Dalai Lama

Who do you admire?

Day 17

Write about meeting someone you admire (real or fictional, past or present) in an empty elevator, you have 3 minutes to make conversation. What will you say? What do you want the outcome of the conversation to be? You could even write the conversation in a script format.

[The elevator doors open with a ding and the His Holiness the Dalai Lama steps on.]

Dalai Lama: Hello, how are you.

Me: Hello Dalai….um oh no, I didn’t mean…um

[The Dalai Lama chuckles at the reference to ‘Hello Dolly”]

Me: I mean hello. I’m….um good.

Dalai Lama: I’m glad to hear it.

Me: Of all the people to get in the elevator today, you’re the last I would’ve expected to see, it’s a real pleasure.

Dalai Lama: And why is that?

[I knew the Dalai Lama was inquisitive, but I didn’t expect to be put on the spot.]

Me: I respect you a lot and just knew meeting you would be a significant moment in my life.

Dalai Lama: I’m glad, but why?

[Okay seriously, the Dalai Lama is super curious today.]

Me: I never really put it in words before.

Dalai Lama: Well, why don’t you try…

I first discovered the story of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama after watching “Seven Years in Tibet.” I was in high school and didn’t much pay attention to the world outside of my own. But the story inspired me to want to know more. I was on my way to becoming an inquisitive mind, however it wouldn’t be until college that I would expound on this interest.

In my first History class, one of the books assigned was “Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama.” My hear broke for him as he lost his country and my mind longed to understand as he built bridges between different people and cultures.

Since then I’ve greatly admired and respected the wisdom of the Dalai Lama. I could never fathom his knowledge and experience, but I learn from him everyday how to be a better citizen in this world. To meet him in person would be a true honor.

I’m not Buddhist, however the respect I have stems from my own belief that everyone has a right to believe what they want. I don’t always agree with that, but it’s my responsibility as their fellow human-being to respect their differences and keep an inquisitive mind free of judgement. Regardless of what god or spirit we believe in, we can all learn from each other.

Dalai Lama at University of Northern IowaIn May of 2010 I actually got to see the Dalai Lama in person. This was #1 on my bucket list and i’m proud I checked it off. He was more joyful, friendly and down-to-earth than I expected. He exudes the feeling of a loving grandfather looking after his grand children. He enjoys a good joke and appreciates simple joys in life. He inquires about everything. From the mosquito landing on our arm to the make-up of the universe. The significance is not amiss on him.

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