Isn’t that God’s job? To love us all, I mean.
Once He created us all, created IT all, didn’t He make some promise or concoct some Covenant or Other to love us eternally, unconditionally, to take good care of us and make sure we follow the rules?
His rules? Or Her rules? Or in a constantly transitioning cosmos, IT”S rules? THEIR rules?
I’ve been imbued these 75 years with the ephemeral yet oddly solid belief that it is God who is the Ultimate in Loving All Things. The Authority. The One To Show Us The Way. How to love all, no strings, no conditions, no contractual limits or clauses?
Obviously, we haven’t read the fine print.
But then, it looks like He hasn’t either.
Which brings me to someone who probably has read the entire agreement: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, an 88-year old gentleman, a god walking among us, who has shepherded the Tibetan Buddhists for decades and who travels the world with many clever translators, to help all understand scriptures and documents written in languages most of us could never in a lifetime comprehend.
The Dalai Lama, the old gent with the beatific face who seems to at least have a good sense of humor.
He seems like such a good person, as he glides along his way, looking like he slightly floats off the ground, surrounded by many of the faithful who actually bow down, fully stretched out on the floor, before him.
I’d say that would launch my day well : all those adoring people , prostrate before me. Bringing me coffee.
Though I don’t think He actually drinks coffee. Probably butter tea. Ghee tea.
Which brings me to the time in New York City when my husband, two dear friends and I actually sat in the Upper West Side presence of His Holiness, the 14th: if I recall correctly, the tickets were $300.00 each.
But worth the price. Being inside the grand old Beacon Theater at Broadway and 77th, a palace that seats many thousands of people, is enough to inspire reverence anyway, but the utterly packed crowd of devoted folks who crowded the place in their robes, malas and bald heads was another Universe entirely.
Though there was no incense burning in the lobby (darn those NYC Fire Laws) it definitely smelled of something, and we let ourselves be carried along with the crowd up to our third balcony seats. We would be seeing a colorful peanut of a personage, but that personage would be the Dalai Lama, and we were excited. The study for that long day (the entire event was three days, starting on a Friday) was The Teachings of the Blade Wheel , and we’d been mailed our Sanskrit/English copies weeks before. I’d read the entire thing, totally uncomprehendingly, and had made many curious margin notes. My notes looked like they had been written in Sanskrit as well. Oh well. I was there to listen, to soak it all in anyway.
Apparently, I was also there to sleep in.
Because I fell a’slumber almost immediately after the long procession that ushered the Revered Presence onto the stage. I saw my teacher Robert Thurman bow before His Imminence, admired a few colorful costumes and tongkas and then fell sound asleep on my husbands shoulder. It was like, that for a lot of the weekend. For you see, our third balcony seats were a mighty slog up many stairs, the Dalai Lama droned on pretty non-melodically, and it was warm up where we were. But i did stay awake to admire some of the translators work as they labored to make us understand all that the Teacher was imparting. I remember being impressed by what The Blade Wheel Teachings had to say, but, sadly, remember very little of it now.
What I do remember are all the nice scarves, layers of beads (one entirely made of little plastic skulls) and colorful hats I bought from all the vendors that lined the Upper West Sidewalks: a virtual Tibetan bazaar!
And we did get to glimpse the diminutive Dalai as he exited the Beacon Stage Door and floated into his long limousine. That was nice. He seemed nice.
I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done early that year.