Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Dalai Lama Wows Maui

After two long days of blissful events with the Dalai Lama, I am exhausted. How does this extraordinary man keep so vibrant with his busy speaking and traveling schedule? I have some possible ideas, and yet I'm still impressed!

Here's what his Maui schedule looked like:

Arrive Monday by charter jet
Tuesday morning blessing and speaking at the Maui Dharma Center in Paia to an estimated crowd of 400
Tuesday lunch at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Tuesday afternoon speaking at War Memorial Stadium in Kahului to an estimated crowd of 10,000 people

Wednesday morning speaking at Lama Dhundup's temple in Waiehu
Wednesday afternoon speaking at the War Memorial stadium once again to a large crowd

My partner and I attended the smaller events, and here are some brief and non-sequential recollections upon what I saw, heard, and experienced:

Waiting inside the grounds of the Maui Dharma Center and sitting on a chair with the other invited guests while surrounded by swat teams on all sides, I felt as if I was living a surreal moment. My partner and I arrived early to await the arrival of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. We were excited to see him again.

Many hours early before his arrival, we had the opportunity to chat with those whom we hadn't seen in quite a while. Maui can be a very big place sometimes with our busy lives leading us in different directions, and so it's always a delight to visit with others who are old friends and acquaintances. We were gifted with alternate spells of rain and sunshine, and even though we were specifically told NOT to bring an umbrella or a camera, many people broke these rules. So while the rest of us were either getting soaked or huddling under several tents during the brief showers, those with umbrellas walked or sat with their umbrellas oblivious to the glares from others.

Georgiana Cook of the Maui Dharma Center appeared focused and just a bit tense as she had put a lot of hard work into this event-- not only had she worked to complete the Lha Bab Stupa in time for the visit of the Dalai Lama, she was also on the steering committee for his visit to Maui. As the event unfolded Tuesday morning and all proceeded with grace, I noted she relaxed, and at one point, we exchanged smiles. Georgiana received a special blessing and kata from the Dalai Lama. She has been in his presence many times, but this was the first time for her to host him on her home turf--a culmination of her dedication to the Dharma.

As the appointed time of the arrival of the Dalai Lama arrived, those of us sitting and waiting for him could hear the cheers from the crowd in the streets of Paia as the Dalai Lama arrived with his contingent of suited secret service men, translator, and other lamas in his entourage. And then--- there he was walking down the (somewhat) red carpet! Some people cried tears of joy, and others appeared blissed out by the divine and powerful energies of his energy field.

I know the intense feelings he provokes in others all too well, as a group of three others and me had made the pilgrimage for a private audience to his home in McLeod Ganj (Dharmasala) India in March of 2006. We were blessed to have had our pictures taken with him, blessed by receiving a kata (white blessing scarf) from him, and blessed by his very presence. I had a permanent smile on my face for weeks afterwards...such was my response to being in the energy field of this wise and earthy Master. At the time, I was told to convey the message to the Dalai Lama when I met him to invite him to come to Maui. And lo and behold, one year and one month later, here he was! Certainly not because of me! However, I'm thrilled that his visit finally transpired, an historic occasion for Maui!

Even though there have been numerous attempts on the Dalai Lama's life in the past and threats (even a recent one was reported in the news), to me he feels protected by the powerful energy field which surrounds him. The Dalai Lama is a compassionate, humble, gentle, non-formal being who shows not a bit of fear for his life--only concern for others. As he walked down the red carpet proceeded by the secret service men from the State Department, he stopped and spoke with a group of crying, excited Tibetan women. He also stopped and gave special attention to another young man in a wheelchair. After visiting the temple, he returned to the location directly opposite the newly created stupa where a large, colorful, cushioned throne had been created for him for his talk, but he declined the grandeur of this throne and requested a chair which was brought for him right away.

He spoke about the Four Distortions. It is likely that this talk will become available to the public as it was filmed. As always, he punctuates his profound subject matter with humor and laughter, and some of his analogies are quite earthy!

Fast forward to another four o'clock rising time at our home to prepare to leave for the event at Lama Dhundup's temple. Once again, we slathered ourselves with sun tan lotion and dress in appropriate attire (long skirts and arms covered) as was written in the invitation, bringing only our invitation, identification, and cellphones.

We gathered at a friend's home nearby where a breakfast has been prepared for many of us who will walk to the temple together, rather than catch the shuttle bus. At about 7:15 am, we entered the temple grounds and located our seats under a beautiful shady tree- a blessing! Some of our friends were still sunburned from sitting outside yesterday afternoon at the War Memorial stadium in the sunshine, even though they had covered their faces with suntan lotion--such is the brutal sun of Maui.

Once again, food and beverages were available, and we socialized--I saw many people that weren't at the Dharma Center the prior day, and just like that day, some people disobeyed the rules wearing revealing outfits and carrying cameras. The film crew was stationed in the middle of the grassy lawn where the chairs were lined up, and we were told there was a live world-wide feed of this event as well as the ones that were broadcast from the War Memorial. Our friend operated the camera, and we were surprised to see that it was often pointed at us! My exotic, photogenic daughter sat next to me on one side, so that might have had something to do with it.

There were a large group of volunteers, and the event ran extremely smoothly with their help. This time the Dalai Lama simply appeared on the deck of Lama Dhundup's deck where a desk, microphone, and chair had been arranged for his talk. As we had entered the temple grounds everyone had been offered a pencil and paper to write their questions for the Dalai Lama, and I had turned in my question for him. However, there were probably so many questions turned in that my question wasn't one of the ones he was offered to answer after his talk. The selected questions were good ones, and everyone delighted at the Dalai Lama's candid responses--especially the one where he grew a large laugh from the crowd about George Bush. The Dalai Lama speaks from his heart, and yet he is consummate politician, so he followed up this funny remark by noting that he is friendly with the President and likes him very much, even though he doesn't care for his policies.

He also assured the crowd that the world would continue to survive for quite a bit longer, and then he made a joke that in millions of years...NOT!

The photo above was taken by me at the Main Temple in Dharmasala, India in March 2006.

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I enjoyed reading this blog, it is an amazing event having the Dalai Lama right here in Maui!!! I would like to read a Mama Maui blog about the reactions and messages other Maui residents received from his message as well and what will come of the Maui Dharma Center in the future? I bet having the Dalai Lama here is a great honor and others may even come to Maui to hear about this truly "once in a lifetime event"!
I am glad also to be part of it!

Great Blog Indeed
You're going to laugh... but I've been fortunate enough through "weirdness" to be near famous folks and there's only three people that give an absolute "aura" of importance, serenity, and knowledge I can think of just being around them... The Dalai Lama is one... Pope John-Paul II was another... and the last, don't giggle, was actor Morgan Freeman. I've been "close to" the Queen and Prince Phillip and several "celebs" and those three are the only ones who just made a room glow and become silent in awe... but a happy sort of awe if that makes sense.
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