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Dalai Lama Visits Shambhala Mountain Center

(continued from page 1)

including her declaration, “Let peace drown out violence,”

came at the height of the recent violent upheaval between

Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Dalai Lama, who witnessed violent upheaval in his

own country of Tibet, echoed Queen Noor’s message, reiterating

the need for peace and compassion in the world.

Speaking in English and at times through a translator, he

noted that despite their different religious paths and cultural

traditions, the panel of guests all shared a common

theme: compassion.

“I think all people have the seeds of that compassion,”

he told the rapt audience. “I think it’s important to nurture

that seed.”

Exuding warmth and speaking in a voice that was deep,

rich, and calming like a loving grandfather’s, the seventyone-year-old

Dalai Lama also spoke about the importance

of seeing the illusory nature of reality. “Why is it important

to know the difference between appearance and reality?”

he asked. “Because most of our destructive emotions

are based on appearances.” Instead, if compassion is at the

heart of our motivation, he explained, we can’t go wrong.

Considered to be a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, the

bodhisattva of compassion, the Dalai Lama was presented

with the first Living Peace Award, which was created by

the Sakyong. Describing the Dalai Lama as “an indelible

reminder to the entire world of what it truly means to live

peace,” the Sakyong presented His Holiness with a gold

medallion engraved with an image of the Great Stupa, the

symbol of the award.

“This peace award acknowledges those who not only

wish for peace, but who are an embodiment of peace in

themselves, living it daily,” said the Sakyong. “Through

their determination, they have decided to follow the way

of peace, not aggression. They are an inspiration to all of

us—those of us who have suffered directly or indirectly as

a result of war or aggression, as well as those who face any

form of hardship or sacrifice.”

During Rabbi Kula’s presentation, many people were

moved to tears as he expressed, in song, the profound

suffering of several victims of the September 11 terrorist

attacks in a haunting remembrance of their final words.

“Mommy, the building is on fire,” he sang. “There’s smoke

coming from the walls. I can’t breath. I love you, Mommy.

Goodbye.”

“The [power] in his singing was very provocative and very

intense,” said Steve Sachs, a teacher from Boulder.

The morning was also punctuated with laughter, par-

Top Photo: Rabbi Kula, Queen Noor, The Dalai Lama, and Sakong

Mipham Rinpoche. Photo by James Hoagland; Middle and Bottom

photos courtesy of Shambhala Mountain Center and Brian Spielmann.

ticularly by the Dalai Lama, which proved contagious. At

one point, as he realized his mistake in referring to Rabbi

Kula as a Muslim rabbi, he drew his hand to his mouth,

exclaimed, “Big mistake!” and laughed heartily. And so did

everyone else.

“It was tremendously funny,” said Charley Rosicky, who

had just served as a meditation instructor for the “Compassion

in the Rockies” program. “It was my favorite experience

of the morning.”

For others, the highlight of the morning came when audience

members quickly began to tie their khatas (white

scarves) together while the Dalai Lama went inside the

stupa. With volunteers helping, the scarves were woven

through the crowd and attached to four giant khatas that

flowed down from the stage. When His Holiness returned,

he took hold of the khata and, with a dorje in his hand,

touched it to his head, blessing everyone.

“There was a tremendous feeling of celebration and

joy,” said author Kerry MacLean. “Everyone’s heart was

wide open.”

“It was definitely something to remember,” added nineyear-old

David Sachs, who attended the event with his father,

Steve. “It was really special.”

Despite months of planning and preparations, gusting

winds, snow, and rain the day before the event threatened

to thwart the Dalai Lama’s arrival. “Luckily, the wind

cleared everything away so that by 5:45 that morning,

we were able to make the decision to proceed,” said Allan

Cross, the center’s executive director.

Not only did the weather cooperate, so did the crowd,

according to Doug Webb, Dorje Kasung commander for

the event. Together with Rusung Ian McLaughlin, Webb

worked closely with the State Department’s Diplomatic

Security Service and the local sheriff’s department to ensure

the Dalai Lama’s safety. And together with Faradee

Rudy, the event coordinator, and SMC staff, they worked

through myriad logistical details to ensure that the most

complex event in the mountain center’s thirty-year history

ran smoothly.

And so it did.

As the Dalai Lama’s helicopter carried His Holiness back

to Denver, the Sakyong thanked the crowd for helping

him host one of the world’s most beloved leaders. “You

did great!” he told the cold but heart-warmed crowd. •

The Dot: Winter 2007 Pg 5

DA_DotWinter2007.indd 5 1/7/08 11:01:04 AM

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