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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Malin: Seeing Dalai Lama helps during hectic time

November 5, 2010

MARIA MALIN, Contributing Columnist
November 4, 2010

How often have you realized that the very thing
you think you don't have time for in life is the
very thing you need to do the most?

On a hectic Wednesday morning a few weeks ago,
the very morning after our scholarship
fundraising event, I drove out to my daughter's
college at Miami of Ohio. I felt rushed and
scattered leaving for three days during such a
busy week, and knew I'd be returning to an even
busier weekend. My daughter wanted me to attend a
very special event hosted by her school's event
planning office where she interns - a presentation by the Dalai Lama.

I couldn't imagine what I might personally gain
from this lecture, other than making my child
happy by being there with her for one of the
biggest events at her college this year. I'll
admit that I've never been a close follower of
the Dalai Lama, other than knowing the history of
unrest between Tibet and China, the secular
clashes, the political conflicts and this
peaceful spiritual leader in the middle of much
of it. I envisioned an audience of loaded
questions and anything but a calming experience. Boy, was I ever wrong.

This simple 75-year-old Buddhist monk provided a
message this mom didn't realize how much she
needed to hear. In my effort to grasp his
captivating accent, I quieted myself to hear
every word. In hindsight, being quiet for those
two hours was the best thing I'd done for myself all week.

When he told us that the giving of loving,
physical affection was the single most important
factor for the normal growth of a child in their
early years of development, I saw many other moms
with tears in their eyes. He quietly explained
that love, hugging and cuddling are our children's most important nourishment.

His holiness detailed how we all must live with
compassion and acceptance guiding our
interactions, and to conduct ourselves in this
way leads to optimal physical health and mental
peace. This reinforces what we, as parents, try
to instill in our children about respecting
others' differences and embracing peers, especially in the teen years.

Finally, he spoke of adult tolerance for the
beliefs of others that differ from our own,
especially in the instances of religious and
political views. He emphasized that through life
in harmony with our fellow man, we will find
balance for ourselves. He also asked us to open
our minds to the opinions of others to make us
more sophisticated thinkers, even connecting the
power of broadening our thoughts to optimal immunity against disease.

Even when a few members of the audience did try
to ask questions loaded with political and
religious concern, the Dalai Lama simply
reiterated his hope for harmony and tolerance in our world.

In these months of pre-recorded candidates giving
us election overload, the usual work, school and
sports schedule overload and general time
crunching as a way of life, I found unexpected
peace and life-guiding principles with a few
thousand other parents who are probably as happy
as I was that they didn't disappoint their
college kid and made it to Miami of Ohio in the middle of a hectic week.

Lake Forester columnist Maria Malin can be reached at
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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