Thursday, June 28, 2007

supreme kindness

While in Melbourne, Australia I found out that a person I respect was going to be speaking at the rod laver arena downtown. As a person that is always up for new experiences my manager Kyle and I set out. As we approached the ticket line a lady called us over into the comp ticket line unexpectedly and handed my manager two free tickets (worth $80 each), which we soon discovered lead us to the floor of the arena, 10 rows from the stage.

The stage was set with swooping drape, and at least a hundred monks all seated in their traditional yellow and maroon garb. The music was not what I expected, but sounded more like adult contemporary. There was a quiet and almost reverent pause as the Dalai Lama the 14th carnation walked on the aesthetically pleasing stage. The first thing I noticed was his smile and awareness of the people and friends in the room, as he went to sit upon his throne like pillow structure.
The center of the message behind the Dalai Lama’s message was the universal theme of kindness, but here are a few points I walked away with.

‘Supreme kindness is this’, he said, ‘thinking of oneself as lowest.’ This conception sees others as the highest and develops compassion in oneself.

-Supreme kindness in NOT pity.

When someone we look up to hurt’s us, we need to need to remain alert and forgive. It is never justified in hurting someone who has hurt us.

The law of Giving and taking.
GIVING of myself- TAKING of others (hurts) upon myself.

Holy Books are not like novels; they must be analyzed, reread, and studied. (For real benefit) Not only gain knowledge but also implement it into your life!

Further Study:
1. Hearing
2. Contemplate
3. Meditate

Walking away from the experience it made me want to search deeper into the places in this world I still do not understand, and even though I may not subscribe to this particular religion it does not mean everything that comes out of their mouth is wrong or false, there is truth and beauty everywhere in this world if only we keep an open perspective and search.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

How exciting that you had the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama! Thank you for sharing his message with us. It is definitely inspiring.

theartofsubterfuge said...

I agree with you, there is truth and beauty everywhere in this world if we open our minds and look for it.
I guess even if truth and beauty were right smack in front of our eyes but we choose to be oblivious to it, there is no way we'd see it.

In the end, it comes down to each individual and their own inner selfs.

nettie is short for antoinette said...

Oh wow, what an experience! I can't even fathom what that would be like.

I absolutely agree with you when you say that truth and beauty can be found in all areas, however it is incredibly challenging to believe sometimes.
Its easy to dismiss something as incorrect just because it appears on the surface to differ from one's personal beliefs.
It reminds me somewhat of something I read once - "Love is saying 'I feel differently' instead of 'You're wrong.'"

Emma said...

Tibetan Buddhism is a massive force in my life, although I wouldn't call myself a Buddhist on a few technical grounds.

The Dalai Lama's message is a very important one, and something I take very much to heart. Kindness is something people should be naturally inclined towards, simply for it's own sake. It makes the world an easier place to be in. I try to as kind and accommodating as I can just to help make things that little bit better.

Gabrielle said...

Wow...that is so amazing. You post really thoughtful and deep. I totally agree. This helped me understand kindness a lot more. I have experienced someone hurting me first hand that I looked up to, but I never wanted to give revenge. And you should not take pity on people, you should give love and kindness instead. Thank-you so much, Stephen for sharing this insightful post. I look forward to reading more from you, and actually meeting you in person. You are a very awesome person, and I love you for that. I admire you a lot.
Thank-you so much for being a really cool person.
Luv ya,
~ELLE~

Elodie said...

There was so much truth to that. If only we could all live out those words.

who can make sense of it all? said...

Yes I do agree that we should be learn about and be accepting of all religions and cultures. We should be open to learn from others, even if we dont conform to religion. However, i also think we need to be careful of what we expose our minds to and allow to consume it.

Meditation-Identity is left to chance in darkness. So the idea of this meditation is to free your mind from all thoughts, this can be very dangerous. When our minds are empty we are open to other things, such as spirits to enter.Mediation is a very powerful thing, we must be sure we mediate on the right things.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Bible says we should mediate on God.
Psalms 77v12-13
'I will mediate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are Holy. What god is as great as our God?'

Book of James said...

Glad you got to see/hear the Dalai Lama. I am sure it was inspirational.

The only trouble with the statement that not everything that comes out of their (other religions) mouths is wrong or false. This can be said of Satan too if you believe that he exists.

The world is filled with half truths and people that will use half truths for less that beautiful purposes. You very properly put it in perspective focusing on the truth and beauty in the world.

I once had the opportunity to spend some time with Mary Thunder and learned much about the Native American Culture. I saw the truth and beauty and have the utmost respect, but there was something more...

good luck in your search.

chris said...

wow, you came to melbourne at a good time, i REALLY wanted to go to see the dali lama (i live in melbourne) but i just couldnt bring to myself to go alone. most teenagers arnt really into learning facts of life, which is fine. but right now ive had this sudden hunger for knowledge of life and death and everything in-between.
im glad you took away something from the show, and only $8? thats a great price to learn something priceless.

day na said...

what an extraordinary opportunity, Stephen!

what i find amazing is the part about forgiving a mentor or a hero when they hurt us. i've heard that repeatedly, but i've never really given thought to it, and how difficult it must be. finding that someone you may hold in very high esteem is just a normal human being like yourself, with flaws and weaknesses like everyone else, can shatter you like nothing else. my friend went through a similar experience, and although i comforted them, i could never understand how much it hurt...

forgiveness is a hard trait to master in itself, no matter who the person on the other end is. it all comes down to a heartfelt decision...it's nothing that logic can fix.

themockingbyrd said...

Dang, sir. You make me feel somewhat contrarian.

I hesitantly beg to differ in regards to the truth and beauty in other religions. I don't disagree that there is some, but my first thought when I read this post was "what a beautiful approach to...the wrong thing."

Or basically, they take an excellent approach to the wrong thing. If that makes any sense.

I'm tempted to return to something I said a few entries ago (I believe) on the rules for living from the Dalai Lama. I find such things valuable, but as additional resources. I find them valuable only insofar as they aide me in better understanding and living out the teachings of Christ.

tehillim said...

I thought the same things about what Rob Bell said about truth. God reveals Himself, even to those who may not recognize the revelations as such.

In any case I think it's important to not be one of those people, especially Christians, so self-absorbed and focused on their own beliefs that they don't stop to try to understand others. Community and fellowship cannot be cultivated at a distance. Thanks for sharing :)

guard my dreams said...

it must have been a great experience to hear a man such as the Dalai Lama speak. its always great to experience other cultures and religions, though i have to agree with themockingbyrd when he said that it seems like a beautiful approach to the wrong thing.
but God can touch His children's lives in extraordinary ways, and if He chooses to touch someone's life by something that the Dalai Lama says, who are we to say that that is wrong?
so basically im just saying, dont get in too deep with the teachings of other religions, but dont close your hearts to learning something new about truth or love or really anything just because it comes from the Dalai Lama.

Lexi said...

Well, Stephen, after following along with your blog for a bit, I realized the therapeutic value it held, and thus, you've inspired me to start my own.

This post really hit home for me. I've been somewhat of a lost soul for years, now. I was raised Christian and was a devout Catholic for the majority of my life. However, I began to have doubts, as most do from time to time, as it's human nature to question. [We're rather inquisitive creatures.] Rather than search for 'truth', I chose apathy and completely turned away from the church.

Ever since, I can't deny that I've felt a void within. Throughout this period, I've stated that I admire those with faith and wish I were strong enough to have that faith. Just recently, after a very rough patch where the sky seemingly fell down upon my head, I remembered how in the past, I could have turned to God. Yet, I had opted to exclude him from my life.

I can't deny that there is still confusion in my heart and head, but I've finally evaded the apathy that plagued me for so long. I've been attending religious services of various faiths, seeing if anything feels 'right'. Today, I went to mass at my old parish church for the first time in five years. Last week, I went to a mass at a nondemoninational church, and the week before, a Baptist church. Do I necessarily believe yet that one religion is correct over another? No. Have I fully recovered my faith? No, but the foundation has been laid. I've seen so much beauty in the various masses I've attended, and hold a deep appreciation for those of ANY denomination. I don't necessarily understand or agree with everything I've heard and seen, but faith is beautiful, wonderous thing, no matter what method or religion it's manifested in.

I applaud your faith and strength and hope to one day feel the same way that I once did, as you do now, and rebuild my relationship with God.

audio love. said...

I will never forget my experience listening to the Dalai Lama in DC a few years back. I wasn't able to be in the National Cathedral, but just listening on the grass outside was enough of a once in a life time and changing experience. I'm glad you got to experience it as well.

Chris said...

What struck me the most in your post was the reference to not read Holy Books like novels.

How often I take for granted the Bible that is on my nightstand. It's there, but do I study it or meditate on God's word as I am called to do. James 1:22-25 says, "But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perserveres on it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts-this person will be blessed in what he does."

Thanks for the reminder to read, study and most importantly live out the life that Christ calls us to!

Chris

Margaret said...

I think that the older you get, the more you realize that you know less than you thought you knew. If you are not learning something new each day, then you are not really ceizing the day and learning from those around you!!! We should all be open to new things, thing that we don't necessarily agree with, but should be open to learn about, in order to learn more about ourselves and the beauty in the broken (the earth).

Tris Curtis said...

I just wanted to point out something about the "religion" of Buddhism, and how groups such as Christians are wary of it:

Not even Buddha requested that we worship him. Instead, to simply listen. The figure of Buddha himself did not claim to be Supreme, or even god-like.

Would that mean that Buddhism is not claiming to be anything more than a guide to living - just like everything else influences us during our days?

Therefore, if theses influences are for good, worthy, right, etc. things, what exactly is the problem? Creationists: God created your mind with its' conscience to develop right from wrong

Personally, Buddhism has taught me much more about the nature of God than any sect of Christianity. I wonder why there's this caution. If God is living in us, why is there so much fear of being attacked by evil influences if were were to engage more of our minds with more intensity? If God is everywhere, why are so many afraid to look for him in the everywhere?

Richard said...

Dear Stephen,

I definitely understand the respect of the Dalai Lama, but his message is nothing new to Christianity.

Philippians 2:4-6 explicitly talks about putting the welfare and concern above oneself as well as having a mindset that empties oneself of any sense of ego, presumption, etc. and instead seeing one self as a servant and submitted to God even to death.

Many other parts of the Bible speak of having lowliness of mind and subjugating one's ego.

I understand why though it might seem that the Dalai Lama is offering some additional perspective than Christianity.

Christianity still does a lot of "cherry picking" of what verses to focus on and what are just part of the "scenery" or "nice ideas."

Phil. 2:4-6 is not a "nice idea" but is meant to be taken and practiced as literally and challenging as to keep oneself free from immorality.

Moreover, I agree one should be open to hear from other religions and views, as it is so exciting to see other religions and views affirming truth that is already in the Bible.

I have yet though to find another religion that offers a positive revelation of truth that is not already in the Bible and Christianity.

This case is proof in point that the perspective of the Dalai Lama is already spoken of in the Bible.

unwinding. said...

kindness is an amazing thing to see; and even more to feel.

but i would have to disagree with what he said about 'supreme kindness is thinking as oneself as lowest.' because i been through something like that, because i have believed myself to be the lowest, and it wasn't compassion towards others that developed. it was more i treated others better because i felt i didn't deserve anything. it wasn't compassion; it was guilt. it was guilt that drove me to be kind.
and even though kindness is good, the reasons why i was kind and 'giving' wasn't.

i think supreme kindness is when we realize that we're all equal; that we're all human. and in each one of us, there is something that holds us together. in each one of us, we have lovers, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends; someone, something. that in each one of us, we have something beautiful. when we're kind to ourselves, i think that allows us to be truly kind to others.

that when we love ourselves first, we can truly love others too.

Anonymous said...

haha i skipped tht opportunity to see u! b/c i had already tickets to ur show. hav u read the art of happiness :)

Richard - pub., ChristianConcertZine.com said...

I've talked about this article and how "supreme kindness" is already a concept in the Bible as well as making oneself last if they want to be first.

It's under "Editorials - band blogs" or "Band Blogs" categories at www.ChristianConcertZine.com

I agree that Christian should not be afraid to hear truth from other sources, but it is somewhat embarrassing and misleading to claim to hear new truth when its already in one's faith.

p.s. Turn on trackbacks Stephen