Wisdom from the Dalai Lama

I had the privilege of attending a talk by the Dalai Lama at the College of William and Mary today.  He was delightful with an infectious laugh and a simple message: the way to happiness lies in compassion and love. He encouraged and understanding that below what he called the secondary level of race, religion and gender, we are all human beings who deserve the same respect. He used education as an example: students are students with a yearning to learn no matter where they live or what they look like.

Another lesson important to educators was that people will always do things we don’t like but we should not judge the actor by the actions. He admitted to liking George W. Bush despite not approving of his policies of force and aggression.  Additionally, he warned about painting a whole group of people as evil or bad based on the actions of a few of them, using the 911 tragedy as an example. Muslims committed the acts but that does not lead us to condemn all Muslims. I wonder how many of us lump our students into certain categories based on past experiences, making it hard to see the student below the label.

A student-submitted question asked about technology and spirituality. He felt as though an enlightened soul could learn from all experiences and certainly technology could be used to further spirituality.  But he worried about looking to technology for all the answers and encouraged the audience to use their own intellect.

I purposely did not take any electronics with me so took handwritten notes rather than tweeting.  I wanted to concentrate on the message itself rather than communicating it to the larger world.  It has been a long time since I attended an event without the mediation of technology and I’m not sure I had any major revelation. I suppose I did concentrate more as I wasn’t multi-tasking by tweeting one major point while trying to keep up with the next one.

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