An audience with the Dalai Lama
Roving reporter Laura P went to see the Dalai Lama speak on the environment, conflict and inner peace.
Crowds rush to get hold of a ticket to one of his sold-out shows worldwide, certain it will be an unforgettable experience. Though His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is no Bono, he has become an unlikely rockstar to Australians.
A religious rockstar offering enlightenment in place of entertainment, this spiritual idol still travels with all the glitz of celebrity stardom. On first sighting of the exiled Tibetan leader draped in his trademark maroon robes and wearing those infamous square glasses, fans stand to simply applause his presence.
Head-hunting camera phones scour the stage, all hungry for a blurred snap to paste on their Facebook walls. Airport-scale security greets all those entering his public appearances, with bag checks and metal detectors combing the crowds.
Coordinating his visits are squads of wide-eyed volunteers, freely giving their time to be ever closer to the international leader.
"He held my hand like this," one such volunteer says.
"I was sitting less than a metre from him."
"It was amazing."
Such is the allure of the Dalai Lama. In a continent founded on Christian values, the latest Australian census still shows only two per cent of the population hold Buddhist beliefs. Yet His Holiness is still impressing upon on the world and in particular, Australians as we too, seek inner peace, looking to the Dalai Lama for answers.
Leave it to Gen Y
As world leaders' fingertips held onto the cracks at the Copenhagen Summit, the Dalai Lama arrived to Australia carrying his hopeful message of world peace.
During his lecture at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre he ironically highlighted the fact that talk is cheap. Speaking to many thousands for his discussion "Our Future: Who is Responsible?", he said it is now up to Generation Y to take action.
Describing climate change as an "invisible problem," he said that a shifting environment may not be as obvious as violent TV news reports, but is no less significant. The Dalai Lama says his generation is "waving to the cemetery", and the future seeds of the environment are now firmly planted in the youth.
He hopes that the new wave of young leaders will have a lasting effect on the importance of truth and the campaign to end conflict.
"I Love President Bush"
Speaking on the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Dalai Lama's tone turned serious as he rejected violence as a solution. Describing the destruction of war and its hunger for human life, he said that people have too often been used as fuel for the fire.
Although he said there was "good will" in America's intention to bring democracy to repressed regions, he disagrees with the methods taken. Previously meeting with former US President George W. Bush, the Dalai Lama said he felt no resentment toward one of this decade's most arguably controversial leaders.
"As a person I love him," His Holiness said. "But I said to him, 'some of you policies, I have grave reservations about.'" With more than 200 million people killed in conflict during the 20th Century, the Dalai Lama blacklisted violence, mistrust and jealousy as just a few of emotions that trigger conflict.
"The first reaction to (a) problem is, 'How do I solve this by force?' Causing destruction to someone (else) only hurts here," he says, softly thumping his chest.
Tips to inner peace from His Holiness
Changing your mind is the first step to finding that sense of inner happiness. The Dalai Lama says about 90 per cent of negative thoughts toward people or objects are created through our own minds. He says we need to be realistic, and calm our thoughts in order to truly see.
There is no price tag to inner peace. The Dalai Lama says there are limitations to happiness if sought through material means. He says a spending splurge will bring short-lived satisfaction, but nothing everlasting.
You shouldn't be too attached to one religion, because it clouds your judgment from seeing the bigger picture, according to the Dalai Lama. His advice is to see a person firstly as a human being, with race, religion and social background merely secondary layers.
What goes around comes around. Karma exists - so don't kill those cockroaches. The Dalai Lama says our soul is no less valued than an ant's. So if there is an insect problem at your place, he says you'll need to learn to coexist, because bringing another soul to an end will ultimately dictate your own karma.
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