Love-all on Court as Dalai Lama Blesses Altruism

June 10th 2007

Melbourne, Australia 10 June 2007 (The Age / Gabriella Coslovich) - The vast basin of Rod Laver Arena usually echoes with the thwack of racquet against ball, the genteel applause of the crowd and the not-so-gentle outbursts of tennis super-brats.

Yesterday, centre court was filled with sounds of a markedly different kind: the deep, resonant chanting of monks, the ritualistic ringing of bells and the trademark chuckle of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

About 4000 people filled the stadium to hear the Dalai Lama's teachings on his final day in Melbourne. They arrived early, striding along Swan Street before 9am in brilliant sunshine and a bracing 6 degrees.

With its roof closed, centre court was transformed into a restful and richly hued Buddhist temple. Scarlet drapes adorned with images of the Buddha and deities formed the backdrop to a wide stage. On a high, central throne covered in luxuriant brocades sat His Holiness; to the right of him, monks in their traditional saffron robes, to the left, nuns.

It was a morning of teachings, blessings, initiation, the visualisation of oneself as a deity and the recitation of mantras.

The Dalai Lama is adept at keeping things light, at cracking a joke when proceedings are at risk of becoming too arcane, as he did after a long mantra, telling the crowd: 'Of course, these are Sanskrit words. I do not understand what is the meaning.'

And when the crowd chanted the syllable 'dhi' 100 times on one exhaling breath (to sharpen memory) he advised: 'Of course, for people with shortness of breath sometimes it's difficult, but eventually you get use, so no problem.'

He preached the importance of altruism and selflessness. Happiness, he said, comes from caring about the welfare of others, and suffering from clinging to self-centred attitudes. 'We are selfish, but with the help of our intelligence we can be wise-selfish instead of foolish-selfish.'

The Dalai Lama's preliminary prayers, conducted in Tibetan, were especially for the 250 Australian-Tibetans who had come to see him. For Tibetan-born Kesang Wangmo it was a day of 'heaven on earth'.

She had risen at 5am to help cook the sweet sticky rice that her community gave as an offering during the prayers for long life, passing plates of it through the crowd.

Kesang was a newborn when her family fled Tibet in 1959, seeking refuge in India.

She migrated to Australia 18 years ago and last year travelled to India with her family to see the Dalai Lama speak, but the huge crowds had precluded close interaction.

'In India, I never had the opportunity to see it so clearly,' she said. 'We Tibetans are so fortunate
 

Latest News

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Expresses Sadness about Nepal Earthquake
April 26th 2015
Dharamsala, HP, India, 26 April 2015 - Expressing great sadness about reports of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal yesterday with the loss of many lives and widespread damage to property, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to the Nepalese Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala. “The people of Nepal and Tibetans have been neighbours throughout history and many Tibetan refugees live in Nepal. I offer my condolences to you and to those who have lost members of their families, friends and their homes in this tragedy."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu at TCV
April 23rd 2015

Conversations for the Book of Joy Begin
April 20th 2015

His Holiness the Dalai Lama Departs Tokyo to Return to India
April 14th 2015

Permission and Empowerment of Avalokiteshvara, the Stages of Meditation and the Three Essential Moment
April 13th 2015