been sold out long time ago! “
I went later to a small village in Moravia to visit my mother who does not have internet, and she is therefore dependent on the TV for information. There had been no news of the impending visit on the TV. She did not know about the visit. She was surprised.
Reports began to emerge. On 10/12/2011 was the report on Czech TV1the News of the impending visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader was reported immediately after the information that the ski season had started, and that people are going for Christmas shopping in the border region. On 11/12/2011 in the morning news on Czech TV 24 we can see that the Dalai Lama, after his arrival on Saturday, met with our ex-president Vaclav Havel.
Between him and the Dalai Lama was very friendly relationship. Their meeting was very moving, as the Dalai Lama was gently massaging Vaclav Havel´s palm. On Czech TV the Dalai Lama said about Vaclav Havel: “I feel great honor that I could meet with him, we are longtime friends and he is not only my friend but a friend and spiritual leader of the free world. That’s what I feel. I asked him to live another ten years”. But then we did not know that this request would not be fulfilled.
I still wish to go to lecture, even though I have no ticket. What can I do? It is 13:00 on the day of the talk as I sit on the Metro and I am going to Vyšehrad station. My hope for a chance to get to the Prague Congress Centre is almost disappeared. My legs are like jelly.
In the carriage with me is a large group of Tibetans, including children. They have traditional clothing, cheerful eyes, gentle and friendly behavior to each other. The picture helps me breathe freely and feel comfortable.
There were many large queues heading to the Congress Centre. If someone looked at it from above he would see it like an octopus.
My hope to enter has jelly legs again. It does not even try whisper me something about courage. At the entrance I passed two men. One of them was holding a printed ticket from Ticketpro. The other man paid 1200 CZK (officially worth CZK 300) for the ticket. In my heart passed light shadow, but then I thought – that’s his choice, his responsibility, and my wish and my choice. And I want go in.
I asked him hesitantly if he has any more tickets for sale. “No!” he says briskly. Then observed by the previous customer who is obviously, judging by the expression on his face, still dealing with the price he paid, “You see dude, everyone wants a ticket” Then he packed a roll of money into his pocket and hurried away. I hope for the man that the ticket is at least not a forgery.
Then I continue to walk past the long queues and send a message to potential resellers that I would like to buy a ticket.
I continued up to the very end, where there were a few unfortunates with the same message as I have. They do not like to accept me into their club.
Well, in that moment comes from nowhere, like a cannonball, smiling friend Helen. “Ticket! I have a ticket for you! “I didn´t understand but at the entrance she introduced me to her friend Kamil. They fought together for my ticket which was sold by a gentleman who was much more respectable than the first one and he wanted the original price.
Joy and humility came over me and I said thank you to the great Universe and his wife, children and dog for this nice little miracle. My hope says with an important face: “I told you so!”
I am happy and grateful. The podium was simply decorated. The light grey background with a great silhouette of Buddha created a beautifully tuned mosaic of colored images. Here is the Dalai Lama, his assistant and excellent translator.
And consider the fact – how old is the Dalai Lama? He could be called “an incredible old man,” but the word “old man” would lead to a lot of confusion. This man, at his age, can respond quickly to the current situation, he can humorously and vigorously discuss and answer questions logically and with sophisticated humor.
The problem opens the possibility
He talked about how at sixteen he had to go into exile, and later lost his country. He talked about how sad it is now the situation in Tibet and how his experiences at the end of these have been useful. Because it all happens he becomes more practical and realistic person. So what is seen as a problem can, from a different perspective, look completely different. What is seen as tragic may from another point of view appear as an opportunity.
Mental level of the mind
He talked about the human mind. The senses are a source of information for the brain. But scientists do not know everything about the human brain. Still, there is the mental level of the mind which is not dependent on the senses.
People often think that the mind is entirety. One is either sad or happy. People forget to perceive subtle changes. People forget that their feelings may change suddenly. The mind is composed by a myriad of different aspects. And even it is not so simple. Many processes happen simultaneously at multiple levels at once. When we understand how our mind works, we can live better. This is written in many religious texts, but it is not necessary that it had a religious connotation. Discussions are ongoing with scientists in the field of brain science, psychology and psychiatry, but also scholars of ancient Indian traditions. He talked about how he liked to participate in these discussions.
Anger does not help
He talked about the time when we feel anger at someone who hurts others. It does not help those they are hurting, nor harm the ones who harm others. The only persons who may be hurt are ourselves.
Reconciliation with the death of loved ones
He talked about how to find reconciliation with the death of our beloved people. When someone we love dies, naturally we feel sadness, pain and helplessness. Death is a natural part of life every of person on this planet. There’s nothing we can do to change it. However, we can listen to our loved ones; empathize to their needs and wishes and try to satisfy them. We can make their lives fulfilled and consequently also our life. If we in our hearts care for the good of others, we do not need to pretend and hide and we can live fully and truthfully.
What is the power of prayer of the common man for a better world?
He talked about prayer which is good for our own internal mental health. However, people are praying for things to be good for thousands of years but the bad still happen. Therefore more powerful than prayer is often the action. The Dalai Lama puts great emphasis on personal responsibility.
What can we do with the current situation?
He said that what happens in the world around crisis can be very negative and to fix it quickly can be difficult. We can educate children. We can teach them morals and ethics, we can teach them how to care for others and attitudes of compassion. Then our future can be better.
It was interesting to sit among the people and listen to a man in monastic robes supplying power and optimism to many of us. It was nice to turn my head and watch the faces of people who listen, and see in their reflection a kind of grace in their faces. It was nice to see in front of the lecture hall a group of Tibetans. They were posing for photographers with the Tibetan flag, about which just few of us know that:
“The white colour on it symbolizes the fact that Tibet is a land of snow, and its triangular shape indicates that there are mountains, over which is the sun on a blue sky. The rays symbolize the joy of freedom, and the six red stripes indicate the six original tribes of Tibet. The two lions are protectors and the cup at their feet with three flaming treasures – a teacher, teaching, and community (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha).In front of their feet is the Yin Yang symbol, which symbolizes ethics, integrity and fidelity to purity, and the yellow rim shows the flowering of the Buddha’s teachings and fourth layer without rim shows openness and respect of Tibet to teachings and spirituality of others who are not Buddhist nations. “*
It was very nice to meet outside the hall Slovak poet Judita Kaššovicova and Slovak blues musician, composer, lyricist and vocalist Juraj Turtev.
Their musical project based on poetic book “The land of silence” which was written by Judita includes some photos of the Dalai Lama.
I asked them what was the most interesting piece in the Dalai Lama lecture:
Judita Kaššovicová: “Tolerance. That, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama promotes tolerance. This is important.”
Juraj Turtev: “When the Dalai Lama answered the question:” What would you like to have today? What do you miss?” His answer was:” Peace and tranquility to this world and peace in all of us, “I liked that he does not promote his ego. He is altruistic. His answer does not start or end with “I”.
Just a few days after this visit, Vaclav Havel, a man who helped to make big changes in our country, and contributed to the development of our democracy, died. In the Czech Republic there is a lot of sadness because of it. But there is also cause for joy. His departure was the way he wished it. He died in the place he liked. According to reports he left in the morning, calmly, in his sleep. This is a good death. Nevertheless, even though we wish he was with us for the next ten years or more, we can at least enjoy the tranquility of his passing. The Dalai Lama also said that he will miss his friend Vaclav Havel greatly.
Mrs. Dagmar Havlova, the wife of Vaclav Havel invited the public to funeral procession through Prague. Instead of words, that my feelings cannot cove I offer photos here.
If the Czechs had their own angels, I think that Vaclav Havel would certainly be their president. Although he would of cared probably about this position…
In the hearts of many of us, his presence is still alive.
Thank you to Judita Kaššovicova and Juraj Turtev for their kindness and permission to show their faces. Thank you to Vaclav Havel for better life. Thank you to Helen and Kamil as they won for me the ticket for CZK 300, thank you for all those who organized the lecture, translating and cleaning up after it and all who supported the funeral procession and farewell for the man who changed our lives.
* Robert Thurman
Why do we need the Dalai Lama
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Václavu Havlovi s láskou
(Tento článek věnuji Václavu Havlovi, neboť vím, že měl Dalajlámu rád)
“Cože? Dalajláma přijede? O tom vůbec nevím!” Tak zněla odpověď na sms odeslanou kamarádovi ze Slovenska, který mne týden před příjezdem Dalajlamy do Prahy o této skutečnosti informoval.
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