All these flooding and evacuation currently happening in Houston reminds me of the time I saw the Dalai Lama in person because he was here when the city was evacuating from Hurricane Rita in September 2005 — 11 years ago when I was tad bit younger :-).
I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to help sell a book by His Holiness, listen to him speak and meet him in person! We were told some had to pay (or donate?) $10,000 to $20,000 to get in (depending on where you want to sit and what activities you want to go to with his Holiness). I had an “All Access” pass. Can you believe that?!
The Dalai Lama talked about the relationship between science and spirituality. He basically agrees that science and spirituality do not necessarily contradict each other, but they can co-exist. He was a light-hearted speaker and he wasn’t “speaking in tongues” and unreachable spiritual goals. His thoughts were actually very practical and funny!
We had our pictures taken with the Dalai Lama, but I never got a copy of it (boo!). I only have pictures of him when other people were taking pictures with him. I also took short video clips of him when he was speaking. He had an interpreter. I also remember the security being tight.
Goldie Hawn was there and was also selling her book. She talked a bit on how her life has changed by being spiritual.
Another celebrity that was there was singer Lisa Loeb. I think her most famous song (in my opinion) is “Stay“. I think she was from Dallas. She now lives in Los Angeles because of her singing career (she told us). She was so nice to us. She was worried which route she would take to the airport to avoid those people evacuating from Houston. She liked us so much that after the dinner, she even looked for us towards the back of the room and personally said goodbye. She went around the table and gave each one of us a hug. She told us of her final plans on how she would get to the airport.
During the symposium, we also got to meet Rinchen Dharlo, the President of the Tibet Fund. I believe all proceeds for that event went to the Tibet Fund. He was so nice! He was our contact person for selling the book of His Holiness (The Universe in a Single Atom). We sold them all! People wanted more, but we ran out.
Rinchen also called Goldie Hawn for us from the backstage, so we can meet her personally. He gave us special treatment. At one point, he offered to get a signed autograph from the person who wrote the new book of the Dalai Lama, but he just remembered that this person does not like signing that book because his name is not on the book, so he thinks it is improper for him to sign it.
I also met 2 other co-authors of the different books of His Holiness: “The Art of Happiness” by Howard Cutler (New York Bestseller for 97 weeks!) and “The Wisdom of Forgiveness” by Victor Chan. I asked them to sign the program as I didn’t have a copy of their book with me.
I was surrounded by blessed people that day! It was truly an unforgettable experience. 11 years have passed and I still remember it – memory triggered by the Houston rain and flooding. Being in the same room with the person who’s believed to be the reincarnation of Buddha was both a privilege and an honor!
“Temzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and is both the temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. The Dalai Lama travels the world speaking on peace and interreligious understanding, giving Buddhist teachings, and meeting with political leaders as he works tirelessly on behalf of the Tibetan people. He resides in Dharamsala, India, and is the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile”. – excerpt from “The Universe in Single Atom”