The Dalai Lama invites us into compassion as a way of life. Today’s meeting with President Obama at the White House elicited both praise from Tibetans and condemnation by the Chinese government. While the politics of Tibetan-Chinese relations remain unresolved, it is the spirituality of His Holiness that makes him a global moral voice. He speaks to our hunger for meaning and purpose.
The Dalai Lama has said, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” No wonder so many throng to hear him. Or that his spirituality connects with those on a spiritual quest. It is a message of simplicity without being simplistic. It stands in stark contrast to the divisiveness so often expressed in the name of religion.
I once heard His Holiness counsel a member of the audience not to abandon her own religious tradition, but instead, learn how to be more compassionate and kind in her daily life. His lack of proselytizing or expecting a “buy-in” to all Buddhist teachings from the spiritual seeker is telling. In itself it is an example of practicing the compassion and kindness that he expresses as the heart of spirituality.
People who encounter His Holiness invariably leave with a renewed sense of life, usually feeling optimistic about their own purpose and spirituality. It is a message far more profound than passing “feel good” emotions. His message is rooted in the moral high ground of what we call inclusiveness; of what he describes as all things and all people, being intertwined.
The question which the Dalai Lama has suggested we ask in our conversations with the Holy is how can I “show up in the world in a way that will cause the world itself to change.” Compassion and kindness impact our way of being. They offer a new mindfulness to whom and how we are!
The issue may be human rights in Tibet, the way in which we each exercise leadership, our care for the environment, the hope of a more compassionate world for our children or any number of things affecting the life of all.
Compassion and kindness are not just good ideas! It is about how we show up in the world each day. No wonder the Dalai Lama connects and speaks to our longings, inviting us to become fully alive. Kindness and compassion are possible to practice, to integrate into our living. As if he is always coaxing, inviting us on, the Dalai Lama knows how to keep showing up.