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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

What makes God smile? -- and other questions for Lama

December 7, 2008

If anyone could get an audience, here's what might be asked
 
BY CATHLEEN FALSANI Religion Columnist
Chicago Sun-Times
December 5, 2008
 
 
On Tuesday, I wrote about the documentary film "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" and what I'd ask if I ever had the chance -- as the filmmaker did -- to spend 45 minutes alone with the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists.
 
I asked you what you would ask if you had the chance, too.
 
The responses were fascinating. Among them were a couple of snarky questions -- for instance, "If you're such an enlightened man, then why do you not realize that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to salvation?"
 
But the rest ranged from the sublime -- "How does a person keep feeling the peace in their heart throughout the year?" -- to the humorous -- "When you lose a sock in the dryer, where does it go?" And: "What is the sound of silence?"
 
One reader, a cheeky fan of Bill Murray's performance as groundskeeper Carl Spackler in "Caddyshack," wrote: "When I die, on my deathbed, will I receive total consciousness?"
 
Here, in no particular order, are the more serious questions you said you'd pose to the Dalai Lama:
 
•  •  Do you have a teaching for me?
 
•  •  Have you ever felt out of place, like you weren't where you were supposed to be or in the wrong job? If so, how did you handle it? If no, what advice would you give to someone who feels that way?
 
•  •  What were you like as a child? Were you always adept at seeing through to the bottom of disappointment and loss?
 
•  •  If asked to sacrifice one of your senses, which would it be?
 
•  •  Is the spirit cyclical in nature?
 
•  •  Will great tragedy bring us together? Or will people begin to pay more attention to their surroundings?
 
•  •  Do you dream? If so, how vividly?
 
•  •  Are you happy and healthy?
 
•  •  What helps you understand that which you know to be true?
 
•  •  Who has influenced you spiritually?
 
•  •  Why are religions so fragmented from the human condition -- poverty, spiritual freedom, common sense?
 
•  •  How do you know when God is leading you?
 
•  •  What makes God smile?
 
•  •  What makes you laugh?
 
•  •  The Buddha dharma has been traveling around the world and pretty much left its birthplace in India. Do you foresee a time when more parts of Asia will lose touch with Buddha's teachings?
 
•  •  How do you know when you're walking with God?
 
•  •  Is there any other lifestyle or work you are curious about adopting or performing?
 
•  •  Name three books that have inspired you?
 
•  •  What is forgiveness?
 
•  •  What is the greatest way to love someone?
 
•  •  Are we one race, human, living on this planet? Or is there more to the individual that separates us than we have come to understand?
 
•  •  How would you define instinct?
 
•  •  How do you know when you have forgiven? How do you know when you've been forgiven?
 
•  •  Is forgiveness redemption?
 
•  •  If love is the greatest virtue, then why are hate and war so prevalent?
 
•  •  Is enlightenment a service? Must we share our spirit, or is the journey more hermetic?
 
•  •  Do you believe in prophecy?
 
•  •  Is providence promised?
 
•  •  What advice do you have for responding to people who criticize fellow Buddhists for not being vegetarians? Telling them that you eat meat doesn't seem to be working.
 
•  •  What music do you listen to?
 
•  •  Is the spirit eternal?
 
•  •  What do I need to do in this life so that in the next I can best follow the path to enlightenment, for the benefit of all sentient beings?
 
•  •  If granted the attention of every person, regardless of race or creed, no ear unturned for a moment, what would be your message to them?
 
•  •  Could a woman do your job?
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