Heart of the Dalai Lama

Pico Iyer is a long-time friend and student of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. His writing on the teachings of the Dalai Lama have appeared in the New York Times and NPR, while their conversations have gained thousands of views on YouTube.

In the latest issue of the Shambhala Sun, Iyer shares the "secret" to His Holiness's place as the "most beloved spiritual figure in the world".


He talks about the Dalai Lama's curiousness:

"In Yokohama he'll ask an engineer, backstage, before a large lecture, how the soundboard works. When we have lunch with an ambassador from Bahrain, he'll try to learn more about the history of Islam and Arabic culture. When old friends come to meet him in his hotel room, he asks them how things are going in Japan, and listens to their answers closely, like a doctor hearing a list of symptoms."

The uncanny "after effect" of meeting with His Holiness:

"(S)o often, even as we're being moved by the way he instinctively knows how to see past divisions, laughs to dissolve our tension, or manages somehow to make us feel we’re meeting not just a great philosopher and global leader, but an old friend, we come away—at least I do—with our head in the clouds, unstoppably grinning and with tears in the corners of our eyes."

And the distinct voice of the Buddhist leader:

"The fact that his own English is imperfect is itself a small reassurance—a reminder that he's on the same level as his listeners and is not an all-knowing sage laying down the law from a throne or a mountaintop. His voice goes up and down, never a monotone, and his sentences are as full of emphases and clarity as his famously articulate Tibetan. Yet at the same time, in its calligraphic directness, his solid and succinct English gets the point across with little room for ambiguity, or wild misinterpretations."

Read the full essay at the Shambhala Sun.


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