Dalai Lama Movie

Monday, May 7, 2007

Reflection of His Holiness' Speech

This experience was an amazing and insightful opportunity. I can’t even begin to express the impact this has had on me and how speechless I was after the Dalai Lama ceased to talk. It was an exhilarating experience to hear and see the Dalai Lama who embodies compassion and teaches the ability to lead lives of purpose and compassion. I really enjoyed his ability to convey a profound message and express his love for his words with his ebullient spirit. But more than all of his amazing attributes, I loved his simplicity.

Many people take a long time to express a message and use many useless examples and confusing phrases that distract the spectators and take away from the main statement. But the Dalai Lama is not like this at all. He clearly states his messages with simple, yet beautifully written quotes that are very easy to understand and entice a listener with their straightforwardness. In a way, I was expecting his quotes to be very complicated and spiritual, but they’re not. He has amazing and original ideas, but they’re not complicated by any means and though they’re deep, they aren’t very religious.

I also thought the Dalai Lama would be very serious and grave man but he’s the happiest person I’ve ever met. I knew he symbolized happiness and compassion, but I thought when he was public speaking he would have a very serious mood and posture. Yet the ambiance that surrounded him resembled nothing remotely close to serious. He was a short, normal man who casually sat cross-legged and laughed at all of the numerous jokes he told with the kindest face possible. He always wore a big smile painted across his face with gentle, understanding, and knowledgeable eyes.

The group of people that assembled on Maui just to see the Dalai Lama were definitely a diverse group. When I was touring the arena I heard at least six different languages spoken and saw many cultural items of clothing which really benefited the experience. We were from totally different parts of the world with customs and traditions which each represented our particular culture and heritage, yet we were all gathered there out of our own love and curiosity for the Dalai Lama and his beliefs.

Through the scorching, skin-sizzling heat, the police patrolling the area with weapons that were big enough to be from a James Bond film, and the common, distracting sounds heard in an arena setting, the Punahou group, as well as everyone there, were able to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t believe I’ve even been fully impacted from this experience; I don’t think I’m quite mature enough to fully grasp the extensity of this unbelievable adventure that I partook and I expect that in the future I will be further impacted, but I’m still extremely grateful for the opportunities this has unlocked. From this incredible experience, seeds have been planted in the garden of my life, and I can’t wait to see how they grow.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hawaii's Indigenous Aloha Spirit (Dalai Lama Contest Submission)

The aloha spirit is used to describe the way people of Hawaii treat each other with care, hospitality, and acceptance. It originated with the native Hawaiians who installed a tradition of welcoming newcomers with open arms. That spirit of aloha has been preserved by the generations that followed them. It has been strengthened by Hawaii’s mix of races and cultures and can be further strengthened by the actions of all of us in our daily lives.

Hawaii’s unbounded diversity strengthens the aloha spirit. This diversity comes from the many different ethnic backgrounds in Hawaii. Every time someone goes to a supermarket, a movie, or a restaurant in Hawaii, they see a variety of cultures. We go to these places daily, so we are accustomed to seeing a diversity of races everyday, it’s not at all rare. However if you grew up on the mainland and you came to Hawaii for vacation purposes, you would probably be astounded by this diversity because you are not used to seeing some of these cultures everyday. Since it is not an oddity for us to see a diversity of cultures everyday, we have become welcoming and open-minded people. Other places with different cultures are at war. For example in Iraq, the Sunnis and Shiites are having a Civil War because of their diversity, or in Fiji, the population is split up into two groups, the Fijians and the Indio-Fijians and they can’t solve their problems either. So diversity alone does not create the aloha spirit. But we’ve learned that since there is no majority population in Hawaii, the best way to get along is to get along with each other.

Diversity takes many forms. Some examples are ethnicity, religion and activities. My friends’ ethnicities in school and outside of school range from Japanese to Korean to Hawaiian to Portuguese. Their religions range from Catholic to Buddhist to Jewish. And their activities range from Hula dancing to tennis to theatre to playing the clarinet. Yet we are still able to get along and have loads of fun. This is because the aloha spirit is kept alive and built up through our differences. The aloha spirit is also kept alive by sharing different beliefs. For example, my family and teachers always encourage us to share our ideas and ensure a non-discriminatory response. The aloha spirit enhances this notion by teaching everyone to be accepting.

To teach and help newcomers was always a tradition by the native Hawaiians and is part of the aloha spirit. It’s a custom to help different cultures to adjust to our culture and to teach them what our culture is about. Family Literacy, a non-profit organization to help families become literate, focuses on two cultures, the Chuukese and Marshallese. English is barely spoken by the parents and is a second language to the children at Kuhio Park Terrace and Mayor Wright Housing; a couple of the areas Family Literacy is located. I go to Family Literacy weekly for about 3 hours to read, teach, and make crafts with the children. I’ve been an avid Girl Scout since I was 5 and ever since, I volunteer frequently to help the community. For my Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve, I intend to make a video for Family Literacy in English, Chuukese, and Marshallese to help the parents understand what their children do at Family Literacy and to promote Family Literacy. These communities add to the diversity of Hawaii, and by reaching out to these families, I have grown to appreciate their culture and the aloha spirit in its entirety.

The aloha spirit is present in the people of Hawaii. It helps us to be more caring, hospitable, and accepting. It is our unique quality that transcends all others in Hawaii. Though Hawaii has been developed and will continue to be developed, I’d like to think that the true beauty of Hawaii, what our native Hawaiian ancestors established here, will never be lost. And hopefully by having a diverse mix of cultures, by keeping the aloha spirit alive throughout our families, schools, and churches, and by reaching out to include the various races and cultures of Hawaii, we will all play a part to strengthen Hawaii’s indigenous aloha spirit.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is considered the supreme head of Tibetan Buddhism and, until 1959, was the head of Tibetan government. The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of the Buddha. When he dies, his soul is thought to enter the body of a newborn boy, who becomes the new Dalai Lama. The successive Dalai Lamas form a lineage of supposedly reborn magistrates which traces back to 1391. Tibetans call the Dalai Lama Gyalwa Rinpoche meaning "Precious Victor," or Yishin Norbu meaning "Wish-fulfilling Jewel".

Residence of the Dalai Lamas

Starting with the 5th Dalai Lama and until the 14th Dalai Lama's flight into exile in 1959, the Dalai Lamas lived at the Potala Palace during winter, and at the Norbulingka Palace and Park in the summer. Both places are in Lhasa, Tibet. Since 1959, the Dalai Lama has been in refuge in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where the Central Tibetan Administration is recognized.

Origin of the Name "Dalai Lama"

In Mongolian, "Dalai" means "ocean" and "Lama" is equivalent to the Tibetan word "guru." So "Dalai Lama" is commonly translated to mean "spiritual teacher". The actual title was first given to Sonam Gyatso, the 3rd Dalai Lama, by the Mongolian ruler Altan Khan in 1578. Although Sonam Gyatso was the first Lama to hold the name of the "Dalai Lama," he actually became known as the 3rrd Dalai Lama because he was the third member of his lineage.

Succession of Reborn Dalai Lamas

The title “Dalai Lama” is the name given to each of the spiritual leader's successive incarnations. For example, The 14th Dalai Lama's next incarnation will hold the title “the 15th Dalai Lama”.
Upon the death of the Dalai Lama, his monks organize a search for the Lama's reincarnation. Familiarity with the possessions of the previous Dalai Lama is considered the main sign of the reincarnation. The process of searching for the reincarnation typically requires a few years. The reincarnation is then brought to Lhasa to be trained by the other Lamas.

The 14th Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso is 14th and current Dalai Lama. He was born on July 6th, 1935 in the Tibetan province of Amdo. He is the fifth of sixteen children and was proclaimed the tulku (rebirth) of the thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, when he was two. On November 17th, 1950, when he was 15, he was established as the Tibet's Head of State and most important political ruler. He is the first Dalai Lama to ever travel to the West and spread Buddhism. In 1959, Tenzin Gyatso left Tibet due to an unsuccessful rebellion with the Chinese Communists and thereafter lived in India. In 1989 Tenzin Gyatso receiced the Nobel Peace Price for the nonviolent opposition to the Chinese rule in Tibet.

Tenzin Gyatso's Discovery

Tenzin Gyatso was raised in a farming community in northeastern Amdo in the village of Taktser. He had 15 siblings and his parents Choekyong and Diki Tsering. They were reasonably wealthy farmers making a living off of the land raising barley, buckwheat, and potatoes.

When he was two, there was a search party sent out to find the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama. One hint which indicated the direction in which the next Dalai Lama would be found was shown when the embalmed body of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, had mysteriously turned to face the northeast direction when it was originally facing the south. Another sign was when Regent Reting Rinpoche had a vision of a one-story house in Amdo. After much searching, they found a house that Reting’s vision. They then presented each of the younger children in the house with various toys, some belonging to the previous Dalai Lama, some not. Tenzin Gyatso immediately identified the toys owned by the previous Dalai Lama and stated “It’s mine! It’s mine!”

After this occurrence, Tenzin Gyatso was recognized as the rebirth of the Dalai Lama. In the West, he is often refered to as “His Holiness the Dalai Lama”. Tenzin Gyatso began his education at the age of six. At age 15, he was inaugurated as Tibet's Head of State.

Three Main Commitments in Life

Firstly, on the level of a human being, His Holiness’ first commitment is the promotion of human values such as compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. All human beings are the same. We all want happiness and do not want suffering. Even people who do not believe in religion recognize the importance of these human values in making their life happier. His Holiness refers to these human values as secular ethics. He remains committed to talk about the importance of these human values and share them with everyone he meets.

Secondly, on the level of a religious practitioner, His Holiness’ second commitment is the promotion of religious harmony and understanding among the world’s major religious traditions. Despite philosophical differences, all major world religions have the same potential to create good human beings. It is therefore important for all religious traditions to respect one another and recognize the value of each other’s respective traditions. As far as one truth, one religion is concerned, this is relevant on an individual level. However, for the community at large, several truths, several religions are necessary.

Thirdly, His Holiness is a Tibetan and carries the name of the ‘Dalai Lama’. Tibetans place their trust in him. Therefore, his third commitment is to the Tibetan issue. His Holiness has a responsibility to act as the free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice. As far as this third commitment is concerned, it will cease to exist once a mutually beneficial solution is reached between the Tibetans and Chinese.

However, His Holiness will carry on with the first two commitments till his last breath.

Quoted from the Official Website of the 14th Dalai Lama

Words of Truth

A Prayer Composed by
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet
Honoring and Invoking the Great Compassion
of the Three Jewels; the Buddha, the Teachings,
and the Spiritual Community

O Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and disciples
of the past, present, and future:
Having remarkable qualities
Immeasurably vast as the ocean,
Who regard all helpless sentient beings
as your only child;
Please consider the truth of my anguished pleas.

Buddha's full teachings dispel the pain of worldly
existence and self-oriented peace;
May they flourish, spreading prosperity and happiness through-
out this spacious world.
O holders of the Dharma: scholars
and realized practitioners;
May your ten fold virtuous practice prevail.

Humble sentient beings, tormented
by sufferings without cease,
Completely suppressed by seemingly endless
and terribly intense, negative deeds,
May all their fears from unbearable war, famine,
and disease be pacified,
To freely breathe an ocean of happiness and well-being.
And particularly the pious people
of the Land of Snows who, through various means,
Are mercilessly destroyed by barbaric hordes
on the side of darkness,
Kindly let the power of your compassion arise,
To quickly stem the flow of blood and tears.

Those unrelentingly cruel ones, objects of compassion,
Maddened by delusion's evils,
wantonly destroy themselves and others;
May they achieve the eye of wisdom,
knowing what must be done and undone,
And abide in the glory of friendship and love.

May this heartfelt wish of total freedom for all Tibet,
Which has been awaited for a long time,
be spontaneously fulfilled;
Please grant soon the good fortune to enjoy
The happy celebration of spiritual with temporal rule.

O protector Chenrezig, compassionately care for
Those who have undergone myriad hardships,
Completely sacrificing their most cherished lives,
bodies, and wealth,
For the sake of the teachings, practitioners,
people, and nation.

Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers
Before the Buddhas and Bodhisativas
To fully embrace the Land of Snows;
May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear.
By the profound interdependence of emptiness
and relative forms,
Together with the force of great compassion
in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth,
And through the power
of the infallible law of actions and their fruits,
May this truthful prayer be unhindered
and quickly fulfilled.