Maximum Affection

Not sure how I happened on this blog, but I found a particular posting there really inspiring. I am glad to repost it and drop a link to The Daddy Factory.

I had the good fortune to see Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, at an event recently. He was receiving an honorary doctorate from a local college and I was an unlikely recipient of a ticket. A friend of mine — who, unlike myself, has actually practiced Buddhism — said, upon hearing this: “I pulled every possible string and pressed every Buddhist connection I have. How did you manage to do that?”“Karma?”

He didn’t think that was funny.

I wondered on my way to the event: What makes this man, the Dalai Lama, so special? Will I leave there with wisdom? Will I become a Buddhist? Will I finally find enlightenment?

It’s not every day you have an opportunity to be in the same room with a religious and world leader, after all.

Sam and Sylvie wanted to know why I was leaving so early in the morning to see a dolly.

I did my best to explain: He’s not a dolly, he’s a very respected and wise man who was chosen to lead his people when he was just two years old. Younger than Sylvie! Can you imagine?

The event was crowded. There were endless lines for the bathrooms. I waited restlessly next to a big monk in burgundy robes who couldn’t stop coughing and I thought: surely one who has found enlightenment would not cough so. He would be at peace with his body. This must be a fledgling monk. A little stripling.

There was a great deal of pomp and loads of circumstance, with college presidents and Tibetan community leaders and professors of eastern religion and philosophy. There were video cameras and JumboTron-like screens.

And then there was this little man, who projected warmth and humility. And mischief.

Amid all the rigmarole and formality, the Dalai Lama hardly ever stopped smiling. He pulled the professor’s beard. He giggled when a group of children sang for him.

And then a question was posed to him: How do we raise our children to know wisdom, peace, and compassion?

He paused for a moment, this coming on the heels of questions concerning world peace and the relationship between science and religion, and then he said with a laugh: “You’re asking the wrong person!” For a moment, the huge audience was silent. What did he mean? Doesn’t he have all the answers? But he’s the Dalai Lama, and in an instant all was revealed: “First, let me get married, have some children, and gain some wisdom. Then I can answer!”

The crowd erupted with laughter and the little monk beamed. And then he became serious.

“As I have said before,” he began, “the key to all of this begins very early. So you must show your children maximum affection. Maximum affection.”

Yes, I thought. I like that. Maximum affection. It’s not as if I don’t show them this already, but now I know the Dalai Lama said I should. Somehow, that makes it even sweeter. I may not find enlightenment, but perhaps, if I hug enough, I can set them on the right path. Either way, it will feel great.

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