Today I and three friends journeyed to Manchester to, in company with an arena full of 16-25 year olds, hear the Dalai Lama on being the change we want to see in the world. (I took some notes so I can quote directly a bit…)
The two-hour session opened with a video Desmond Tutu recorded for us. “Be prepared to love” he said, “because he will entertain you. But also, because he will provoke you into thinking.”
The Dalai Lama was welcomed onto the stage by Russell Brand, who gave a brief introductory talk on how we may be surprised to see him there (what with his history as a drug addict and named ‘shagger of the year’), but how spirituality in more recent times had become very important to him, bringing him more self-love and inner peace.
Russell and the Dalai Lama got on wonderfully. The Dalai Lama summed up his love for Russell with a sentence: “I don’t like formality.” Beautiful.
Together, we can create a culture of peace. “Everyone have right to achieve happy life.” We must be warmhearted in life, avoiding fear, distrust and frustration. The problems we have are in our head. We can avoid this negative emotion and live more from within.
The Dalai Lama brought to my attention something I was not aware of. He thanked the many groups of young people who had helped to clear up after the riots. And as a ripple of applause went out and I again took in the site of hundreds and hundreds of young people of all different faiths and from all different places (the guy in front me boarded a ten-hour coach journey home to Canterbury after the talk), and felt hope for the future of our world. “Many youth very sensible”, the Dalai Lama remarked.
A young girl was honoured on the stage towards the end. She had written a letter to the man who killed her father two months after his passing, to forgive him, and to tell him that she believed in him and in the potential for his better life. A compassionate youngster. So many young people gathered together.
The Dalai Lama then spoke briefly on his “followers”. He said, I hope that nobody follows my teaching because of devotion to me as a figure. People should analyse things. Keep skepticism, which leads to questions, which leads to investigation, then you will find answers, then you will find your truth.
After a standing ovation and loud cheers and clapping, he closed with a final few words for us. Approach life with optimism, determinism and patience.
With a good vision for our future, I believe that we will stand up and be the change. And I hope that all the people coming to Manchester tomorrow and on Monday from the older generations may believe the same, and help to communicate with one another for the peace so many so desperately seek…